Ghosts, ghouls and goblins aside, one of the most frightening things to face during this time of year (or really, at any time of year) is being unprepared during a crisis. And while you can’t always predict when a crisis will occur, you can absolutely be prepared to manage communications well when the time comes. With this in mind, here are a few tips for school districts, administrators and leaders to help keep staff connected, students safe and parents informed in times of crisis.
- Who will make decisions?
When a crisis occurs, it’s not only very important for your communications team to develop messages for key audiences, but it is also important that they act based on effective, decisive and clear communication from a designated leader within the school.
When a principal or designated school leader is clear on how they want to handle a crisis, they can effectively communicate that information to their team, who will ultimately share that information with staff, students, families and media.
- Creating an effective, thorough communication plan
Once a crisis occurs, next steps include working with the designated leader and decision maker to create a response to the crisis that is effective, clear and concise. The first and most important step is to acknowledge the crisis and what role, if any, the school has played in it.
The next step is to explain the actions leadership will take to ensure the safety and well being of everyone in the school community. Lastly, constant communication is key. Parents and families receiving constant information and updates will help ease some of the worry they may feel in times of crisis.
- Immediate communication can save the day
After deciding on an effective communication plan informed by guidance from the lead decision maker, time is of the essence in disseminating information to the school community and the media.
As soon as you are aware of a crisis, meet with school administrators and leaders to form a plan of action and communicate that plan to all involved immediately. This assures the school community that care and precaution is being taken to ensure the safety of the staff, students and administration.
At SMJ Communications, we provide services to school systems and districts to help improve and shine a light on the great work being done to educate the future leaders and professionals of tomorrow. For more information on what we do and how we can work together, please visit SMJComms.com.