AlertNow sends important information quickly via phone or email about emergency situations, school delays or cancellations due to inclement weather and other school happenings.

On the Phone

As a parent or guardian, will I need to register or sign-up to receive messages?
All parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school division are automatically enrolled.

If I use my cell phone as my home/primary phone will non-emergency messages be delivered to it?
The home/primary phone provided at the time of enrollment is considered to be the main contact number, and is the only number used to call parents in a non-emergency situation. If you would prefer to have these calls sent to your cell phone, you must list this number as your home/primary contact with your child’s school.

How will parents/guardians and staff be notified? Non-emergency messages will go to your home/primary phone.
School emergency and emergency closing or cancellation messages will go to your home phone, to the various phone numbers and email addresses you have provided to the school/division.

How do I update my notification information?
Parents must contact the school office to update their contact information.

What if I opted out of calls, but now want to receive them again?
If you have opted out of receiving phone calls, you can always opt back in. To do so, call 1-855-502-7867 from the phone number that has been opted-out.

If I move out of the area, must I request to have my phone numbers and email addresses removed?
No. If your child is withdrawn from school, your information is removed from the system.

How will I know that I have received a message?

  • If you have Caller ID, the school’s main number will appear in the display for a non-emergency message,.
  • If you have Caller ID,757.263.1000 will appear in the display for an emergency message or for school closings, cancellations or delays due to inclement weather.
  • AlertNow will leave a message on any answering machine or voicemail.
  • If the message stops playing, press any key 1-9 and it will replay from the beginning.
  • At the end of every voice message sent, you will be prompted to press #1 on your phone to repeat the message.
  • If an email is sent, the subject line will read Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

A message was delivered to my phone, I said “hello” and no message played or only part of the message was delivered. Why?
The message plays as soon as the phone is picked up or answered. Errors can occur if the person repeatedly says "hello" or answers in a noisy environment (i.e. traffic, children playing, loud music or television, dogs barking, etc.). If a person offers an extended greeting that overlaps the message, the system pauses, waits for silence, and replays the message from the beginning. With background noise, it is possible that the system is unable to detect the end of the "greeting" and thus the message did not initiate. In a noisy environment, call recipients can press any number (1-9) and the message will play from the beginning without interruption.

How does the system distinguish a live person from an answering machine?
The system starts the broadcast immediately upon telephone pickup and listens for interruptions. If the system is not interrupted by noise or someone speaking within the first 3.5 seconds, the message is delivered in its entirety. If the system detects a greeting longer than a few seconds, the system treats this as an outgoing message from an answering machine and will wait for a pause (usually after the beep) before delivering the message to be recorded.

What if the line is busy or there is no answer?
The system will make up to three attempts to reach each number.. If the message is not delivered by the third attempt, it is considered a failed number. Failures happen when a phone number is busy, disconnected, invalid, etc. If you are aware of a message that was delivered, but you did not receive a call, please contact your school

Why is my answering machine recording only half of the message or no message at all?
If your greeting is sporadic with varied periods of silence, the system will read this as a live person and begin playing the message, even though the machine has yet to start recording. This will result in a recording of silence (if the AlertNow message finishes playing before the machine begins recording) or if just the last portion of the AlertNow message runs over, this will also result in message cutoff. The recommended solution is to set your machine to record for a longer period.

How can I stop receiving phone calls from the school division?
If you are not a VBCPS family/staff member and yet still receiving Alert Now phone calls, please contact the Department of Communications and Community Engagement at [email protected] to have your number removed from the system. 

The system determines it has reached a live person and begins the message prior to the voicemail recording is engaged. Please make sure that the greeting is seamless to facilitate successful message delivery. The system is set to allow for six rings before hanging up. If your answering machine is set to pick up on seven or more rings, the message may not be delivered to your machine. Therefore, we encourage you to set your machine to six rings or fewer.If you failed to receive a message during the school day, please call your child's school to obtain the information.