March 15, 2020
This is a stressful time for everyone. As families face the unknown impact of the Coronavirus, there is much that your school can do to help ease their concerns. Use the following strategies to communicate effectively with your families and keep your bonds strong.
How Enrollment Management and Marketing Communications Leaders Should Respond
- Remain calm, matter of fact, and confident about your school’s readiness to manage a temporary disruption.
- Share a tiered-plan approach for school closure with parents so they can anticipate at what point the school will opt for temporary closure.
- Share your enhanced cleaning protocol with parents.
- Ask for parents’ help in reinforcing coughing and sneezing protocols at home to avoid hand contamination.
- Reiterate your published "sick policies" for students, faculty, and staff, and emphasize those who feel ill should stay home until all symptoms pass.
- As appropriate, send text and email updates to families, faculty, and staff and refer to the summary/resource page on your website.
- Ensure that faculty lesson plans are completed and submitted for the remainder of the school year. Post those plans online or in the student/parent portal for easy access and parent-directed home study. Count the work toward semester completion; allow students to complete their studies over the summer, if necessary.
- Make graduating seniors the priority for final grading and transcript transmission to their chosen colleges.
- Make sure teachers have access to all school networks and drives from home, and that students and parents can communicate directly with teachers through a school-sanctioned account.
- Make a contingency plan for graduation.
- Contact the College Board to determine its contingency or make-up plans for AP tests; communicate that information to students and parents.
- Anticipate new families’ reticence—especially those families with international students—to sign a new enrollment contract until after wave of illness stabilizes or declines. Reassure them and let them know you will hold a spot or give first right of refusal, if you are nearly full, before filling or closing a grade level.
- Treat re-enrollment the same way, if a family has not already committed for the 2020–2021 school year.
By maintaining ongoing, frequent communication with parents, you’ll solidify confidence in this time of uncertainty.
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