6 Ways Texting Can Help Schools With COVID Communication

07/28/2020 4 min read Written by Corie Stark

As the start of a new school year rapidly approaches, many people wonder what that may look like, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Will students and teachers be allowed back into classrooms, under specific guidance? Will they continue the distance learning many adopted in spring? Or, perhaps, will it be a mixture of the two?

Regardless of the answer, uncertainty abounds, which leaves everyone impacted by a child’s education on edge. To alleviate stress, schools and their administration need to be on top of their communication. That in itself can also raise questions, such as what the most suitable platform is to reach a mass audience of students, teachers, staff, and more. The answer? Text message, or SMS, marketing. Nearly 98% of U.S. residents own a mobile device that can receive SMS, while 81% own a smartphone. If you’re curious why that’s important, consider this: Every kind type of cellphone can receive SMS, but only smartphones can access email. That makes text message marketing a slightly more advantageous method to reach a broader audience who needs critical information.

Keep reading for examples of what type of COVID communication schools can send through text message marketing.  

#1 Reopening Information

Multiple parties are involved in a student’s education, from the child themselves to their parents and teachers. Whether or not schools will reopen for in-classroom learning is likely top of mind for them. Text message marketing is a fast way to send out details like:

  • If and when schools will reopen
  • If not, whether or not they’ll open partially with some remote learning
  • Whether or not they’ll remain 100% remote
  • If and when all certain events will happen (i.e., school opening date, remote learning start date, etc.)

#2 Official Letters to Parents and Teachers

Schools have undoubtedly already sent out official letters to students, parents, teachers, and other staff about their response to COVID. But as the pandemic progresses, the administration should keep their community updated — and, you guessed it — texting is a quick, easy way to provide ongoing updates. Include updates like:

  • How successful the switch to remote/distance/combined learning was/is
  • What the school is doing to ensure the health and safety of its staff and students
  • What to expect for the upcoming school year
  • The impact on grading moving forward
  • Grade promotion, graduation, retention, and other relevant details
  • Contact information for teachers and other faculty members and the appropriate way to reach out to them
  • What to do if students are sick during remote/distance/combined learning
  • Where to go to pick up resources for education (laptops, books, etc.)
  • How to receive school lunches or other meals if they’re being provided
  • Any additional pertinent information that students, faculty, and parents need to know to keep reassuring them

All of the above ideas do not need to be sent in a single text. Officials can send sporadic updates as required, or new ones as they come in.

#3 Safety Guidelines

School districts across the country are all taking different approaches to education during a COVID world. That means some are reopening but under strict health precautions. If you are a school official of any kind, text out this information to your network to ensure everyone entering the school is abreast of it. It can include information such as:

  • School mask policy
  • Start and end times (and whether they’ve been reduced to lower the chance of transmission)
  • Physical distancing guidelines (and how they will be enforced)
  • Other safety measures like temperature checks, reduced room capacities and disinfecting of surfaces

Remember, if this feels like too much information to send in a single text, split up the communication into a series of SMS messages. Guidelines can easily be condensed into a single document provided as a link at the end of a text.

#4 School Closing Updates

If a school does reopen for the fall semester and needs to shut down for any reason, the administration should use text messaging to make sure the word gets out. Over the past several months, many events and other outings have been canceled at the last minute, with some participants not knowing ahead of time. The health of everyone at a school is paramount, and SMS is the fastest way to reach users. For any school official anticipating a shutdown, they can provide real-time updates with SMS to ensure their community is not blindsided.

#5 Homework and Other Assignments

If any students are reading this, they’re probably violently shaking their heads no right now — but receiving homework via text may become the new norm. Transitioning to remote or distance learning may be difficult for students and parents, and not everyone has immediate access to email or other platforms. But as noted, SMS works for all mobile devices, so sending assignments through this medium is more reliable. Teachers can send out reminders, as well, and even offer help to students who need it.

#6 Words of Encouragement

Education, no matter who you are, is tough. The COVID communication schools send out doesn’t have to make it harder. Users can utilize SMS to keep students, teachers, faculty, and parents engaged and happy. For example, if you’re a teacher, try to send out a fun quote of the day that will make your students laugh. You can also reach out to parents directly to see if they need any assistance with anything or let them text you for advice or guidance. Administrators can call upon text message marketing to send out encouragement to their staff and let them know they’re doing a great job. Whatever the scenario, you can use SMS to keep their spirits up.

How To Get Started

Suddenly feeling more confident about the upcoming school year, but need a platform to get started? Choose a platform that seamlessly integrates with your CRM/CMS for an easier and better user experience. Plus you'll be able to access the data you need when you need it.

By: Corie Stark

After spending many years as a sports journalist, Corie switched to marketing in 2013. Her love of writing, talking to people, and keeping up with the industry enables her to use her skills for anything from social media to long-form blogging. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking with her dogs and making her cats chase the ever elusive red dot.

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