We are pleased to announce the launch of Blackboard Connect, the new emergency notification system for St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Blackboard Connect gives us the ability to communicate quickly with the entire campus through phone, text, and email. Please read the important information below to fully understand the system and help us in completing a successful implementation process.
From Blackboard Connect, you will receive:
Emergency Notifications – These are messages that indicate an imminent emergency or dangerous situation (e.g., crime, severe storm, chemical spill, disease outbreak). Emergency notification is triggered by an event that is currently occurring on campus that threatens the health and safety of the college community. It will be initiated immediately upon confirmation that a dangerous situation or emergency exists or that a threat of an emergency exists.
Outreach – These are messages that are important but may not require immediate attention. Outreach messages are general notices to the campus community that are triggered by crimes that have already occurred but may be continuing and may represent an ongoing threat to the community. They may also include notices about weather warnings or school closure due to weather.
Everyone will receive emergency notifications and outreach messages by email, but Blackboard Connect also allows you to receive these messages by phone and text.
The campus will be consulting with appropriate on- and off-campus resources to respond to the emergency. Your remaining calm will allow the Emergency Response Team and other direct responders to attend to the emergency rather than splitting their attention between the emergency situation and your reaction to it. Check official communication sources (Blackboard Connect will send out messages through phone, text, and email) for information regarding the emergency.
Check official communication sources for information regarding the emergency
The following communication channels will be used when a situation permits it to provide information and updates about an emergency situation: Note that the first communication about the emergency,likely from Blackboard Connect, will articulate the person who is designated the official contact for the emergency. This person will have the most accurate and up-to-date information about the situation. Other communications are not “official.”
Follow instructions for next steps
These communications will articulate next steps for the campus. Be sure to follow these instructions, which are designed to maximize the health and safety of those on campus.
Care for and be responsive to others who may be in need of assistance
Emergency situations on campus can evoke many powerful emotions. Be aware of those around you who may not be able to remain calm or who may need assistance. It is up to the entire community to ensure that we are all safe and cared for. If you discover someone that needs medical or other specialized attention, contact a staff member for assistance. Be cognizant of others with mobility and/or physical challenges (for example, visual- or hearing-impairments) and offer assistance. If someone appears to be having a difficult time coping with the situation or is behaving in a way that is unusual or different than they normally behave (for example, a student is crying uncontrollably for a prolonged period of time; talking to him/herself; displaying unusual anger, violence or abusive language, etc.)
Try to be supportive, calm, and reassuring.
- If possible, offer emotional support. This involves understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Engage the person in conversation and listen carefully.
- Do not disparage feelings expressed, but point out realities and offer hope.
- You can acknowledge that things are bad now, and then promote the idea that things are going to get better.
- Emphasize the temporary nature of the situation. Explain that the crisis will pass.
- Encourage the student to follow-up at the Counseling Center after the crisis has been resolved if that seems appropriate (to try to avoid prolonged post-traumatic stress disorder).
- Check in with concerned family and friends to let them know you are OK
- If at all possible, let your family and friends off-campus know that you are OK. Taking this step will ease the minds of those who care about you and cut down on the communication the campus receives from those off-campus, freeing time, energy, and resources to respond to the emergency itself. Inform your family and friends that www.smcm.edu will be updated as new information comes available so that they can monitor the situation. Please keep your conversations short so that the communication channels coming in and out of St. Mary’s County can be as free as possible for official communication about the emergency.
Check official communication sources for periodic updates
As new information becomes available, the official communication sources will provide updates and further instructions.
Watch for all clear signal
The official communication sources will inform the campus when the emergency is no longer an immediate threat and campus can return to normal functioning.