- The Bolton News
MDE announces 135 school districts have chosen to receive new health, school safety at no cost
A new health and school safety platform will be available at no cost to 135 Mississippi school districts that recently opted to receive the service to create a safer and better learning environment for students, teachers and staff. In February, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced plans to use $14 million of its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to purchase the web-based nSide health and school safety platform. ESSER III funds will cover the costs of the platform and cameras until Sept. 30, 2024.
School districts had to opt in by Feb. 28 to receive nSide. To see a complete list of the districts go to List of Districts with Health and Safety Platform. The platform boasts several features to aid districts, including the following:
One surveillance camera for the district central office and up to five school-based surveillance cameras with the ability to detect and notify of crowd congestion
Access to a 360-degree live, virtual walkthrough of a school to provide situational awareness in emergencies
A system to create detailed campus maps and building floor plans with georeferenced images that give first responders precise locations of individuals
A portal to upload emergency operation plans
Mobile app for notification of emergencies and to notify staff and emergency responders
Assistance with creating and managing emergency operations plans that meet state and federal requirements
Among the 135 districts, 10 opted to receive the platform without new surveillance cameras. However, the platform may be compatible with those districts’ existing cameras. Two school districts – Lee County School District and Rankin County School District – were using nSide prior to MDE purchasing the platform.
Districts will begin receiving welcome packets to nSide next week. In the coming weeks, the 135 districts will be onboarded to the nSide platform with drills, trainings and a review of best safety practices.
The School Safety Act of 2019 requires school boards of each district, with assistance from MDE’s Office of Safe and Orderly Schools, to adopt a comprehensive local school district school safety plan and to annually provide a plan update. By offering the nSide platform to districts, a more consistent development and implementation of safety plans is anticipated.
“With nearly every school district in the state choosing to use this innovative health and school safety platform, Mississippi schools will now have a more uniform approach to keeping students, teachers and staff safe,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “MDE is confident this platform will be beneficial to districts by helping them prevent and mitigate crises.”
Find all MDE news releases at mdek12.org/news.