As soon as the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic became apparent, the global Engage school management team placed full attention on how the business could best support schools in each of the regions and countries we operate in, even as we enacted our disaster recovery plan to switch to fully distributed working.

Our response has been multi-faceted, with efforts placed on areas we knew could make an initial difference for schools facing lock-down, before focusing on the phased switch to socially distanced return.

This has all been in addition to our focus on maintaining regular operations. Each month we’ve still released improvements to Engage, provided implementations, training and support for schools and introduced more than 20 new schools to Engage.

Read on here to see our key COVID-19 lockdown and back to school initiatives.

Free Wednesday Webinars

The escalation of the global pandemic caused the immediate cancellation of our onsite training programme. We also experienced understandable disruption to our online delivery due to rapidly changing school circumstances. This mostly closed the doors on our ability to deliver CPD for teachers, school leaders and administration staff.

Our response was to create the free Engage school management system Wednesday Webinar series. This has been held weekly for three months now, covering a wide range of topics, with presenters from across our globally based team and an interactive Q&A. Recordings from the series are available and we’ll be starting a new run of the webinars shortly.

COVID-19 special guides

Once the scale of the back-to-school challenge became known, we convened a special working group to think through the ways in which you might need to adapt Engage for a socially-distanced classroom.

The result was a special series of guides, currently nine in total, with step-by-step instructions on how to adapt Engage for social distancing, track and trace and other measures.

Read more about our COVID-19 back to school guides here.

COVID-19 special release

We accelerated the availability of new functions to offer flexibility in adjusting the current academic year in Engage and plan for social distancing. This was all bundled in an additional release of our school management system in June (followed later by the full June release).

At time of writing this page our development team are currently working on further beneficial changes in the July release.

First virtual User Group Conference

Our User Group Conferences provide very well received support for continuous professional development and networking for Engage schools regionally. We were fortunate to complete conferences in the Middle East and APAC regions just before lock-down and have been looking at other ways of providing this service since.

We’ve just scheduled our first virtual User Group Conference in July. This particular meeting is aimed at all Engage schools based in Southern Africa. Depending on circumstances around the world we expect to extend this to other regions later in the year.

Working remotely yet together

With almost zero notice our global Engage team transitioned completely into working from home, using our already well established cloud services.

Pardon the little moment of self-reflection here, but we’re really proud of the way every member of our team has responded magnificently by keeping our services operational and by pushing well beyond to offer rapid responses to the changing world around us.

The whole Engage team appreciates and admires the magnificent efforts of schools and their staff during this pandemic. You can expect us to do everything we can to support schools as you nurture children and youngsters to be the best they can be, whether learning at home or in a socially distanced classroom.