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Communication planning for a school emergency

13 March 2020 Katie Sixsmith

When unprecedented or unexpected emergencies strike such as snow days or health outbreaks, it can be difficult to know how best to communicate with your parents and carers.  

Our helpful tips will provide you with simple and easy ways to keep your community up to date using your school website.  

1. Access your website when you're off site 

Just in case you need to make an important announcement when you can’t access your work computer, it’s vital you know how to log into your system and make changes. 

  • Make sure you know your password so that you can access the website via a different device. 
  • If you need to give access to another member of staff, make sure you set them up on the system with the correct permissions.

2. Add an urgent announcement to your homepage

The best way to share an important update to your community via your website is by adding an eye-catching notification to your homepage.  This should be in a prominent position, usually near the top of the page and link directly to a news story, allowing you to share more information.  

3. Share information with your students 

In the event of a school closure, you may wish to share work or lesson content with your students. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including emailing resources or adding content to the website – either publicly or behind a secure area, which can be downloaded and completed. You may also have access to a dedicated learning platform from which to share information.  

4. Keep parents in the loop 

Alongside urgent news banners for emergency announcements, it’s also important to keep your school community up to date with your intentions – whether this is by sharing government advice, updates to your policies or notifying of potential future closure and contingency planning.  

This can be done in a variety of ways;  

  • Sharing news articles or blog posts
    This is an easy way to update your parents and wider community. News and blogs can often be shared on social media, pushed to your app through notifications or promoted on the homepage in the event of an emergency.
  • Social media posts
    Parents will often follow your school on social media, so having these platforms up to date with your latest guidance is always advised. You can always add a note to your bio to state whether your platform replies to users, or is solely for information only. 
  • Update policy pages or relevant content
    Make sure your policies are up to date, especially on anything related to school closures / bad weather / health and safety
  • Remove or edit calendar events
    Should an event or trip be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, taking this off your website or updating it to cancelled is a good way to get the message across to your audience in a timely manner. 
  • Send a newsletter
    A newsletter is the perfect opportunity to share all of your recent updates, plans and dates with your parents and carers. If you have a digital newsletter tool, not only can you create them in minutes, you can also easily share these onto your website or with your community via email.
  • Send text or email correspondence
    Most parents will use a mobile phone as a main source of communication.

    Sending them emails or texts to share emergency closure details, can be a fast and effective way to getting the message out to everyone who needs to know.
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