School Delays Text Alerts and Closing Notifications
School schedule changes affect students, parents, teachers, and staff. This effect ripples throughout the school system, and it can impact others outside of the school system and into the community as well.
Schedule changes that cause delays or closings can happen for any number of reasons from inclement weather, gas leaks, health and safety, and planned calendar events like holidays, spring break, or teacher in-service days. Reminders, alerts, and notifications must be sent.
Communicating quickly and easily with hundreds of parents, teachers, and workers is important when you’re changing their schedule, especially when it is unplanned. You need an effective way to reach them all, and you need a method that reaches a vast majority of them in an efficient amount of time.
When it’s 6:00 in the morning and a decision to close the school is made, sending out an email or even calling on the phone may not reach your staff and students’ families in time to do much good. You need a way to reach them before they walk out the door, and text messaging can do that.
Additionally, when events are happening at the school that affect the school schedule, you’re more likely to have a successful event when you can tell parents ahead of time and offer reminders along the way. We’re all busy, and reminders are a big help for most people.
Why send school delay alert and closing notifications using text message?
Text messaging is one of the fastest and most effective ways to communicate. The messages arrive within seconds of being sent, and most people check their messages within three minutes of receiving the text.
Imagine the impact that fast communication has on school delay and closing notifications. A schedule change is not always welcome news, but it is received much better when it arrives before precious time is wasted getting ready and traveling instead of making other arrangements.
Here are some reasons why texting is an effective way to send school delays text alerts and closing notifications.
Easily contact parents
Communicating with parents is important. Like anyone else, parents are going to open their text messages. Text messages have a 98% open rate. This is higher than email, and because it arrives within seconds to a device that most of us are within reach of all day.
Parents can register themselves with keywords and give consent to be contacted for severe weather alerts and school closing alerts.
A clear, concise message helps school administrators avoid unnecessary confusion. Sending a text can clearly state whether school is delayed or closed. It can detail when school is expected to reopen, and it can even send a link to a more detailed explanation for followup questions or concerns.
Using a system that sends texts for your school will also cut down on confusion for staff. If teachers are expected to keep up with phone numbers, relay information, and deal with a situation, such as a bad storm, on their own, communication is bound to break down.
A system that can send text alerts takes the pressure off of your educators while still keeping them and parents in the loop on developing situations without spreading false information.
Keep students and staff members safe
Often, school delays and closings coincide with weather events. Weather events like snow days that are severe enough to cause delays are often serious enough to impact safe driving. Communicating by text in a timely manner can prevent needless travel for staff and students when it’s safer to stay at home as bad weather hits.
There are other reasons to delay or close school, and every situation where the painstaking decision needs to be made is a serious one. As schools assess their situations, it’s important to communicate the information as quickly as possible once a decision is made.
Text alerts can also notify families if a dangerous or unfortunate situation emerges that will delay the release of students. We tend to think of delays as starting late, but on occasion, delays are also a late dismissal. Either way, you need to communicate quickly to help people plan accordingly and keep them updated.
How can I use TextSanity to help me create text message school delay and closing alerts?
TextSanity can help schools send out the important alerts, updates, and notifications on delays and closings. You can use TextSanity to manage relationships, send notification text messages to a mass of interested parties, and schedule ahead or automate the process where it’s needed. Here’s how TextSanity can save your sanity during a hectic school year.
Utilize TextSanity’s text marketing tools
You probably don’t think of parents as customers, but the way you manage communications with them is very similar. Parents and staff are partners in the education process, and TextSanity’s CRM or Customer Relationship Management helps you communicate with parents and maintain a good relationship through fast and effective communication.
Schools come in all sizes. From a few hundred students to several thousand students, it’s important to be able to communicate with them all regardless of size. TextSanity’s CRM gives you the ability to do just that.
Finding a way to communicate with that many teachers, staff, and parents at once would be challenging, but sending messages straight to their phones, which most of us check at least once every ten minutes, is an effective way to send clear and concise information that’s difficult to misunderstand.
Make sure parents know that standard data rates will apply. Thankfully, TextSanity follows all Telephone Consumer Privacy Act laws, so you know your texts will too.
Mass text messaging or broadcasting
Some schools rely on the newscasts to broadcast the available information on delays and closings, and it’s a valuable form of communication. Your mass texts can even include links to weather videos or other helpful information that explains your decisions.
However, with TextSanity’s mass text messaging, you can broadcast straight to parents and staff, even the information that doesn’t make it to the local news station.
In fact, TextSanity gives you the power to schedule texts for the future. Educators love what organizational skills can do for them in the classroom, and those same organizational skills can make sure that no holiday or scheduled off day gets missed.
Planned closures can have reminder text messages scheduled at the start of the school year, and then you just need to stay ready for the unplanned events that life can dish out.
Automated responses to text message keywords
When it seems a delay or closure is imminent, parents and staff can grow antsy with anticipation. Establishing a keyword system can allow people to request updates as often as they like, and the automated message flow TextSanity helps you set up can ensure that you always respond promptly while adhering to your district’s policies.
Parents can opt-in at the beginning of the school year using keywords to help build your database for each new year. Because of its design, parents who move out of district or staff that find employment elsewhere can easily opt-out to keep your text marketing list updated.
If you’re operating for an entire school district, parents can opt-in to their school using a keyword such as their mascot, and messages specific to that school can be sent when a system-wide message is not needed. For example, if a water main has burst at a middle school on the east side of your district that requires students to be delayed for two hours, it’s not necessary for a parent of a student who doesn’t attend that school to receive a text.
Tailoring your messages to each keyword group can help minimize confusion as well. Keywords help parents stay up-to-date on each child they have in a school district, and ensure they don’t receive unnecessary messages.
School closures and delays are serious decisions that impact students, teachers, staff, parents, neighborhoods, and communities. Oftentimes, these decisions are made as a last resort measure regarding a developing situation. Communicating these alerts and notifications in a timely manner is important to everyone involved.
Texting parents and staff about the decision can reach the most people in the swiftest manner currently available. The timely delivery of text can keep everyone safe, and the directness of the text can curb any confusion arising from an announcement.
Sending out that many text messages at once would be overwhelming without help, but with TextSanity, you can always send out the mass texts you need to send for school delays and closings.