EL PASO, Texas -- Schools are back in session for the new year, but in the aftermath of the Walmart mass shooting, many are still wondering how schools are keeping students safe in the case of an emergency.
There are more than 25,000 students enrolled at the University of Texas at El Paso. University officials are faced with the responsibility of notifying the campus community in the event of an emergency, occasionally within minutes or seconds.
The university uses a centralized emergency notification system. The 'Miner Alert' sends a text or email to students and faculty in case of an emergency. As of this fall, university officials reported roughly 38,000 people were enrolled in the system. Students are auto-enrolled and need to physically opt-out of the service to stop receiving emergency messages.
"A centralized alert protocol or process allows the organization, in this case, the university police department, to recognize the threat, determine what is a threat and what isn't a threat and then push that minor alert out," said Cliff Walsh, the Chief of Police at UTEP's police department.
While UTEP officials say UTEP is a safe campus, they also say the August 3rd shooting was a wake-up call.
"I think it was an eye opener for everybody, this community," said Robert Moss, UTEP's Assistant Vice President for Environmental Health and Safety. "I think we've always known that the possibility existed, this was just very close to home."
University officials say routine tests are done on the system each month.