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Table of Contents

COVID-19 Resource Center for Higher Education

This resource center is updated on a weekly basis with the most current information.

Hanover Research is closely monitoring developments surrounding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and how it has and may continue to impact the higher education community. This resource center provides you with key facts, resources, and potential responses to this rapidly evolving situation.

We have set up a dedicated COVID-19 support email (covid19-support@hanoverresearch.com) where you may ask any questions related to COVID-19.

How We Can Help

In addition to the information included in this resource center, Hanover is committed to providing you with up-to-date custom research to help you address COVID-19 related challenges as the situation continues to develop.

Sample Custom Research Solutions

Our research team can craft a customized research project based on your institution’s individual needs:

Survey Series: Understanding Student Perception

Hanover has launched three new tools to capture and analyze current and potential student interest for the upcoming year. The surveys will help your institution deliver a better learning experience, improve enrollment yield, and tailor student services to improve retention by drawing out insights specifically from your key stakeholders. Each survey has a specific focus area and audience with detailed questions to deliver comprehensive, systemic feedback. Click here to see a full overview of this series.

  • Online Learning Survey: Evaluate how students and faculty perceive the online instructional experience
  • Admitted Student Survey: Define the impact of COVID-19 on preferences for fall enrollment
  • Returning Student Survey: Determine how current students view their options to reenroll

Peer Policy Benchmarking

Evaluates opportunities for clarification or expansion relative to COVID-19 related policies at peer and competitor institutions. Sample policy areas include remote work, online education, study abroad and international students, support for at-risk students and discrimination responses, and long-term planning.

Institutional Climate Pulse Survey

Gather real-time feedback on the experiences of students and faculty as they navigate institutional responses to COVID-19.

Social Media Monitoring

Audit social media communication and responses to the COVID-19 situation to reduce the spread of misinformation and optimize transparency.

Research Library Reports

Our syndicated Research Library contains numerous reports that can help inform your institution’s transition to online learning in response to COVID-19 – below are some of most relevant reports:

Webinar Recording – Navigating COVID-19’s Impact on Prospective Students

Hanover reveals the results of our national benchmark survey focused on current high school sophomores and juniors (incoming classes for Fall 2021 and 2022) regarding their perceptions and future intentions. The findings analysis is followed by a discussion highlighting best practices for future enrollment strategies to address the emergent trends and themes, as well as a Q&A related to attendees’ concerns and considerations.

The Latest Information About COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker

Understand the prevalence of COVID-19 when considering decisions about your reopening with our dashboard, presenting county- and state-level statistics on COVID-19 cases and testing.

Key facts:

According to Johns Hopkins:

  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
  • COVID-19 first appeared in China in December 2019.
  • Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, and headache; the virus can be spread from person-to-person. Some cases have caused death.
  • COVID-19 is diagnosed via a laboratory test. There is no coronavirus vaccine yet, though human trials are underway globally.
  • Prevention includes frequent and thorough handwashing, coughing into a tissue or the bend of your elbow, and staying home if you are ill.
  • Global map of locations with confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • U.S. map of states reporting cases of COVID-19 to the CDC
  • Map of U.S. states that have implemented stay-at-home orders

Funding for Higher Education

Hanover’s Grants team is curating COVID-related funding opportunities that are broadcast weekly through our Grant Alerts, combining them in an easily searchable dashboard. The team will continue to update over the coming months, as the landscape develops.

COVID-19 Funding Opportunities

Passed by the House on March 27, the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) includes more than $14 billion in aid to assist higher education institutions in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic . The act includes:

Webinar Recording: Proposal Writing in the Time of COVID-19

As grant-seekers navigate a post-COVID funding environment, many are finding that they must adapt their approach to ensure competitiveness and feasibility of their proposals. This complimentary webinar covers special considerations for grant proposals during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Development of COVID-specific contingency plans
  • Alternative strategies for research studies and programmatic interventions.
  • How to engage program officers and what to ask them
  • Formal and informal guidance from funders

Click here to view the webinar recording.

