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November 2021

Creating a Booking Setup for Covid Testing

By EdTech Discussion No Comments

You can use Parents Booking to take appointments for Covid tests. The principle is very similar to setting up a parents’ evening, in that you want different students ‘booked’ into their own unique time. However, in this case you’ll be asking parents to book “Testing Stations” (or similar) rather than teachers.

Below are some instructions on how to set up a very quick Covid Testing booking process.

Step 1: Create the “Testing Stations”

On the Teachers page, create some new “Teachers” and call them “Testing Station 1”, “Testing Station 2”, etc. Create as many as are required. Each of these will provide a different ‘slot’ for pupils to book. So if your capacity is to have 3x students being tested at the same time, per “appointment time”, you’ll need 3x testing stations.

In the Teacher Name, Department and Subjects fields, just input “Testing Station 1”, so its clear what parents are booking. The Email and Room fields can be left blank.

Step 2: Linking Students to the “Testing Stations”

Still on the Teachers page, you now need to “link” students to each “Testing Station”. This is required because, unless you do this, parents will not see the Testing Stations as booking options.

Click a Testing Station’s name to edit it, then scroll down to the ‘Add Students’ button and use the filters to (one-by-one) add the Year Groups or Reg Classes to the Testing Station. If the whole school will need to be able to book an appointment, add all Reg or Year Groups to the Testing Station. If there are Year Groups in the Year Group tab, this would be our suggestion – click one, then click Add Class, and this adds that whole Year Group. Repeat until all students required have been added to the Testing Station. This may take 5 minutes or so.

Repeat the above step for all Testing Stations.

Step 3: Set up a ‘Parents’ Evening’ Specifically for Covid Testing

Moving now to the Evenings page in Parents Booking, create a new “Term/Group”, which we’d suggest calling “Covid Testing” or similar. Click on this group once created and then create a new parents’ evening.

Create the event as you would a parents’ evening, choosing the date, start time, end time and length of these ‘appointments’. You can use the Buffer Time feature to add a gap between one Covid test ending and the next starting.

Remember to keep the evening as a ‘Parents Evening’ and not a ‘Video Calls’ evening.

You can add more dates by pressing the relevant orange button half-way down the page.

In the 2nd screenshot below, you’ll see we are recommending you institute a rule of 1 appointment per student.

Lastly, select the Reg Groups that apply (which may be the whole school) and then save the parents’ evening.

Step 4: Remove Class Teachers from the Covid Testing evening

Your parents’ evening will have imported lots of class teachers, as well as the Covid “Testing Stations”.

Go to Dashboard > Options > Edit the Teachers OR Evenings > Covid Testing > Edit > Edit the Teachers, and then Select All teachers (untick the Covid Testing Stations) and se ‘Delete Selected’ to remove them all. This means parents will only have the Covid Testing stations as booking options.

Step 5: Send Your Invite

You can now invite parents to book slots for students’ testing.

Go to Dashboard > Options > Send Invite to Parents OR Evenings > Covid Testing > Edit > Send Invite to Parents, where you can customise a bespoke invite to be sent out, select the parents you want to invite and send them an invite.

Mid-Term Feature Release

By EdTech Discussion No Comments

We plan to release a big software update very soon, which will principally change the logic of how to set up the teachers for parents’ evenings (including how to share a parent’s appointment with multiple teachers, to divide bookings between two teachers where they share a class). We’re just dotting i’s and crossing t’s, there are lots of factors to test.

In the meantime we have released the below new features today, with there being no need to delay their release any longer:

1. You can now easily transfer appointments from one teacher to another using the “Share or Transfer Appointments” button in Manage Bookings.
You’ll also see a ‘Select All’ button above each teacher’s schedule to make selecting multiple/all appointments easier.
Sharing appointments means both teachers can join the same meeting. Transferring moves selected appointments from one teacher to another (where the second has free appointments to take these).

2. Parents can request a telephone call rather than a video appointment, where schools allow them to.
Schools turn on this feature when they set up their parents’ evening. The parent is asked to tick a box when making their appointments, if they want to ask for a telephone meeting rather than a video meeting. This is then shown as a notification on the teachers’ appointment schedule.

3. Parents and teachers now have a ‘video meeting help’ button that they can click, from their video meeting room, if they’re having problems connecting to their video meeting.
The instructions provided today will soon be replaced by a new diagnostic tool that Twilio, our video meeting provider, has very recently released.

4. Teachers can now easily see who has not booked appointments with them yet, by clicking the “30 slots available for 28 pupils” type ‘calculator’ on their schedule page.
It is our intention to expand on this by allowing tecahers to send parents a reminder email directly from this pop-up in due course. For now, teachers can use the Manage Bookings > Send Request to Parent feature to directly message a parent.

5. Your automatic data import can be set up to run scheduled searches for new students, and to identify ‘leavers’.
This will not refresh the teachers/classes throughout term, because we don’t want to overwrite customisations you’ve made, but it will help keep on top of the students, adding new students to their teachers and making them easier to add to live parents’ evenings if such a scenario presents itself.
N.B. We still suggest you use the ‘Upload Data’ button before setting up new parents’ evenings, to import the latest database curriculum/class teacher assignments.