Tara is the in-house content lead at Digistorm, tending to all content needs, big or small! When she’s not writing copy or managing the Insights editorial calendar, Tara is passionate about supporting theatre and live music.
The pandemic has introduced new guidelines and procedures for several industries and one area that has to be adapted now and in the future, is events. In Australia, we are returning to some normalcy with events, however, a snap lockdown could mean that your school event has to be shifted at the last minute. As a result, we need to consider the future of event planning and how we can prepare to run safe and successful school events.
What we’ll cover:
Of course, specific event strategies will need to evolve to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, but communication around events also needs to change! For schools, it’s important to consider sensitivity and timing, as attending in-person events might still induce a little anxiety for some people.
So, what does this look like in action? It means keeping your event marketing short, informative, and transparent. Keep your attendees in the loop with all of the safety procedures and social distancing requirements they should expect to be in place at your event. It’s essential to be truthful and outline any risks your attendees should be aware of. To abide by government regulations, you should send out a pre-event EDM that asks attendees to implement the following before and during your event:
Take a look at the example below from Loreto College Coorparoo. You’ll notice they’ve included some information around group sizes in line with Government regulations for their on-campus tours. This reassurance is more likely to make attendees feel comfortable to attend.
Source: Loreto College Coorparoo Facebook
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your social media and traditional media channels before, during and after your event. In addition, you’ll likely have increased communication on your marketing channels as there may be several questions and queries from interested attendees.
Although restrictions are easing, it’s important to prepare to shift your event if needed. A sudden increase in community transmission might have an impact on your event and the number of attendees you’re allowed to have, so it’s best to have a contingency plan in place! This might mean postponing or cancelling your event or switching the event to a virtual one.
If your event was ticketed in the case of an event cancellation or postponement, you need to have a flexible refund policy in place. This includes offering a refund for attendees that cannot make your new date or a reduced price if you take your event online. If you do need to postpone your event, be transparent and honest with your attendees. Make sure that your communication with attendees is proactive with updates for any changes.
So, it’s time to start planning your event. Besides the usual event logistics, such as; venue management, volunteer and staff management, marketing, theming, and entertainment, there are a few new things that you will also need to consider when planning for your event. For our Australian schools, You can access all of the latest event information and guidelines from the Australian government and check up to date information from your state government, as each state has separate event guidelines you must follow. It’s important to keep up to date on how individuals can engage in healthy behaviours to help reduce the spread at your event. As there are still social distancing restrictions in place, your venue must be big enough to safely and comfortably accommodate your attendees. You’ll need to ensure that there is a 1.5 metres distance between attendees at all times in both a seated and standing venue.
Secondly, you need to prepare hand sanitiser stations, appropriate COVID-19 signage, disinfectants for surfaces, and temperature taking. You can see an example of informative event signage below, Moreton Hire has created that for upcoming events.
Source: Dan Morahan LinkedIn
Hygiene products and waste receptacles must be available for attendees. The waste disposables need to be regularly cleaned and emptied to abide by the guidelines. You also want to ensure that attendees are not sharing equipment such as pens, notepads, or utensils. If your event is catered, it’s a good idea to avoid buffet-style catering and opt for individual lunch options for attendees instead. If there’s equipment that needs to be shared, make sure that you’re giving it a thorough clean after each use.
If you’re planning on hosting a more significant school event, you must be assessing the risk of your event and have a COVID safe and risk management plan in place in case of an emergency. Depending on your event size, you may need to submit your COVID plan to your state government for approval.
To abide by state government regulations, you'll also need to have a check-in process at your event. Even if your event is unticketed, you need to ensure that you have collected contact information for each attendee. Our leading school CRM, Funnel, allows you to manage the attendee check-in with our contactless check-in feature easily. Attendees can simply scan a QR code on their smartphone to enter their details. This helps to avoid queuing at your events and makes the process safe and seamless.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with ideas for making your attendees feel comfortable at your school events. Below is an example from Laura Weisman, who offered coloured lanyards for their workers, which they can wear to show their comfort level in a shared space. This idea could be translated into your event planning where attendees can wear lanyards or name tags that portray their comfort levels. We have also seen ‘safe at events’ gift packs that provide attendees with a small gift bag containing hand sanitiser, tissues and face masks for their use during the event.
Source: LinkedIn Laura Weisman
We hope that these tips will help you plan to run a safe and successful event. If you would like any more information on how to run your school events like a pro, check out our school event planning checklist.