Communicating COVID-19: A Guide and Panel Discussion

As COVID-19 continues to impact the United States, school districts are working hard to communicate updates to their community about this evolving health emergency. Keeping staff, parents and the community informed of best practices, changing school schedules and state and local guidelines is a tall order when news changes so rapidly.

To support all school communicators and administrators at this challenging time, the National School Public Relations Association and Blackboard Inc. have teamed up to offer a helpful guide and a free webinar on coronavirus crisis communications.

Guide: The Coronavirus Communications Crisis for Public Schools

The Coronavirus Communications Crisis for Public Schools coverDownload the Coronavirus Communications Crisis for Public Schools guide (PDF), which includes 10 tips for COVID-19 communications, important words to know, expert resources and communication examples from public schools.

PR Panel Discussion: Communicating COVID-19

Watch the Communicating COVID-19 webinar, co-hosted by NSPRA and Blackboard, featuring a panel of five notable school PR experts sharing tips and advice for how to effectively manage communications about the new coronavirus disease. Those panelists included:

  • Lesley Bruinton, APR, public relations coordinator, Tuscaloosa City (Ala.) Schools, and NSPRA president-elect;
  • Justin Elbert, PIO/assistant director of communications, Klein (Texas) Independent School District;
  • Tracy Jentz, APR, communications and community engagement coordinator, Grand Forks (N.D.) Public Schools;
  • Julie Thannum, APR, assistant superintendent for board and community relations, Carroll Independent School District, Southlake, Texas, and NSPRA past president; and
  • Tove Tupper, assistant director of communications, Highline Public Schools, Burien, Wash.

NSPRA Associate Director Mellissa Braham and Blackboard Senior Marketing Director Steve Ostler co-hosted the panel discussion, which aired live on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.


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NSPRA and Blackboard Inc. are partnering to offer the above coronavirus crisis communications resources free to all school communicators, administrators and anyone else tasked with communications on behalf of a school system.

For additional resources, visit Blackboard's COVID-19 Resource Center for K-12 and NSPRA's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Crisis Resources webpage