Update, March 6: While capacity for the virtual roundtable has been reached, interested members can still sign-up on the registration waitlist. This roundtable will be recorded, and the link will be made available in the days following the event.

NIRSA members are well acquainted with risk management concerns—from the daily matters managing people and facilities entails to those on a much grander scale. Emergency preparedness is a common topic within higher education as professionals and their institutions adjust to the circumstances of the world around them. Even when there’s a low risk of impact for colleges or universities, having a proactive attitude toward maintaining stability is important for sustaining a sense of calmness for both students and staff.

While weather emergencies—from fire to flood to snowstorms—tend to be most discussed, health concerns are never too far behind. In the past, campuses have prepared to manage facilities, serve students, and mitigate impact and risk from diseases such as SARS, MERS, H1N1, and others. Currently, the focus is on COVID-19. As various news sources report on the novel coronavirus outbreak, adjustments may need to be considered for summer camp programming, facilities management, international campuses, communications sent to institutional stakeholders, and other areas of oversight.

Just like in the past, recreation departments should be in early communication with and follow advice from their campus’ emergency management teams. And, of course, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always remain an up-to-date resource. They are closely monitoring COVID-19.

Our partners at the American College Health Association (ACHA) also have several helpful resources. Their COVID-19 page has embedded CDC content that updates daily, as well as some college specific resources.

Webinar opportunity

NIRSA was invited to contribute to a NACAS virtual roundtable on emergency preparedness. Individuals from the University of Utah, Princeton, Duke University, UC Davis, and more will share ideas from their campus’ pre-existing continuity planning procedures as well as discuss different matters campus professionals might consider and plan for.

NIRSA members George Brown, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Bill Crockett, University of Maryland, Baltimore, are generously contributing to this virtual roundtable. Both of their campuses have helpful toolkits online as well. The University of Minnesota’s CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center and the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Novel Coronavirus page are great places to gather resources.

The event will be held March 11 from 4:00pm–5:00pm ET. Registration is free for NIRSA members. As this is a roundtable event, questions are welcome so that everyone may learn how to better equip their campus and department.


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships Erin O’Sullivan.
Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at | NIRSA Profile

Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA.