THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS (June 1, 2021) – Since early March of 2020, The Woodlands Township has served as the key source of consolidated information and resources to help The Woodlands residents and businesses confront the pandemic.
The primary communication resource, the COVID-19 e-newsletter launched at the beginning of the pandemic, has come to a close after the Township issued 207 editions as of May 25, 2021. In all, the e-letter was sent to more than 15,000 subscribers on a regular basis.
Initially produced and distributed seven days a week for several months, then moved to twice a week and then once a week this spring, the COVID-19 e-newsletter included information on infection statistics, testing site locations, vaccine and health information, grocery deliveries, food banks, mental health services and more.
With The Woodlands located in two different counties, communication efforts were paramount during this specific period of time, according to Township Chairman of the Board Gordy Bunch.
“Our top priority throughout the pandemic was communicating with our residents, providing a central source of information to help navigate through this very difficult time in our history,” Chairman Bunch said. “The Woodlands Township directors and staff members thank our residents for support and readership of this information and for trusting us to provide comprehensive information regarding the pandemic’s impact in The Woodlands.”
In addition to the COVID-19 e-newsletter, the Township utilized its monthly magazine (The Woodlands Community Magazine) mailed to all residences each month. Additional communication tools include a variety of communication efforts to keep the community informed, including a dedicated web page, press releases, partner notification postings, social media and website updates. While the Township will no longer produce the COVID-19 e-newsletter, it will continue to feature a dedicated COVID-19 web page serving as a valuable resource for residents
“We hope you’ll continue to seek accurate and up to date information from The Woodlands Township by subscribing to our community newsletters, checking our website and following our social media channels to stay informed,” Chairman Bunch said. “We are #TownshipTogether.”
The vital COVID-19 information listed above was also shared across all official Township social media channels including, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nextdoor and YouTube. Social media communications totaled 733 posts across all platforms, 49 videos with 30,231 clicks and 2,724,552 impressions.
The Woodlands Township also made efforts to recognize the efforts of the entire community to unite and address common concerns during the pandemic. The Township website served as the central resource for the community to get involved and stay connected.
In addition to the communication efforts, the Township Board named liaisons for nonprofits in the community and for public health and communicated information from these Directors through Board meetings and other communication efforts. Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was named the Township’s Public Health Liaison and Dr. Ann Snyder was named The Woodlands Township’s Nonprofit Liaison. As such, both Township Directors provided key updates in these areas to help The Woodlands residents through this crisis.
“This prolonged crisis illuminated the sacrificial nature of our healthcare and emergency response professionals,” Dr. Sekukla-Gibbs said. “Our citizens displayed boundless generosity and cooperation during extremely harsh circumstances. There are so many heroes and wonderful role models.”
“The compassion and generosity that we witnessed throughout the community during this time was inspirational and unforgettable,” said Dr. Snyder.
Help Our HeroesIn early April 2020, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors launched the Help Our Heroes campaign to collect crucial Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) supplies for local first responders and hospitals. Thanks to the generous donations of residents, the Township collected a variety of supplies that numbered into the thousands for local heroes. As the county re-opened, the successful program and its counterpart, Adopt a Healthcare Worker, transitioned to Interfaith of The Woodlands, where collections continued.
Township TogetherThe Woodlands Township highlighted the positive artwork and creativity happening around the community during this time. Creations (sidewalk chalk art, positive signs for first responders, etc.) were submitted through social media using the hashtag #TownshipTogether or by emailing to The Township. The Township Together campaign earned a dotCOMM Gold Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.
Facilities and ProgramsDuring the pandemic, the Township took measures to ensure safety for employees and residents in contact with Township facilities and through Township programs and services. Employees and visitors were required to wear face covering in public areas of Township facilities, maintain social distancing of 6 feet from others, and seating for Board meetings was set at a distance of 6 feet. Temperature screening kiosks were also installed in several Township facilities, and each Township facility had masks and hand sanitizer for guests. The Township also launched an aggressive safety program in activity centers with high focus on sanitization efforts.
In addition, The Woodlands Township launched #SitSafe, a campaign to promote safety on public transit, including The Woodlands Express Park and Ride and The Woodlands Waterway Trolleys. The #SitSafe initiative focuses on the use of sanitization, personal protection equipment and social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Township Transit riders.