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Sample Communications


Sample Communication

Death of A Staff Member

Dear Staff,
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear co-worker, _________ As you may know ______ has been _______________________. ______ passed away yesterday afternoon with his/her family by her side.
Let us remember during this difficult time that ___ is now with God. Although, we will miss ____terribly_____ is no longer suffering and is at peace.  _______has been an employee with the board for the last three years. May we hold onto the memories of________. Our thoughts and prayers are with _______children and family members. The family has asked for privacy at this time.

As a Catholic School Community it is important that we come together in times of sadness. When we lose someone close to us it causes many different emotions for people. You may feel sad, angry or confused. If you have some questions, would like to someone about how you are feeling you may contact our EAP program at 1 888-423-5862 or contact Riley Keast (Mental Health Lead). Our senior administration is available to talk with should you have any questions or concerns. We encourage you to pay attention to your own mental health and show compassion to others who may be struggling.

Parents/ Guardians

The school community has demonstrated on numerous occasions that we are a family that supports one another. Today as a family we are saddened by, and grieve for the death of _________, a grade ____ student in our school.

Supports are available to staff and students as needed. Your child's teacher has shared the tragic new with the whole class and facilitated open discussion. Should you have any concerns about how your child is dealing with this situation, please contact the school Principal.

As a school community we will be holding a memorial service in the near future. Details will be shared with you when finalized. We ask you to continue to remember the ______________ family in your thoughts and prayers. Your prayers will help to give them the support that they need at this time.

Yours truly,

Parental distress is great and parents may be understandably reluctant to discuss the death of their child with a person unknown to them. Therefore, it is important that, if possible, the designated contact person be someone with whom they are familiar, (e.g., principal, classroom teacher, counsellor).
□ When you contact the family, you would first express the sympathy on behalf of yourself and the staff.
□ In this initial conversation, you may or may not be able to confirm the details concerning the death.
□ Do a home visit.
□ You may wish to offer to call again at a later time to see if the school community could be of assistance.
□ It is important to establish clearly the wishes of the family concerning the school's involvement.
□ If you have procedures you intend to follow, indicate these to the parents.
□  Invite their involvement if appropriate.
□ Leave a number where you can be reached.
□ Follow-up with a sympathy letter on behalf of the school.

Initial Information to be shared to notify staff and students of a tragedy.
This information is intended to focus on the value of the life lived and to provide accurate factual information. Before composing this  information, it is sometimes helpful to meet briefly with a few staff and students to hear their thoughts about the person and review the OSR. A statement may include:
Explanation that this is a special notice regarding the death of a member of the school community.
□ "It is with deep regret that we must inform you of the tragic death of..."

Clarification of Facts
□ Name
□ Age
□ Manner of Death (remember to always respect the family's wishes)
□ Date
□ Grade

Personal Remarks
Relay some of the positive remarks of staff and students. "The deceased will always be remembered for..."
□ If there is no personal information, speak in general terms about the loss of a young life and the value of the brief time spent together.
□ Invite the students to participate in memorial/remembrance activities. (i.e. only with approval and directed by principal and superintendent.

Concluding Remarks
□ Recognize the emotions arising from the situation, the need to support one another, the "normalcy" of grief ​responses (i.e. tears),  the importance of recognizing the value of the person's life.
□ Advise students of where the "quiet room" will be.
□ End by giving factual funeral arrangement information.
□ Normal to feel sad, angry and lonely.
□ All right to cry openly.
□Accept need to say goodbye.