COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Resources

Campus Innovations

The coronavirus pandemic is a shared global experience; the response to this virus has adversely impacted people globally in some way. We are all keenly aware that students, faculty and staff are experiencing a wide range of experiences, negative emotions and stress. Amidst the chaos caused by COVID-19, many have seized on this moment in our shared history as an opportunity to innovate and explore ways to improve health and well-being outcomes for our academic communities. The following programs were submitted for the COVID challenge. We are thrilled at all of the work our members are doing to improve the health and wellbeing of their campus communities.


1st Place

Virtual Mindfulness Programs to Reduce Perceived Stress and Boost Resilience through COVID: University of Virginia

Contact: Matthew Fritts, MPH, PMP, Well-Being Specialist, University of Virginia

Hoos Well, the University of Virginia’s comprehensive employee well-being program, implemented three virtual, mindfulness-based programs that helped employees and their family members cope with the unprecedented stressors presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest. February 2020, Hoos Well launched a 4-week Mindfulness Challenge to help employees learn how mindfulness can boost physical, emotional and social well-being, through guided mindfulness practices, videos, downloadable work tips, articles and more. In March, Hoos Well provided employees and their families free access to eM Life, an online mindfulness platform that includes live, interactive meditations offered several times a day by experienced instructors, enrollment-based programs for specific health concerns, and hundreds of hours of on-demand content accessible through mobile apps. The eM Life 1% Challenge in May helped employees instill mindfulness as a daily habit-- akin to brushing your teeth-- by devoting 1% of the day (14 minutes) to mindfulness every day for a month. In October, Hoos Well launched a two-phased Mindful Leadership Program, consisting of two, 8-week series of interactive virtual sessions designed to help UVA managers lead authentically and effectively through disruption, constant change, and uncertainty. Contemporaneous with implementation, we collected longitudinal data on participation, engagement, perceived stress, and demographic characteristics of participants. We conducted four focus groups to ascertain perceived utility of the programs and barriers/ facilitators to participation. We analyzed these quantitative and qualitative data to inform future programming for psychological well-being among University of Virginia employees.


2nd Place

WNC Student Health Ambassadors: University of North Carolina Asheville and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC)

Contact: Jordan Perry, Healthy Campus Liaison

In Summer 2020 six residential institutions of higher education (IHE) and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Western North Carolina chose a collaborative approach to mitigating COVID-19 infection rates on campus. Methods: The campuses promoted a healthy and safe culture through a rigorous and transformational learning experience focusing on developing and engaging student health ambassadors (SHA) in applying the diffusion of innovations model to spread information, peer-to-peer gain-framing, and training. Data: IHEs collected and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data on the impact of the program.


3rd Place

Mindset Mentors: Binghamton University

Contact: Jennifer Wegmann

The Mindset Mentor's mission is to help our campus community reveal resilience by providing tools and strategies to help students develop a powerful and positive mindset. The Mentors are an additional resource on campus for students to utilize. This past fall semester the Mentors focused on providing social support to students in isolation and quarantine. The signature program was walk bys outside the isolation dorms. The Mentors were able to socialize and interact with students through their windows. Additionally, the Mentors wrote and delivered handwritten letters to students in isolation and quarantine. The letters acknowledged the struggles in isolation and provided tips to stay positive and healthy.


Building a Resilient Family in Uncertain Times - University of Arizona/Life & Work Connections

Contact: Lourdes A. Rodríguez, MS, Senior Coordinator Childcare and Family Resources

Concerned by the strain created in the emotional wellbeing of caregivers amidst the chaos of COVID, Naughton and Rodriguez - colleagues at the employee wellness office - identified crossover subjects in their specialties (such as interpersonal boundaries and emotional accountability). Then, they compiled practical tips directly addressing the challenges of the pandemic. To reach an audience in a remoted environment, they created a series of four 30 minutes digital workshops, ran every other week. These sessions included breathing exercises to help lessen anxiety, Mentimeter activities to promote engagement, and breakout rooms intended to build community. Each session averaged more than 40 participants. Participants completed a survey (using Qualtrics) after each session. These surveys not only helped measure the effectiveness of the event but allowed participants to share feedback. After reviewing the surveys’ answers, presenters added a capstone Q & A meeting to allow for deeper discussion into individual concerns.

