Using Social Media to Communicate with your School Community During COVID-19
As cases of COVID-19 grow throughout the country, it is still unknown if schools will begin in the fall. When new information becomes available, social media is a smart way for schools to keep everyone up-to-date. There are so many reasons for schools to communicate with stakeholders as we continue to battle this global pandemic. These include updates on community health, return to campus/sport plans, virtual learning opportunities, and community building. Stakeholders demand a high level of communication (especially during a time like this), and utilizing social media effectively is critical to meeting these expectations.
Updates on Community Health
One thing is for sure, there is a lot of information floating around about COVID-19 which might not necessarily be true. Schools can be a valuable resource for their communities to rely on to make sure they are getting accurate and trustworthy information about the status of the virus.
School administrators can provide their community with simple ways to stay safe such as wearing a mask and washing hands. They can also inform their students on COVID-19 cases in their area and remind people about the local and state guidelines regarding what you can and can’t do. For example, if a “Stay at Home” order is in place, schools can remind their families to follow the guidelines and try to keep people safe.
Return to School Plans
Another reason for schools to communicate clearly over social media is to keep people updated about plans for return to campus/sport. Administrators can use social media to inform families about when and how they will be reopening their campus to academic and athletic events. Athletic Departments can use social media to let people know when sports are allowed to be resumed, and the different steps people will need to take to prepare as well as the various social distancing guidelines that will be in place.
Schools can also use social media to tell the community about when and how school will be returning in the fall. Since it is unlikely many schools will return to their original state in the coming months, schools can use social media to keep people in the loop about their fall plans. Additionally, plans about what will happen in the fall (and even winter) will constantly be changing and adjustments will be a learning curve for everyone. Using social media can allow schools to communicate effectively and help school communities stay on the same page.
Virtual Learning Opportunity
Social media can also be a way in which schools can offer virtual classes and camps. Since many students aren’t able to do much this summer, schools can use this opportunity to run summer programs to allow students to still continue their academic enrichment during this difficult and unusual time.
For example, schools and teachers could hold virtual science classes, either about common subjects like biology or other interesting topics that spark students' interests, such as astronomy. This is a great way for schools to continue engaging their students even amidst Stay-at-Home orders and campus shutdowns.
Lastly, schools can use social media to celebrate student achievements and other selfless acts that members of the community are doing during this difficult time. People are doing all kinds of amazing things during this pandemic for their community, and they deserve recognition. That is where social media can come into play!
Schools can use social media to celebrate the good deeds and actions taken by their students as a way to continue encouraging people to do positive work for their community. This could be something as simple as donating masks to frontline health care workers or participating in a food drive for those who can’t leave their houses because of COVID-19. Social media can be a great way to promote these acts of charity and get the word out, encouraging people to participate!
While it may be awhile until school communities can gather together in person, they should not be forced to stay fully apart! Social media can be a huge avenue for school communities to stay connected during this time.
As was discussed above, schools can (and should) use their social channels to communicate with families about updates on community health, return to school plans, virtual learning opportunities, and community building. The result? An engagement and connected community, even while stuck at home!
Jake Engelberg is a blog writer at Gipper. Gipper is a platform that helps high school athletic departments create professional sports graphics for social media - in seconds, on any device, and without needing any design experience.
Learn more @ gogipper.com/athletics