Over the last few weeks, students across the country returned to school from Kindergarten through graduate school. And they returned to a much different school day than what was familiar last fall.
To prepare for the return, communication teams have been working hard to let students and parents know how the school is addressing safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to develop a digital reopening guide, have more frequent parent and student communication, create wayfinding signage and videos, be involved with Town Halls, create health and safety videos as well as admission virtual tour videos, all on top of their usual projects (newsletters, magazine, and development communications, to name a few). Through all of this, they had to show resilience and school spirit. And there is no better way to capture spirit than through imagery.
Many schools have been sharing beautiful photographs of kids back at school in masks, faculty socially distancing themselves, and facilities properly prepared for safety. But the schools that posted videos captured the detail that the children are not only okay but that they are happy to be back.
Lycée Français, an independent school in New York, posted stunning photos on their social media, but it was the video they posted on September 14 that is most memorable. It is not high quality, and that doesn’t matter. It shows the students jumping around, walking with their arms extended to show their personal space, and waving at the camera. Elisabeth King, Director of Communications, shared that the school has a talented video production team, which many schools may not have. But they also have faculty and students who are skilled in visual storytelling. This particular video was shot by a teacher. Shooting video does not take high end equipment or professional editing.
Some schools enlisted their #1 fan to welcome students back: the school mascot. Lycée Français stands out again with their video of mascot Leo sharing safety tips for returning to school. They took a serious topic and made it lighter, helping students and parents to feel a little less worried about the new process and protocols. St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, posted a shot of their lion mascot waving everybody back. They also recruited Buckeye, one of the school’s many campus dogs, to show the correct way to mask up.
In these unique times, it is important for schools to make sure that everyone feels safe physically and emotionally. A brief video and a familiar face can help to invoke the spirit of excitement your community needs for a successful back-to-school transition.