Last spring, Illinois PTA ran a series of articles on how to run your PTA when schools are closed. This fall, schools have opened in a variety of configurations, from online only, to all in-person, to some mix of the two, and may shuffle between those as local conditions change during the year. In addition, every school district has its own requirements for activities beyond the school day. Illinois PTA is starting a new series to help PTAs and PTA Councils navigate this unprecedented school year. You can find our earlier piece in this series here:
If you have questions not addressed here, please contact your Region or District Director or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Event Planning Tips
Flexibility is going to be critical for any events that your PTA hosts this year. Activities that include in-person contact may suddenly not be possible if restrictions increase in your area or school district right before the event. To avoid disruptions, PTAs should plan to host events that are either entirely virtual or allow social distancing and meet crowd limitations.
PTAs can accomplish the latter by thinking about how to run an event with families remaining in their cars. Think about how your event could be done with drive-in, drive-through, or drive-by. Another way is to host events that keep families at home, but join in virtually, either online or through social media, to share what they’ve done.
- PTA Reflections (Texas PTA has ideas on how to run your program remotely or online).
- Advocacy Day: Advocacy isn’t just at the state or national level. Organize your families and have a day that they all contact your school board and superintendent about a district issue or local politicians about a local issue (e.g., family representation on school district committees, safe routes to school, crosswalks, crossing guards).
- Host a Family STEM Night using the National PTA STEM + Families program’s new STEM @ Home activities.
- Drive In Movie Night (note: may require licensing to show the movie)
- Bedtime stories: Have faculty or community members share their favorite books online
- Virtual Dance Party: PTA broadcasts the music while families dance online.
- Online Bingo: Deliver cards to families and play online
- Virtual Paint Night: Partner with a local pottery or painting studio to provide kits for home delivery, then join together online and paint. (Note: could be done as a fundraiser.)
- Chalk the Walk: Have families draw on their sidewalks or driveways and share the pictures on social media, the school website, or an online event.
- Virtual Spirit Week: Just like a regular Spirit Week with themed days, but families share photos on the PTA’s Facebook page or share them with a given hashtag on social media, with prizes for the daily winner.
- Virtual Talent Show: Have students submit videos of performances and do a watch party of the collected videos.
- Online Book Clubs for parents, students, or both.
- Holiday Craft Night: Have a drive-through to pick up supply kits and host demonstrations online.
- Host weekly contests on various ideas and themes (haiku, design a school shirt, etc.).
- Driving Scavenger Hunt: Families search for various landmarks around town/neighborhood and take photos when they find them. Assign points to each one and award prizes based on totals.
- Online Family Board Game Night: Have families play online via free sites like boardgamearena.com.
- Virtual Career Day: Have various workers share what they do during their day and answer questions online.
Has your PTA run a successful virtual event? Share the details with your District or Region Director or at email@example.com, and we may feature it in a future article.