FCPS Text Messaging for Parents
For times when it is critical to notify FCPS parents as quickly as possible.
Parent cell phone numbers that are listed in the Student Information System (SIS) are automatically enrolled to receive text messages. Text messaging is an additional way to quickly and efficiently contact parents when your child’s school or district needs to notify you in cases of emergency, attendance, and essential communications related to your student(s) education. Note that the text messaging option is not meant to replace primary modes of communication (email, phone message, school website, or backpack letters).
Providing cell phone number to my child’s school
It is necessary to provide your cell phone number to your child’s school in order to receive text messages intended for parents. Please make sure your parent cell phone numbers are listed in the “cell telephone” fields in the parent/guardian contact information section of the on emergency care information form for each of your children. Parents and guardians can view and update emergency contact information online using the weCare@school feature of FCPS 24-7 Learning.
Confirming that your cell phone is subscribed to receive text messages
Send a text message to 23177 or 63079 with the words “SUBSCRIBE FCPS”. You will receive a message from our vendor, BlackboardConnect (BbConnect) letting you know if the phone has been opted in for FCPS notifications. It will appear on your cellphone as a message from BbConnect Notify Alert. If you did not receive the proper reply message from BbConnect Notify Alerts, check your emergency contact information online using the weCare@school feature of FCPS 24-7 Learning. Make sure the contact “cell telephone” numbers are listed in the correct field in the parent/guardian contact information section. You may also contact your child’s school office and review your parent contact cell numbers with the student information assistant.
Stopping or discontinuing text messaging service
Reply to any text message from 23177 or 63079 with the word “STOP”.
If you are unable to reply and would like FCPS to opt your cell number out at the service provider level, you may request that your cell number be opted out of the text service by sending an email to CCR_Support@fcps.edu. Parents also have the option of sending their request to Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Communication and Community Relations, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042. Please provide your name and the cell number that you would like opted out in the request. Please note, if your cell number is opted out by FCPS at the service provider level, you will need to contact the Office of Communication and Community Relations by email or conventional mail and request that your cell number be opted back in for text messages.
Charges for the texting service
Standard message and data charges may apply for text messages depending on your cell phone service plan. If you have questions relating to text charges, we suggest you contact your cell provider.
Recipients of text messages
Text messages from your child’s school intended for parents can only be sent to the parent/guardian cell phone numbers that you have authorized to be on file for your child. It is important to let your child’s school know of any changes to your cell phone numbers.
Senders of text messages
Text messages are sent by local school administrators who are authorized by your child’s principal to send essential communications to parents as well as select FCPS central office staff.
Types of messages
FCPS school and district office staff will send messages when there are emergencies, delays, school closings, or urgent local school incidents. Central offices will also contact you in special cases when your school may not be able to due to local school power, phone, or internet outages.
Transportation managers may text you if your child’s bus is expected to run more than 30 minutes late.
You may also receive targeted system messages about:
- Your child’s attendance if school has not heard from you before the morning attendance deadline or in the evening for middle and high school students.
- Low or negative lunch balance if your child’s school lunch account is falls below $10.
Examples of important reminders from your child’s school:
- Back to School Night reminder
- Open House reminder (start of school)
- Testing dates, reminders, updates
- Required immunizations, forms
- Required event reminder for course credit/grade to students in a particular class (e.g. performance arts or music)
- End of year library book return reminder for outstanding items
If you choose not to participate the schools and central offices will continue to send email messages primarily and occasionally voice messages, but in time sensitive situations you might not receive the communication as quickly as those who are opted in to receive text messages. We are adding text messaging as a method of reaching parents more quickly in urgent situations.
If you would like to stop the text service temporarily, e.g., you are going on vacation, you may opt-in and opt-out of the service as often as you like. Simply send a text to either 23177 or 63079 with the word “STOP” or words “SUBSCRIBE FCPS” at any time to toggle the service on and off.
Some text messages may be sent in (Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese) when the translations are available and the length of the message allows. This also depends on the home correspondence language that is identified on your child’s contact record in the student information system.
Receiving too many non-essential messages but do not want to opt out of receiving important or timely notifications
If you experience this please contact your school principal and let him/her know.
Optional Tip: Some parents may find it helpful to add “FCPS” to their cellphone contacts with the short codes 23177 and 63079 listed in the phone fields so that you know that the texts you receive from these two short codes are official FCPS messages from the district and your child’s school.