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SMS Text Messages

Overview

Appazur includes an additional way to engage with your community that doesn’t require a smartphone or Internet access: SMS Text Messaging.

Documentation for administrators.

Documentation for app users:

Push Notifications vs SMS Text Messages

The best way for parents and students to receive notifications is via push notifications to the "Sunnycrest High" app. These notifications show up with your logo, and when tapped, open the full message in the app. There is no cost for push notifications no matter how many you send, and they are delivered very rapidly.

Appazur also offers SMS text messaging, intended for parents and students who may not have an iPhone or Android phone with a data plan. In this case, messages appear in the phone's messaging app. SMS (Short Message Service) is a cell phone text messaging service that does not use the Internet and therefore may work even if the user does not have a data connection. Users do not need to have a data plan for their phone, but some plans may charge users for SMS text messages. Although phones now seamlessly handle images and video (actually sent using another service called MMS) and long messages, message text length is technically limited to 160 characters (or fewer, if you use special characters like emojis). SMS messages sent via Appazur will automatically include a link, if needed, to view longer text and attachments in a web browser.

Compared to SMS Text and Email, only App Push Notifications are clearly marked with your school logo and unaffected by spam:


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How to Sign Up for SMS Text Messages

There are three ways for users to sign up for SMS text messaging.

Using the App Home Page

Sign up for an account at https://sunnycrest.appazur.com, then choose an SMS Text Messages option and click Save. Users may subscribe to messages from their Class/Groups.

From an iPad or Android Tablet

Install the "Sunnycrest High" app, Sign In/Sign Up, and then choose an SMS Text Messages option on the User Settings page. Users may subscribe to messages from their Class/Groups. This option is not available from an iPhone or Android phone.

Sign Up By SMS Text Message

Text @sunnycrest to 778-800-2585 and follow the instructions that you'll receive.

Limitations

However, please note the current limitations of this new feature:


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SMS Pricing

Users may opt-in to SMS as described above. This capability is included in Appazur standard pricing for branded/customized mobile apps.

Cell phone networks have been significantly increasing the cost for sending SMS messages in the last few years, and some vendors (like Remind) have had to discontinue free SMS for parents and students depending on which network they use. Because most school app users receive Push Notifications, Appazur is able to continue to offer SMS at no extra cost.

Appazur also offers SMS Mass Notification, which has an additional cost.


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SMS Mass Notification

To reach parents who have not signed up via Appazur, we offer optional Mass Notification which is the capability of messaging to parent contact information in your Student Information System. These messages may be sent by email, voice, or SMS text message.

Staff Communications

This feature can also be useful for contacting district staff, for example if they are provided with work cell phones without a data plan. Appazur has experience working with districts to provide staff communication solutions, using both SMS and mobile apps.

Legal / Consent

If you would like to send SMS messages to parents and/or students using Mass Notification, first consider that there are legal requirements for sending SMS messages. You must obtain and document consent for SMS messaging from each recipient for each cell phone number you provide to Appazur, as required by law. We will then text each recipient initially and ask them to consent; if they do not respond YES, they will not be sent any further SMS text messages.

Cost

If you would like to enable SMS Mass Notification, please contact us for pricing details.

Custom SMS Phone Number

Another consideration with SMS may be the phone number that is used. It does not work with your school phone number like voice does. The SMS texts will originate from one of our phone numbers in your country. If you would like a local number to be used, we may be able to obtain and use one for you, for an additional annual fee.


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