The National College Attainment Network (NCAN) has created a resource roundup to share best practices, FAQs, policy updates, and other news and information related to supporting students during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here to visit the roundup, which will be updated daily.

By Zenia Henderson, Director of Member & Partner Engagement, National College Attainment Network

“The work of equity requires us to slow down in the midst of challenges and crises, and take a bold stand in the interest of safety, first. Safety means many different things, and this is where centering equity becomes increasingly essential.” –The Justice Collective

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused schools and colleges across the country to close, delayed national sports league seasons, banned gatherings of 50+ people, restricted travel, and has essentially catapulted the entire world into a frenzy of fear and insecurity. During this very uncertain time, we know that these sanctions are especially impactful for some of our most vulnerable populations: the elderly, young children, employees with hourly wages, and college students who are first-generation or from low-income backgrounds.

“I think the coronavirus is the external shock to the higher-ed system that will shine the light on inequality that has previously been ignored. The closures highlight how our procedures are just as classed as our college campuses are.” –Anthony Abraham Jack

NCAN members work diligently with a cross section of these populations in so many ways, and we know that you have your students and their families top of mind. It’s likely that you have asked yourself, discussed with your teams, looked to your peers, and outright screamed out loud the following questions or thoughts:

What do we do with our students who can’t just “go home” now that their institution is closing? My students don’t even have laptops or Wi-Fi at home, how are they expected to get their virtual class work done? Our students are hearing racist remarks from their peers and feel alienated by the xenophobia coming to light due to the coronavirus. My students are stressing out about not meeting critical college admissions and financial aid deadlines, how do I find out how the college admissions field is responding?

In fact, I guarantee it. And you are not alone. We are all sharing the same concerns, questions, and outrage about the inequities that (continue to) plague our health care system, our workforce, and our education system. Our students matter, and now is the time to stand up even taller and stronger together to advocate on their behalf. Don’t forget this moment and the need to elevate these social justice issues once the world has this pandemic under control.

Meanwhile, NCAN has gathered a series of resources to share with our members in an effort to help support and guide your more urgent and immediate work with students and families who are being affected by COVID-19 in disproportionate ways. The information found here will be updated as the situation progresses and/or as we learn about new resources that could be of benefit to the NCAN community.

Please note that the Chronicle of Higher Education is providing free access to their breaking-news updates on the impact of coronavirus on higher education.

External Articles, Lists, and Practical Recommendations

  1. Beyond the Food Pantry: Supporting #RealCollege Students During COVID19 – A guide by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice.
  2. Communicating with Your Students During the Coronavirus – A blog post from SignalVine.
  3. The Coronavirus Is Upending Higher Ed. Here Are the Latest Developments.” – A feed of breaking-news developments from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  4. COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel – The U.S. Department of Education’s Guidance for interruptions of study.
  5. Coronavirus and Racial + Social Equity: Centering Justice During Times of Uncertainty and Four Things You Can do Right Now – A blog post from The Justice Collective.
  6. World Health Organization’s Advice for the Public: Myth Busters – A resource from the World Health Organization.

Updates from the Education and Tech Fields

  1. College Board Cancels May SAT in Response to the Coronavirus (via College Board)
  2. SAT, ACT, and AP Exam Updates During COVID-19 (via Get Schooled)
  3. Updates from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  4. Find Low-Cost Internet Service and Computers in Your Area (via EveryoneOn)
  5. New Internet Essentials Customers Will Receive Two Free Months of Internet Service (via Comcast)

Webinars, Discussions, and Podcasts

  1. COVID-19 and Federal Student Aid: What We Know (Tuesday, March 17 at 2 p.m ET). Join NASFAA President Justin Draeger and NASFAA staff from the AskRegs and Policy teams as they review some of the most common questions related to Title IV and COVID-19. Devin Jopp, chief executive officer at the American College Health Association, will be on-hand to provide an overview of how COVID-19 is playing out across America’s campuses. Time will be provided for open Q&A.
  2. NCAN Member Forum: Responding to a Global Pandemic (Thursday, March 19 at 1 p.m. ET). Amidst so much uncertainty and insecurity during this global pandemic, NCAN remains available and committed to meeting members’ needs. Join us for this member community forum where there will be space to discuss and share programming responses, concerns, and action steps to consider.
  3. Communicating Through the Coronavirus: A Panel Discussion (Friday, March 20 at 1 p.m. ET). Join SignalVine, expert panelists, and institutional leaders from the College of DuPage and the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University to discuss how they’re conducting campus-wide communications in light of COVID-19. Participants will walk away with best practices and ideas on how to ensure the right message is sent to the right people at the right time.
  4. NCAN Virtual Office Hours. Between now and the end of the month, we’ll hold a series of hourlong sessions to which you can bring your questions about any topic (COVID-19-related or not) and we’ll do our best to share answers. Please click below to sign up for any or all of the one-hour sessions.- March 23, 3-4 p.m. ET
    – March 26, 10-11 a.m. ET
    – March 31, 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET

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