H1N1 Communication from Schools to Parents is Critical

UTICA, N.Y.

As students head back to school, the CDC is reporting increasing influenza activity across the U.S. With the H1N1 vaccine not yet available, what can schools do to ease parent’s minds? Communicate.

Many schools rely on mass notification systems to relay critical information about issues like H1N1 to parents. According to a recent telephone poll conducted by Zogby International, of 1,004 school officials nationwide who have a mass notification system, nearly all (93 percent) have used such a system to communicate with parents about important events including school closings due to weather, pandemic outbreaks or even physical damage to school buildings.

Mass notification systems provide school superintendents and principals with a leadership communications tool, enabling them to communicate directly with their community in an urgent situation, when time and accuracy matter most. By utilizing a trusted multi-modal notification platform, leaders can actually record a message in their own voice, from any phone or mobile device, and send the message via voicemail, e-mail or SMS text within minutes.

This is the second survey conducted by Zogby International to gauge the use of mass notification systems among K-12 school leaders. According to both the 2006 and 2009 polls, Blackboard Inc.’s Blackboard Connect (or Connect-ED) remains the market leader, maintaining a 23 percent share of the school systems that use a mass notification system.

The polls also asked school officials about their satisfaction with their parental notification systems. In 2009, 90 percent of school officials who use a Blackboard Connect service said they are very satisfied with it. This consistently high level of customer satisfaction has been achieved during a period of record growth for both Blackboard Connect and the industry.

“We’re proud of our ability to continually provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry, particularly as we’ve grown to accommodate an average of 40 million message deliveries per month,” said Karl Engkvist, executive vice president of Blackboard Connect.

The survey also demonstrated that customers who use Blackboard Connect are increasingly satisfied with their system’s ease of use (98 percent in 2009; 93 percent in 2006), the time it takes to relay a message (96 percent in 2009; 91 percent in 2006) and with the return on their investment in the system (85 percent in 2009; 74 percent in 2006).

In response to growing concern about H1N1, Blackboard Connect has established a dedicated Web site where clients can access best practices, sample phone scripts and press materials to successfully manage communications to their community and the media during a pandemic. For more information and to view an example of the H1N1 support materials, click here.

Blackboard Connect September 2009 press release.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo