Communication has always played a vital role within the education sector. Besides the legally required updates, for example, parent and carer notifications of student detentions, parent and student engagement has become more significant in recent years; and given the coronavirus’s impact on the 2019-2020 academic year, robust, effective communication is going to be even more essential moving forward.
Although the education sector is already hard at work creating and implementing new procedures to ensure student and staff safety, these will only be effective if individuals fully understand newly implemented procedures and any subsequent changes. Thus even prior to reopening, organisations will need to consider how they are going to communicate an array of information and subsequent changes, regarding the following:
- Changes to scheduling
- School and university transport availability and schedule
- Drop off and pick up procedures
- Guidelines for maintaining social distancing in school
- Any restrictions to activities, for example, outdoor play
- Remote learning resources for individuals required to isolate
- Updates to crisis communication protocol
All of these will go some way towards ensuring that individuals are fully informed of what is required of them to maintain a safe environment, and make sure that students, staff, parents and carers feel comfortable about the return to school or university.
Given that just 45% of UK households have a landline, compared to 95% having a mobile phone, SMS could really help the education sector keep individuals informed and up-to-date on all changes. Moreover, text messages benefit from an open rate of 95%, which is even more impressive when you consider that this is just 20.1% for email, with SMS organisations can be sure their messages are being delivered and read, almost immediately.
As a business messaging company, we can speak knowledgeably of how the education sector can best use and implement SMS into their communication strategy. Consequently, we’ve created a quick guide of the top use cases below.
Communicating time-critical information
With SMS 90% of all messages are read within just 3 minutes. So by sending an SMS with important, time-critical information such as changes to pick up procedures or school transport, you can be sure that your message will be received and read almost immediately.
Communicating in real-time
There may be situations where your school or university needs to communicate a more complex message, or needs recipients to confirm receipt of a specific message. In cases where the recipient list is relatively small it may be appropriate to make multiple phone calls, but if for instance, you need to communicate something like the below:
Due to staffing changes all Year 2 students are now required to follow an updated timetable until further notice.
It can be helpful to send a simple SMS asking individuals to reply with Y if they have received and understood your message and N if they require further information. By setting up an SMS Long Number, not only can recipients reply to messages, staff can then respond to each recipient individually or in bulk, all from within your TextAnywhere account. So for all individuals who have replied with an N, staff can arrange an appropriate time to phone and provide further information and answer any queries, ensuring the most efficient use of time.
Communicating with multiple recipient lists
There will undoubtedly be situations over the course of the year, which require organisations to communicate with smaller lists of contacts. For example, all students assigned to a particular course. Thankfully with TextOnline, you can create multiple segmented contact books, to ensure messages can be drafted and sent to appropriate contacts with ease and within minutes.
Ultimately, optimising student and parent communication for the 2020-2021 academic year, will help organisations maintain student and staff safety. If you would like to discuss further, how SMS could help to support your communication, please email [email protected] or call 0845 122 1302.