Grant Alerts

As a service to the higher ed research community, we’ve opened up our subscription Grant Alerts to the public, consolidating funding opportunities and news from grantmaking organizations (public and private) in response to COVID-19, as they develop. Find the latest edition here.

Upcoming Considerations for Higher Education Leadership

College Plans for Reopening Dashboard

Our dynamic dashboard tracks how institutions are planning to resume courses in the upcoming academic year using data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Plan for a Socially Distant or Even a Virtual Fall

Though some countries and U.S. states are easing social distancing restrictions, re-opening isn’t necessarily a return to normalcy. Indeed, Johns Hopkins University (2) urges governors to open schools and businesses in a phased approach once they are “able to safely diagnose, treat, and isolate COVID-19 cases and their contacts.” However, some contact limitations may need to continue to prevent transmission from accelerating again. If another outbreak occurs, large-scale physical distancing may need to be reinitiated.

Institutions need to start thinking about long-term changes and communicating potential continued disruptions to their students, faculty, and staff. Preliminary responses for the upcoming Fall include:

Maintaining a virtual campus, either in part or in full; OR

  • Oakland University has announced a hybrid Fall semester: “At this point, indications are that COVID-19 will remain a threat into the fall,” Oakland’s president, Ora Pescovitz. “As we prepare for the fall semester, we are planning for a hybrid approach that includes both face-to-face and remote instruction.”
  • San José State University in California will likely conduct a hybrid range of courses, focusing on offering lab-based, fine arts, and performing arts programs in-person with other online: “We obviously would love to do in-person come fall, but we have to be ready for all scenarios,” said Kenneth Mashinchi, San José State spokesperson.
  • Several large institutions in Canada, including the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria, will conduct most classes online through the next semester. McGill University in Montreal will offer its Fall 2020 courses “primarily through remote delivery platform” as well as provide its extracurricular activities virtually.
  • The Netherlands will allow “a maximum of 20 percent of students and employees at universities, colleges, and vocational institutions… to be on site when Dutch tertiary institutions reopen on 15 June,” per the University World News. In the Fall, institutions may allow on-site education outside of typical rush hours (i.e., 11am to 3pm and after 8pm) to avoid overcrowding of public transportation, necessitating remote learning for 80 percent of all students.
  • In May, the California State University System announced that most instruction across its 23 campuses will be delivered virtually in the fall 2020 term. The policy includes “limited exceptions for in-person teaching, learning, and research activities that cannot be delivered virtually, are indispensable to the university’s core mission, and can be conducted with rigorous standards of safety and welfare.”
  • Similarly, three-quarters of universities in South Korea will continue with online learning through the next semester, according to a survey of 193 private, public, and national four-year universities nationwide conducted by the Korean Association of Private University Presidents in May.

Resuming in-person programs and services with social distancing parameters in place.

