Update on COVID-19

SHEEO is monitoring the evolving situation pertaining to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and will share guidance and updates from federal agencies and national health authorities as we receive them. The following guidance has been issued to the higher education community thus far:  

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released interim guidance for administrators of colleges and universities in planning and preparing for COVID-19, along with recommended response measures for those with the virus in their community.
  • The CDC has also released guidance for institutions of higher education (IHEs) related to foreign travel. The CDC has asked IHEs to consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs and recommends IHEs consider asking current program participants to return to their home country, as well as asking students participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States. The CDC recommends that IHEs consult with state and local health authorities on the best approach for when and how study abroad students might return. 
  • The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance related to compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) for those that are impacted by COVID-19. The Department’s guidance offers flexibility under its existing authority to help IHEs continue to serve students.

Other resources include: 

  • The U.S. Department of Education has a website with information related to COVID-19. 
  • The American College Health Association has issued a document on what campuses need to know about COVID-19, as well as guidelines for campus health staff and administrators preparing for COVID-19.

As the U.S. Department of Education has offered flexibility to IHEs, we encourage our members to consider whether they may need to offer similar flexibility related to their own statutory and regulatory requirements so that their IHEs can remain compliant and continue to serve students.  

Lastly, if there are federal policy challenges your state or institutions are encountering about COVID-19 (such as authorization and distance education), please contact Tom Harnisch, vice president for government relations, at tharnisch@sheeo.org. Congress is currently exploring legislative responses to meet immediate and longer-term needs.

If you have any other questions or concerns related to COVID-19 and higher education, please feel free to contact Rob Anderson, president, at randerson@sheeo.org.