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School districts launch COVID-19 Response Centers

Covid Illustration

As the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators from coast to coast are stepping up efforts to keep communities engaged, even as most physical buildings remain closed.

From meeting basic needs, such as meals and childcare, to coordinating virtual instruction, the need for simple, two-way communication is greater than ever. Unfortunately, the barriers are even higher than before.

Your schools are sending a ton of communications right now. People have questions. Those voices are coming at you on so many channels, from email to phone calls to text to social media. With employees working remotely, you need a way to unify all that communication, so that you can respond with timely and up-to-date information and stay focused on the critical work of serving families in their time of need. 

To help, K12 Insight is partnering with U.S. school districts to build virtual COVID-19 Response Centers, where community members can go to get reliable information, ask questions, and raise concerns. As the crisis persists, the company’s Let’s Talk! customer experience solution can be used to remove barriers to student and parent engagement, teacher and staff morale, and online learning communication.

A key part of removing these barriers is allowing community members to engage your district whenever and however they are most comfortable. That’s why, along with offering coronavirus-specific landing pages and a COVID-19 tab that sits directly on your district homepage, Let’s Talk! also provides powerful texting and telephony features that allow community members to text or call dedicated COVID-19 numbers. These messages are automatically collected into your Let’s Talk! system and routed to the right person for a quick and accurate response.      

What follows are five examples of school district Response Centers powered by Let’s Talk!. As you work to engage and support your school community throughout the pandemic, we hope these examples provide practical inspiration.  We know time is of the essence during this pandemic. We’ve stood up Response Centers like these in a matter of hours.  

To get started with your own COVID-19 Response Center, click here. Stay safe and stay healthy.

#1: Liberty Public Schools 53 (Missouri)

To inform and engage their community on all things related to Coronavirus, leaders at Liberty Public Schools 53 in Missouri created what they call their “one stop shop” for Coronavirus-related information on the district website.  

Besides providing key information on health resources, event announcements, as well as resources on meals and at-home learning, the district also provides a questions/feedback section powered by Let’s Talk!

“We’re always accessible and willing to assist by way of answering your questions as well as listening to your thoughts and suggestions along the way.” – Dr. M. Jeremy Tucker, superintendent (watch video)

Students, parents, and community members use the Response Center to submit questions on topics such as extended learning, meal services, school cleaning protocols, health concerns, and more. Staff members are also encouraged to submit questions using the tool.

Liberty Public Schools 53’s COVID-19 information page. By clicking Questions/Comments, community members are taken to the district’s COVID-19 response center, powered by Let’s Talk!.

#2: Pasco County Schools (Florida)

Pasco County’s Coronavirus webpage  features key information, dates and, a video message from Superintendent Kurt S. Browning. The page also links to the district’s COVID-19 question form, powered by Let’s Talk!.

Just a few weeks after launching its own COVID-19 Response Center, Pasco County Schools had already received more than 1,000 questions and inquiries from community members.

When asked to rate the quality of their engagement with the district, community members give the district an average feedback score of 8.3 out of 10 and dialogues are typically resolved within 2 hours. All of this information is measured using Let’s Talk!.  

Pasco Homepage

Pasco County Schools’s Coronavirus webpage includes the latest news on the pandemic, important updates for parents, a message from Superintendent Kurt S. Browning, as well as a link to the district’s Let’s Talk! Response Center, where community members can get their questions answered.

#3: Aldine ISD (Texas)

Aldine Independent School District in Texas stood up its Let’s Talk! Coronavirus Response Center in a matter of a few days, despite having never used the technology.

The specific interest areas listed on Aldine’s Coronavirus Response Center reveal the unique and less-talked about challenges school leaders and community members continue to face during this crisis. 

  • Class of 2020: How does the COVID-19 situation affect graduation, college entrance, proms and other social events?
  • Taxes: How will the crisis affect property taxes and other school-related fees?
  • Student registration/enrollment: How will the virus affect new-student enrollment?
Aldine Let's Talk!

Aldine ISD’s Let’s Talk! Response Center encourages students, parents, and community members to ask questions about topics like the class of 2020, taxes, and new student enrollment and registration.

#4: Chesapeake Public Schools (Virginia)

Understanding that quick responses are vital during a crisis, leaders at Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia wanted to make it as easy for community members to receive answers to COVID-19-related questions. 

So the district added a Coronavirus tab to the district website. Powered by Let’s Talk!, the tab makes it possible for students, parents, and others to ask COVID-19-related questions directly on the district homepage.

Chesapeake Public Schools’ homepage includes a Let’s Talk! pop-out tab that allows students, parents, staff, and others to ask coronavirus-related questions directly.

#5: Leander ISD (Texas)

In addition to standing up its own Coronavirus Response Center, administrators at Leander Independent School District enabled Let’s Talk!’s phone-to-dialogue feature, essentially funneling both inbound phone calls and website inquiries into the same unified response system. 

Leander ISD Chief Communications Officer Corey Ryan said having the ability to funnel COVID-19-related web inquiries and phone calls into a single, universal inbox means the district can more easily track responses, and improves turnaround time. 

Leander landing page

Leander ISD’s COVID-19 Response Center includes a coronavirus-specific Let’s Talk! page as well as a pop-out tab on the district website.

Stand up a COVID-19 Response Center. Join our free COVID-19 Response Center pilot program.  Sign up here to get free access to Let’s Talk!.

About the Author

Todd Kominiak
Todd is Managing Editor of TrustED. Email: tkominiak@k12insight.com.

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