  • Institutions in some regions of China are partially re-opening after weeks of lockdown, according to University World News: “South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has partially reopened its colleges and universities, with seniors and students with medicine-related majors returning to campuses, as the COVID-19 epidemic wanes… preventive measures include wearing masks in classes, scattered distribution of seats in classrooms and having meals separately.” Similarly, some universities in Shanghai are taking students’ temperatures, disinfecting luggage, and taking other precautions upon re-entry to campus.
  • Universities in Spain are also re-opening in a phased approach: Per University World News, “Most universities plan a phased return of students and researchers, with the first phase starting in early June if things continue to improve. As a result, the academic year could be extended until July, and some students may have to sit exams or conduct lab work in September. This could mean an overlap with the following academic year, or a delayed start for the upcoming term.”
  • Israeli and Albanian universities and colleges are also re-opening partially. In Israel, groups of up to 15 students permitted for laboratory classes and other hands-on courses. While most programs and services will continue virtually, Yaffa Zilbershats of the Council for Higher Education states, “limited access to campus is necessary for students in order to fulfil all their academic assignments at the end of the semester, including holding examinations.”
  • University of Mary Washington, a public institution in Virginia, plans to re-open in the Fall: “Given what we know at this moment, it is our hope and intention to resume our scheduled academic operations on campus with the start of fall classes on August 24, and we remain committed to our residential college experience,” President Troy Paino wrote. “That being said, we will be stringent about following federal and state guidelines to promote individual and public health.”
  • William Jewell College, a private liberal arts college in Missouri, also intends to re-open in the Fall beginning on August 26: Elizabeth MacLeod Walls, William Jewell’s president, states: “Our size and expert partnerships allow us to pivot quickly as health protocols change… We will be ready to welcome our students the moment it is deemed appropriate to reopen the campus. It may look a little different than a traditional semester, but as The Critical Thinking College®, we will adapt and co-create our new reality together.”
  • Purdue University recently released plans to re-open its campus in the Fall with strict social distancing measures in plans. Preliminary ideas include “spreading out classes across days and times to reduce their size, more use of online instruction for on-campus students, virtualizing laboratory work, and similar steps” as well as “[protecting] the more vulnerable members of our community by allowing (or requiring, if necessary) them to work remotely.

While moving classes online may be the best for individuals’ personal health, this decision presents multiple pedagogical challenges.

In many cases, faculty members will need to restructure their classes to accommodate a distance format. Institutions must consider how to support faculty who may not have experience with hosting online classes.

  • Provide professional development days to allow faculty members to have time to adapt their classes. Universities can also develop a standard guide for faculty with best practices for taking their courses online.
  • Consider whether to continue holding in-person sessions for laboratory-based, studio arts, theater, or similar classes and activities with a significant in-person component.
    • National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) medical experts released specific recommendations for college athletes at the end of May. Developed by the NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel and Sport Science Institute, recommendations include evaluation of individual athletes for COVID-19 exposure before returning to campus facilities and “consider asking” athletes and staff to self-screen daily. Athletes and athletics staff “should remain physically distant during strength and conditioning activities and, where distancing is not feasible, face coverings should be worn,” according to Inside Higher Ed’s review of the guidance.
    • See our Best Practices in Online Learning at Art and Design Institutions for examples and guidelines in moving studio-based courses online.

Universities will also need to consider how to support students who do not have the resources to effectively participate in distance education. Specifically, when shifting to online education, universities must address how to support low-income, part-time, or other students who are already at the greatest risk of dropping out from classes.

  • Consider leaving some academic resources operational and loaning materials to students in need.
    • Shoreline Community College enables students to check-out laptops, webcams, and other instructional equipment: “Our goal is to prioritize students who do not have a device to access online classes for spring 2020. With limited supplies, we are prioritizing students who have paid tuition and fees.”
    • Similarly, University of Wisconsin-Madison libraries, InfoLabs, and the Help Desk have partnered to provide laptops and other equipment for remote work and education. University community members may pick up laptops from the Memorial Library during strict days/hours, or they may have their equipment shipped to them. Furthermore, all checkout and overdue fees are waived at this time.
    • Read some of our sample reports on the topic: Best Practices in Online Learning for At-Risk Students and Best Practices in Online Student Retention
  • Provide faculty members with guidelines for effectively maintaining relationships with students in online classes. Previous studies have shown that strategies for fostering professor-student relationships – such as video updates, personal emails, and personalized comments on assignments – can help improve retention and academic performance in online classes.

Engage in non-academic student services virtually to more wholly support students during the pandemic and beyond. An optimal approach will include a span of technological platforms, such as videoconferencing, blogs, video libraries, mobile applications, virtual events, and social media.

