How Can Schools Efficiently Communicate School Closures?
Communicating unexpected schedule changes to the parents, faculty, and students attending your school doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Timely notice of accurate information can help reduce stress and safety risks for everyone involved by helping to avoid confusion over whether a given educational institutions day will be cancelled, delayed, or on a normal schedule. Regardless of whether the reason is weather, an event, or some other emergency, educational institutions need a quick and reliable method to disseminate this information.
1. Outbound Notifications
Modern outbound notification services, like the one found in XM Connect, can help alleviate these concerns. By providing administrators with the ability to remotely issue messages (recordings, text-to-speech, or text messages) to alert parents and students of school closures, these solutions deliver a powerful tool capable of reliably disseminating information with minimal effort. With additional features like the ability to leverage emergency contact databases to send messages via the recipient’s preferred method (i.e. phone call, text message, or a mix of both), educational organizations can harness a flexible, timely, and cost-effective tool to deliver vital messages.
XM Connect Notification can leverage emergency contact and other databases (including user groups, such as a list of students registered for a given course) to provide solutions to other problems as well. For a college campus, this could mean school administrators have a means to easily notify students of class cancellations. It can also issue reminders about parent/teacher conferences, holidays, and automatically notify parents of unexcused absences from class. It can even be used to send updates on campus events, including sporting event details, last minute time changes, and non-emergency information (such as an issue with water pressure in campus buildings, for example).
The versatility of XM Connect Notification’s ability to draw information from multiple databases makes it a quick and easy tool for a school administrator wanting to expediently inform students, parents, and faculty of any routine or emergency information, whether it be related to inclement weather, an emergency on campus, or any other reason.
2. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
By leveraging XM Connect’s IVR capabilities alongside Notifications, educational institutions can unlock the full potential of its capabilities. Using the example of the unexcused absence above, that notification can contain a callback number for the parent to mark the absence as excused. When dialed, the parent would reach a prompt to enter the student’s ID number (or other unique identifier) and then would be able to either mark the student as excused or unexcused with a touch of a button. It also allows for students, parents, and faculty members to establish their own, personal notifications, such as a reminder to pay student fees or to schedule or remind oneself about parent-teacher conferences.
Our blog post on details how XM Connect IVR can also help distribute school closure or other emergency information to individuals calling into the school. While Notification can be used to send up to date information out to parents, faculty, and students, the school can also set its IVR to tap into a database with current information on closures, delayed starts, and even more routine events like sporting event and graduation start times. This provides for a useful backup that can particularly powerful in situations where information may rapidly change, such as uncertainty over whether an impending snowstorm will simply delay the start time for a school or result in its cancellation outright.
Notification is an immensely useful tool for virtually any type of educational institution, and is offered as an add-on feature in our XM Connect solution. To learn more about XMedius and how our solutions can support your organization, reach out to one of our industry experts.