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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Students in Duval County will be going back to school exactly two weeks from today.

Ahead of the start of the school year, DCPS is launching an improved version of its app for parents.

Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole shows us how it will help streamline communication and come in handy for emergencies.

“I think parents need to know what’s happening with their children all the time,” said Michele Aiken.

Aiken told Cole she knows what it feels like to need information about your kids and loved ones…only to have limited access to it.

She said her nieces went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas during the tragic shooting in February 2018.

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“My sister had to go by what was happening on her telephone and text messages back and forth from the girl … where they were, what was happening. It was a very scary time for all of us,” Aiken said.

That’s why she told Cole she thinks it’s great the Duval County School District is working to make communication easier.

The DCPS Mobile App gives parents all the information they need in the palm of their hand.

Parents: Here’s how you can customize the app: Open the app and select “Settings.” Then select “follow schools” and scroll through until you find the school you’re looking for. You can add as many as you need.

Emily Kristansen is  a principal at Oceanway Middle School.

She was trained on how to use the app on Monday.

“If you allow notifications, [you will] get the notification that there is an emergency or that there could be an emergency at your child’s school,” Kristansen said.

In addition, parents can use the app to access information for a number of other things, including their child’s calendar, busing and school lunch.

Parents also have direct access to a new helpline.

“If there’s something that needs to be reported or something that you might see or hear in your community, and you need to report that to school officials, you can go into the app and click the ‘Talk with Team Duval’– and we’ll receive that at the district,” Kristansen said.

Aiken says while her four children are now adults…she has grandchildren, so this app is a no-brainer for her.

“I’m all about it!”

Parents, you don’t have to wait for school to start. 

You can download the app right now in your app store for free.

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