  • Align goals and services – Develop a strategy to ensure alignment of resources, policy, and infrastructure. “Make sure that policies are enabling your strategy and are not a barrier to your strategy,” states Kim Scalzo, Executive Director of Open SUNY. For example, if the goal is to expand online course offerings, either overall or due to stay-at-home orders, the administration must invest in new professional staff or training existing staff to support growing online enrollment.
    • To support its voluminous online student community, Western Governor’s University’s Career and Professional Development Center provides 1) 24/7 Self Service Tools, like webinars, resume builders, and self-assessments, 2) Job Board of opportunities from WGU students and alumni, and 3) Individual and Email Support.
  • Develop and test supports – Utilize for-fee services from online program management partners, like Blackboard, or free virtual applications, like Zoom. “To start… the support delivery platform must be strong enough to provide classes, counseling, academic support, video chat and other services in a user-friendly way.”
    • University of Toronto, for instance, is offering virtual Mindful Moments via Zoom, as well as one-hour online activities and workshops led by students and staff to help with issues like ‘Building Community in a Time of Social Distancing’ and ‘Self-Care When You are Sick.’
  • Communicate strategically – Ensure that staff are using a variety of modes to communicate what support services are available to students. While older students may prefer email, for example, younger students may be open to text and notifications via social media. Ultimately, it is wise to ask students what their preferences are for communicating.
    • George Mason University has moved its Mason Student Services Center (MSSC) online as of March 2020. Students who need assistance with financial aid, enrollment, student accounts, and other areas may complete an online form or email the MSSC to set up a virtual conferencing session.
  • Determine staffing – Involve staff in conversations about moving services online. When deciding whether to deliver a specific student support online, how to staff that service, or whether to utilize a third-party service, involve staff in the discussion as they are most familiar with the students they serve. Staff may be more or less comfortable working outside of regular business hours and with learning new technologies necessary to support students virtually.
  • Align services with unique student needs and interests – Meet immediate needs first and expand to other supports as resources allow. Arguably, mental health support and counseling services should be one of the first services institutions move online. Susan Aldridge, past president and advisor for Drexel University Online, actively worked with the University’s counseling center “to create video-based training for faculty on how to identify someone in crisis and when to refer them for support. The counseling center compiled a list of mental health resources available by phone in every state, since clinicians can only provide counseling to someone physically located in the state where they’re licensed.”
    • University of Alberta’s First People’s House staff are available during regular business hours via email, phone, and Google Hangout. Students may also fill out an online form to contact the Student Wellness Worker and dedicated Elders.
    • See below for additional guidance on offering telemental health services.

Adapted from University Business’ “5 Steps to Building Virtual Services for Online Students” by Theresa Sullivan Barger, August 13, 2019. See our Global Benchmarking and Best Practices in Online Student Supports report for additional guidance.

Reassure and Project Stability to Admitted Students Who Are Considering Which University to Attend in the Fall

Global higher education titans Philip G Altbach and Hans de Wit state in University World News that “It is impossible to predict the full extent of the short-, medium- or long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, but the implications are becoming increasingly serious and mostly negative, and are likely to amplify gaps and inequalities between learners, institutions and countries.” Admissions arrangements, in particular, have been disrupted due to cancelled entry examinations and other factors.

Though less so than previously thought, international students are reconsidering global study plans, necessitating targeted marketing and outreach efforts.

  • Using student search behavior data, Studyportals, a Dutch-based global study choice platform, provides a publicly available and regularly updated overview of the effects of COVID-19 on international student interest. Overall trends illustrate that “prospective students are showing less interest in exploring study abroad options and are less focused on planning their studies. This is shown by a general decline in interest compared to 2019. However, the demand for education is still large and there are already signs of a rebound as students start to adjust to the new context. In certain countries the interest for online delivered programmes is on the rise, and not all levels of education are equally affected: the decrease of interest for postgraduate offers is less pronounced than for undergraduate offers.”
  • A survey of over 10,000 Chinese students conducted by the British Council found that approximately 40 percent of those studying outside of China may not return to their study abroad location to continue to their studies. Of the almost 8,500 who applied to study in the UK, nearly a quarter said they were likely to very likely to cancel their plans, mostly due to concerns about health and well-being, personal safety, or finances.
  • However, an April survey of nearly 24,000 international students conducted by UniQuest found that international student interest is rebounding. Citing Times Higher Education, “the data suggest that as countries have gone into lockdown, enquiries from prospective international students in those nations have increased… [This] may be because they have more time to research university options and make enquiries.”

