(BPT) - Educational institutions at every level, from preschools to universities, are facing even more challenges than most businesses in today’s fast-changing environment. But businesses and schools use a variety of strategies and resources both inside and outside their organizations so that they can pivot quickly in the face of unpredictable change.

According to Lisa Honaker, managing director, FedEx Office, here are some of the tips educational institutions need to be ready to move forward, no matter what happens next.

1. Plan for any outcome

It may seem impossible to plan ahead in today’s climate, but that's why it is even more crucial. Walking through “what if” scenarios can help all organizations prepare for whatever comes their way. It's even more helpful when you have someone you trust to help think through the “what ifs” and find the right tools and solutions your school needs to navigate every potential scenario.

FedEx Office has been providing vital assistance to school districts and universities as they put together near and longer-term scenario plans, detailing resources available for schools or campuses welcoming students and faculty back. Resources include signage, printing, logistics support and beyond. We have retail stores within 10 miles of 69% of the U.S population.

2. Communication is key

From elementary schools to colleges, educational institutions must keep everyone updated on policy and protocol changes from week to week, and even hour to hour. Students, parents, administrators, faculty and staff — plus vendors and other visitors —need to know what to expect when they arrive on-site.

That’s where clear signage comes in. You need attention-getting, flexible signage options and graphic solutions to communicate clearly to visitors, staff and students:

  • Floor signage for traffic flow and social distancing protocols
  • Instructions for correct practices, hand-sanitizing stations and mask reminders
  • Wayfinding signage to block off areas to maintain safety protocols
  • Information cards and signs for visitors
  • Welcome banners and signs to convey ‘we’re open’

FedEx Office has also worked with school districts nationwide since the spring to quickly print remote learning materials for the students and much more to prepare for the school year.

3. Immediate support when it’s needed

Pivoting quickly and effectively in the face of unpredictability also means being ready to support those who need it most — and without any delay. As part of its robust physical and digital network, FedEx Office maintains a useful presence on or near many campuses, which made it easier to meet the immediate packing and shipping needs for thousands of students who had to leave campus quickly when schools were compelled to close earlier this year.

4. Problem-solving innovation

To keep students and instructors safe in classrooms, many schools expressed a need to separate desks while keeping visual contact with students. FedEx Office took on the challenge by producing see-through desk shields that can be used for students of all ages, as well as faculty and staff. This kind of innovative and agile thinking is required when faced with new challenges and obstacles on a daily basis.

5. Keeping everyone safe and engaged

Beyond clear messaging and communication, schools can also benefit from encouraging students, parents, staff and educators to work together during this difficult time. Providing everyone with all the tools they need to learn safely — whether in classrooms or remote settings — is crucial to the success of any educational institution.

FedEx Office can meet the needs of learning environments. From providing learning packets and on-demand printing for remote learners to creating desk shields, branded masks and signage outlining cleaning protocols and social distancing guidelines, it’s important that everyone has the tools and resources to help everyone stay safer.

Schools and education leaders around the country are rising to the challenge, working to help everyone feel safer as they return to school. To learn more about how you and your school can take steps to navigate today's changing landscape, from signage and printing needs to packing, shipping and more, click here.

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