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Why you shouldn’t use an emergency texting system for COVID updates

3 min read

The current state of affairs with coronavirus dominating the headlines calls for a smart communication strategy for colleges and universities.

There are times when your students may need to be warned of an emergency. And there will certainly be times when your school will need to pass along important information to students who may no longer be on campus. 

It’s important to recognize when to use emergency short-code messages and when to engage your students with long-code texts. Utilizing two-way texting to stay in touch with students as your institution navigates the coronavirus situation is likely in your best interest. 

Time sensitivity

If a message is urgent and requires immediate attention, that is a situation where a short-code emergency text should be used. Short-code texts are received at a faster rate, while long-code texts would take a bit longer to send to a large number of students at once.

Maintaining emergency readiness

Emergency, short-code notifications are direct and singular in purpose. When someone receives a short-code text, they are typically aware that the message requires urgent attention. Two-way texting allows important, relevant, and helpful information to be shared in a medium that students, families, and alumni are very receptive to, fostering engagement and conversation. 

When you use an emergency communication tool to send messages for conversation or use a conversational tool for emergency messages, you’re lessening the impact of both types of communication over time.

It’s important to differentiate between the two to ensure that your constituents are always aware that, when they receive a short-code text, it’s an emergency that requires immediate action.

Type of Message Example Scenario Short-Code / Emergency Long-Code / Conversational
Urgent in nature Evacuation notice x  
Immediate send to the masses Must deliver to 5,000 students within 15 minutes x  
Ability to reply to Checking in to see if a student needs help   x
Important, but not vital The event scheduled for tomorrow is canceled   x
General information Sharing a hotline students can text into with questions   x


Do you have other tips for texting to stay in touch? We’d love to hear so we can continue to build this resource. LET US KNOW


Do you have other tips for texting to stay in touch? We’d love to hear so we can continue to build this resource. LET US KNOW