Additional Submission:

Cyber Sexpo - College for Creative Studies

Contact: Emily VanWormer, Health Resource Manager

Sexpo is a holistic sexual health education program produced by the College for Creative Studies Wellness Center and Student Activities Board. Since 2017, our team has brought together educators, entertainers, and activists from the Detroit region for a dynamic wellness experience. The goal of this program is to provide the sexual health information our students never received in high school, and to reduce stigma around the topics. To accommodate campus and local restrictions, we shifted most of our event online, with a small in-person event for pre-registered students. The first component was an evening event where students could view and buy art, and receive resource packets. We had 47 students come through the event. The main event was held on a Saturday using Zoom webinar technology. 51 unique participants attended at least one workshop. We hosted 12 individual workshops utilizing three breakout rooms and five 40-minute timeslots. Topics covered physical, emotional and interpersonal health topics. Our Campus Health Center, local clinical therapy groups, and outside health organizations presented workshops. Activities also included zine-making, a student Q&A panel, and a dance workshop. We finished the night with Drag Queen bingo.


Cope with COVID

Re-Opening Campus

In May, the American College Health Association (ACHA) released considerations for re-opening campuses and continue to provide regular updates. And, the Chronicle of Higher Education proposed what campuses may look like this fall as a part of their ongoing special report, part of which shares examples of how institutions are planning to re-open this fall. For institutions that will not have physical classes gathering, how can effective learning communities be created online? As your team continues to discuss the evolving situation through this pandemic, we know we're all focused on the outcome of student success and community wellness. And, so we'd like to know where our Healthy Academics Community is on this issue. Please see our newsletter from June 17 and answer our poll. We'll use your feedback to continue to aid planning and discussions.


Recommendations Based on Evidence

There is an explosion of interest in making and using homemade cloth masks with little attention to best practice. In an effort to help healthcare workers and the general public during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, The Ohio State University Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare is compiling evidence-based resources. The institute has created a repository which they will continuously update with accurate information and guidance based on the evidence. They have reviewed the evidence regarding different types of masks and have developed an easy to interpret infographic modified from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) information. Our infographic compares the three types of masks that are being considered and discussed: N95 respirators, surgical masks, and homemade cloth masks.


COVID: Coping with the New Norm

As many of us now enter month two of a formal stay-at-home order, our executive director, Kat Marriott asks: How are you doing? As a trained virologist, the idea of social distancing is not new or alarming to her, but obviously the extent to which we currently find ourselves is quite an uncharted path. Ohio's Department of Health crafted an advertising spot that depicts how the coronavirus spreads like a chain reaction. Kat shares that she knows what we’re practicing is working, but how do we continue to manage in month two in regards to our physical and mental health? She shares some of the events and strategies on her radar and looks forward to hearing from you, her colleagues, for inspiration and motivation. Read more.


Staying Calm and Well in the Midst of the COVID-19 Storm

BHAC President Bern Melnyk, her wellness team at Ohio State, and a team of campus partners offered an eight-week online series to help cope with, and stay well during, the coronavirus pandemic. Open to BHAC members and friends of the organization, the recorded sessions remain available along with access to additional resources from The Ohio State University Wellness Office


Community During COVID

We've been astounded by the innovation and amount of amazing resources becoming available to campuses as this pandemic evolves. During a time of stress and uncertainty, the future is bright for the time when we will return to our physical spaces. To keep these ideas in motion and build on the strength of our member community, we're launching "Coffee with Kat" every Thursday at 11 a.m. EST. Members can log into our online community for more information and the link. Also, log in and see available funding opportunities. Interested in joining our community? Enjoy collaborating with members from over 100 institutions and corporate partners like Everyday Health and HORAN & AssociatesContact our executive director, Kat Marriott to learn more.


Spreading Viruses in the Modern Age

Living in the Digital Age has many benefits, particularly, having the ability to find and transfer information freely and quickly. However, in times like these, the rapid spreading of false information related to the coronavirus has caused panic, confusion, and creates myths that can mislead a great number of people. The World Health Organization provides an infographic that busts many of the myths that have been circulating regarding the virus. Also, check out how Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is partnering on a digital platform to share information. View the recording of a webinar presented by The Forum at the Harvard and The World from PRX and WGBH. In it, epidemiologist Caroline Buckee works to address where we are in flattening the curve to end the virus' spread.


Additional COVID-19 Resources