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SafeArrival – A New Way to Report Student Absences

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At HWDSB, one of our greatest priorities is ensuring that all students safely arrive at school every day.

SafeArrival, a student absence reporting system, makes it very easy for families to report student absences. It also allows school staff to respond quickly and thoroughly to all unexplained absences. Our goal is to continue to have all absences explained and all student accounted for each day, knowing that they are all safe.

With SafeArrival, families report a child’s absence in one of three ways:

  1. Use the SafeArrival website, go.schoolmessenger.ca. The first time you use the website, select Sign Up to create your account. Select Attendance then Report an Absence.
  2. Using your mobile device, download and install the SchoolMessenger app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (or from links at go.schoolmessenger.ca). The first time you use the app, select Sign Up to create your account. Select Attendance then Report an Absence.
  3. Call the toll-free number 1-844-506-4350 to report an absence using the automated phone system.

methods of SafeArrivalThese options are available 24 hours/day, seven days a week. You can report a future absence any time.

In addition, we will use the SchoolMessenger Communicate automated notification system to contact parents whose elementary school child is absent when the absence was not reported in advance. The automated notification system will attempt to contact parents multiple times until parents confirm and explain the absence. If this system cannot reach the designated contacts, elementary school office staff will follow up.

If you try to explain an absence using SafeArrival, but are then told that it is past the cut-off time, please contact the school directly.

There will not be a follow-up phone call for secondary students and their notification will occur, as it does now, in the evening of a day that had an absence.

If you report your child’s absence in advance using either the SafeArrival toll-free number, the website or the mobile app, you will NOT receive these notifications.

After April 23, 2019, please report absences in advance using SafeArrival instead of sending notes or calling/emailing the school. On this date, staff will begin using the SafeArrival notifications to let you know if your student is absent (when you haven’t reported the absence in advance).

If you have questions, please speak with your school office or principal.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we implement this new system.

What is SafeArrival?

SafeArrival is an absence management system that improves student safety and makes it easy for you to let the school know about your child’s absence.

You are asked to report your child’s absence in advance whenever possible using one of these convenient methods:

SchoolMessenger app (free)

  1. Provide your email address to the school.
  2. Get the app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (or from the links at https://go.schoolmessenger.ca).
  3. Tap Sign Up to create your account.
  4. Select Attendance from the menu, and then select Report an Absence.

Web and Mobile Web: go.schoolmessenger.ca

  1. Provide your email address to the school.
  2. Go to the website.
  3. Click Sign Up to create your account.
  4. Select Attendance from the menu, then select Report an Absence

Interactive Toll-free Phone: 1-844-506-4350

  1. Call the toll-free, interactive telephone system at 1-844-506-4350.
  2. Follow the instructions to report an absence.

Absences can be reported in advance:

  • 24 hours/day
  • 7 days a week
  • For any school day in the school term
  • Up to the cut-off time on the day of the absence.

Whenever an absence is reported or updated, you will receive a confirmation notice by email and/or text message (assuming you have provided your contact information to the school).

If you don’t report your child’s absence in advance, the automated notification system will try to contact you (using your communication preferences if you have set them up in the SchoolMessenger app). This may include push notifications to the app, email, SMS text messages, or phone calls. You will be asked to provide the reason for your child’s absence immediately. You may do so using the phone line, website or mobile app.

If an elementary absence is not explained within approximately 20 minutes of the time that the school starts the notification process, school staff will follow up to make sure that your child is safe. If you try to explain an absence using SafeArrival but are then told that it is past the cut-off time, please contact the school directly.

There will not be a follow-up phone call for secondary students and their notification will occur, as it does now, in the evening of a day that had an absence.

If you don’t want to receive notifications when your child is absent, be sure to report your child’s absence in advance.

If you do receive notifications of your child’s absence, be sure to provide the reason as quickly as possible, using one of the methods listed above or during the phone call notification itself.

Do I need a SchoolMessenger app account?

No, an account is not required to use SafeArrival, the new student absence management system at HWDSB. Families can use the toll-free phone number 1-844-506-4350 to report absences. Using this method does not require that you share an email address with your child’s school.

However, creating an account will allow you to choose how you would like to receive absence notifications. Please note that creating an account will allow you access to additional features, including reviewing absences, contact information, communication preferences and more.

Please see related SchoolMessenger app documentation above for setting up your account, resetting your password, reviewing contact information, and specifying communication preferences. Once you have set up your account, choose ATTENDANCE from the menu.

If you cannot set up your account, you do not see the ATTENDANCE option, or you do not see your child(ren) listed in your account, please contact the school directly to check that your correct email address is associated with your child(ren).

