Colleges and Universities

Institutions of postsecondary education are enriching environments for students to learn, connect with peers from diverse backgrounds, and develop knowledge and skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Campus environments, including those in which students learn, study, live, and socialize, can also present unique challenges for helping to ensure safety and mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adult-aged students are more likely to be at risk for severe cases of COVID-19 and more likely to be living away from their families and community networks. Professors, faculty, administrators, and staff have also been affected by the pandemic while serving as a support system for others on campus.

A group of multi-ethnic college students wearing masks

From the beginning of the pandemic, colleges and universities have rapidly formed and implemented plans of action to keep students, professors, faculty, staff, and surrounding campus communities safe. This has included making difficult decisions about transitions to online learning, restricting campus life and activities, and remaining flexible to accommodate the unique needs of their students and provide supports where needed. As campuses continue to reopen, institutions of higher education (IHEs) will continue to accommodate and support students, ensure the provision of equitable access to higher education, and maintain safety procedures to protect all individuals on campus.

The resources on this page share guidance for supporting students; maintaining safe and healthy environments; and ensuring teacher, faculty, and staff well-being, professional development, and supports that are specific to colleges and universities. IHEs, professors, faculty, staff, other providers of postsecondary education, and States may use these best practices and lessons learned to inform their strategies for responding to students’, professors’, faculty’s, and staff’s needs throughout the campus reopening process.

College students wearing masks seated at their desks in the classroom

ACHA COVID-19 Resources

Since 1920, the American College Health Association (ACHA) has served as the voice for student health and wellness. Through advocacy, research, and education, ACHA stands at the forefront of issues that impact the health and wellness of our college students. Since the onset of COVID-19, ACHA’s COVID-19 Task Force has conducted studies and surveys leading to the development of guidelines and briefs that can be used for postsecondary institutions across the country.

Submit Your Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Have a lessons learned or best practice for operating colleges and universities safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Visit the Best Practices Submission page to view details on submission requirements, and then e-mail Bestpracticesclearinghouse@ed.gov to share your lessons learned or best practice.

Provide Feedback

Have feedback to share on a resource accessed on the Clearinghouse site? We want to hear from you. Select the button below to share your feedback with the U.S. Department of Education and the Clearinghouse team.

Illustration of multiple education icons representing Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff

U.S. Department of Education’s COVID Handbook Volume 3: Strategies for Safe Operation and Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Students, Faculty, and Staff

The third volume of the Handbook addresses institutions of higher education (IHEs) and includes: (1) Practices to aid IHEs in implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for IHEs and examples of actions IHEs can take with Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grant funding; (2) Institutional responses to ongoing challenges and potentially lasting impacts on underserved populations, including the transition to online learning and the provision of basic needs; (3) Ways in which IHEs have already been and can continue to be sources of support to their communities’ ongoing response and recovery from the pandemic; and (4) A catalog of the resources and administrative flexibilities offered to IHEs as they address rapidly changing conditions and needs on the ground, including resources that support both students and IHEs under the ARP.

Submit Your Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Have a lessons learned or best practice for operating PreK-12 schools and school districts safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Visit the Best Practices Submission page to view details on submission requirements, and then e-mail Bestpracticesclearinghouse@ed.gov to share your lessons learned or best practice.

Provide Feedback

Have feedback to share on a resource accessed on the Clearinghouse site? We want to hear from you. Select the button below to share your feedback with the U.S. Department of Education and the Clearinghouse team.