Coronavirus Resources for Schools

Strategies for Connecting with Students and Families

Contains resources from school districts and public health agencies.

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rev. 8/2/20 www.attendanceworks.org 1 Strategies for Connecting with Students & Families The ideas below provide options to help locate students and families who have not been in touch with your school or district during the coronavirus pandemic. When reaching out, keep in mind that the reason for making contact is to express concern for the safety and well-being of each student and family. Ask what they need, and don't talk about missed virtual attendance or school work at this time. If possible, translate messages into languages spoken in your community. Idea 1: Multiple Modes of Outreach ● Divide the list of students who have not been contacted among school staff and assign student names to each staff person. ● Each staff person can reach out to students and families using all available modes of communication such as email, phone, text message and social media. Try using these methods at different times of the day and on different days of the week. ● Consider sending a letter expressing concern for the student and family by registered mail with delivery confirmation. This will let you know that someone at the home has received the correspondence. ● Keep written communications short, and use simple language so they can be understood by readers with a low literacy level. Consider using bullets next to the most important messages so readers can skim the text. If possible, translate messages into languages spoken in your community. ● Offer to hold virtual meetings with family members through Zoom or other online services. Idea 2: Media ● Prepare and distribute a public service announcement (PSA) asking families and students to get in touch with their school. Place the PSA with popular radio shows and talk shows that reach the community you serve. ● For families that speak a language other than English, work with radio stations to translate PSAs into home languages. ● Leverage social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Search by first name or any nickname of the student that you may know. Logging onto the Facebook page of one student and observing their friend list may provide access to other students and family members on Facebook. ● Create a school social media page on Instagram and other platforms that are popular in the community, or consider asking your afterschool provider or other trusted partner to create a page for you. Post messages asking students and families to get in touch with the school. Offer resources, such as access to food or health services, as incentives for engagement. • Ask a local celebrity or trusted community leader to reach out via social media to ask students and families who have not been in touch to call their school.

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