Cancellation of key international examinations will shift admissions requirements and intakes.

  • Several U.S. graduate admissions exams, such as the GRE, GMAT, and LSATs, will move online with remote proctoring, according to a press release from Kaplan.  Though countries – such as the U.S. – where exams have already been taken may not see less dramatic impact on this year’s intake, other nations, including England, Ireland, Norway, China, and the Philippines, are deciding whether to offer alternative credentialing, enable students to take exams online, or other options in lieu of traditional seated tests (University World News).
  • Some countries, such as the Philippines, are waiving entrance exams altogether, instead assessing students’ high school general average (GPA).

High school students rethinking fall enrollment due to virus-related financial constraints need additional support and encouragement.

  • An Art and Science Group survey of roughly 487 students graduating high school this year (conducted between March 17-20, 2020) found that “only 20 percent of students are confident that they will still be able to attend their first-choice school… and 17 percent indicated they either definitely or most likely will change their plans to attend a four-year institution as a full-time student.”

Students seeking a holistic/traditional university experience may choose a gap year to travel or work rather than taking classes online.

  • Though some higher education leaders cite enrollment as their top concern amid the COVID-19 crisis, some institutions are reporting an enrollment jump. University World News reports that “enrollment in spring and summer courses has jumped at many Canadian universities despite the shift to online classes… At the University of British Columbia, enrollment for its two summer terms is up 32 percent at the Vancouver campus and 45 percent at the Okanagan campus. At the University of Toronto, registration for summer courses is up more than 20 percent compared with a year ago, and the university is adding classes to meet demand” for instance.

Utilize a variety of modes to communicate ongoing admissions and operations adjustments to faculty, staff, students, and community members, such as a dedicated COVID-19 resource webpage.

Exemplars include:

Sample Institutional Webpages
Sample Modes of Communication
The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI)
  • Targeted online resources for students, faculty/staff, researchers, healthcare workers
  • Dedicated COVID-19 website
  • Regular emails
  • Letters from the Dean
Australian National University
  • Virtual student forum
  • Communications from the Return to Campus Taskforce
  • Wellbeing and Remote Education Survey Suite
  • Publicly available Fact Sheets
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • Regular, live townhalls for students, faculty, and staff as well as dedicated resources
  • Weekly virtual chats between students and School leadership
  • COVID-19 ECHO series to inform health care providers and administration of the latest best practices in emergency preparedness and patient treatment
University of Oxford
  • Updates on University coronavirus research
  • Near-weekly letters from University leadership and faculty members
  • Information on confirmed cases on campus
  • FAQ targeted at students, faculty/staff, researchers, healthcare workers
University of Buffalo
  • Latest operational updates
  • COVID-19 Hotline
  • Publicly available bulletins
  • Communications from advisory groups
  • Links to authoritative sources of information

Exemplars of COVID-19 specific websites include:

Sample Institutional Webpages
Sample Institutional Webpage Features
New York University
  • Live update banner
  • Status of operations
  • Messages to the community
  • General FAQs and Support
  • NYU Location Statuses (e.g., for international campuses)
University of Virginia
  • Latest updates
  • University operations status
  • Travel guidance
  • Community messages
  • Health precautions
  • FAQs and Resources
University of Maryland
  • Community Guidance
  • Resources
  • Diversity and Civility
  • Latest News & Advisories
  • Videos
  • Impact Summary
University of California San Francisco
  • Recent updates
  • Info for patients/physicians
  • Info for employees/students
  • Info for researchers/clinicians
  • Info for other stakeholders
University of Louisville
  • Recent updates
  • Travel guidelines
  • Work Continuity
  • Stay healthy
  • Prevention programs for undergraduates

See “Higher education institution responses to COVID-19 to-date” below for additional institutional responses and dissemination methods.

