Weather & Emergency Notifications
SSA uses School Messenger to inform families of weather-related delays and closures, and school emergencies. School Messenger allows SSA to send a recorded phone call, text alert and email message to all SSA families within minutes. SSA School Messenger phone calls display the caller ID 412-968-3000, while text alerts usually come from the sender number 67587.
Your Weather & Emergency Contact Information
Parents submit their family's weather and emergency contact information on the Family Information Update online form each year, and can change their information at any time via the Weather & Emergency Contact Information Form on the Parent Portal.
Faculty and staff submit and update their weather and emergency contact information using the Weather & Emergency Contact Information Form on the Faculty/Staff Portal.
Text Alert Opt-In Instructions
To receive School Messenger text alerts, you must complete a second "opt-in" step on your mobile phone required by federal law. Within a few days of entering a mobile phone number on one of the online forms above, School Messenger will send a text message to the mobile phone that says: Shady Side Academy text messages. Reply Y for aprx 3 msgs/mo. Txt HELP 4info. Msg&data rates may apply. See schoolmessenger.com/tm. The mobile phone user must reply “Y" or "Yes” to this text message to complete the opt-in process. If you do not reply Y or Yes to this text, School Messenger cannot send you SSA text alerts by law.
Q: I received the opt-in text message but accidentally deleted it. What should I do?
A: Send a text message from the same mobile phone to 67587 with the word “Yes” or “Y” and you should receive an automated reply saying your number is verified to receive SSA text alerts.
Q: I texted “Y" or "Yes” to 67587 but received an error message. What’s wrong?
A: School Messenger uses short code SMS text messaging to deliver mass text alerts. An error message may mean that short code texting is not enabled on your wireless plan or mobile phone. Contact your wireless carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) to ask if short code text messaging can be enabled. Be sure to specify short code text messaging.
Q: I did not receive an opt-in text message but want to receive SSA text alerts. What should I do?
A: Your mobile phone number may not be in our database in the correct text alert field. Go to the Parent or Faculty & Staff Portal and look for the “Weather & Emergency Contact Information” box. Click the link to view the online form with your current weather and emergency contact numbers. Only mobile phone numbers in the fields Weather Alert SMS Text Number 1 and 2 are will receive text alerts (once the opt-in step is completed on your phone). Use this same form to add or change any mobile numbers for text alerts. Please allow 2-3 business days for any changes to be processed, then you should receive the opt-in text message on your phone.
Q: Can I skip the online form and just sign up for text alerts by texting Yes or Y to 67587?
A: No, your mobile phone number must be in our system first to receive text alerts. Log in to the SSA website and use the Weather & Emergency Contact Information Form as noted above to add your number to the system, then wait for the opt-in text.
Q: How do I add a new mobile phone number to receive SSA text alerts?
A: Log into the SSA website and use the Weather & Emergency Contact Information Form as noted above to add or change your alert numbers at any time.
Q: What if I don't want to receive SSA text alerts?
A: Don't reply to the opt-in text message. If you've already opted in, simply text STOP to 67587 at any time to opt out. You may also opt out online at http://schoolmessenger.com/txtmsg.
If you have any other questions or problems with the opt-in process, please email Director of Communications Jen Roupe.
SSA makes every effort to announce weather delays or closures by 6 a.m. The decision is made by the Academy president, taking into account area school districts’ decisions and local road conditions. All four campuses follow an identical procedure on any given day. No announcement is made if the Academy is opening on a normal schedule. Families will be notified either by 11 p.m. the night before or after 5 a.m. the day of. Notifications are made in this order:
- A School Messenger phone call, text alert and email is sent to families. (All families receive emails; only those signed up for phone calls and text alerts receive those)
- Information is posted on the SSA Facebook and Twitter pages.
- Information is posted on the home page of the SSA website.
- Information is sent to local TV/radio stations KDKA, WTAE, WPXI and KQV.
- A recorded message is left on the SSA weather hotline at 412-447-2202.
No one notification method is completely foolproof, so please do not rely on only one method. If you do not receive a phone call or text alert, and the weather appears to be bad, please check one of the other notification sources as a backup before leaving home.
School District Busing
For families who use public school district transportation, please note that your buses follow the schedule of your local school district, not of SSA. If your district is on a two-hour delay, your bus will run two hours late; if your district is canceled, your bus will not run. If your district schedule differs from SSA, you may need to make alternate arrangements to get your child to school.
SSA has a liberal attendance/arrival policy when our schedule conflicts with your school district. For example, if your school district is canceled (no buses) and SSA is open, we would not penalize your child for arriving late or being absent due to lack of transportation or hazardous road conditions. Simply notify your child's school office that he/she will be late or absent due to transportation or weather issues.
We recognize that SSA students come from all over the region, and that weather and road conditions can vary widely from place to place. The safety of our students and families is our primary concern. Please take a “safety first” approach when deciding whether to attempt to get your child to school.
In the case of a school emergency, such as a water main break, campus lockdown or evacuation, School Messenger will be used to notify affected families. If the emergency affects only one campus, only families of children attending that campus will be notified. School Messenger notifications will include a phone call, text alert and email message. The phone call will go to your family's school emergency phone numbers as well as your weather alert numbers. Emergency information may also be posted on the SSA website, Facebook and Twitter accounts if appropriate, depending on the nature of the emergency.
Senior School parents are asked to provide their child's mobile phone number on the Family Information Update form to enable SSA to send text alerts to students with important instructions in case of an emergency such as a lockdown or evacuation. Students must complete the text alert opt-in instructions (see above) on their mobile phone as well.