Understaffed support teams + so many questions

When COVID started, there were so many questions.

  • Under what conditions can we safely reopen our campus? 
  • Will school start on time?
  • Will clases actually meet or will I take online courses?
  • What about my labs and clinical classes?

By this point in any other year, incoming freshmen would already have in hand a schedule that ushers them through summer orientation, move-in, and finally their first day of classes in the fall. But faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no firm dates in place for the upcoming academic year, only scenarios and contingency plans…as well as plenty of student anxiety. 

Colleges and universities across the country are working feverishly to determine when and how they can reopen campus. Every prospective and returning student watches with a great deal of anxiety as the situation unfolds. Will it be a return to normalcy, which few higher education professionals expect, to a fall semester with no students on campus–instead, taking online classes from home? Of course, many other options are in consideration, such as bringing some students on campus, most likely those with course work that requires hands-on practicums of some sort. 

With more questions than answers, how can colleges and universities best manage student and parent communications? To add further complexity to the crisis, many colleges and universities will be facing the need for sharp budget cuts — so staffing will also be impacted. The university offices that parents and students call / email with their questions— academic affairs, information technology, registrar, housing, financial aid, and other essential sources of information—are taxed beyond their limits due to increased uncertainty and the increased need for information. 

To learn more about crisis communications, request a copy of a new paper from ThoughtFocus titled: How AI-Powered Digital Associates Help Universities Better Managed COVID-19 Related Call Volume