Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

COVID-19 Planning Guide For Universities And Law Schools

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, COVID-19 Planning Guide and Self-Assessment for Higher Education (June 15, 2020):

Open SmartGlobally, institutions of higher education are facing unprecedented challenges related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The resulting academic, financial, ethical, and operational questions are complex and high-stakes. The COVID-19 pandemic may represent an inflection point, fundamentally altering how we work, socialize, and learn. The authors of this toolkit collectively believe that our institutions need near-term tools to ensure continuity through this pandemic as well as methods for rethinking the basic assumptions and values of their institutions.

This guide and accompanying risk assessment are designed to provide practical planning resources to help institutions gauge how effectively they are addressing a range of COVID- 19 scenarios. It is intended to accommodate a wide range of institutions: public, private, large, small, comprehensive, specialized, urban, and rural. Each institution will need to develop and implement its own tailored approach to reopening in-person instruction.

Retooling for the future, with urgency, involves a significant planning effort to manage the present environment as well as the opportunity to envision new ways to fulfill institutional missions. Plans need to address the safety of students, faculty, and staff, the financing of our colleges and universities, and preservation of equity and diversity. They will also need to address short- and long-term investment in academic tools that will be essential for education in the period of COVID-19 – adding instructional and enterprise technologies, expanding the range of capabilities of faculty, improving the nature of the curriculum, and strengthening the network of student support. We encourage leadership and planning committees to use this opportunity to set their institutions on new pathways supporting academic excellence, health, and equity. This process begins with four guiding principles.

  • To successfully address the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first opportunity is to acknowledge that all major dimensions of higher education will benefit from being reimagined to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • The health and safety of all members of the community are paramount. Special care and attention must be given to the needs of vulnerable populations.
  • The commitment to academic excellence must not wavier under these challenging circumstances. This commitment crosses all instructional modalities in-person, online, and hybrid instructional modes.
  • Equity and inclusion are critical components of institutional responses. The economic, health, academic, and operational challenges are immense. It is incumbent upon institutions to engineer responses that serve and support the entire community.

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