Winter weather is gripping the nation, with snow and ice storms slamming communities from Texas to Maine. Dangerous road conditions and freezing temperatures have long presented educators and local government officials with difficult choices about school and road closures.
While those challenges remain unchanged, communicating about them certainly changed. Students might once have sat around the radio or television on a snowy morning. But today mass notification tools like Blackboard Connect allow the community to learn the latest official information as soon as it’s available.
In recent weeks, even Blackboard Connect headquarters in Southern California felt the winter chill, but our care representatives continued working diligently with clients across the country to deal with blizzards, ice storms and other seasonal hazards. Along the way, we’ve sensed a real hunger for content and best practices related to winter weather, and that’s why we’ve assembled a winter weather resource page for our customers – and for anyone else looking for guidance on communicating when the season serves up its worst.
Of course, the best advice comes not from us, but from Blackboard Connect users themselves.
- K-12 educators in the Paterson Public Schools used Connect to cancel school programs when winter weather struck the New Jersey community in December. The Paterson team got the word out quickly, sending over 13,000 messages in English and more than 6,000 in Spanish.
- Winter is no stranger to administrators at St. Norbert College in Minnesota. Still, when weather conditions deteriorated in early December 2009, the college needed to close immediately – and Blackboard Connect was there when they needed it.
- Local officials in Harford County, Md., northeast of Baltimore, used Blackboard Connect to send out a series of messages over several days – more than 80,000 at a time – warning residents to avoid dangerous roadways and to refrain from parking along emergency access routes.
The winter weather resource page is the second such resource we’ve created at Connect. Last fall, we set up an H1N1 flu resource site that continues to help Blackboard Connect users keep their communities safe and aware.