Risk management tips on how to return to campus

At this time, no one knows how the COVID-19 situation will be looked at in hindsight should a campus stakeholder develop coronavirus, take it home to their family or into the general community, and the resulting reputational risk or financial implications from a failure to adhere to Public Health guidelines and best practices, or the institution’s own stated protocols.

Your campus should consider the benefits to be derived from a clear plan with adequate documentation showing how and why your COVID-19 operational plan decisions and policies were made. Your “best current view” should recognize that you will likely make adjustments as additional information becomes available.

  • Have you considered what communications you students really want to hear, such as “how do I prevent becoming ill and what steps do I need to take?” See our resources list below for samples from your peers.
  • One of the key defense elements appearing to get pushback is a mask policy. Defending a mask policy can be tricky. Bill Coletti of crisis communications and reputation management firm Kith shared a great blog post on setting expectations to maximize acceptance and adoption of your policy. 
  • Finally, we have heard institutions seeking samples of a mandatory waiver for all returning students intended to absolve the educational institution of all liability associated with COVID-19. It appears some are doing so in the absence of input from legal counsel and without regard to or enumeration of other infectious diseases that are relatively common on campus, such as bacterial meningitis, MRSA, Pertussis, and Norovirus.

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