Crisis communication by school leaders during the COVID-19 global pandemic
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Schools are not immune to crises. Whether it be earthquakes, wildfires, shootings, or global pandemics, schools will always be required to react quickly and efficiently to crises (Liou, 2015, p. 248). One large component of this reaction is communication. Therefore, school leaders need to be prepared to communicate quickly, efficiently, and effectively both internally and with the broader community during times of crisis. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 created an exceptional urgency for schools to practice and refine their crisis communication as they dealt with the ongoing pandemic (Government of Canada, 2022). In British Columbia, the pandemic caused a state of emergency that has lasted nearly a year and a half (Lawson et al., 2021). During this time, schools went through many different situations of crisis, including short-term emergencies and long-term sustained stress. Schools also needed to react quickly to changing government guidelines, community exposures and public health directives (BC Ministry of Health, 2021). The purpose of this study is to examine the opportunities and challenges that arose as school leaders attempted to develop best practices, processes and procedures that amounted to effective communication during an unprecedented international health emergency.