Institutes of Higher Education (IHE): Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The situation surrounding the outbreak is rapidly evolving and the information or recommendations are changing as new information becomes available. Please follow Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and CDC recommendations and avoid creating situations that may stigmatize staff or students.
Extensive guidance for amdinistrators and students is available at:
CDC: Resources for Institutes of Higher Education
- Draft language to students returning to the U.S. from countries significantly impacted by COVID-19 (Word)
Interpretive Guidance for IHE Recommendations
Implement Social Distancing Measures
Reduce frequency of large gatherings and limit the number of attendees per gathering.
- These recommendations are meant for those events beyond what is considered necessary for completing routine educational activities.
- For examples classes, labs, or other essential activities.
- Graduation - guidance will be forthcoming.
- Athletic gatherings:
- Consider limiting number of fans.
- Consider keeping attendees to just parents, coaches, and needed personnel.
- Concerts/theatrical performances/fine arts:
- Consider limiting number of attendees to allow space for attendees to sit with some distance between each other.
- If a culmination project, consider hosting in larger spaces with fewer people to allow for social distancing.
Alter schedules to reduce mixing
- Meetings or events:
- Consider if needed.
- Limit size. Maybe include only essential personnel.
- Consider using virtual platforms to host (e.g., Skype, conference call, Zoom, etc.).
Limit intra-school interactions
- Consider creating shifts for dining hall meals.
- Have students/staff schedule times to go to the dining hall, have a set number of spots available for each shift.
- Encourage dining at home.
- Discourage larger parties, going to clubs, and gatherings.
Consider distance learning in some settings
- Some IHEs have provided distance learning for entire classes, as appropriate.
- While still maintaining in-person options, some IHEs have provided the option for distance learning for those:
- At highest risk.
- Who are feeling anxious about staying on campus.
Maintaing in-person classrooms with social distancing
- Some classes need to be held in person, such as:
- Shop classes.
- Fine arts.
- Labs, etc.
- Some IHEs have limited capacity for distance learning.
- Some IHEs need to continue to have in-person classes
- Explore hosting smaller classes in larger rooms.
- 50 students in a room that could host 100.
- Explore classroom arrangements that allow for more space between students.
- Explore smaller class sizes in general.
- Have multiple time slots for a class; split up and stagger sessions.
- Have multiple venues for one class.
- If a mixed medium is an option (such as distance learning), your in-person class size will naturally decrease.
- Explore hosting classes outdoors, when possible.
Consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptoms screening) of students, staff, and visitors (if feasible)
Reinforcing Health Etiquette and Social Norms
- Encourage and reinforce social norms of health etiquette.
- Have hand sanitizer, surface wipes, and tissues readily available.
- Encourage washing of hands often.
- Support students, staff, and faculty in staying home when sick.
- Advise staff and faculty to enforce sending their students and peers home if they are sick.
- Ensure sick policies support the above.
- Hang posters, create "COVID-19 Care Kits" for students and staff.
Short-term dismissals for school and extracurricular activities as needed (e.g., if cases in staff/students) for cleaning and contact tracing
- MDH will notify you if you have a case in your student population.
- MDH will work and partner with you on:
- Contact tracing.
- Notification of contacts.
- Notifications to student bodies.
- Press releases.
- Recommendations and duration of dismissal IF warranted.
- Ensure you have ways to get contact lists of attendees of courses and other events in the event you have a case.
Students at increased risk of severe illness should consider implementing individual plans for distance learning
High Risk Populations
- Risk groups
- Older adults.
- People of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.
- Consider implementing options for those at highest risk, including:
- Faculty, staff, students.
- Both distance learning and teaching.
- Explore technical support needs.
Supporting Employees and the Workplace
- Allow for telecommuting where appropriate.
- Stagger work schedules in the office.
- Increase physical space between workers in the worksite.
- Consider virtual meetings or smaller meetings in large spaces.
- Limit non-essential work travel.
- Take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough.
- Ensure sick policies support employees staying home when sick.
- Follow CDC: Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.