The education sector has not traditionally been known for embracing technology. Budget concerns, lengthy approval processes, and training staff are all factors that can contribute to a lag in advancement. The pandemic has been a turning point for schools, as they’ve been forced to accelerate their adoption of technology and re-evaluate processes in order to pivot to distance learning.
The good news is that the tools implemented to operate remotely, like electronic signatures, will continue to benefit schools beyond the pandemic. Here are a few reasons why remote signing is the new norm for many schools:
Save time and stress less
According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, educators work 11 hours a day on average with much of that time dedicated to administrative duties and staggering amounts of paperwork like IEPs, consent forms, reports, and more. Teachers also need to ensure papers get signed and returned, and often spend additional time chasing down forms from parents and students.
Unlike paper forms that have a tendency to get lost in the bottom of a backpack, documents sent electronically can reach their recipient in seconds and can be accessed from anywhere online. It’s more convenient for parents who can review and sign from their mobile devices, and it makes it possible for teachers to track the status of their documents. Tools like automated reminders to sign and notices of completion further help ensure documents are executed and returned on time.
Educators have also reported seeing an increase in parent conference attendance with the new virtual format. It’s proved so successful that many plan to continue to offer the option for virtual conferences, and an electronic signature tool is a convenient and secure way to execute documents during these meetings. When more parents virtually attend scheduled meetings where they can sign documents on the spot, the process becomes more efficient for all parties.
Cut costs and go green
IT firm NWN estimates that K-12 schools spend an average of $50,000 annually on printing and copying. In fact, when the cost of printer ink is calculated by weight, it’s generally more expensive than vintage champagne or designer perfume. By using an electronic signature tool to sign, store, and share documents, schools can significantly reduce their consumption of paper and ink, which not only cuts costs, but is more sustainable for the environment.
Secure data and ensure compliance
Electronic signatures have carried the same legal weight as paper and ink versions since 2002, under the UETA and ESIGN acts. Unlike handwritten signatures, most electronic signatures include layers of security that make tampering and forgery extremely difficult. By using an electronic signature solution with built-in security features like access permissions, data encryption, and audit trail reports, schools have the advantage of knowing their data is protected while remaining easily accessible.
Distance learning may have been the driving force behind schools adopting electronic signature solutions, but it's unlikely anyone will want to revert back to the old ways of pen and paper when all classrooms re-open again. It’s faster, secure, and more practical for both teachers and parents. So if remote signing isn’t already the norm for all schools, it seems to be only a matter of time.
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