The Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA) released Section II of its Toolkit for Communicating about Return to School Plans to support schools in their communication to students, parents, union leaders, staff and board representatives, community members, the media and others about their individual return to school roadmaps (which includes their official COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plans as outlined in Executive Order 2020-142).

This second of three parts coincides with the Opportunity Labs Roadmap and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Association’s General Education Leadership Network’s Continuity of Learning – Back to School Guidance timeframes:

  1. Do First – Section I of the toolkit was released July 15, 2020. It is designed to help schools communicate with target audiences to highlight work being done over the summer to prepare for various return to school scenarios.
  2. Do Before Schools Open – Section II of the toolkit, released on July 23, 2020, is designed to help schools communicate with target audiences to help them understand what school will look like in the fall, describe health and safety procedures, outline educational options and explain closure processes, should they be needed.
  3. When Schools are Open and Operating – Section III of the toolkit – to be released in early August – will provide communication resources to support schools as they share important information and updates relative to school operations as Michigan moves through the phases of the MI Safe Start Plan.

Parts I and II of the toolkit can be found at www.mspr.org.

Both documents have been reviewed by representatives from the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators. All sample materials have been used with permission and are intended to serve as examples of what could be tailored to individual district situations and needs.

Remember:

  1. As your district communicates, always consider your school’s policies, codes of conduct, local community needs and local climate as you address the information needs of your stakeholders.
  2. This toolkit and its parts are designed to help guide your communication, highlighting some of the ways school districts may choose to communicate about this important issue.  When in doubt, consult legal counsel.
  3. It is essential to recognize that COVID-19 is a public health issue. Please direct questions or inquiries about health guidelines to your local health department.