COVID-19 Related Updates

Check back for the most recent guidance. This page will be updated regularly.

Last updated: March 24, 2020 at 3:20pm

  1. Has CEPH adjusted upcoming deadlines?
  2. Upcoming 2020 Site Visits - March through June
  3. Practice Experiences
  4. Curriculum: General Questions
  5. Do I need to notify CEPH if I am making changes to my curriculum or other requirements (e.g., assessments, mode of delivery) based on COVID-19 restrictions?
  6. Are CEPH staff available to answer questions during this time?
  7. Other COVID-19 related questions

1. Has CEPH adjusted upcoming deadlines?

CEPH consistently establishes deadlines that give our schools and programs the maximum time possible to respond and still meet Council meeting deadlines and other procedural requirements. This means that a delay in submission may 1) cause a unit to be technically out of compliance longer than allowable by federal regulations or 2) require the decision to be moved to the next full Council meeting, when that is permissible.Therefore, we have not made any adjustments to deadlines for upcoming submissions. However, we understand that your students and communities come first, so if you have an individual concern or question, please contact submissions@ceph.org.

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2. Upcoming 2020 Site Visits - March through June

Based on the information we have gathered regarding closure of physical campuses, CEPH has made the decision to postpone all site visits scheduled to occur between March 10, 2020 and May 29, 2020.

For site visits scheduled to begin on June 1, 2020 or later, at this point, we will continue to monitor the situation and will plan to move forward if possible. Currently, the site visits that have been delayed include:

  • A.T. Still University
  • California State University, San Marcos
  • East Stroudsburg University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Indiana University at Bloomington
  • National University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Simmons University
  • Tennessee State University
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Michigan, Flint
  • Western Washington University
  • West Virginia University

For currently accredited units facing a delayed site visit:

  • No units' current accreditation terms will expire due to the delay.

For units pursuing initial accreditation facing a delayed site visit:

  • We will prioritize rescheduling site visits for initial accreditation.
  • Applicant status will remain in effect.
  • The delay will not affect the initial date of accreditation.

Are virtual site visits a possibility?

The US Department of Education issued guidance on the evening of March 17, 2020, allowing accreditors to conduct virtual site visits, however, it also stated that accreditors must follow the virtual site visit with an in-person visit within a reasonable period of time. While this is an option that CEPH could employ in a time-sensitive situation (e.g., if CEPH had a major concern about a program), it is not an option that we believe is useful at this time. Colleges and universities and their public health faculty are currently investing all available resources in either minimizing disruption of education for their students or in assisting local, national or global public health authorities with the pandemic. At this point, we will continue to work with universities to reschedule the site visits that need to be postponed. We are sensitive to not duplicating effort or creating more work for our schools and programs in a time of crisis.

CEPH staff are working closely with all affected units. If you have any questions, contact submissions@ceph.org.

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3. Practice Experiences

What is CEPH guidance on proceeding with MPH practice experiences given disruptions to universities and workplaces?

Maximum flexibility and creative solutions should be applied particularly with students who are due to graduate in spring or summer 2020.

For students on track to graduate in spring or summer 2020, CEPH supports a modification of program policies to allow completion of products under the supervision of a faculty member rather than a community preceptor.

The following examples are for illustration only and are applicable to students graduating in spring or summer 2020:

Example 1: A student planned to develop and deploy a survey for a practice site, and it is no longer possible to work with this agency. To successfully complete the experience, the student could create the following types of products under a faculty member’s supervision:

  • Similar type of survey
  • Hypothetical data report
  • Community dissemination plan

Example 2: A student was preparing to perform a needs assessment on a local community and can no longer leave home. To successfully complete the experience, the student could create the following types of products under a faculty member’s supervision:

  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Outreach materials
  • Public service announcements

We encourage schools and programs to be as flexible as possible and to work with all students to ensure that they can graduate in a timely fashion despite disruptions. In all cases, flexibility may include the following:

  • units may modify a student’s plan to address different competencies than originally intended
  • students may complete different activities/experiences/work products than originally intended
  • students may complete products for more than one unrelated site
  • students who are not graduating in the spring may complete the project in a future semester/quarter
  • faculty may assess students’ draft work products to allow completion of the experience without the products undergoing a review by the practice partner
  • units may modify the required contact hours for the experience (Note: CEPH criteria specify no contact hour requirements for applied practice experiences)
  • units can waive completion of required paperwork (e.g., preceptor evaluations, journals, contact hour logs) beyond the two work products required in the criteria
  • students may complete their practice experience, and associated products, in their place of employment

If your unit has a site visit in the next three years and you need to adopt some of these flexible approaches, you should not include these examples of student work in your self-study or ERF.

What is CEPH guidance on proceeding with bachelor’s level cumulative/experiential activities given disruptions to universities and workplaces?

This situation will likely require an individualized approach for each program, student and/or practice partner. CEPH continues to believe in the value of completing cumulative/experiential activities, and while we understand that most internship experiences cannot continue as originally planned, at this time, there is not a waiver of the expectations related to this criterion.

It is important to note that students at the bachelor’s level (in an SPH, PHP, or SBP) are not required to complete an internship in order to satisfy the cumulative/experiential activities criterion. Other options noted in the criterion include portfolio projects, research papers, and honors theses. CEPH supports flexible approaches at this time and you may temporarily modify your policies to accommodate current circumstances.

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4. Curriculum: General Questions

What should we do if a component of our required curriculum, e.g., service learning or assessment activity for a specific competency, is no longer feasible?

CEPH supports maximum flexibility to develop appropriate alternative assessments for students who are enrolled in the course or experience during the period of time impacted by COVID-19. We expect that you will act in good faith when modifying expectations. If your unit has a site visit in the next three years and you need to develop a temporary, alternative assessment, you should not include these assessments in your self-study or ERF.

If you have a question about a specific case, please contact submissions@ceph.org.

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5. Do I need to notify CEPH if I am making changes to my curriculum or other requirements (e.g., assessments, mode of delivery) based on COVID-19 restrictions?

If we need to modify curricular requirements (e.g., assessments, mode of delivery) to accommodate current circumstances, are we required to submit a substantive change notice?

No, a substantive change notice is not required unless the modification is a permanent change. CEPH does not intend to approve individual plans to alter assessments during the period of time impacted by COVID-19. A temporary change to distance-based delivery due to current circumstances does NOT require notification to CEPH.

Do we need to notify CEPH if we change from letter grading to pass/fail?

No, a substantive change notice is not required for this type of change.

If you have a question about a specific case, please contact submissions@ceph.org.

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6. Are CEPH staff available to answer questions during this time?

Yes! Following our state and local guidelines, CEPH staff is working remotely from March 16 until at least April 15, 2020. As always, you may submit your questions to submissions@ceph.org or call (202) 789-1050. Our staff is ready to be a resource to you during this time.

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7. Other COVID-19 related questions

If you have any COVID-19 related questions not addressed above, please contact submissions@ceph.org.

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