Higher education institutions across the nation continue to take steps to help prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19, while still working to meet their students’ educational needs and minimize operational disruptions. Because of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colleges and universities across the country are going online for the rest of the semester, reducing their academic year, canceling commencement ceremonies or otherwise modifying operations. Guidance on how to prevent and respond to COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve as educational institutions face new challenges during unprecedented times.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has established a resource page for issues relating to COVID-19 to aid educational institutions in their efforts to protect the health of students, faculty and staff, while also maintaining compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. The DOE’s resource page includes information related to the impact of COVID-19 on federal student aid, federal work-study, study abroad programs, audit site visits, accrediting agency site visits, civil rights and more.
Campus closures and other adaptions to educational operations raise concerns about the impact of campus closures and online instruction on the availability of student benefits. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued guidance related to the impact of COVID-19 on GI Bill benefits and housing allowances (MHA) for student veterans, who typically have resident credit requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued guidance related to the effect of COVID-19 on maintaining student status for international students, who typically have limitations on the number of coursework credits that can be taken online.
In response to the DOE’s guidance permitting accreditors to make certain accommodations as a result of COVID-19, institutional and programmatic accreditors are providing their own guidance related to campus closures, distance education, changes in enrollment status, disruptions of clinical, practicum or externship experiences, onsite evaluation visits, adjustments to academic calendars and more.
Taft continues to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the higher education community to provide updated information and guidance as educational institutions navigate through these complex and intertwining issues. Please find below links to the most recent guidance and resources for administrators, faculty and other campus stakeholders. If you have questions or concerns related to these or any other issues impacting your institution, please contact a member of Taft’s Higher Education practice group.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance
U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Guidance
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Guidance
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Guidance
Institutional Accreditor Guidance
Programmatic Accreditor Guidance
Additional Higher Education COVID-19 Guidance
Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.