School’s Out! How To Make The Most Of Your Summer Break – Education | #education | #technology | #training



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For administrators and staff of institutions of higher education
(IHEs), “summer break” may not be the vacation they want
it to be—while the summer months may seem slower when most
students are away, this time still provides an important
opportunity to roll up your sleeves and review and overhaul school
policies and protocols before the fall term begins. In the calm
before the fast-approaching 2022-23 academic year, IHEs should take
stock of existing policies or protocols and revise them to enhance
efficiency and safety and bring them into legal compliance, if
necessary. Below is a non-exhaustive list of general items IHEs
should consider in the coming weeks:

  • Review Campus Safety Policies and Procedures:
    School safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and it is
    more important than ever to have effective safety plans in place
    that are clearly communicated to campus security and campus
    community members. Now is the time to review safety and security
    policies, protocols, and campus resources and infrastructure and,
    after consulting with professionals, implement new measures to
    enhance campus safety. IHEs should also ensure that safety policies
    and procedures are effectively communicated to the entire campus
    community, including training employees and students on relevant
    policies, procedures, and available resources.

  • Review COVID-19 Practices and Protocols: Most
    IHEs are open for in-person learning and activities again, and it
    is crucial for the administration to have clear plans for how to
    communicate and enforce its health and safety policies before
    students return to campus in the fall. IHEs should also have
    contingency plans in place in case the campus community or
    surrounding region experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases after the
    academic year begins. IHEs should proactively consider whether
    there is a certain threshold of new COVID-19 cases that would cause
    some or all campus facilities or programs to increase COVID-19
    restrictions, what those restrictions might be, and the
    circumstances that may make a return to remote learning necessary.
    IHEs should consider these thresholds carefully and craft a
    contingency plan ahead of the fall term, so that they can quickly
    and seamlessly implement new restrictions or enforce a stricter
    campus health and safety policy, if necessary.

  • Review Cloud Platforms and Data Storage Systems for
    Privacy and Data Security:
    Existing and emerging online
    and cloud-based data applications are vital resources for IHEs to
    utilize in modern education, particularly with the increased
    importance of remote learning capabilities. However, with those
    resources also comes the prospect of serious privacy breaches and,
    in more extreme cases, even data hacking attempts. IHEs maintain
    vital and confidential information of their employees and students.
    Thus, it is critical that IHEs’ information and technology
    departments review best practices and make certain all
    administrators and staff know and understand school data security
    and retention policies. The summer is also a good opportunity to
    ensure all existing and incoming employees with access to student
    data are fully trained on privacy and data use compliance,
    including FERPA and other jurisdiction-specific privacy laws,
    before the new academic term begins. As the landscape of technology
    continues to change, IHE employees should be refreshing their
    training annually.

  • Keep an Eye on New Guidance and Know What Regulatory
    Changes May Be Coming:
    IHEs should always engage with
    counsel before embarking on a complete overhaul of student-facing
    policies to ensure that the policies have longevity under federal,
    state, and local law and regulations. Accordingly, IHEs should be
    monitoring trends, regulatory updates, and new guidance promulgated
    by the Department of Education and enforced by the Office of Civil
    Rights (OCR), as well as new guidance at the state or local level.
    For example, the Biden administration recently released its
    proposed new Title IX rules that, if implemented, will require
    substantial changes to Title IX policies that were promulgated
    under the prior administration. Similarly, OCR has received an
    increased number of complaints in the past several years, and there
    has been a trend in OCR enforcement that indicates increased
    scrutiny of single-sex and targeted-sex scholarships and programs
    under Title IX. This may indicate that IHEs’ existing programs
    or scholarships could be more susceptible to OCR investigations.
    IHEs should review their programs carefully and avoid the pitfalls
    that can invite these investigations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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