Covid19; how are schools planning to communicate with students and staff during school closures?

    Published: 20 March 2020

    We asked schools in Hertfordshire to share with us how they plan to keep in touch with both their staff and students after the school closures today.

    For those schools that are not yet heavily integrated with cloud technology, it may give you some relief to hear that over 78% of schools plan to keep in touch with both students and staff via email.

    With communication being vital over the next few weeks, some schools will be opting to send text messages too, which is not surprising considering that an estimated 1 million children and their families in the UK don’t have adequate access to a device or connectivity at home.

    The results to HfL’s Technology in Schools team Covid 19 Survey



    21% of schools opted for other solutions including;

    • Zoom, video conferencing software that is being offered to schools for free during closures.
    • Google drive, software for storing and sharing files.




    28% of schools responded with other solutions. The top 3;

    1. Seesaw; A free learning environment to support teachers with engaging with their students
    2. School’s own blogs and newsletters
    3. Show my Homework; Online homework software that connects teachers, students and parents.

    In terms of accessing school files, HfL’s remote solution (LARA) was the most popular choice, with 33% of responses. You can find some top tips to get the most out of your VPN below.




    Other options included;

    Microsoft Teams – A great way to collaborate on shared files within your school’s groups.

    LARA: Top tips to get the most out of your remote connection.

    Our Technology in Schools service desk have pulled together their top tips to make the most of your remote connection;

    If you’re using LARA, check how many licences you have set up to ensure users aren’t kicked off their connection when others login.

    1. Servers will only work to their capacity so connections can be slow with a high number of users at the same time. Consider;

    • Trying to avoid using resource hungry software i.e. Smart notebook
    • Staggering the use between staff throughout the day
    • Ensure you sign out at the end of your session rather than minimalising your window.

    2. If you are using wireless make sure you have a good signal to the router. If you have the capability to plug into the internet, this will ensure you’re achieving the best connection.


    For schools that would like further information on how Google Classrooms / Microsoft Teams could help you work remotely, please contact the Herts for Learning Technology in Schools Team at or 01438 844777.


    Further blogs to read

    Is there free alternative that can support your longer-term strategy before you invest in remote teaching tools?

    Teaching and learning with technology – synchronous vs asynchronous

    Remote learning: maintaining connections post school closure

    Covid19; how are schools planning to communicate with students and staff during school closures?

    Good morning class! Easy ways to use video and sound to greet your students

    How to run a weekly assembly via live video – step by step guide

    How to change which websites are accessible to learners in school for schools using HfL Broadband (HICS)

    The world from your home – virtual trips and visits for children and families to enjoy

    Chasing the rainbow - the joy of colourful science experiments

    Supporting positive learning behaviours at home

    School governance and the impact of Covid-19

    Bridging the digital divide- how to help disadvantaged students stay connected



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