Deadlines for higher education institutions to submit several required safety reports have been extended in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Education last week announced the extensions of the required Annual Security Reports (ASRs) and Annual Fire Safety Reports (AFSRs) to the end of the year, but is encouraging institutions to distribute the reports on schedule if they can. The extension applies to Campus and Fire Safety reports, Equity in Athletics Disclosures, and Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP) submissions
According to a statement, the education department “understands that postsecondary institutions and their students continue to face challenges because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We will continue to provide additional guidance on our COVID-19 webpage as needed.”
“The Department encourages schools to take appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their students and employees, to continue to act in accordance with their campus safety policies and procedures, and to advise the campus community about changing conditions that may affect their safety or any major changes to safety policies or practices.”
Taking action for safely returning to campus
With the traditional school year looming, higher education institutions are still working to ensure that classes can resume and how they can structure on-campus classes and activities as COVID-19 cases have spiked over the summer months.
Universities and colleges will also face new requirements in complying with the Clery Act in terms of reporting and emergency notification. An updated guidance from the Department of Education issued on April 3, 2020 includes information pertaining to Clery Act compliance related to COVID-19. It’s probable that additional guidance will be issued as colleges prepare to reopen this Fall.
Higher education institutions will need even greater situational awareness and tracking/monitoring capabilities to establish protocols and methodology for contact tracing, determine the safety of buildings and facilities, and coordinate proper cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, campus transportation, buildings, dining halls, and dormitories.
They will also need to establish safety processes and procedures for any planned events such as athletic activities and how to keep students, student-athletes, staff, and spectators safe, although many are discussing whether games might be played without fans and spectators in attendance, much as Major League Baseball will be doing this season.
Many institutions will be establishing guidelines that limit the number of people on campus, as well as for conducting health tests, enforcing social distancing, monitoring safety of campus facilities, and performing lockdowns of areas in the event of new coronavirus cases.
Emergency management solutions can help education institutions with greater situational awareness of campus activities, giving them centralized information and data that can be efficiently shared with key stakeholders so they can take action quickly and respond to campus incidents.
These solutions also help improve collaboration and coordination with local, state, and federal emergency management, public health agencies, and educational agencies. Greater connectivity to these agencies will help ensure colleges can stay informed about critical data, as well as to communicate important information to everyone affected.
Juvare’s WebEOC Campus combines emergency preparedness and response solutions with pandemic-specific workflows such as contact tracing and case management — delivering the dynamic workflows necessary to keep campuses safe and to manage return-to-school requirements, mitigate risks, and prepare for future critical incidents.
WebEOC Campus is designed to help colleges and universities of all sizes effectively manage the complexities of returning normal operations, not only monitoring individuals, but also tracking facility statuses, PPE supplies, task assignments, and ongoing processes and procedures required. Powered by WebEOC, WebEOC Campus also helps colleges and universities maintain the highest control of privacy standards.
For more information about how Juvare solutions can assist your higher education institution with reporting and Clery Act requirements, as well as other tools and best practices for reopening higher education operations in the wake of COVID-19, contact Juvare today.