While the 2020 fall semester (which was quite possibly one of the craziest in recent memories) has not quite ended, spring semester planning is already underway. Students and parents are wondering what’s next and asking a lot of questions to plan for their future education and what is to come in 2021.
The hard part about planning and answering questions is that the answers are far from black and white. And 2020 taught us that the best-laid plans could end up merely being a “draft” for what is in store for the next 365 days.
However, what we do know is that we can always learn from experience and each other. Now that the fall semester started (and stopped, went virtual, and was sometimes hybrid), we have a lot to process, but we know that there is a path forward and a way to keep students, faculty, and staff safe.
Here are three things you need to consider when planning for the spring semester:
Safety will always matter. Whether it’s safety at parties or walking on campus at night, parents will always be concerned about their kids’ safety. Colleges and universities MUST show parents that safety is a priority and that the school will always be safe. Visual cues, written reminders, and video messages can communicate the school’s dedication to safety and that the community will still be in good hands.
There must be a plan and it must be flexible. As mentioned, we know that plans will and must change as updates emerge, and guidelines change. The school must be aware of the most recent changes and the information – both true and untrue – that students, faculty, and staff are consuming. This means that you have to be ready to take action for compliance and debunk myths when necessary. The school must also have a plan, even if the plan will transform throughout the school year. No parent wants to hear that the school is “waiting for new information” or isn’t taking action because things may change. They want to hear that you have a plan but also understand that it may shift when needed.
Technology implementation is no longer optional. With the advancement of technology in today’s world – for health, management, and a slew of other uses – colleges and universities must embrace technology and use it in a way that supports the plans (or the changes). All generations are attuned to technology and expect a level of integration that offers a better experience, clearer communication, and detailed information at every level. Embrace apps. Use on-site technology tools. And tell everyone what you are using and why so they understand how you are leveraging technology for the entire community’s health and safety.
While the 2021 spring semester may still be undetermined in terms of how, when, and where, ensuring that you have the tools to make the best plans for the future will help make planning and pivoting much more manageable. And please remember, you don’t have to do it alone. VirusSAFE pro stands ready and able to help you verify the safety of your students, faculty and staff and provide peace of mind to parents.