Repopulating Campus Resource Center

Repopulating Campus Resource Center

Resources to safely bring back your campus community for autumn 2020

EAB’s latest recommendations on de-densification: The start of the fall term have shown that even the best-prepared institutions must alter course for their campus operations to keep their campuses safe from further COVID-19 outbreaks.

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions have assembled taskforces to design operational strategies that protect the safety of their campus communities and maintain their financial operations. With mounting uncertainties and complexities, college and university leaders are facing challenges that will redefine their institutions and the future of higher education.

This resource center provides the latest information on key considerations for campus repopulation plans. As our work evolves, we will update this center with research, tools, and resources to help partners determine how to safely bring back their students, staff, and faculty amidst the global pandemic.   


Institutions are scrambling to develop robust contact tracing plans as critical components of their containment strategies. Consider the following lessons learned from government-controlled contact tracing plans.

An essential public health tool to contain the spread of viruses, testing is the cornerstone of institutional repopulation plans. Review the potentials and limitations of COVID-19 testing.

To prevent spread of COVID-19, it is critical to separate identified infected individuals from the campus community. Watch the webinar to learn about the spectrum of quarantine and isolation strategies to consider for your repopulation plans.

Health Protocol Compliance

Repopulation plans must develop measures to ensure compliance to new policies and procedures on campuses. Check out these best practices for educating campuses on physical distancing.

Institutions must prepare for how they will scale down operations in the event of outbreaks this fall. Review which metrics you should be tracking and how to create a public-health-informed depopulation plan.


De-densifying campuses is a complex challenge that demands innovations across institutions use and manage their facilities. Listen to EAB experts discuss the magnitude of this challenge as they examine on-campus housing, dining facilities, and classroom spaces.

Traditionally a cornerstone of socialization for students, residence halls create unique challenges to repopulating campuses this fall. Review what institutions should consider for their residential operations to maintain the safety.

Institutional de-densification strategies involve a complex set of decisions which have significant downstream consequences. Read our expert analysis on which considerations should inform your academic de-densification plans.

Virtual Learning

Faculty have quickly mobilized to develop remote learning experiences for students, often with little training and resources. Check out our resource center to support remote instruction design for your short- and long-term institutional course planning.

Disruptions to on-campus learning pose great threats to the long-term skill building required to secure employment after graduation. Consider integrating experiential learning into your virtual offerings to address and prevent further gaps in career development.

Transitions to digital learning have exposed deep-seated equity concerns on campuses across the nation. Review how to design equitable and accessible virtual offerings for your students.


The decision to pull-back from repopulation will be one of the most complicated any leadership team will make. Not only are the public health and financial consequences immense, but there are dozens of variables that could inform this decision. Some of these may contradict one another, and others—like faculty and student opinion—are not easily quantified.

IT leaders are now grappling with how to effectively implement contact tracing technology and protocols on their campuses and ensure that data is being protected and ethically utilized. Although these new capabilities are still taking shape, we can glean some early lessons about the challenges and opportunities that contact tracing technology presents by reviewing how international and local governments have approached these tools.

As critical as it is to prioritize an isolation and quarantine strategy as part of your repopulation strategy, it is just as important to determine what approach works best for the needs of your campus community. Inherent in every decision is a balance between cost and risk to public health. EAB has spent the past few months speaking to higher education leaders about their IQ strategies and have catalogued the spectrum of approaches into the following tiers.


At many institutions, living on campus is a crucial dimension of the student experience, as well as a key source of auxiliary revenue. But current public health evidence indicates that communal living could strongly facilitate virus transmission, and many campuses lack the ability to give each student the safest option of a private room and bathroom. Ultimately, all universities are facing the same question: what is the housing solution that provides students with an on-campus experience that’s as fulfilling as possible, while also protecting the community from outbreaks?

Health Protocol Compliance

Providing students with opportunities to build community and form meaningful connections will not only make students more willing to follow distancing guidelines, but will also positively impact students’ mental health—another growing crisis of the global pandemic. EAB has identified four strategies to foster connections among the student body in a physically distant environment.

Leveling Up Virtual Learning

Here you’ll find resources to support remote instruction across different types and sizes of courses, guidelines for maintaining equity and accessibility, and strategic frameworks to guide the next phases of online course development for summer and fall.

As campuses continue to operate in our new virtual reality, it is critically important that accessibility is at the forefront of online design and instruction, so that all students can learn effectively. With a lot of progress to be made across the board, the IT Forum has narrowed down the top considerations for institutions looking to make their remote learning environments accessible for all.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education leaders scrambled to make important decisions about remote campus operations while trying to maintain some academic continuity for their students. Use this resource to reflect on your institution’s COVID-19 response and access guidance and resources to help improve your efforts in that area.

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