COVID-19: Case Study in Great School District Communications – A Parent’s Perspective
In late February, a Lake Oswego, Oregon school staff member tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. It was very early in the initial days of the outbreak, and the Lake Oswego School District (LOSD) was suddenly thrust into the front lines of crisis communications.
One of our team members has two kids in the district, and in her own words, she describes some essentials for keeping parents and caregivers calm and a good model for handling communications during a crisis.
Regular School District Communications
Messages, Multiple Channels – Liz Overson’s Perspective
As a Lake Oswego parent, I feel the district has done a very good job of keeping the people informed when the first Coronavirus case was found/presumptive and later tested positive. I feel aligned with the updates with each move since.
6:00 pm Friday, February 28 – first robocall came explaining a staffer at Forest Hills elementary has tested positive for the coronavirus and is in isolation in the hospital. Text message and emails also came communicating the same message.
7:00 pm Friday, February 28 – second robocall saying all LOSD schools and campuses were closed for the weekend for deep cleaning. Text message and emails also came communicating the same message.
12:00 pm Saturday, Feb 29 – a press conference with the district Superintendent, Communications Director and County/ Health Authority was held. This press conference timing and link were communicated via text, email and robocall as well.
1:00 pm Sunday, March 1 – a health alert update was posted reiterating the safety measures being taken.
On the LOSD home page there is a Health Alert box now. From there, parents can click through to find a timeline of everything that has been shared and done since 2/28:
As a parent, I appreciate:
• Regular communications of fluid info – LOSD is acting as a resource and all LOSD families have the same info.
• LOSD has links to Clackamas County and Oregon Health Authority – making it easy for me to research more if I so choose.
• LOSD communicated in simple and straightforward language.
We can look at this as a model to prepare for the potential that your school will need a similar plan.