Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… Vanderbilt University: COVID-19 Website… 5 June 2020

Vanderbilt COVID-19 website is better than most re content, navigation

Vanderbilt University COVID-19For sure there is no such thing as the perfect website. When we went in search of a strong COVID-19 website through the first 5 pages of a Google search for higher education COVID-19 websites we found, as expected, quite a variety. Some helpful. Some not so much. The best we found? Vanderbilt University.

What impressed about the Vanderbilt site was the easy-to-scan content presentation. In many cases these websites open with the latest press release that forces visitors to read in detail to find out whether or not there’s anything worth reading.

Vanderbilt skips the common “Update” heading to start with the point that’s likely of most interest: the plan to “Return to Campus.” And we learn immediately that the school is still in Phase 1 of that plan. Even better if we also learned here that there are 4 plan phases. But we’ll soon see that with a quick scroll. Between now and fall there’s a fair way to go.

Undergraduate teaching plans… not yet certain

We can easily find the “Guiding principles” for each phase. We searched especially for info about undergraduate instruction and found that by Phase 3 (“Intensify & Launch”) Vanderbuilt is still keeping options open with an “and/or” phrase re in-class or online instruction:

  • “Undergraduate instruction ready for on-campus activity and/or enhanced virtual/alternative platforms.”

Vanderbilt University COVID-19That same phrase remains in Phase 4 (Sustain). That seems a more open way of saying that “we don’t know yet how we’ll handle this” rather than the more common “We are opening on campus… but we’re “closely monitoring” CDC guidelines.” And maybe we’ll change our mind.

A critical element is still missing…

The 7th and final element of the “Return to Campus Plan” is an individual’s “Acknowledgement and Agreement to Comply with Public Health Expections”

The actual agreement isn’t yet available. We learn only this:

  • “Before returning to campus, faculty, staff, post-docs and students will be asked to sign the COVID19 Return to Campus Acknowledgment, which explains risks and responsibilities, including information regarding those in higher-risk categories, before returning to campus.

We can imagine that the agreement details are of high interest to everyone at Vanderbilt. Will they include a waiver of legal responsibility for the university? We’ll see.

Other points to note…

  • Why are two link headings the same when they lead to different content: “People based principles for returning to campus” is used twice.
  • A possible date to move to Phase 2 would be nice. Meantime, how many elements in each phase have to be met before moving to a higher level? The clock to fall ticks.
  • Riding in an elevator isn’t encouraged but if you do that you are in “vertical circulation.”

Follow the Link of the Week

Explore comprehensive COVID-19 information at Vanderbilt University’s “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” site.

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