This blog is one in a series from K-12 public relations experts about how they are using crisis communications strategies to prepare and inform their local communities amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Tracy Jentz, APR, is the Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator at Grand Forks Public Schools in North Dakota.
How do you keep your school community informed during a health crisis?
A few things for our fellow school administrators to keep in mind while we work together to fight COVID-19. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest, one of our first steps is to reach out to our local public health departments and work collaboratively on our communications. They are receiving information and briefings on a consistent basis and working together, we can educate a wider audience.
Inform your administrators and employees first of communications, and then students and families. Employees receive many inquiries and using this format, they will have consistent information to share and help dispel rumors and inaccurate content. Don’t forget to leverage all appropriate communication channels (face-to-face, phone call, email, SMS/text message, website, mobile app, etc.). The more ways we convey and repeat our message, the more opportunities we have to share accurate information.
For more tips to help you craft your responses to COVID-19, you can visit http://bit.ly/2TiRM93. Information and resources we shared with our community can be found at https://gfschools.org/Page/8977.
Remember, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Your colleagues at Blackboard, NSPRA, and across the country are here to help. We are in this together!
*For additional tips check out the #k12prchat and join the conversation about best practices for Coronavirus communication and more.