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WNC Schools First In The Country To Test Safety App

Buncombe County Schools will be the first school  district in the country to pilot a new student safety app.      The Vitals App is designed to help school officials respond more effectively in crisis situations involving students with health or behavioral needs.

Enrolled students will carry a beacon that automatically transmits their important health information to key personnel in the school.

The Buncombe County Schools Foundation is funding the pilot program. Foundation Director Lisa Adkins believes the app could help ensure the safety of some of the schools’ most vulnerable students.

“The users of the app are chosen providers and they can be a school resource officer, a school nurse, a coach, a principal or assistant principal.  When they get within 80 feet of the student, the information will 

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Credit BPR, Luke Shealy
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Buncombe County School Foundation's Lisa Adkins explains The Vitals App at a press conference at T.C. Roberson High School.

literally pop up from a secure cloud onto their phone“ says Adkins.  “So it will say, ‘This is so and so student, they are autistic, these are de-escalation techniques you could use, these are some issues they have.’ That information is available as long as they are within an 80-foot radius.”

Vitals President and CEO Janeé Harteau says the app is free for students and that officials using the service will pay a monthly subscription fee.  Harteau says the information is kept on a secure cloud and once the users leave the 80-foot radius, the information is deleted.

The Vitals App is already being used by police departments in other states, but this is the first time it will be tested in schools.                                                       

The yearlong pilot program will be rolled out next fall at T.C. Roberson and A.C. Reynolds High Schools. Lisa Adkins says if it's successful the app could be rolled out throughout the district.