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
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
    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

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