How to solve 8 crisis communications challenges post-COVID

Many district leaders are now re-evaluating their communication systems for the post-COVID road ahead
By: | April 29, 2021
(AdobeStock)

Like many K-12 leaders, you were likely forced during COVID to overhaul your safety and security policies— including the key component of communicating regularly and transparently with your communities.

And like many of your colleagues, you probably faced some hurdles in getting your messages out. Here are the top crisis communications problems and the percentage of leaders who reported them:

  1. Issues reaching and notifying students and/or parents: 26%
  2. Messages not being received: 19%
  3. Issues sending targeted messages to specific groups or locations, rather than the entire campus: 17%
  4. Adding timing and accurate information to messages: 15%
  5. Communicating with temporary visitors: 15%
  6. Information sharing with first responders and necessary personnel: 13%
  7. Alert fatigue (frequency of messages): 13%
  8. Managing disparate communication systems: 10%

Many district leaders are now re-evaluating their communication systems for the post-COVID road ahead, according to the “2021 Survey of Crisis Communication and Safety in Education” released by security provider Rave Mobile Safety.

To better get their messages out, leaders are considering adding new modes of communications and step up efforts to engage students and parents, the survey found.


More from DA4 topics to jumpstart post-pandemic security planning


Districts are also thinking about polling students about their preferred methods of communications and conducting more safety drills.

While most districts use email to communicate with students, teachers and other members of the school community during a crisis, administrators are also using a wide range of other channels:

  • Text messages: 62%
  • Social media: 54%
  • Voice broadcasting: 46%
  • Intercom systems: 34%
  • Mobile safety app: 18%
  • Push notifications: 18%
  • Desktop alerts: 15%
  • Digital signage: 10%

Finally, the district leaders surveyed cited COVID prevention and student mental health as their two top safety concerns headed into the 2021-22 school year.

They’re also focused on the physical health of students and personnel, and maintain adequate staffing levels.