You have just been hired as the Communications Director for a mid-size Southern city in which many citizens are at or below the poverty line. You were hired for your good communication skills and your integrity, and the mayor is looking to you to guide her communications during the coronavirus crisis. To
your dismay, you realize that your predecessor did not have a communications plan for public health emergencies, and you must create one in the midst of this crisis.
This is the situation in your city at this point:
Cases and deaths are increasing but are nowhere near the rates of New York, Seattle, and other hot spots.
The hospitals in your area have enough beds and ventilators to cope with current patient load, but not enough tests.
The Centers for Disease Control projects a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in your region over the next 3-6 weeks, and hospital CEOs have told the mayor that they will need more ventilators and beds to cope with the expected surge.
A segment of the public in your area is skeptical of the severity of the crisis, however, and these citizens are resisting staying home, maintaining social distancing, etc.
Furthermore, many of your citizens are considered “essential workers” and are still at work in grocery stores, construction projects, big box stores, gas stations, etc. where they are encountering the public. Typically, these essential workers do not have the financial resources to stay home nor to tide them over a period of unemployment or furlough.
You have a significant population of minorities, including a limited- or non-English speaking Haitian community, and in other cities, minorities have been disproportionately infected by the
virus, perhaps because they are frequently essential workers.
The exam will ask you five essay questions based on this scenario and your role as the Communications Director in this city. While you won’t know the exact questions until you open the exam, you should consider the following:
What are the goals of the plan?
Who should be part of it?
Which community stakeholders will have roles in the plan, and what will those be?
What might the text of a message to the community be?
Given the scenario, what are the expected challenges you’ll face?
What strategies might you employ to meet those challenges?
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