COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Three


COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Three

The U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at The page will be continuously updated by the Department. Below are brief overviews of what can be found in some of the materials on postsecondary issues. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so keep checking the blog!
Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to CoronavirusThis memo from the Office Of Postsecondary Education gives guidance to institutions on adapting to a broad range of issues in the wake of Coronavirus. Specifically, this memo:

  • Describes and details broad approval for online technologies and distance learning in the short-term. However, programs created now may need to go through a formal approval process at a later date;
  • Gives accreditors flexibility to waive distance education review requirements for students interrupted by Coronavirus. However, this flexibility does not replace clock-hour licensure requirements if the licensing body does not accept distance learning courses. Additional information on changes for accreditors can be found here;
  • Outlines “basic requirements for providing distance education” including some minimal communication requirements;
  • Details that the Department is authorized to grant institutions, if needed, a reduction in the length of the academic year;
  • Provides guidance on modification to payment reporting periods; and
  • Discusses the return of Title IV money under the Higher Education Act to students. Since this guidance was issued, new legislation allows for Title IV fund return to be waived if a student withdraws due to Coronavirus.

COVID-19 FAQs for Institutions of Higher Education and Postsecondary Systems
The Department issued a  fact sheet with frequently asked questions that expands on the guidance memo and goes into a little more detail regarding a few frequently encountered questions for institutions and systems including:

  • Further guidance on Federal Work Study funds for institutions that have been affected by Coronavirus and students that are not able to work (page 1) and 
  • Tracking of online clock-hour programs (page 3). 

CDC Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education
The CDC guidance includes information about  the role of postsecondary institutions in the mitigation of transmitting  Coronavirus and lays out what steps institutions can take to minimize a spread. This interim guidance page will be updated as more information becomes available. The guidance provides specific instructions depending on if there is no community transmission, minimal to moderate community transmission and substantial community transmission.  
The Department will continue to publish and update resources on its Coronavirus page. Please check back regularly as new content may be added frequently.
Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy