30 March 2020
School Closures: 5 Tips for Staying Connected During COVID-19
Whether you’re working from home or staying in school to support frontline workers amid school closures, it can be hard to maintain a sense of normality in these difficult and uncertain times.
From keeping parents updated and checking in with fellow staff, to organising wraparound care and coordinating home learning, there’s plenty for schools to think about. But this needn’t be daunting or unmanageable.
To help you better prepare for the road ahead and equip your school as best you can, we’ve compiled a list of top tips to see you through the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.
TIP 1: Keep Parents and Staff Informed
Good communication is now more important than ever. The good news is there are many simple steps you can take to ensure you keep parents and staff in the know, no matter the time or location.
First things first, be sure to prepare important communications well in advance to save on time. This will certainly take the pressure off as and when you need to send any high priority messages.
What’s more, while you may prefer to use in app messaging (should you have a parent app), SMS messaging is a sure-fire way to ensure all parents and staff are successfully notified in one go.
TIP 2: Harness Home Learning
We know many of you will be hard at work preparing learning resources from home. When it comes to home learning, parent apps can be particularly useful during school closures.
Resources, such as homework and reports, can be easy circulated via emails, or even messaging in parent apps such as School Gateway.
Furthermore, be sure to send parents any helpful online study sites and useful tools, be it by email, messaging, or even your social media channels, to keep them engaged in the months ahead.
TIP 3: Ensure Your Data is Protected
It goes without saying that it’s important all your contact details, as well as student health and safety information, are regularly updated to ensure all the data in your MIS is 100% accurate.
Armed with the right contact details, you can be sure you’re covering all bases when it comes to keeping parents, staff and pupils informed, while avoiding any admin headaches later down the line.
For any staff working remotely, it’s important you take care to ensure your school continues to operate in line with GDPR requirements. You’ll be pleased to know there are free online resources available should you need any help with keeping your data in check.
TIP 4: Organise Wraparound Care Online
As schools rally to provide essential support for keyworkers, wraparound care is still vitally important.
But how do you even begin to manage and coordinate wraparound care from home? For many, this could seem quite the challenge, but not if you’re able to manage bookings online.
You’ll find certain parent apps include easy-to-use club modules. Such tools make life easier not only for staff, but parents and carers too, who can book sessions online in advance. They also give staff the option to manage bookings remotely, be it from home or on the move.
As such, parent apps can come in very handy should you need to run any additional breakfast or after-school clubs on the fly.
TIP 5: Support Your Staff
If working from home, why not create a virtual staff room?
Leverage communication, be it via mobile or desktop messaging, to come up with ideas, share teaching resources and create assignments. That way you can stay connected and keep spirits high.
With tools such as Messaging in School Gateway, multiple users can manage communications and reporting, whenever and wherever’s most convenient for them.
And if you’re looking for a substitute for face to face interaction, why not host weekly catchups via one of the many video conferencing tools available online? This will provide a much-needed communal space for staff to hang out and let off some steam.