The New 3R’s—Reboot, Reopen, Recovery

May 29, 2020

It is amazing how quickly our consciousness expands to encompass our new normal. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were focused on how COVID-19 was affecting us as individuals, mourning the loss of life as we knew it, lamenting cancelled or postponed rituals and traditions like weddings and graduations, combatting daily zoom fatigue, eating way too many carbs, and generally feeling very sorry for ourselves.

Fast forward to a conversation I had yesterday with Rahel Rosner, a former Business Officer and now the Chief Strategist for the St Paul’s Schools in Maryland, who referenced a McKinsey article that compares the next phase in this process to developing a new “muscle”: an enterprise-wide ability to absorb uncertainty and incorporate lessons into the operating model quickly. We talked about how we are now ready to refocus or reframe the narrative away from the individual to the community, and away from the emergent to the proactive. We are now ready to embrace the next phase with caring, nurturing, hope, and optimism.

Looking ahead to rebooting the economy, CFO’s are concerned about workplace safety, finding cost-cutting measures to offset declining revenues, strengthening supply chains, and redrawing merger and acquisitions plans according to the PwC COVID-19 CFO Pulse and Gartner CFO surveys. Specifically preparing for how to safely reopen schools after coronavirus closures will depend on a school or university’s ability to answer these three important questions:

  • When should schools reopen?
  • For which segments of students and teachers (if not everyone) should schools reopen?
  • What health and safety measures should schools adopt on reopening?

While we have plenty of resources and guidelines at our fingertips, I am sorry to say we have no silver bullet, no template, and there is no one-size-fits-all model. Each school or university has to examine their mission, consider their culture, and make a plan that is just right for them. In addition to the PAISBOA COVID-19 Resources, here are two checklists from Deloitte that may help with practical ideas for the immediate, mid-term and long-term:

Since March, PAISBOA members have been participating in programming that focused on finding solutions to emergent needs and opportunities. As we head into the summer months, we will be shifting our attention to supporting the business officer’s need to make decisions for the near term as well as for the long term recovery and health of their school and community. From finding ways to repurpose equipment that will be used for COVID related testing, to providing a tool to determine how many students can safely occupy a classroom, to helping schools ensure instructional continuity, PAISBOA is committed to the recovery efforts of the membership.

As always, we thank our PAISBOA Preferred Vendors and Corporate Sponsors for providing timely and expert advice in our webinars, as well as excellent pricing for PAISBOA members and support for the association. We appreciate the engagement of our members -- your willingness to share ideas, troubleshoot problems, and help each other sort through all of the complexities of the expanding portfolio of the business officer. Your caring and kindness inspires us and gives us hope that we will reboot, reopen, and recover—together!

Take Advantage of the Power of the Flock... and Stay Healthy!!!

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