I brought my dilemma to our Friday IT Coordinators meeting. We bandied a few ideas back and forth until Judy said, "Just schedule it as a meeting in Outlook and invite the entire staff." Duh! I was making this more difficult than it needed to be because I had forgotten Outlook's meeting schedule feature. Most staff do not use the calendar section of Outlook, and most meetings are recurring so we don't receive invitations to them. However, that feature is built right in.
This is a brilliant solution for many reasons, including...
- all our staff are familiar with our email system (possibly too familiar!)
- staff can easily access their email account via our web page (so no new web address or logins to learn)
- our staff email address book is very current; new staff members have an email address before I even know they have been hired
- we can create mail rule filters so that all the responses sort into one folder, making them easy to tally
- one person who is traveling with other school colleagues can inform us that all of them are safe: they do not all need to tie up Internet access contacting the school.
Does your staff have a check in system in place? A phone tree may not work over the holidays when families are traveling.