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Institutes of Higher Education

COVID-19 Toolkit


Higher education programs, colleges, universities, trade and technical schools are a critical component of communities and have tremendous impact on the health, well-being, growth, and development of students and families in Los Angeles County. To support your needs, the Institute of Higher Education COVID-19 Toolkit serves as a resource to prepare for, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 on campus. Guidance, templates and answers to frequently asked questions for the education setting have been selected from local, state and national resources. The toolkit will provide guidance, community prevention strategies and reporting of COVID-19 cases at your educational organization.

Guidance Documents

Guidance for Institutes of Higher Education (IHE)

COVID-19 Resources for Exposure Management

What To Do When You Have a COVID-19 Case at Your Institution (Exposure Management Plan)
  • This Exposure Management Plan (EMP) for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) details action steps to take after you have identified a COVID-19 positive case in your institution. Immediate implementation of the EMP after identifying a single case of COVID-19 at the IHE campus can accelerate the ability to contain spread of COVID-19 and prevent a single case from becoming an outbreak at the site. This short training video walks you through the elements of COVID-19 exposure management in your facility.
Reporting Cases at your Institution

Institutes of Higher Education are required to notify the Department of Public Health (DPH) of all employees and students with confirmed COVID-19. To complete this education sector reporting requirement, the institution should use the reporting tool described below to provide information on (1) students and staff with confirmed COVID-19 who were on campus at any point within the 14 days prior to the illness onset date and (2) persons on site and/or affiliated with the IHE who were exposed to the infected person during the infectious period. The illness onset date is the first date of COVID-19 symptoms or the COVID-19 test date, whichever is earlier. All case notifications should be submitted to DPH within 1 business day of being notified of the case.

  • Online reporting: Secure online reporting is the preferred method for notifying DPH of COVID-19 exposures and can be done on a computer or mobile device with access to the secure REDCap web application: http://www.redcap.link/lacdph.educationsector.covidreport.
    • This training video walks you through the process of submitting an online report for COVID-19 cases and contacts at your Institution.
  • Excel line list: If online reporting is not possible, reporting can be done manually by downloading and completing the COVID-19 Case and Contact Line List for the Education Sector and sending it securely to ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov.
    • This training video walks you through the process of filling out the Excel COVID-19 Case and Contact Line List for reporting to DPH. A Spanish version of the training video is located here.
  • Data dictionary
    • This data dictionary (English | Español) describes each of the variables being collected for Education Sector cases and contacts as part of the reporting requirement.
Notification for Staff and Students
  • Notification Letter Guides
    • These model letters are designed to assist with communication to students and staff following identification of a COVID-19 positive case in your facility and can be tailored to your facility's needs. Below is a description of the model letters that are relevant for IHE settings. 
      1. Exposure Notification Letter for Educational Sites
        Educational sites providing activities and services for students and staff are required to notify all students and staff who had an exposure to a person with COVID-19 during their infectious period while at the IHE site.
      2. General Exposure Notification Letter for Educational Sites
        Educational sites providing activities and services for students and staff may choose to notify the general community of an exposure that has occurred at the site and make the community aware of precautions to take to prevent spread.
  • Exposure Notice
    • This exposure notice is intended to make people identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19 aware that they have been in close contact with a person positive for COVID-19.
Isolation and Quarantine, and Other Instructions for Close Contacts

