Four Tips for Communicating with Families during Crisis


During any campus crisis, families want timely, accurate, credible, consistent information. Communicating with families about COVID-19 is particularly important. Many students are moving into the family home to study remotely. How can parent and family professionals help?

Don’t go it alone. Tools for directly communicating with parents and families can work for routine announcements and reminders. But in a crisis, you need help from the communication professionals on your campus. They have the perspective and training necessary for crisis communication.

Use your ears and your voice. Parent and family members are communicating with you. Listen empathetically. Provide answers when you can. Summarize primary concerns and communicate them to your leadership team. Make sure parents can find the information they need in the FAQs your university posts.

Don’t just be afraid – do something. Fear with no action plan can be immobilizing. Parents need to know how to support their home-scholars. They need to know how to claim reimbursements for housing and dining fees. Some may want to contribute to families with greater financial need. Help your campus partners include family members in their action plans.

Support your families – all of them. You are a part of your university’s family. You build relationships with the families of your students. Your own family is critically important. You can help all these families stay functional even in crisis. This starts with keeping yourself healthy and balanced.

TorchStar education supports parent and family professionals. Contact emily@torchstared.com to learn about our crisis communication coaching services.


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