Colleges and Universities

Institutions of higher education (IHEs) 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 student health and safety. Adult-aged students living away from their families and community networks rely on professors, faculty, administrators, and staff, who have also been affected by the pandemic, to serve as their campus support systems.

Happy female student attending a class with her classmates at lecture hall and reading a textbook

In response to the pandemic, colleges and universities rapidly formed and implemented plans of action to keep students, professors, faculty, staff, and surrounding campus communities safe. This included making difficult decisions about transitions to virtual learning, restricting campus life and activities, and remaining flexible to accommodate the unique needs of their students and provide supports where needed. Now, as IHEs work to support their communities in recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, they must continue to provide emotional safety and mental health supports for students and staff, 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 pandemic recovery process.

College students wearing masks seated at their desks in the classroom

CoVAC: Campus COVID-19 Vaccination and Mitigation Initiative

The Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative (CoVAC) is working to increase vaccine confidence and combat vaccine misinformation on college campuses. Together, we can build trust in students and other campus stakeholders by providing them with relevant, credible, and accurate information on the importance of getting vaccinated, vaccine safety, and where to get vaccinated.

Submit Your Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Have a lessons learned or best practice for helping colleges and universities recover from the 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.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention logo

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Updated Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education

See updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides resources that administrators from institutions of higher education can use to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among students, faculty, and staff.

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 helping colleges and universities recover from the 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.