It’s that time of year where students are beginning to return to university and college campuses, whether they will be taking their courses digitally or in-person where permissible. This means colleges have been preparing for students who need to self-isolate upon arrival and trying to find ways to ensure that these students are following the health protocols in place in their respective jurisdictions, such as daily check-ins and regular testing throughout their self-isolation period.
To help with this, many colleges are trading in their manual registration and follow-up processes for a more automated, all-in-one solution in an effort to increase efficiency and accuracy.
Initial Student Registration
When a student first arrives on campus they are already in the system, so to speak. However, due to COVID-19, there’s an added layer to everything which means a college needs to start tracking students the moment they arrive on campus, especially in the event they are required to self-isolate.
Students need an easy way to identify and register themselves to help their school track their self-isolation progress as well as for any contact tracing that may be required in the event of an exposure or infection.
The easiest way for students to self-register is through the use of a digital form, which will collect all the information a college requires. This form can register the student’s arrival on campus as well as where they are coming from and whether they are required to self-isolate or not.
This form can be provided in three simple ways: via QR code, a shortcode, or a website form.
QR Codes on Signage
The first way colleges can use for registering students arriving on campus is QR codes that can be posted on visible signage around the area. All students would need to do would be to scan the QR code with their mobile phone to access the registration form they need to fill out.
Once students complete the form, the information is then automatically stored in the all-in-one automation platform’s contact management solution (i.e. a CRM) where it can be used in the future to track and follow-up with the respective student.
Texting a Keyword to a Shortcode
Another way for students to access the registration form is through the implementation of a shortcode and keyword combination. Students can text a pre-specified keyword into a school’s registered shortcode number (an easy-to-remember five to six-digit phone number) in order to receive a link to the registration form to fill out.
Again, signage with the shortcode and keyword information can be posted around campus so that students can register as soon as they arrive, and it can also be provided on the college’s website for any students who may wish to pre-register before traveling.
Online Form on a Webpage
The third way students can register would be simply filling out a digital form embedded on the college’s website. Students would then be able to access the form whenever they need to, either when they arrive on campus or before they make the trip.
Daily Isolation Check-ins
Once students are physically on campus and are told they are required to self-isolate for 14 days due to the information they submitted during their self-registration, the college needs to keep tabs on these students to ensure they are following the rules and are not potentially exposing others should they be unknowingly infected.
Rather than recruiting tens of volunteers to manually phone each and every one of these students on a daily basis, an all-in-one automation platform can significantly improve this process and make it a lot more efficient for everyone involved.
Automated Notifications Save Personnel Time
When someone is doing manual phone calls, it’s inevitable that conversations will arise and make each call longer than it needs to be. It’s just human nature. That’s why, in order to increase the check-in process’s efficiency, the human nature factor can be taken out of it for the most part.
Using an automation platform to send check-in messages to students can enable colleges to create the notification and schedule it to send as part of a blast – to all appropriate students at once instead of one by one. Students can be asked to provide confirmation that they are self-isolating as directed by pressing a number on their phone’s dial pad, which will be recorded in the report for the check-in notification.
Leverage Multi-Channel Notifications
An all-in-one automation platform allows colleges to do a lot more in terms of automated isolation check-in phone calls. Such a solution enables schools to supplement these phone calls with notifications via other communication channels as well, such as email and text messages.
The more ways students can be contacted means the easier they can be followed up with and the more likely they will adhere to the self-isolation regulations. While phone calls are the standard follow-up method for colleges, email and SMS are both excellent alternatives in the event someone cannot be reached by phone for any reason.
Manual Follow-ups for Non-Responses
While an all-in-one automation platform allows schools to send out the check-in notifications en masse to all students at once, there may still be some manual follow-ups required by actual human beings, for example, to those students who did not provide confirmation that they are self-isolating as required.
At the end of each day, a report could be generated indicating which students did not provide confirmation and given to a couple of volunteers (significantly fewer would be required than with the completely manual check-in process) and they would be responsible for reaching out personally to these students to obtain the necessary verification information.
Automated Testing Reminders Campaign
The final piece of a school’s re-opening and student check-in strategy is to be able to notify and remind students regarding their regular COVID-19 tests they must undergo throughout their self-isolation period. And, since administrators only need to send these reminder notifications and have no need to obtain a confirmation response from the students, a completely automated campaign can be set up and set to run in the background of all the other processes that need to be performed.
Preferred Method Reminders
Again, the beauty of an all-in-one automation solution is the ability to send these testing reminders to students via multiple communication methods. What’s more, the platform is able to send messages only to their preferred communication method. For example, while some students may check their text messages every 15 minutes and wish to receive SMS reminders, others may prefer to receive these reminders in their email inboxes.
The automation platform is able to check each student against the information in their contact profile indicating any communication preferences and depending on the information it finds, it will only send them the reminder via that communication method – even if the school has configured the reminders for multiple sending channels.
Viewable Send Reports
At the end of the day, what good is any check-in process if a college has no way of tracking and viewing reports for all the notifications and confirmations? With the manual process, it can be extremely difficult to manage and organize who was called and what their current status is, however, with an all-in-one automation platform, reporting information is available as soon as a notification is sent!
Organized into easy-to-read tables and graphs, schools can easily see at a glance which students were contacted and whether or not they confirmed their self-isolation status. This helps them to easily determine who may need to be followed up with, versus any serial non-confirmations who may need to receive a personal visit from the authorities.
Looking for an All-in-One Automation Platform?
Is your college looking for an all-in-one automation platform to assist with the implementation of a re-opening plan to welcome students back to campus safely?
SimplyCast’s all-in-one engagement automation solution is able to provide you with a platform capable of sending automated self-isolation check-in notifications to students, as well as allow you to manage a COVID-19 testing reminder campaign for students who need to attend regular appointments through its SimplyCast 360 automated workflow solution.
To see how SimplyCast can help streamline your college campus re-opening efforts and provide you with all the tools you need to keep students and faculty as safe as possible, click the button below to request a free demo of the all-in-one solution!