Guidance on Communicating with Parents and Students (Regular Days, in case of a COVID Incident, in the Aftermath of a COVID Incident)
Transparency is of utmost importance in tackling COVID-19. Schools shall develop a parent communication plan.
School shall regularly communicate with parents, many who are extremely anxious about sending their children to school.
Communication is recommended on a weekly basis (i.e. brief update email, newsletter, etc.) to keep them abreast of progress, challenges, and to remind them of their role in keeping their children safe by enforcing the 3 basic preventive measures (see Framework for Policies and Guidelines)
Schools shall inform parents of their COVID-19 incident management process in addition to all of the safety measures that have been implemented at school. Further guidance will be provided at a later date in conjunction with the relevant authorities.
For parents of Students of Determination, it may be necessary to communicate more frequently regarding issues that may arise. It is advisable that one person, in liaison with the Principal, takes responsibility for any additional communication from the school to the parents of Students of Determination. This may take the form of a Home-School Diary, Daily Planner or daily email communication. This should not however replace all other home-school communication.
Communication to Students Setting Expectations Regarding the New School Year/Conditions, Developing a Culture that Prevents COVID-19 (e.g. Tapping Elbows etc.)
Schools shall communicate with students via parents prior to their return to campus to set expectations concerning what a school day with social distancing will look like, what the general weekly schedule might be, and most of all, to reassure students that returning to campus is safe and to their benefit.
Communication regarding what students can do personally to help prevent infection in school (the 3 preventive measures) may be done prior to returning, but also enforced regularly through training sessions, refresher sessions, etc.
Students of Determination may require a personalized ‘Return to School’ communication relative to their cognitive ability, physical, behavior, social or emotional needs. This should be devised in a child-friendly manner and be relevant to the procedures in place to support their access to school.
Guidance on Signage to be Strategically Placed around the School Premises
In addition to floor and wall signage to indicate directions, waiting areas, social distancing, etc., informative posters should be placed in strategic places to remind all students and staff of relevant behavior (i.e. how to wash hands properly, etc.).
Posters will be distributed to schools before the start of the new term, but schools are also encouraged to create their own posters adapted to their context.
Guidance on Avoiding/Reducing Stigmatization When Talking about COVID-19 or Encountering an Incident
Schools shall develop anti-stigmatization policies and integrate strategies into any awareness campaigns concerning misconceptions around COVID-19.
Schools must, as much as is possible, maintain the privacy and confidentiality of suspected or confirmed cases within the school community, and remind others to not behave in negative ways that exacerbate the victim’s feelings of exclusion already induced by isolation.
Schools shall communicate their non-stigmatization policy to students, parents and staff and encourage them to always behave in appropriate ways.