These are stressful times for everyone, watching the evolution of COVID-19, more commonly known as the Coronavirus, spread around the world. This is not only putting pressure on schools and districts trying to figure out how to react to it, but also on the millions of families of students scrambling to make arrangements.

Whether your school is closing down temporarily, or you're at the early planning for potential closures, you'll have to think about how your decisions will impact families in your community. Even more importantly, the way you communicate with those families will be paramount. Keeping close and constant communication will help ease the ramping concerns of families out there. We at Bloomz understand this and we want to help.

So, in order to help schools and districts deal with this situation, Bloomz is opening its Premium platform to all schools for the remainder of the semester (that is, through June 30, 2020), including unlimited storage, premium calendar views, photo captions, archival and more. If you're interested in participating in this program, you can do so by going here: https://freetrial.bloomz.com/coronavirus-schools/

Once your school is on Bloomz, here are a few recommendations to add to your contingency plans:

If your school is still operating in campus:

1. Prepare a communication plan. Parents and students will be better prepared if they are informed. The CDC has great information to help with how to talk to kids about the disease. Keep parents informed on your plans and the actions you are considering. In case of school closure, give them as much time as possible to prepare and make plans accordingly.

2. Use Alerts as needed. Urgent actions need immediate communication and attention from parents. Alerts in Bloomz will send a notification both to their email address and their phone, regardless of their notification settings, to keep parents informed right away.

3. It's OK to ask for help. And the Volunteers feature in Bloomz allows you to request for any necessary items you need at school, like hand sanitizer or wipes (if any can be found at stores).

4. Drive positive behavior at school. With Bloomz' behavior tracking features, you can reward students for habits that can keep them healthy while at school, like washing hands, cleaning up their desks, etc

Are you preparing for a lengthy closure? Is your school working remotely already?

5. Keep in touch. Parents are going to be nervous and anxious with a lengthy closure. Help them out by staying in contact with parents, sending weekly lessons, assignments, and any updates from school or administration.

6. Keep things in the calendar. Maybe your school will close for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, no one really knows for sure. But maybe you can calm anxiety by keeping things in the calendar for when you expect to come back to normality. You can also use the calendar to schedule assignment due dates, etc

7. Have students submit work from home. Students can use the student portfolios features to submit work assignments from home. They can use the parent's phone, their own tablet or iPad if they have one, to take a picture of their work and submit it for approval of the teacher - that way teachers know where everyone is when they come back to class.

8. Make it social! Ask parents to stay in touch with the school or the classroom by allowing them to post updates in the class/school feed. This will maintain a cohesive, connected community. If you're worried about this, give them clear instructions on what is ok and not ok to post on the feed, parents are usually good at following these instructions! - and you can always use our moderation feature if needed.

We know these situations are stressful, but keeping an open channel of communication can go a long way in calming the normal anxiety caused by uncertainty and fear. So help your parent and student community cope by providing them an easy way to stay in touch.

Of course, time is of the essence. So we're ready to help get your school up and running right away. Take the first step by clicking here: https://freetrial.bloomz.com/coronavirus-schools/

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