Create A School Protocol To Be Activated When Crisis Strikes
When a crisis or emergency strikes the first step a school takes is to keep the students safe. But another priority is to make sure that all parents and guardians have accurate information on how to handle the crisis and what steps the school is taking.
With the novel coronavirus outbreak, it is high time a school has clear procedures in place to keep parents informed on any changes or updates. In this post, we talk about what a school can do during the COVID-19 pandemic and the different ways they can communicate with parents.
The first step is to have an emergency protocol in place. Barring the current epidemic, this protocol can also be used if the school goes into a lockdown due to extreme weather or an emergency is declared. If you don’t have a plan, now is the time to make one or update an old plan.
In this crisis protocol, the one essential ingredient is to have a central source of information. Generally, schools use multiple channels to disseminate information to staff, students and parents. While in ordinary circumstances, this is an excellent practice to spread information on events or updates, in times of crisis, it creates confusion. This is especially true for COVID-19 where every second new information needs to be sent out.
Say, for example, one parent reads the website, and another calls a teacher for information. If both sources have different stats and figures, it can create chaos among parents on what is correct and what info is outdated. Therefore, have one source of information and every channel the school uses to communicate must direct the parent, teacher or student to that source.
What Channels A School Can Use To Communicate With Parents?
A crisis is ripe for rumour mills to start churning and spread fake or misinformation. The only way to fight it is to get accurate data in front of parents as fast as possible. You can do this through a number of mediums like a networking site, website or school app.
School’s Social Media
The parents of the current generation are very tech-savvy. In other words, all of them have a social media presence. So, a school can easily use these networking sites to send out brief and sharp messages to update parents and students. An advantage of social sites is that they promote 2-way communication. The drawback is that you will need to designate a staff member to answer any comments or questions asked on your posts. This person will require complete and accurate knowledge to nip any misinformation in the bud.
In unprecedented times, as the world faces right now, in-depth information is the best cure for panic, stress or anxiety, and the school’s website is the best place to publish it. To ensure that all students, parents and staff members get all the information, create a dedicated page for the crisis.
On this page, you can publish any latest news, answer frequently asked questions and furnish contact details any concerned person can use when required. If you have a critical piece of news to share, create a pop-up on the site. This way, the first content a user reads is the new development of the crisis.
A School App Is The Best Option For Communication
The last channel a school can use to keep in constant touch with parents, students and staff members is a School App. It is also the best method to get your message across because:
- It gives the school a direct connection to each person, be it a parent, student or employee.
- It offers an instantaneous spread of knowledge to everyone at the same time.
- Push notifications on a school app are the quickest way you can get a message or data across to all eyes. Since push notifications automatically pop-up on a screen, it is an active route to alert people.
It should be noted that push notification on apps is restricted to certain characters. This is beneficial because the school can use the notification to send out the most critical information and then redirect the parent to a dedicated page on the app where a more detailed version is given. With a school app, you can even create a banner or button that encourages the user to engage with the information.
If you are a school in Chennai struggling to find a digital way to keep in touch with students and parents during the novel coronavirus outbreak, please invest in a school app!