Richmond County sees safety upgrades for new school year

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re checking in with the school district’s safety plans this year.

As far as COVID goes, students and staff did not have to wear masks on the first day for the first time since 2019.

Richmond County school leaders say they’re working on having a county-wide system to shut down schools in case of emergency.

After the shooting in Uvalde, safety is a top priority for parents and educators going into the school year.

Richmond County’s superintendent says they’ve done everything to have a safe start to the year.

Danielle Vergara is a senior at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. Monday was her last first day, and she says she still feels safe.

“I don’t feel any difference at all. I do feel safe here because I’ve been here for six years. I’ve always felt like this is my home, so I don’t feel unsafe,” she said.

Even with Vergara feeling safe, principals like Renee Kelly say the county still needed to prepare for the worst.

“I spent over three and a half hours with my faculty to go over safety. We practiced every single drill until the teachers understood what they were supposed to do in a situation,” she said.

On top of the practice, Richmond County Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw says a partnership will also improve safety.

“We’ve teamed up with an organization called Centegix. Our teachers will have access to make a call at a fingertip with a button on a badge,” he said.

This isn’t available yet, and some teachers may not even know this is happening. Bradshaw said teachers and the technology will be ready to go by December.

School administration says this will be a huge change.

Kelly said: “We’re excited about the call button, and I feel that the students, teachers, and parents will all feel safer.”

School resource officers are located at every middle and high school. In elementary, the officers serve in a zone in order for the county to have every school covered.

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