Connecting with students during COVID-19 outbreak
After the first week of scrambling to get your teams set up to work remotely to keep (as much as possible) your business processes continuing, you’ll want to turn your attention to communication.
Communication different from what you’ve sent out to your employees, making sure they have what they need to be productive and comfortable in their new remote environment, sharpening their Zoom and Teams skills to stay connected.
Staying in contact with your current students is important during this transition time. Sending messages about remote classes, postponing commencement ceremonies, and other “business” messages are important, of course. I’m talking about reaching out to your students to hear their concerns about falling behind in their coursework as they prepare to graduate and enter a very different workforce, or continue on to graduate school which is also going to online learning. And your students who are in need of supports that you offered on campus. They need to hear that you are still here for them. Sending messages of assurance and comfort to your current students can help them move through this transition a bit easier. Perhaps your faculty, advisors, counselors, and other staffers can send messages to check in and share what they are hearing.
Communicating with your current—and prospective—students is critical.
And what about your prospective students—students who have gone through your admissions process and are considering attending in the fall? I suggest communicating with your prospects often as well, sharing with them how your instructional and student services are working together to ensure a strong, supportive learning environment whether it is online or on campus. Reaching out to students who have inquired about your institution with these messages is critical during these times of transition and uncertainty.