Additional Guidance

  • COVID-19 Vaccine
    • VaccinateLAcounty.com (English) and VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) provide information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including how to get the vaccine in Los Angeles County, vaccine safety, authorized vaccines, data, and information for providers.
  • Employee and Student Screening
    • Symptom screening of employees, volunteers, and contract workers can be part of an organization's strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19 at the worksite. This entry screening document provides some guidance and a sample screening template for evaluating an employee before they enter the worksite. Additional languages can also be found here.
    • Note that current Cal/OSHA ETS requires employers to exclude employees from the workplace who have COVID-19 symptoms or exposures and/or are not fully vaccinated and have had a close contact. Cal/OSHA does not prescribe any particular method of employee screening but implementing some method as recommended will assist in compliance with the current ETS.
  • Guidance for Masks
  • Physical Distancing
    • Refer to the Cal/OSHA ETS for updates on physical distancing requirements and recommendations in the workplace.   
  • Reduce Risk of COVID-19
  • Traveling During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    •  This Los Angeles County Department of Public Health travel guidance provides up-to-date travel information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Routine Childhood Immunizations
  • Access to Healthcare Services
    •  Families who need health benefits can learn about comprehensive free and low-cost health coverage on this DPSS website. Families who need help finding a doctor can call the 24/7 helpline at 2-1-1 or visit 211LA.org.
  • Financial Aid During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • LA County COVID-19 Supportive Services
    • LA County is committed to supporting our most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources at covid19.lacounty.gov include programs for rental relief, food assistance, access to healthcare and other services.
  • LA City COVID-19 Services for LA City Residents
    • https://corona-virus.la/resources provides the latest information and resources available to Los Angeles City residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources for supportive programs for residents, families, workers, renters, immigrants, businesses and other services are listed here.
  • Information for Immigrants
    • The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs provides answers to common questions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, some immigrants are afraid that getting tested or treated will affect their immigration status. This site will provide guidance on testing and treatment, regardless of your immigration status. People with questions about immigration can visit oia.lacounty.gov or call 800-593-8222.
Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Cleaning and Disinfection Matrix:
    • It's important to ensure that cleaning practices in your facility are enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of rooms or areas. These guidelines are focused on non-healthcare facilities such as schools, institutions, offices, daycare centers, businesses, and community centers that do not house persons overnight.
Testing Guidance
  • COVID-19 Testing Guidance
    • http://ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests provides information on the basics of COVID-19 testing, the different types of diagnostic viral tests and antibody tests, when testing is recommended, and what the results mean. It is important to note that this information will change and evolve so be sure to check this website for updates.
  • LA County Test Sites
    • Find out where you can access appointments for free testing in LA County.
  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards
    • Cal/OSHA EST requires employers to offer testing at no cost to employees during paid time for:
      • Symptomatic unvaccinated employees, regardless of whether there is a known exposure
      • Unvaccinated employees after an exposure
      • Vaccinated employees after an exposure if they develop symptoms
      • Unvaccinated employees in an outbreak (3 or more employee cases)
      • All employees in a major outbreak (20 or more employee cases)
    • For more information, see the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQs and poster.
Dining Guidance
  • Delivery and Pickup of Food
    • Proper food handling during the preparation, holding, pick-up, and delivery of food is essential in ensuring that the food is safe for consumption. Food facilities along with food delivery drivers play a key role in ensuring that food remains safe for consumers during the delivery process. This guidance for delivery and pickup of food provides information about how to provide safe food delivery.
  • Use of Barriers
    • This guide is intended to provide considerations for use of physical barriers, both inside and outside of a retail food facility, as an engineering control to supplement physical spatial distancing during the COVID-19 Recovery Stages.

Frequently Asked Questions

LA County
  • COVID-19 FAQs
    • These frequently asked questions provide background information about COVID-19 including how to identify symptoms, get tested and prevent the spread of the virus.

Additional Resources

LA County Department of Mental Health
  • Emotional Wellbeing During a Pandemic
    • The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) supports the wellbeing of every member of our communities. The COVID-19 information home provides mental health resources for LA County residents. LACDMH's 24/7 Help Line at (800) 854-7771 is available to provide mental health support, resources and referrals.
  • Free iPrevail Access
    • LA County residents have free access to iPrevail.com, an online mental health resource to help with life's everyday stressors. After a short assessment, you are connected to customized support to meet your needs. Options include:
      • on-demand chat with trained Peer Coaches,
      • self-paced lessons on a variety of topics to improve wellbeing, and
      • community support groups
    • iPrevail is offered in English and Spanish and is available 24/7 from any smart device.

  • Free Mental Health Resources
    • LACDMH is also a part of PsychHub's COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub, which is dedicated to providing free resources to help people address their mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDC Guidance
  • Colleges and University Guidance Website
  • Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education
    • The CDC offers considerations for ways in which IHEs can help protect students and employees (e.g., faculty, staff, and administrators) and slow the spread of COVID-19
  • Coping with Stress
    • The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for students, staff and the school community. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and students. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

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