Notifying Parents of a School Crisis
4 Common Methods to Communicate with Parents During an Incident
When a school crisis strikes, the first priority is safety for all students, staff, and visitors on the campus. Once a safe environment is stabled, the second priority is alerting parents and guardians and informing them of reunification procedures. With the advancement of technology there are many forms of communication to utilize when notifying parents. Keep reading to learn about the 4 most popular methods used to notify parents of a school crisis.
Social media is a widespread, easily accessible, and simple to use platform that most people in the U.S. are familiar with. Social media, including Facebook and Twitter are used extensively by schools, districts, and even public safety officials as a main outlet for getting information to a large number of people, in very little time. However, social media can be less dependable because many people do not check social media throughout the day, it may not show up in their feeds, they may scroll past it, or they may not be connected with the school or districts social media pages. Always have a secondary follow up such as automatic call systems or email.
Many schools use an automated call system to reduce skipping by calling the primary contact number for students who missed a day. This can also be used to generate an automatic call for an emergency or crisis and include reunification procedures for parents to follow. This is another effective way to get a message out to many people at one time. To limit potential problems, make sure contact information regularly not updated.
Perhaps the newest form of notification is the emergence of notification systems and apps. These are typically downloaded by parents, teachers and staff and used to send information to those who have downloaded the app. These are effective and useful, depending on which system is chosen. To make sure parents know this option is available, put out a digital announcement with instructions and where to download the app. Also, designate a person to be responsible for sending updates real time as a part of their emergency response roll.
Many times when crisis or emergency breaks out at a school, officials do all they can to mitigate the information media and news outlets receive so they don’t report misinformation. However, using news outlets to alert the public of an incident can be beneficial to helping parents and guardians get information about an issue at your school. Seeing, hearing or reading a news story may help parents realize to check their notification systems, or to call the district where they may get a recording about reunification information. Although news outlets should not be relied on to get information to parents, they can be helpful in initial contact with them.
Getting information to critical parties is essential to continuation of safety for your school and for positive reputation with parents, guardians and the community. Although there are many other methods to informing parents of a school crisis, these are 4 of the most common and widely used ways. Does your school use one of these methods for notification, or a combination of many? Let us know in the comments below!