Why does SafeArrival have information about my children?

SafeArrival is one component of a suite of products from West, the company that HWDSB also uses for its School Messenger automated phone calls. West is also a partner to PowerSchool, our student information system, which means that information required to operate School Messenger and Safe Arrival flows from PowerSchool. HWDSB has assessed West, regarding its relationship with PowerSchool, to ensure that its operations meet relevant security standards and privacy legislation in Ontario. The legal authorization to disclose the personal information HWDSB collects from parents/guardians to third party service providers such as PowerSchool and West comes from section 32(c-d) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) which provides that school boards can outsource when required to complete necessary, school-related functions.

How do I use the toll-free phone line?

When you call the toll-free phone line, follow the instructions for reporting an absence.

If the phone number you are calling from matches a phone number on file with the school for your student(s), you will hear your student’(s) name(s). If the system doesn’t recognize your caller ID, you will be asked to enter the student’s home phone number.

If you have difficulty using the toll-free phone line, please consider using the SchoolMessenger mobile app or website. Otherwise, contact the school directly.

What information does SafeArrival have about my children?

At the bare minimum, to function, SafeArrival requires:

  • Home phone number provided to school
  • Child’s name
  • Child’s school
  • Child’s grade

When setting up an account, it would also need:

  • Email provided to school

When booking an absence, it would collect:

  • Name of child absent
  • Type of absence (full day, late, etc.)
  • Reason for absence
  • Dates of absence

I missed a call about an absence and hit Reply to call back. Why does it go to HWDSB and not SafeArrival?

This error in the SafeArrival setup has been corrected by the provider and should no longer occur.

Why am I not receiving my email confirmation of a booked absence?

Please check with your school office administrator that we have your correct email address on file and that you have selected receiving emails in your SafeArrival profile.

When I try to book an absence, why is the date on the calendar wrong?

The provider has resolved this issue; the secondary portion of SafeArrival is now set up.

Who do we contact if there is a problem with our account? (e.g. missing child record, etc.)

Please contact your school office to ensure that the information for your child is correct.

What if the system says my email is not associated with a student?

Please contact your school office. They can ensure that the information for your child is correct.

How do parents change SafeArrival or Communicate so they don’t get multiple phones calls, emails, etc?

Parents can go into their accounts in the app or website and manage what numbers are called for what types of broadcasts.  Please share this with parents as much as possible.

What can parents enter for absences?  Can they override an absence?

Parents can select from the absences listed:

  • Illness
  • Flu Like Symptoms
  • Chicken Pox, Mumps, etcetera;
  • Religious Day
  • Vacation
  • Bereavement
  • Parent Approved Absence

A parent can edit the absence until call outs occur but at the call out time, all absences are locked.

How do parents set up a PIN?

To set up a PIN, they must log in on the website first.  There will be an option to click at the bottom of the home page to set it up.

Here is some more info on managing pin settings with in the app.

 

Why am I not seeing all of my children in the app?

Please go to the settings on the top left of the App and Select Menu>Contacts and Refresh (Sync symbol).

Why do I get a message that a phone number is needed to access my account?

HWDSB is working with West on a resolution to this problem. The interim solution is to reset the password. There is a password reset link on the app and on the website sign in page, https://go.schoolmessenger.ca

When a parent hits the reset password link, they will receive an email to reset their password; this link will take them to the website to reset the password. This should solve the issue but parents may need to go to Menu>Contacts>Refresh (Sync) to see all of their students.

When will I receive notification of an unexplained absence?

For elementary students, the SchoolMessenger Communicate automated notification system will contact parents whose elementary school child is absent when the absence was not reported in advance. This will occur 50 minutes after the school’s bell time.

The automated notification system will attempt to contact parents/guardians multiple times until parents/guardians confirm and explain the absence. If this system cannot reach the designated contacts, elementary school office staff will follow up. If you try to explain an absence using SafeArrival, but are then told that it is past the cut-off time, please contact the school directly.

For secondary students, there will not be a follow-up phone call and notification of an unexplained absence will occur, as it does now, in the evening of a day that had an absence.

If you report your child’s absence in advance using either the SafeArrival toll-free number, the website or the mobile app, you will NOT receive these notifications.

Who can I contact if I have a question or concern?

Please contact your school office or principal if you have a concern about SafeArrival. They will work with HWDSB support staff to resolve the issue.

If your concern is about privacy only, please contact Sally Landon, HWDSB Privacy Officer, by phone at 905.527.5092 x2303 or by email at slandon@hwdsb.on.ca

Updated on Thursday, May 09, 2019.
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