Continue to monitor guidance from medical and higher education authorities as well as trends and best practices among institutions, especially those in re-opening areas.

With many states moving to re-open their economies, the National Governors Association (NGA), individual state governors, and other authoritative entities in the higher education space are releasing guidelines for re-opening colleges and universities. Institutions should follow these as well as live databases of higher education institutional responses to COVID-19 to monitor trends and assess best practices. Note that as the situation is rapidly evolving, some links may break.

Ongoing Guidance for Higher Education Institutions

Adapted from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Checklist for Administrators”.

Stay informed

Use reputable resources to stay abreast of recent developments in the COVID-19 situation. To prevent the spread of misinformation, point faculty, staff, students, and community members to reliable sources such as the following:

Review and Update Emergency Operations Plans

Working with local health professionals and other relevant partners, review and update emergency contingency and operations plans, particularly those that address infectious disease outbreaks.

According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American College Health Association (ACHA), and other authoritative sources, institutions should identify a core planning team to develop emergency operations plans. In response to COVID-19, many institutions have developed working groups of community stakeholders and local public health authorities to develop tailored policies and procedures:

  • In early March, MIT Emergency Management coordinated community members into an overarching and individual working groups in the following areas to address the Coronavirus situation: Academic continuity, research continuity, business continuity, medical response, student/residential response, and communications response.
  • University of Connecticut expanded its existing emergency management team to include key subject matter experts, such as university medical staff, as well as two sub-working groups to address academic affairs and student affairs. The former working group will focus on areas including travel policies and provisions for academic continuity such as through distance education, while the latter is reviewing preparedness measures for a potential outbreak on campus. These groups meet weekly and as needed.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara developed a COVID-19 Response Working Group that includes the University’s vice chancellors, Academic Senate leaders, faculty subject matter experts (e.g., in microbiology and host interactions), and other relevant stakeholders. The group meets daily and regularly communicates with students and staff to ensure full transparency.
  • See a sample of our related syndicated research here: Best Practices in Risk Assessment and Planning and Case Studies: Major Disruptions to University Operating Models

Per FEMA, emergency contingency plans should include the following:

Basic Plan

  • This brief document should provide an overview of the institution’s “approach to operations before, during, and after an emergency. This section addresses the overarching activities the institution undertakes regardless of the function, threat, or hazard. The content in this section provides a solid foundation for the institution’s operations.”

Introductory Material

  • Typical materials include: a cover page, signature page, record of changes, record of distribution, and table of contents
  • A sub-section should review the overall purpose of the plan, with sample threats and hazards that necessitate the plan.

Concept of Operations

  • Section I: Organization and Assignment of Responsibilities (i.e., indidivudal roles and resposibilities)
  • Section II: Direction, Control, and Coordination (i.e., leadership designation and instructions on how stakeholders should engage with one another)
  • Section III: Information Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination
  • Section IV: Training and Exercises (i.e., in support of the plan)
  • Section V: Administration, Finance and Logistics (i.e., support requirements for all types of emergencies)
  • Section VI: Plan Development and Maintenance (i.e., overall approach to planning and maintainence)
  • Section VII: Authorities and References (i.e., local ordinances, regulations, etc)

Functional Annexes Content

  • “Functional annexes focus on critical operational functions and the courses of action developed to carry them out… As the planning team assesses the institution’s needs, it may need to prepare additional or different annexes. Examples include: evacuation, lockdown, shelter-in-place, accounting for all persons, communications, and continuity of operations.
  • In particular, institutions should develop threat- and hazard-specific annexes, such as an annex dedicated to the COVID-19 situation and other infectious diseases.

COVID-19 Field Guide

Get the resources you need to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 and craft your higher education response strategy with our complete field guide.

