PT3: More support for COVID-19 interviews

Aug 20, 2020

We have fielded calls from many schools wanting to support face-to-face interviews as well as interviews via phone or online meetings. Generally we have been managing these by duplicating the round and giving them appropriate descriptions.

We are aware that the COVID-19 situation may be with us for another 12 months, so we have decided it is time to build something slightly easier to use. Support for multiple communication mediums.

Note: This option is generally only valid where parents are booking with staff. It is not valid for booking events or volunteer roles.

Support for multiple communication mediums

We determined that generally there are three different mediums we need to support:

  1. Face to face (where the parent visits the teacher at school)
  2. Telephone (using a regular telephone or mobile phone call)
  3. Online (using one of the many online calling of video call applications)

When you create your Booking Round there is a new option that allows you to configure support for these multiple mediums.

With the system configured for multiple mediums there is then a new row available to configure these mediums.

When using the “Telephone” option it is worth keeping in mind the number of phone lines that your school has, as this will limit the number of concurrent outgoing calls your staff will be able to make. Of course the staff can optionally make those calls from home or using a mobile phone.

Staff can block some of these options

We have had a number of teachers ask that their interviews be limited to a particular communication medium, for example they would prefer to do all of their interviews via telephone.

To support this staff can block-out specific communication mediums, and they can do this for specific time ranges. Therefore a staff member not wanting face-to-face meetings can block this option. Similarly a staff member not wanting online/zoom meetings can block this option.

When the staff member logs in to view the booking round they will have a new row for the COVID-19 settings.

Clicking this row will allow the staff member to configure block-out rules for unwanted communication mediums.

The SOBS Administrator and Round Manager will see a list of staff who have configured block-out rules for themselves.

Parents set their preferred option

Currently we allow the parent to configure their preferred option when making a booking. This happens when they click the button to make a booking for a particular booking round.

The dialog below appears when the parent clicks the button above

This selection is then reported in the email to the parent and the reports to staff.

Conflicting options

At times a parent may prefer the “In person” option for their interviews. However the staff member may have blocked-out the “In person” option in order to avoid unnecessary contact. In this situation a message will appear on the bookable time slots warning the parent that their preferred option may not be available.

When this occurs the first available option will be listed in the booking and included with the emails and reports.

Other Questions

What is the impact of setting the number of phone lines? We do not limit booking based on the number set. For example if you set a phone lines value of “4” it is still possible to book more than 4 telephone interviews in a single time slot. The reason is that some schools are allowing staff to make those interview calls from home, using a home phone or a personal mobile. Other schools are arranging for additional temporary mobile phones to be made available.

However, if you do set the number and then run the “View by time” report of bookings, we will highlight those bookings that exceed the maximum number of lines. For example the report below had a phonelines value of “2”: