Closures, cancellations and communications: How to keep calm and carry on in the wake of COVID-19
In the wake of the UK’s escalating response to COVID-19, organisations across the country are putting plans in place to keep business operating as usual. In the face of potential closures, however, shutting up shop isn’t straight forward for schools.
While we await further news and look ahead to the weeks to come, there are a few things to consider now to reduce the impact on your school in the future. Here’s your plan of action to keep calm and carry on in the face of COVID-19.
Clear, concise and communicative
Whether you’re listening to the news or keeping an eye on social media, there is an awful lot of uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic: Will schools be shutting down and, if so, for how long? How will students continue to learn at home?
Reassure parents and students by being transparent about your school’s policies and plans for tackling COVID-19. While this may only be possible to an extent, minimising confusion around coming weeks is important in reducing impact on student education.
Establish a clear communications plan to ensure both staff and parents are clear on processes in the event of closures. Relevant staff should understand the actions they are responsible for (i.e. who will contact parents and how? Who will be on hand to inform staff?); equally, parents should understand how they will receive school communications (i.e. text, email, in-app messaging, phone call).
Up to date data
As the old saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail – and never is this more accurate than with parent contact data in the face of a global health pandemic.
Be ready to communicate with parents, safe in the knowledge that your database of contact information is up to date and reliable. You should also hold relevant health and safety data to safeguard at-risk students.
Share best practice
The government continue to update advice and guidance for schools and educational settings; published guidelines can be found on the government website.
Share relevant health and safety information with parents. This includes best-practice advice on hand washing, signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and guidance on self-isolation.
Emphasise the importance of staying at home in the instance of flu symptoms for teachers, too; safeguarding your school community is a team effort!
At home learning
In the event of closures, nobody knows how long schools may be required to remain shut. Ensuring your school has the platforms and processes in place to facilitate at-home learning is therefore important in minimising disruption to student education. Make sure parents are well placed to support their children with resources, lesson plans and advice, too.
Equally as important as parent engagement is flexible working and staff communications. If your team are required to work from home, do they have the resources and equipment they need to do so efficiently and securely?
Facilitating regular, reliable and (above all) secure communications is very important. Sharing and accessing resources amongst your team should only be done utilising approved systems. Work closely with your facilities and IT teams to identify processes and platforms which safeguard data and support compliance.
Putting plans into action
While the future remains uncertain for schools, taking the time to plan now sets teams up for success in the face of enforced closures. Given the right tools and support, schools can remain efficient, compliant and communicative.
At IRIS Education, our mission is to bring a little clarity during even the most uncertain times. From engaging with parents to facilitating flexibility, our software, which includes ParentMail and PS Connect supports schools to deliver the very best outcomes for pupils. Your team has the knowledge and the know-how; we just bring the goods.
We’re ready to support your school – let’s get started. Visit www.iris.co.uk