FAQs for Administrators
Planning and Preparedness
What should I consider as I plan and prepare for COVID-19?
— As you plan and prepare, you should reinforce healthy practices to everyone on campus and prepare for a potential case of COVID-19, regardless of community transmission level.

As you create and update your preparedness plans, work with your local health officials to determine the most appropriate plan and action for your college or university. Together, you will need to consider your local community situation—whether you have the local transmission in your community. If so, the level of transmission (none/minimal, minimal to moderate, substantial).
What groups should I work within our community to prepare?
— Work with your local health department to develop/update your emergency operations plan and information-sharing system. Institutional information systems can be used to get accurate and up-to-date information. Day-to-day absenteeism or changes in student health center traffic can help detect and respond to an outbreak.
What should I include in my emergency operations plan?
— Review and update your emergency operations plan in collaboration with your local health department. Focus on the components or annexes of the plans that address infectious disease outbreaks.

● Ensure the plan includes strategies to reduce the spread of a wide variety of infectious diseases (e.g., seasonal influenza). This includes strategies for social distancing and school dismissal that may be used to stop or slow the spread of infectious disease. The plan should also include strategies for continuing education, meal programs, and other related services in the event of school dismissal.
● Ensure the plan emphasizes everyday preventive actions for students and staff. For example, emphasize actions such as staying home when sick, appropriately covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and washing hands often.
What can staff and students do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Encourage students and staff to take everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as staying home when sick, appropriately covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and washing hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
How should my school prepare when there is minimal to moderate community transmission?
Work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community's situation. Continue using the preparedness strategies implemented for no community transmission, and consider the following social distancing strategies:

● Cancel large gatherings
● Cancel or modify courses where students are likely to be in very close contact.
● Increase space between desks.
● Reduce congestion in the health clinic.
● Consider if and how existing dining services should be scaled back or adapted.
What should I do if there is substantial community transmission?
If local health officials have determined there is a substantial transmission of COVID-19 within the community, they will guide administrators on the best course of action for their college or university. Similar strategies will extend across organizations (e.g., K-12 schools, business, community, and faith-based organizations) in a collective effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Measures will likely include extended class suspension and event/activity cancellations (e.g., suspension/cancellations for longer than two weeks). This longer-term, and likely broader-reaching, the strategy is intended to slow transmission rates of COVID-19 in the community. During extended class suspensions, cancel extracurricular group activities and large events. Remember to implement strategies to ensure the continuity of education, research, housing, meal programs, and other essential services for students.

What should we do if a student, staff, or faculty member shows the symptoms of COVID-19?
You should establish procedures for anyone who becomes sick or arrives sick on campus. Sick students, staff, and faculty should be separated from others, given a mask to wear, if available, and sent to their residence as soon as possible. Sick residents of on-campus housing should avoid contact with healthy individuals.
What should we do if we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus or identify someone who was on campus?
Immediately notify local health officials. These officials will help administrators determine a course of action for your college or university.

Administrators should work closely with their local health officials to determine if a short-term closure (for 2-5 days) of all campus buildings and facilities is needed. In some cases, you may only need to close buildings and facilities that had been entered by the individual(s) with COVID-19. This initial short-term class suspension and event and activity (e.g., club meetings, on-campus sport, theatre, and music events) cancellation allow time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities. It also allows the local health officials and administrators to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended duration is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19.
Dismissals
When should I suspend classes or cancel events/ activities on campus?
Any decision about school dismissal or cancellation of events should be coordinated with your local health officials. Colleges and universities are not expected to make decisions about dismissals on their own.

You might need to temporarily dismiss school for 2-5 days if someone with COVID-19 was on campus. COVID-19. This initial short-term dismissal allows the local health officials to understand the COVID-19 situation impacting the school and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities. Work with the local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19.

If there is substantial transmission in the local community, local health officials may suggest extended school dismissals. This longer-term, and likely broader-reaching, dismissal strategy is intended to slow transmission rates of COVID-19 in the community.
How long should colleges or universities dismiss?
It depends on the situation at your school and community. You might need to temporarily dismiss school for 2-5 days if someone with COVID-19 was on campus. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities. The need for an extended dismissal will be made based on what officials discover from contact tracing.

If there is substantial transmission in the local community, local health officials may suggest extended school dismissals. This longer-term, and likely broader-reaching, dismissal strategy is intended to slow transmission rates of COVID-19 in the community.
Should we continue teaching and/or research activities if we decide to dismiss classes?
Yes, consider ways that your college/university can adapt or use alternative teaching methods.

● Review continuity plans, including plans for the continuity of teaching, learning, and research. Implement e-learning plans and distance learning options as feasible and appropriate.
● Ensure continuity plans address how to temporarily postpone, limit, or adapt research-related activities (e.g., study recruitment or participation, access to labs) in a manner that protects the safety of researchers, participants, facilities, and equipment.
● Consider the following approaches:

(a) Use of existing infrastructure and services (e.g., Blackboard, Skype, Zoom) to support the efficient transition of classes from in-person to distance-based formats. This may include using strategies such as faculty check-ins, recorded class meetings or lectures, and live class meetings.
(b) Other student support services such as online library services, print materials available online, phone- or Internet-based counseling support, or study groups enabled through digital media.

● Institutes of higher education should determine, in consultation with their university system:

(a) How to convert face-to-face lessons into online lessons and how to train faculty to do so.
(b) How to triage technical issues if faced with limited IT support and staff
(c) How to deal with the potential lack of students' access to computers and the Internet at home or in temporary housing.
Should we temporarily cancel extracurricular group activities or large events?
If your community has cases of COVID-19, work with your local public health officials to determine if you should temporarily cancel events.

If you decide to dismiss classes, you should also cancel extracurricular group activities and large events, such as club meetings, performances, social events, athletic team practices, and sporting events. You should also discourage students, staff, and faculty from gathering or socializing elsewhere.
If classes are dismissed, how should we decide when to re-open the campus?
Schools should work with local health officials to assess when students, staff, and faculty can return to campus.