COVID-19 has impacted everyone—and not just by sending us anxious to our local pharmacies for what’s left of the hand sanitizer and canned goods. Colleges and universities around the nation are faced with striking an ultra-fine balance: maintaining the safety and well-being of their student body and staff and minimizing the impact to learning outcomes and semester completion. For some schools, this has meant shifting formats at break-neck speed to accommodate student learning through online classes; for others, it’s a matter of total class suspension.
Regardless of how an institution reacts to this pandemic, effective communication is key. In an effort to keep their campus communities informed, some colleges have created COVID-19 FAQ pages, like this one from Connecticut College, while others have dedicated landing pages like this one from Columbia University. What’s more, enhanced communication and collaboration between all the institutional departments working to manage the pandemic’s impact on college campuses has never been more critical. This includes administrators, full-time and adjunct faculty, academic advisors, college recruitment and admissions personnel, dormitory administrators, IT and instructional technology teams, counseling services, food services, financial aid, diversity and multicultural affairs, legal affairs, health, travel and safety departments and more. Then there are all the communications needed externally, like those between institutions and parents or institutions and local public health departments. And it doesn’t stop there.
All in all, there’s a lot for higher ed institutions still to figure out in response to this growing public health crisis. Read on for a list of relevant resources we’ve compiled to help you navigate these largely uncharted waters.
General COVID-19 Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC is one of the best places to turn for current and confirmed information around Novel Coronavirus. Explore these helpful pages to help you stay informed—and healthy:
- Steps to prevent getting sick
- How to protect yourself
- Cleaning and disinfection recommendations
- Risk assessment
- Cases in U.S.
- Situation Summary
World Health Organization (WHO)
Access the latest government news and resources around COVID-19 including Coronavirus Guidelines for America, FEMA’s response to common myths related to the virus and how to help amidst the crisis on coronavirus.gov.
COVID-19 Resources for Higher Ed Faculty and Administrators
The CDC also has a dedicated page with resources to help colleges and universities prepare, plan and respond to COVID-19, including guidance on when to close your school. Key CDC tools include:
- FAQs for Administrators
- Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education (including a decision tree to inform school closures)
- Communication Resources
The American College Health Association (ACHA) offers a COVID-19 page featuring a range of helpful resources institutions can use to help manage the outbreak. Here are just a few tools you’ll find there:
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Dept. of Ed compiled a range of resources for K-12 and higher ed institutions on their COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel page. Some helpful resources they cite:
- The Office for Civil Rights’ Letter to Education Leaders on Preventing and Addressing potential discrimination associated with COVID-19
- Federal Student Aid’s Coronavirus Information for Students, Borrowers, and Parents
- The Office of Postsecondary Education’s Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies
- The Office of Postsecondary Education’s guidance for interruptions of study related to Coronavirus
Inside Higher Ed
Follow along with LIVE UPDATES from IHE staff around university closures, conference cancellations, room and board refunds and other news around higher ed’s reaction to COVID-19.
Study Abroad Programs and International Students
This pandemic has forced many higher ed institutions around the nation to halt foreign travel, cancel, suspend or adjust study abroad programs and more. These resources may be helpful as you strategize interim solutions for these programs at your school:
- CDC Travel Information
- CDC Guidance for Student Foreign Travel for Institutions of Higher Education
- IIE Survey on the Effects of COVID-19 on International Students and Study Abroad
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M Nonimmigrant Students
- CDC Risk Assessment and Management
Mental Health Resources
Given the severity of this global health crisis and the upsurge in isolation, it’s not uncommon for people to experience higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression—regardless of whether they’re typical sufferers. According to an L.A. Times article, the college affordability advocacy group, Rise conducted a survey on the COVID-19 outbreak where “75% of college students who responded are dealing with higher levels of anxiety, depression and stress.” Having a webpage like University of Michigan’s or Riverside City College’s linking students to coping strategies and mental health resources can be helpful. Here are some additional resources to consider:
- McLean Hospital’s Tips to Help College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Higher Education Mental Health Alliance (HEMHA) Guide: “College Counseling from a Distance: Deciding Whether and When to Engage in Telemental Health Services“
- CDC’s Stress & Coping page
- Psychiatric Times article: “Universities’ Response to Supporting Mental Health of College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
- WHO’s Q&A on COVID-19 and mental health
- WHO’s video: What can you do to fight stigma associated with COVID-19?
Want to know what else you can do at your institution to help manage the impact of COVID-19 on campus? Explore the CDC’s Checklist for Higher Education Administrators.