Many of you are likely exploring educational delivery options in the wake of concerns for the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please be assured that the ABHE Commission on Accreditation (COA) supports your efforts and will not take negative action against any institution that pursues a reasonable alternative to maintain the highest possible quality of education for their students during this emergency, even if that action temporarily exceeds normal policy provisions. While we cannot assure you that all states, provinces, or other regulatory entities will take a similar stance, please know that the COA will support you in these emergency actions.
In particular, switching to online delivery for the remainder of the current semester due to the threat of community spread of coronavirus will not push institutions beyond the existing provisions for alternative deliveries in ABHE policies. As you may know, an institution may offer less than 50% of courses in any program via distance education (online) without a substantive change and special approval from the COA. Institutions that have COA approval to offer 50% or more of a program via distance education may offer additional programs online without a substantive change or COA approval.
There may be other aspects of campus life or institution-specific requirements that need special consideration during this time to avoid community contact. Please feel free to consider alternatives in serving your students during this uncertain situation.
If you have any questions about a specific solution, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, we request that if you are closing your campus temporarily, transferring all classes to online for several weeks, or employing another institution-wide solution to respond to the emergency, please let us know at email@example.com so that we may respond to any queries about how ABHE institutions are handling educational delivery in the wake of coronavirus. You do not need to report accommodations provided to individual students who may be affected by the virus, so please do not over communicate by reporting these individual exceptions.
Should the situation continue beyond the spring semester, I will be in touch with additional guidance from the COA concerning ongoing provisions. If you have an evaluation team visit scheduled for this spring or are an evaluator serving on a spring team, you will be hearing from me shortly concerning alternatives. May God protect you and your students during this season,
Ronald C. Kroll, Ed.D.
Director, Commission on Accreditation