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Southold schools update district phone number, take security measures

Students, faculty and community members calling Southold schools may have taken note of the different phone number for the district as of this academic year. 

Audio and visual specialist Erik Kehl and network and systems specialist Tom Schade presented the reason for the phone number change and additional security updates at Wednesday’s board meeting. 

Mr. Kehl said he created the presentation outlining the district changes after receiving questions from faculty and staff regarding security updates in the high school. Superintendent David Gamberg said the duo recently attended a bi-weekly administrator meeting and gave the same presentation.

The district completed the updates to their phone system and set up an automated prompter for callers Nov. 11, 2018. The new primary number for callers outside of the district is 631-765-5400. 

“This way, as your student moves up [in the district], you don’t have to know a new number,” Mr. Kehl said. 

Mr. Kehl said the previous number for the elementary school was also the primary school fire alarm line, meaning it was used by faculty to call in case of a fire emergency in the elementary school. Because it could only handle one call at a time, the district needed to leave the line open for fire alarm notifications, Mr. Kehl said. 

“We really don’t want to be using our fire alarm line as parents are calling,” he said. 

Prior to the phone update, high school faculty couldn’t contact elementary school faculty in the classrooms through the phone system. The system has been cleaned up to provide crossover in the buildings, Mr. Kehl said. An employee directory is attached to the internal phone system. 

In the future, the district will see additional indoor security cameras for hallways and stairwells, video intercom services at the main entrances of both schools, keyless entry card swipes on exterior doors in both schools and monitoring of exterior doors.

The Raptor Security System, a tool that manages school visitors, was also implemented this year, Mr. Kehl said, which makes it easier for staff to direct visitors. Visitors are asked to present one form of identification to security, which is then scanned and preserved in the district’s records. 

Greenport, Mattituck-Cutchogue, Riverhead, and Shoreham-Wading River districts have the Raptor system in all school buildings.

Mr. Kehl and Mr. Schade will give the same presentation at the Feb. 4 faculty meeting at the high school, where Mr. Kehl hopes to make all faculty download the RAVE Panic Button, a phone app which provides faculty and staff with contacts for emergency circumstances. 

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Photo caption: The Southold School Board listened to a presentation about the Raptor Security System Wednesday. (Kate Nalepinski photo)

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