Promote Preventative Health Behaviors

Specifically, the CDC suggests the following (verbatim):

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow, not your hands.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces following CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfection
  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Ensure your health clinics post specific guidelines, such as the CDC’s COVID-19 healthcare guidance.

Institutions vary in their plans for promoting preventative health behaviors and health screening upon resuming in-person classes and on-campus operations. According to a survey of 310 presidents of U.S. universities conducted by the American Council on Education (ACE), just over half of respondents (53 percent) said it was “very likely” and 31 percent said it was “somewhat likely” their institutions would resume in-person classes in the fall. Common actions leaders plan to take to promote preventative health behaviors include (verbatim, as of May 2020):

  • Establishing residential space on campus to quarantine (65 percent planning to take).
  • Allowing some faculty/staff to work remotely (62 percent)
  • Limiting lab/studio class sizes for social distancing (61 percent)
  • Limiting faculty/staff travel (60 percent)
  • Limiting class sizes for social distancing (60 percent)
  • Limiting student travel (52 percent)
  • Require masks to be worn on campus (53 percent)
  • Provide PPE to faculty/staff (48 percent)
  • Reducing building capacity of on-campus facilities (43 percent)
  • Canceling all study abroad experiences (43 percent)
  • Require regular temperature screening for faculty/staff (36 percent)
  • Provide PPE to students (35 percent)
  • Require regular temperature screening for students (33 percent)
  • Require COVID-19 testing throughout the year (30 percent)

Use a variety of methods and media to promote prevention in common areas, such as:

Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: A Survey of College and University Presidents

We conducted a survey of 172 campus leaders with Inside Higher Ed to understand how institutions nationwide are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actively Counter Discrimination and Promote Resilience

Administrators should communicate about COVID-19 cases while maintaining individual confidentiality. Faculty and staff should also encourage the use of mental health services and share trusted information to counter potential discrimination and stigma. Create a broad-based taskforce of campus stakeholders and local health professionals when deciding how to proceed with campus operations.

While coping with the virus, universities must make sure that they work to reduce potential stereotyping and discrimination.

  • Ensure that all communications to the campus at large convey inclusivity.
    • Syracuse University’s Chancellor published a message supporting Asian students as an “integral part of our Orange community” and encouraging students to respect each other.
    • University of Virginia’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is combatting discrimination and harassment, especially against the Asian community, by providing a variety of assistance programs, services, and resources via a ‘Community Care in Response to COVID-19 webpage. The web page offers translations in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English.

Universities must also make sure to provide adequate support for students who have experienced discrimination or otherwise feel displaced or worried about COVID-19.

  • Ensure that counseling and other mental health services remain adequately equipped and staffed to handle student needs. Within the current context, Inside Higher Ed’s and Hanover’s survey of 172 university presidents found that 92 percent are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the mental health of their students during this epidemic. To that end, the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance (HEMHA) offers the following practical considerations for offering telemental health services (adapted):
    • Benefits – increased access, convenience, cost savings, barrier removal, accommodate privacy concerns, and increased clinical capacity.
    • Risks – confidentiality, cybersecurity, crisis intervention, training and supervision, insurance, and HIPAA compliance.
    • Limitations – service disruptions, efficacy, gaze angles, difficulty of assessment, lack of infrastructure, and social justice barriers.
    • Other practical considerations:
      • Administrative logistics – e.g., insurance, fees, billing
      • Location of provider – i.e., what additional security measures must be in place for teleworking clinicians?
      • Services provided – e.g., will assessments or comprehensive treatments be offered?
      • Hours of operation – e.g., will services be offered outside of the campus’ operating hours?
      • Staging the office environment – e.g., how should the provider/client sit to assess nonverbal cues?
      • Third-party providers – i.e., what are the costs/benefits of various third-party providers and online platforms?

Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions for Higher Education

Get answers to the top questions higher education leaders are asking about COVID-19.

Hanover Research