In March 2020, countless students walked out from their schools knowing that it would be a while until they were let back in. Little did any of us know that this break would last for the rest of the year.
While a majority of schools are going back in session this fall, school is expected to look entirely different than it used to. While students are completing summer assignments and shopping for school supplies in anticipation of the upcoming school year, educators everywhere are looking for new ways to convey messages effectively.
Long gone is the time when information was passed from mouth-to-ear. As the coronavirus disease spreads, schools everywhere have to make the vital decision of letting their children back into schools. The virus is expected to spark this fall, and this fact sits heavily in the minds of everyone involved in making that choice.
Letting students back into school must be done properly with the best attention to detail. There are plenty of “what-ifs” to consider and in the case that the school does make a drastic decision this fall, there must be ways to effectively communicate these choices to both parents and students.
What are schools doing to better communicate with us?
A Virtual School
During these trying times, it is important to maintain frequent communication with students and parents. Experts are recommendations that schools implement a virtual component to their strategies.
Virtual school will reduce the need for in-person teacher/parent meetings and help reduce the spread of the virus. By implementing video streaming services and online assignments, students are also getting prepared for the worst. If schools decide to close again, students will be much more comfortable with online learning.
Schools across the world have also begun conveying information virtually. For instance, colleges are now hosting virtual college tour sessions and orientations. While these may not be as exciting, they reduce the need for large group gatherings.
To maintain frequent communication, schools may also consider using other channels for information.
While staff and students will be required to wear masks throughout the school day, it is best if extra precautions are taken. Schools with a larger budget may consider building plexiglass barriers between students or even creating extra school spaces.
Schools will be implementing the use of two-way radios in their spaces to reduce the need for in-person communication. Two-way radios promote convenience and safety. Not only will staff be able to convey information quickly, but they will not need to physically see each other to do so.
These channels will not be reachable via any radio outside of the school building, preventing unwanted attention.
To contact parents, schools may also opt for daily text messages or phone calls. These text messages may be sent automatically through a messaging app on your phone. Calls will also be available based on preference. Plenty of schools have used the calling method in the past, however, texting is more efficient.
Creating Awareness for COVID-19
Schools are required to properly educate staff, parents, and students on COVID-19 before their return to school. However, this poses a problem. With a large group gathering, the threat of COVID-19 is greater, and therefore, there must be other ways to convey this information.
Schools may decide to offer training through a variety of methods. Information can be distributed through pamphlets or even through online means. If certain homes do not have access to technology, the school can provide a laptop for temporary use until school goes back to normal.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of the “back-to-school” COVID-19 plan. Without proper communication, all parties are at a loss and do not have the proper information to make informed decisions. This may even prevent parents from sending their children back to school. Thankfully, schools have implemented a variety of methods to maintain frequent communication.