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Back to school: Silent alarms, new security cameras installed in Alton schools

The district is also providing COVID tests on school campuses.

ALTON, Ill. — Students at all Alton district schools are coming back to class for in-person learning this week and there's a new set of rules in place to keep students safe.

This year, all students Pre-K to 12th grade will have the option to take weekly COVID tests.

Alton School District is teaming up with SHIELD Illinois to provide saliva COVID tests on school campuses at no cost to the district. The tests are provided through the University of Illinois and Illinois Department of Public Health.

The weekly COVID tests are not mandatory, and families will have the ability to opt their child in for COVID screenings online.

Online learning is only available for students who are positive or were exposed to COVID. The district can also approve remote learning for any students who are “medically fragile.”

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Students and staff are not required to wear masks at school right now, but they can if they choose to do so.

In the wake of violent incidents like the Uvalde school shooting, there are new security protocols in place for Alton School District campuses this year.

All schools will now have access to a new security app called CrisisGO that has an emergency alerting system.

The district said silent alarms have been added to offices and key points in some of the larger schools. The alarms immediately contact police.

More school security cameras have been added and/or upgraded at numerous schools to bolster security.

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Each year, the district participates in ALICE Training (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) for all staff and organizes drills for students to practice emergency scenarios.

Like years past, law enforcement met with school administrative teams over the summer to review safety and emergency plans and identify any potential holes in security.

This year, on the back of each student ID, information is provided on where students can text or email safety concerns (Text: SAFE2 or 72332 or email: Help@Safe2HelpIL.com).

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