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Vitals App Increases School Safety
Vitals App Increases School Safety
Posted on 06/18/2019
Stan Alleyne, chief of communications for Vitals Aware Services, holds up Vitals App beacons during a press conference at T.C. Roberson High School on June 11.BCS Communications Department

Buncombe County Schools (BCS) will begin using life-saving technology designed to help individuals with various conditions and disabilities better communicate with first responders and education professionals.

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, BCS will roll out the Vitals App at T.C. Roberson and A.C. Reynolds High Schools for families that want to participate. The Buncombe County Schools Foundation (BCSF) is generously funding a pilot year for the initiative. The Vitals App allows select personnel to see pertinent information and de-escalation techniques for identified students on their smartphone whenever they are within 80 feet of the student. The service allows parents, guardians, and authorized school professionals the ability to maintain a personalized student profile that is voluntarily shared with teachers and other key school staff who work directly with students.

BCS, BCSF, and Twin-Cities-based Vitals Aware Services held a joint news conference on June 11 at T.C. Roberson High School to officially announce the new partnership. More than 60 public safety agencies currently use the Vitals First Responder App. With today’s announcement, BCS becomes the first school district in the United States to join the Vitals Schools Network. BCS also becomes the first government agency in North Carolina to use Vitals.

“We are more than pleased to be the first district in the country to implement the Vitals App,” said BCS Student Services Director David Thompson. “We are so excited to be able to use the technology resource to increase the safety of our students, to increase the appropriate intervention for behavioral and medical concerns of our students, but most of all to respect the dignity and wellbeing of our students.”

Buncombe County Schools Foundation Executive Director Lisa Adkins speaks during the press conference.HOW IT WORKS

A student using the Vitals App carries a small beacon that is synced to secure information about that individual. The beacon comes in the form of a keychain, necklace, or wallet-sized card. An Android phone can also serve as the beacon.

When an authorized school staff member comes within 80 feet of the individual, the staff member receives an alert that the student has a Vitals profile. After receiving the alert, the staff member will immediately have access to the individual's Vitals profile through a smartphone app. The Vitals profile provides information to help the staff member make informed decisions on how to safely interact with that student.

“We believe this technology will give our staff a powerful resource designed to help them better understand the needs of students living with visible and sometimes invisible conditions and disabilities,” said BCS Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin. “It’s always a challenge for school districts to keep up with the latest and greatest technological advances. With Vitals, we are excited about being at the forefront of a service working to enhance the educational experience of students by better understanding their personal needs.”

See also coverage from WLOS and the Asheville Citizen-Times.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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