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Communicating to Parents

Greg Varner

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A few schools that are in the process of reopening have provided some insights. Change is not always welcomed but, in this situation, everyone understands that change is necessary.

1538017913_ImportantNews-parents.jpg.aa98e4ce8226fb8c3fef813cb16a055b.jpgLessons learned from these schools include the following insights on how to structure and deliver communication:

Provide facts:

  • state what you know
  • do not speculate
  • must be a trusted voice

Outline the impact to the community and staff:

  • be specific on what is impacted such as entry, staggered entry, limits on class size, cleaning, behavior like social distancing, etc.
  • the school needs to be nimble and flexible adapting to the situation when moving forward

Describe what the school is doing to respond:

  • update early and often to create positive voices
  • provide updates on what is happening to give peace of mind / provide confidence
  • result is positive word of mouth

Respond to frustrated parents:

  • generally the community is positive and support
  • there will be issues or concerns to handle so do so directly and empathetically
  • provide clear messages on what the school is doing

Suggest what the community can do to help:

  • highlight we are all in this together
  • community needs to be supportive and constructive while the school needs to be nimble

Determine which channel to use:

  • there are many channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Intranet, push notifications, etc.
  • each channel should have a purpose and target
  • do not push everything in every channel
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