Coronavirus / COVID-19
Presidents' Forum Part 1
Presidents' Forum Part 2
TRACS Forum International Students
***** UPDATED RESOURCES AVAILABLE ****
Greetings from the TRACS office.
In light of the uncertainty and growing concern regarding the Coronavirus / COVID-19, the TRACS Staff wants to reach out to our institutions. Staff continues to closely monitor the pandemic declared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Please review the following for those sections that may apply to your Institution.
REMEMBER THAT STATES and MUNICIPALITIES MAY HAVE UNIQUE REGULATIONS AND LAWS FOR INSTITUTIONAL COMPLIANCE.
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING YOU DO TO ACCOMMODATE STUDENT LEARNING AND COMMUNICATION. Use every means practical to update your constituencies (email, website, texts, etc.) on current operations and changes, such as events cancellations and calendar adjustments.
Changes to Institutional Academic Calendars: Please report changes to extend spring break or make changes to the academic calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org
Distance Education: The US Department of Education (ED) has given a measure of flexibility to accrediting agencies and the Institution’s holding membership with those agencies regarding Distance Education.
In line with the directives provided by ED, TRACS maintains the requirement that all TRACS institutions offering courses and/or programs via Distance Education (as defined by TRACS and the US Department of Education) be approved by TRACS to offer such Distance Education courses / programs prior to implementation. The approval process for the addition of Distance Education to an institution’ s scope of approval by TRACS remains in place and is described in TRACS policy – BP226 and BP229.
Understanding that some institutions may be required to complete courses for the Spring semester / term via means other than in-class, on-campus, and/or face-to-face interactions, TRACS provides the following guidance:
- Institutions already approved by TRACS to offer courses / programs via Distance Education are permitted to apply this course delivery method to any and all courses and programs offered by the Institution. This blanket provision will remain intact until further notice.
- Institutions that are NOT already approved to offer courses / programs via Distance Education are NOT granted approval automatically by the directives of the ED, but instead are encouraged to develop alternative methods of course delivery and student interaction (correspondence education, email exchanges, teleconferences, directed studies, independents studies, etc.) as a means for completing Spring 2020 coursework.
NOTE: Please understand that this is an accommodation for students currently enrolled in your Institution and it is not an opportunity to enroll new students outside of the current term.
International Students: Institutions approved by SEVIS to issue the I-20 and other related approvals for international students and families The requirements for international students during these extreme circumstances have been relaxed, however, international students must be provided the resources they needed to continue their studies. There is also a reporting component that each Institution must keep current, so be proactive.
- Direct questions concerning international students to your SEVP Portal. Another good source in the NAFSA: International Educators Association (https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/sevp-broadcast-message-2003-01-covid-19-and-potential-procedural-adaptations)
TRACS Accreditation Visits: The TRACS Representative assigned to each Institution will communicate any adjustments to on-site evaluations or staff visits. Some consultations must be moved to online technology or teleconference.
Resources: The websites below are provided to assist you in gathering additional information that can be shared with students, colleagues, and other institutional constituents. Sources used as background for Presidents’ Forum are in green font with the hyperlink below in blue font underlined:
- American Council of Education (ACE) – https://www.acenet.edu/pages/covid-19-information.aspx
- Athens College of Ministry Prayer Ministry Center: Free, confidential, online appointments to support student and faculty emotional wellness – https://acmin.org/why-prayer-
- CDC Consideration for Institutions of Higher Education (2020-05-21)https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Considerations for School Closures: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/considerations-for-school-closure.pdf
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – General CDC Information related to COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- College Reopening Tracker: The Chronicle of Higher Education (List of Colleges’ Plans for fall and other information): https://www.chronicle.com/article/Here-s-a-List-of-Colleges-/248626?cid=RCPACKAGE
- Inside Higher Ed, Planning For Fall 2020 and Beyond: https://www.insidehighered.com/system/files/media/20200526–Planning%20for%20Fall%20and%20Beyond.pdf
- International Student Information from NSFSA: International Educator Association and SEVP: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/sevp-broadcast-message-2003-01-covid-19-and-potential-procedural-adaptations
- National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) – http://www.naicu.edu/research-resources/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-resources
- OpenSmartEDU: https://www.opensmartedu.org/
- Pacific Justice Institute (Legal Issues)email@example.com
- State of Connecticut Report: NOTE: Most Detailed Report on Reopening is from the Connecticut Office of Higher Education: https://www.ctohe.org
- TCL Newsletter: Innovation and Higher Education (The Change Leader, Inc.) firstname.lastname@example.org
- U.S. Department of Education (USDE) – https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus/
- World Health Organization (WHO) – https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus