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Department of Education Releases COVID-19 Handbook for Higher Education

Coronavirus Higher Education

Also by Jenny Lee*

The U.S. Department of Education recently released Volume 3 of its COVID-19 Handbook, which provides higher education institutions with strategies for reopening for in-person instruction and implementing the most recent CDC guidance on COVID-19 mitigation and prevention. Volume 3 of the COVID-19 Handbook follows Volumes 1 and 2, published earlier this year, that focused on reopening strategies for K-12 schools and their communities. The third Volume addresses several topics that the Department identifies as being among the most pressing for higher education institutions’ fall reopening efforts, including: 

  • Strategies for implementing CDC guidance on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation. 
  • Practices to promote and offer COVID-19 vaccinations. 
  • Supporting students’ transition to in-person instruction. 
  • Addressing students’ needs, such as broadband access, financial assistance, housing, healthcare, and mental health support. 
  • Taking advantage of Higher Education Emergency Relief grant funding. 
  • A catalogue of resources for higher education institutions. 

The Handbook also includes information on how higher education institutions can use funds from the American Rescue Plan and other relief bills, such as the CARES Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), to address student needs and health and safety measures due to the pandemic. The ED also launched a companion website, the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse, to provide resources for K-12 and higher education institutions who are seeking guidance on utilization of federal relief funds to support students, faculty, and staff in underserved communities. 

For more information on the COVID-19 Handbook and how it may be best utilized at your institution, please contact the authors of this post or any Franczek attorney 

*Jenny Lee, a second-year law student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, is a Loyola Education Practicum Student at Franczek P.C. The Practicum, part of Loyola’s education law curriculum, was created to provide law students with practical experience at education law firms and organizations. Students receive academic credit for their Practicum experience.