Communicating Mask Mandate Changes

As many states and local governments ease mask mandates, school leaders find themselves in a quandary about how and when to adjust mask rules. If you find yourself in a situation like this, keep these tips in mind to effectively communicate masking policy updates with families:

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  1. Signal intent early.

Accepting change is not easy, but having time to process it helps. Consider sharing a “preview” message with families to give them adequate lead time before any policy changes go into effect. Tell families that you plan to update masking guidelines on a specific date to give them time to adjust to the changes, ask clarifying questions and prepare their children accordingly. Plan to make several announcements during this preview window to ensure as many families as possible receive your message.

  1. Communicate across channels.

When the time comes to announce masking rule changes, be sure to use several communications channels to do so. Prepare school staff to tell parents in-person during school drop-off and pick-up times, send email communications and share updates on family-specific digital channels. The goal here is to make sure families know precisely what is changing, when changes will take effect and why changes will occur. 

Portrait of cheerful three generational african american family sitting together on grass at garden. family, love and togetherness concept, unaltered.
  1. Monitor reactions and act accordingly.

Consistency builds credibility and trust – and that’s why it’s extremely important to remain consistent in words and in actions following the announcement of mask rule changes. Monitor family reactions to policy changes and continue to communicate broadly on a regular basis. For example, consider establishing a special landing page on your school’s website where you can publicly post answers to questions parents ask about the changing guidelines. 

With careful planning and consistent messaging, communicating updates to masking policies can help make the change management process more palatable for everyone. Stay tuned for future posts on a number of relevant topics that support your school communications needs.

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