Local schools to get new health, safety platform

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A new health and safety platform will soon be available to the Brookhaven and Lincoln County school districts and the Mississippi School of the Arts, along with 132 other districts statewide.

The Mississippi Department of Education in February announced plans to use $14 million in ESSER III funds to purchase the web-based nSide health and school safety platform. These funds from the American Rescue Plan will cover the costs of the platform and cameras until Sept. 30, 2024.

Districts had until Feb. 28 to opt in to the program. In the coming weeks, the 135 districts will be onboarded to the nSide platform with drills, trainings and a review of best safety practices.

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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 geo-referenced 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

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.”

See a complete list of Mississippi school districts and charter schools that opted in to the program.