Pandemic Planning for the Spring Semester with Mass Notification

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Pandemic Planning for Spring

K-12 and higher education have had their work cut out for them trying to navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. From going closing schools and campuses last spring and shifting to remote learning, to determining whether to stay remote or invite students back for in-person learning this fall, the number of approaches on how to handle these challenges has been endless. Regardless of whether or not those plans have been carried out successfully, many schools are beginning to shut down for the semester with the hope of reopening in the spring.

While news of a vaccine is promising, the timeline for availability and distribution is still uncertain. Many school leaders will need to continue to have flexible plans in place to keep students and staff safe should they return in the spring. Without the right tools in place, this can cause even more disruptions and headaches for administrators. That’s why many schools are turning to mass notification systems to help communicate new processes, procedures, guidelines, and information. In this blog post, we’ll outline how K12 schools and high education campuses can use mass notification to planning their spring semester with the pandemic in mind.

Pre-Screening for Symptoms

During the winter break, school administrators will need to closely monitor the news to determine whether or not it is safe to bring students and staff back for in-person learning. This decision will vary depending on the resources available and the number of cases where a school is located. Whatever your decision may be, you can use mass notifications to keep your school community informed. Using SMS text, email, and push notifications, you can reach people directly on their mobile devices with updates about whether they can expect to return or prepare for remote learning.

If in-person learning is deemed to be a viable option, schools can use mass notification to help pre-screen students and staff with mobile mass notification. While some colleges and universities have the resources to conduct testing for COVID-19, it can still be helpful to get a sense of who is experiencing symptoms before they return to campus. School administrators can send out surveys asking if people are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and then send follow-up messages depending on a recipient's answer. For example, students who reply “yes” can be instructed to get tested or refrain from returning to campus at the start of the semester. Those that reply “No” can be given instructions for what they can expect upon. Their return to campus.

Sharing Outbreak Information

Schools that do return in the spring will also need to create a plan for notifying students and staff if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. Mass notifications can be used to reach people who may have been exposed and advise them to self-isolate. It can also be used to lockdown a building while it is being sanitized, and share links to resources that can help people monitor their condition to see if they develop any symptoms. With better communication and awareness, people can take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Broadcasting Reminders

To help keep your campus safe in the spring, mass notifications can be used to broadcast health and safety reminders. Recorded audio and text messages can be scheduled to go out at regular intervals with tips for minimizing the risk of spreading and catching the disease. Messages can include reminders to wear masks, wash hands, and maintain social distance. With regularly scheduled broadcasts, schools can be more proactive in their prevention outreach.

Protection from Other Dangers

Schools that utilize a mass notification system to manage the COVID-19 pandemic can also deploy it to help with other emergency situations. Mass notifications can help alert people about a wide range of situations including active shooters, severe weather, and even if someone has dialed 911. With text and audio broadcasts to IP phones, IP speakers, desktop computers, digital signage, and mobile devices, school leaders can rest easy knowing they are reaching as many people as possible when it matters most.

Download our mass notification system buyer’s guide to better understand how you can address your immediate safety and communication needs and plan for the future.

 

 

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