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Institutes of Higher Education

COVID-19 Toolkit


Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) 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.

Guidance Documents

Guidance for Institutes of Higher Education (IHE)
  • All IHE should review and follow the Guidance for IHE - Requirements and Best Practices (updated 11/2/22) English | Español
  • All IHE must comply with COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards established by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standard Board (Cal/OSHA).
  • A summary of best practices to enhance safety for businesses, employers, and organizations is available here.

COVID-19 Resources for Exposure Management

What To Do When You Have a COVID-19 Case at Your Institution (Exposure Management Plan)
  • The IHE Exposure Management Plan (EMP) (updated 12/19/22) English | Español details action steps to take after you have identified a cluster of 3 or more positive cases of COVID-19 at your institute. Immediate implementation of the EMP after identifying clusters of 3 or more positive cases can accelerate the ability to contain spread of COVID-19 and prevent an outbreak.
Requirements for Reporting Cases at your Institution

IHE are required to notify LAC Department of Public Health (DPH) of all employees, students, and visitors with confirmed COVID-19 who were on campus at any point within the 14 days prior to their illness onset date if there are clusters of 3 or more cases. The illness onset date is the first date COVID-19 symptoms started, or the COVID-19 test date, whichever is earlier. Positive case notifications should be submitted to DPH within 1 business day of being notified of a cluster of 3 or more. To complete this reporting requirement, the IHE must utilize one of the reporting methods described below.

  • Online reporting: Clusters of 3 or more IHE-associated COVID-19 clusters should be reported online through the secure web application, Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracing (SPOT). This can be done on a computer or mobile device by accessing SPOT.
    • The SPOT Portal was updated on July 20, 2022 with enhancements designed to streamline the COVID-19 case reporting process and allow for more flexibility for SPOT liaisons. Specific details regarding these enhancements to SPOT are listed on this one-page summary and highlighted in this SPOT 2.0 Demo Video.
    • This online reporting training video walks you through the process of submitting an online report for COVID-19 cases and contacts at your Institution.
    • A recording of the introductory session for IHE liaisons is available here. The accompanying slides are located here.
    • This FAQ provides answers to commonly asked questions as well as additional links to training materials and resources.
  •  Reporting Multiple Cases: If the IHE is reporting many cases within the cluster(s), there is an option available to submit reports using Excel through the “Bulk Upload Template” located within the SPOT Portal.
    • This training video walks you through the process of filling out and submitting the Excel COVID-19 Case and Contact Line List for reporting to DPH via the SPOT portal.
    • This data dictionary (updated 5/1/22 - English | Spanish) describes each of the items of information (variables) that are collected as part of case reporting when using the Excel line list.
Notification for Staff and Students
  • Notification Letter Guides
    • Sample notification letters (English | Spanish) can be tailored to your institution's needs.  Descriptions of each sample letter are below.
      1. Isolation Notification Letter for IHE Sites: Notification letter for staff and/or students who need to isolate due to a positive COVID-19 viral test result.
      2. Exposure Notification Letter for IHE Sites: Notification letter for staff and/or students who had an exposure to a person with COVID-19 during their infectious period while on campus or at a campus-associated event.
      3. General Exposure Notification Letter for IHE Sites: Notification letter for the general IHE community of an exposure that has occurred on campus and steps being taken to prevent spread.
  • Exposure Notice
    • This exposure notice is intended to make people aware that they may have been in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19.

Additional Guidance

  • Ventilation
  • COVID-19 Vaccine
    • VaccinateLAcounty.com (English) and VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) provide information on COVID-19 vaccines, including how to get the vaccine in Los Angeles County, vaccine safety, authorized vaccines, data, and information for providers.
    • For information regarding vaccine booster doses for students vaccinated outside the United States, see current CDC recommendations.
  • 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 (updated 5/17/22) English | Español provides some guidance and a sample screening template for evaluating an employee before they enter the worksite. Additional languages can also be found here.
    • Staff who have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 must follow all return-to-work requirements.
  • 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.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection
    • It's important to ensure that cleaning practices in your facility are enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This matrix 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. The cleaning matrix is available in multiple languages here.
Support Services
  • Access to Healthcare Services
    • Families who need health insurance 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.
  • Information for Immigrants
    • The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs provides answers to common questions about COVID-19 and guidance on testing and treatment services, available to all regardless of immigration status. If you have questions about immigration, visit oia.lacounty.gov or call 1-800-593-8222.
Testing Resources
  • COVID-19 Testing Guidance
    • For information on the basics of COVID-19 testing, including the different types of tests, when to test, and understanding test results, visit ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests.
  • How to get free COVID-19 tests
    • For information on how to get free tests, including at-home kits and testing at LA County sponsored test sites, visit ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests/how.
  • Testing requirements at work
    • For information about testing requirements for employers, including when they have to offer testing to employees at no cost and during paid time, see the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards FAQs - testing section.
    • For more information, see the 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQs.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • COVID-19 FAQs
    • These FAQs provide background information about COVID-19 including how to identify symptoms, get tested and prevent the spread of the virus. Additional languages can be found here.
    • COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

CDC Guidance
  • CDC School Guidance Website
    • This link provides access to the CDC landing page for schools. From here, you can navigate to all available higher education guidance that CDC offers, including how IHEs can help protect students and employees (e.g., faculty, staff, and administrators) and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Emotional and Mental Health Resources

  • Emotional Wellbeing During a Pandemic
    • The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) supports the wellbeing of everyone of our communities. This 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.
      • Community support groups.
    • iPrevail is offered in English and Spanish and is available 24/7 from any smart device.
  • Coping with Stress - CDC webpage with resources for individuals

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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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