With the new school year in full swing all over the world, many are still trying to navigate COVID-19 pandemic physical distancing precautions, hybrid school events, and online learning. For the most part, we can expect to remain in a semi-virtual space for the rest of the school year, continuing into next year.
With the rise of COVID-19 cases and the second wave fast approaching, hosting a virtual school event is much more accessible, allowing your school to follow district, county, and state guidelines, putting parents’ minds at ease. And with a virtual event platform like Accelevents, you can actually do a lot in terms of hosting major school-wide events.
These types of events may also provide a sense of community when distance learning, so it is important to put your best foot forward and consider a more sophisticated virtual event platform so that you are sure to impress parents, students, and possible donors.
To help school event organizers plan a back to school events, we’ve organized our list of the top 7 ideas for virtual back to school events.
Hosting a Virtual Back to School Event
When planning to host a virtual school event, be sure to consider the way you are presenting it to your audience. For the most part, you won’t want to host anything too extensive, like a lengthy Powerpoint presentation with nothing but words.
You want to make it more exciting and engaging. If you are using this event to raise money for a school fundraiser, then you might have to get the blood pumping, through either excitement or competition!
You’ll definitely want to consider gamification with whatever event you decide to put on. Gamification is extremely engaging and can keep your online audience more attentive to the screen, especially considering that most people will be sitting glued to their computer screen more often than they are used to.
Engaging Virtual Back to School Events
Once you have your virtual event platform prepared, you can consider the following virtual school events to keep your school spirit high and attendees engaged.
1. Virtual Back to School Night or Virtual Open House
Even though we’ve had a crazy year, going back to school brings a sense of normalcy to things. Therefore, since you’ll be hosting your kids for a term, year, or a few years, it’s important to get them settled with things that they would normally do. A “Back to School” night is one of those things.
Schedule one night for your students and family members to meet each other. Your current parents will be eager to meet other parents.
You can shorten the class earlier that day to make things easier for the families. Consider playing an ice breaker game, introducing everyone, and showing the family your “virtual” classroom.
You can consider spicing up the virtual with a Bitmoji virtual classroom, which can be fun and relatively easy to make. You can also pass out important information, the resources that your students will need at this time, and a schedule of events for the year.
2. Virtual Scavenger Hunt or Virtual Field Trip!
Your kids will be spending a lot of time in this digital landscape, so engage them with a virtual scavenger hunt! Start by choosing teams and assigning both teams to find images either on the internet or within the virtual classroom.
Or, you can even consider adding items that aren’t located online! Allow your students a few days to complete the scavenger hunt, and then reward them with extra points for creativity!
If you want to host a field trip, you can encourage your families to get out and explore a venue of their choice. Base it around a theme so the group can share ideas and experiences. Make sure that each family takes pictures and stays safe and within their bubble!
3. Virtual Escape Room
When we are all forced into the virtual space, it can kind of feel like a drag. If you can provide a lot more color and uniqueness for your kids, you may be able to find ways to spice up the online learning environment. One way to do this is to host a virtual escape room!
Escape rooms are very fun. Trying to clue your way out of a made-up space with a few friends is a great way to connect and get the creative juices flowing.
While a virtual scape room space might not sound so appealing, think again! Virtual event platforms can do a lot in terms of augmented reality, virtual reality, and game-like graphics. You can set up a virtual escape room by mapping out the room, and creating your very own version of the game “Clue.”
Reward teams for certain behaviors, like figuring out a certain clue before 2 minutes expire, and create a top reward for the team that wins! If this is a fundraising event, consider asking a sponsor to match a certain donation amount if all the teams complete the event in a certain amount of time.
4. Online Auction
Okay, so we’re all stuck in our home and we’re looking around at all the items that we’ve somehow managed to accumulate in 2020. Online shopping anyone?
It should come as no surprise that we all have some hidden treasures scattered throughout our home. Ask ahead of time for students, parents, and families to offer donations, then host an online auction for these items, with a starting bid number.
You can use an online event platform like Accelevents to respectfully host the auction. This platform allows users the ability to privately submit auction amounts, or “raise their hand” in order to submit a bid for a competitive item.
5. Virtual Craft Night
Hosting a craft night is fun and always engaging! Crafts are a great way to stimulate creativity, personal exploration, and community. So many of your school guests will be able to connect through crafts, whether the craft is ultra silly or more high-end art!
A virtual craft night, though, will require attendees to have the same or similar supplies on hand. So be sure to ask ahead of time for attendees to purchase craft supplies or suggest everyday alternatives that can be used instead.
If you have a specific craft in mind, like felt and glitter, then be wary – not all families will have that laying around. If this is the case, you need to give them enough time to go get it or you need to ship them what they need!
6. Virtual Race or Virtual 5K
A virtual race or virtual 5K is a fun idea, and a great motivator if you are looking to raise money. Ask your event attendees to promote the event on social media, and offer prizes for those attendees who raise the most money!
Then, consider when the race will be run! You can suggest that the race is held during a certain time period (like over a week or two), and have attendees connect to a shared app to mark the time.
If you’re not into races, you can also consider a distance as a goal. You can “walk”, “run” or “whatever” that distance; no matter what, you know that your attendees are out there being active, while also raising money for a good cause.
7. Virtual Admissions Event or Virtual Career Fair
Hosting virtual admissions events and careers fairs are a great way to get the future generations excited to get out into a school of their choice or a job of their dreams. These types of events are perfect for undecided students.
Each prospective parent and student would be able to see what student life at a university campus will be like, as well as claim some applicant opportunity by applying to jobs early.
Ask high schools, colleges, and universities to include enrollment, financial aid information, or have an admission counselor attend.
If this is a career fair event, or you will host a virtual career fair in tandem, then be able to provide networking information for applicants and recruiters. You can also consider allowing private messaging and private video chat for those who might be interested in getting an interview!
It does not hurt to host an admission event or career fair early on. Prospective families might be bogged down with virtual events, so try to schedule this one early on in the winter/spring semester so that parents are aware of it. This might also keep the family engaged during admissions time or encourage students to think about preparing for the future!
As we head back into a tumultuous school year, we have to get creative and consider the many different engaging activities that we can do together online! You never know, your school might come up with the next new fad!
Try to find something that all ages could interact with. Be sure to use an easy-to-navigate virtual events platform like Accelevents, and provide clear communication through the special event. And, of course, be sure to have fun!