As we work to navigate through the uncharted territory that is “remote learning,” it is easy to feel overwhelmed with when and how often to communicate with your community and staff.

Here are some best practices that you can put into place now…

Communicating with the public:

  • Double down on your communication efforts. Communicate regularly, consistently, and with clarity about what you know. Do not guess or speculate on state decisions. Leave that to them.
  • Be mindful of the basics like social distancing in pictures and videos that you post and share.
  • Show your human side. A quick video can help show your community compassion and that you are a leader in their community.

Communicating with your staff:

  • Email your staff as to what you expect their workday to look like and what your expectations for remote learning are.
  • All employees should be aware of what they are posting to social media during the workday and how they characterize distance learning.
  • Talk with your teacher association/leadership about reinforcing that message with their members and ask that they do so periodically. That will be especially important as we all get into a new groove with remote learning.
  • Semantics and clarity of words matter; so communicate only what you know and be precise in the language.
  • No one should be referring to distance learning as homeschooling. If homeschooling is taking place, then teachers are not teaching, and we know your teachers are teaching.

What’s next? 

  • Establish an online key communicator group as a way to inform the public and to aid in dispelling incorrect information on various social media pages.
  • Monitor social media comments on your district page and reply to questions directly with facts.
  • Start communicating about mental wellness, the resources you have, and how parents/students can access them.
  • Start peppering your social media with good news – not just COVID-19 updates. As you hear or see good things happening, encourage staff to share those with your district social media manager.

Finally… 

Like you, we expect that in the coming days or weeks, the governor could announce a longer closing of schools for in-person classes. If that occurs, you should have these and other communication structures in place to handle that announcement.

Keep up the good work and stay the course. We will get through this together.