The PTO world has been rocked by the novel coronavirus and the timing is causing a lot of turmoil for all PTA/PTO leaders.
Coming about 3/4ths of the way through the school year here in the US, the stay at home orders are forcing cancellations of school, events and activities.
So what do you need to do to wrap up the current school year?
If you don’t take care of these things, it’ll be like the ultimate cliffhanger, but not in a good sense!
Here’s what to take care in the next few weeks and months.
Officially Cancel Events
As sad as it is, it’s time to cancel events you have planned for the remainder of the school year, or at least through the end of May.
First, discuss with your board which events should be cancelled.
Come up with a plan to handle refunds, if necessary.
Then contact your Principal and let her know of the updated plan forward.
Ask her to communicate the cancellations via official school communication channels.
Make sure you post the identical message on any and all PTO channels as well, including all social media accounts.
Contact vendors and let them know the event needs to be cancelled and ask for a refund of any deposit.
Chances are they’re expecting your call and will happily refund the deposit with no issue.
When this height of this pandemic passes and things return to “normal” you can reschedule with the vendor.
Save those plans
All is not lost, however!
Don’t toss out the plans!
You can do what you had planned for now next year instead.
If you’ll be in the same leadership role for your PTA/PTO, you’ll be all set.
Simply update dates on flyers and social media promo posts.
If you’re moving on from the school, pass the plans down to the incoming officer or committee chair.
Let me extend my deepest sympathy to you and your PTO if you had a big fundraiser planned for this time.
Double so if it was an in-person fundraiser.
But here’s the good news- don’t feel like you need to outright cancel the fundraiser.
See if it’s possible to transform it into an online fundraiser!
Pick a platform (read about my suggestion here) and get going.
You may find that it’s still possible to be successful, and perhaps more successful than if the original event went on as planned.
There’s a strong sense of community right now (we’re all in this together) and you should take advantage by seeking support from those who are able to give it.
Need help in how to make this happen?
Leverage the brainpower of the PTA/PTO Super Star Leaders group members.
Teacher Appreciation Ideas
Don’t forget to honor teachers and school staff and let them know how much you appreciate them!
Just make sure you’re doing it in social distancing approved ways, aka virtually!
Here’s a past post that has pre-done graphics for you to use on social media.
You can also email the graphics to your teachers to brighten their day!
Click here for more ideas about social distancing approved teacher appreciation ideas.
The timing of this pandemic is squarely in the middle of a crucial season for PTO and PTAs, as it’s elections season!
Here’s detailed guidance on how to handle PTO / PTA elections during this pandemic.
Let this most certainly uncertain time be a breather for you.
Don’t stress about how things are so up in the air, since we’re all going through this together.
No one has dealt with this before, so just try to do your best!
The best advice is to be sad, but know this unusual time is a blip on the radar of your life, and look forward.
Take a Breather
Also, don’t feel like you need to be the activities director on a cruise ship for school families right now.
Parents are working from home and having a hard enough time balancing getting their own work done in addition to keeping kids occupied or focused on distance learning assignments.
Chances are they are not looking to you for programming or activities!
The nice thing about this time is that we’re all int he same boat.
Plenty of children’s authors, companies and government agencies are stepping up with activities to fill the void.
Instead of coming up with your own activities, share one new resource you’d found each day.
Become an echo of the goodness that’s out there.
The Idea Room has a massive list!
Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out.
Another solution to filling your time and feeling useful is to get yourself organized.
Not interested in tackling a personal organization project?
Turn to those pesky PTO records instead!
Over to you!
How are you handling this pandemic as a PTO?
What other challenges are you encountering?
Let’s chat about all of this in the comments.