NASPAA Policies Regarding COVID-19
Last Updated: October 1, 2020
We are a global community of 320 schools of public governance and administration, and we are training the next generation of public servant for a changed world. We raise up everyone around the world who is working for the public good at this unprecedented time, especially those addressing social, racial, and global inequities in COVID incidence and response.
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty to NASPAA, and NASPAA staff have worked hard to keep NASPAA and NASPAA events and processes operating through this. We are doing our best to help our schools and faculty and students keep learning and doing—and to find new ways of supporting them as many of them move to online instruction, participate in virtual site visits with us, or face other challenges.
As of October 1, we are moving our status from a public emergency closure to observing the phased reopening of Washington DC offices. The decision has been made as of October 1 to maintain a virtual office for now, but to allow staff voluntarily to return to the office for a day or two a week as they wish. This decision is based on the coronavirus information and directives from the DC/MD/VA public health officials regarding phased reopenings in DC, MD, and VA, and from WMATA, and OPM-- and in consultation with the Executive Council. We anticipate fully re-opening the office at some point in future: staff will be consulted and membership advised.
Emerging from the public health emergency, which began March 13, 2020, the Executive Director will continue to make informed determinations as to when and how staff will return to the office. These policies may be adjusted from time to time until NASPAA fully reopens. Any updates to this policy will be added as a supplement to our Employee Handbook on this matter.
NASPAA staff and volunteer travel: Until further notice, NASPAA staff travel outside the DMV remains suspended.
Working remotely and transportation policies
- NASPAA staff are keeping the same core working hours as before (10 am- 4pm eastern time), with individual flexibility for additional hours. Members are requested to contact staff via email, rather than by phone, unless necessary. There may be delays in returning phone messages, because they are being accessed remotely.
- Members and contractors may continue to submit checks and other official documents by mail—staff are checking for mail at the office at least once a week from October 1 on.
- NASPAA is not approving travel during this time, and we will not be reimbursing personal travel out of the area via uber/lyft, taxi, limousine, or reimbursing for car mileage, unless by prior written permission of your supervisor. Similarly we will not be reimbursing any staff or volunteers for carry out or delivered meals or other services, unless by prior written permission of your supervisor or volunteer manager.
- Beginning October 1, NASPAA does not provide parking or parking benefits for any employees commuting from home into the office or commuting to a remote NASPAA working location. Commutation expenses by metrorail, bus, uber/lyft, or private car are the responsibility of the employee. Volunteers may be reimbursed for these expenses incurred during the course of agreed-to activities.
- NASPAA staff, volunteers, or other individuals choosing to meet in person in connection with NASPAA business must take personal responsibility to observe all safety precautions according to CDC and Maryland/DC/VA guidelines. Please try not to put anyone at risk in doing your NASPAA work.
- During NASPAA’s public health emergency and reopening period, the Executive Director will continue to make a determination as to when and how staff, interns, and volunteers will return to the office. These policies may be adjusted from time to time until NASPAA fully reopens.
- Though the NASPAA offices are open ( as of 10/1) for voluntary one day per week work, all employees and volunteers visiting should remain vigilant to maintain safe working practices. They are requested to do a temperature check before leaving their home, and not to go into the office if feeling ill, and to be aware they must follow ALL 1029 Vermont building rules, including elevator protocol, mask wearing upon entry, and minimizing touching public surfaces (such as elevator buttons). Once in NASPAA offices, employees and visitors must follow the procedures we have put in place, including ventilation, restroom use (one at a time, use the occupied sign, waiting three minutes between users if possible), no sharing of snacks or coffee/tea supplies, frequent hand washing with soap, and minimizing door handle touching. When multiple staff are in the office, they must observe social distancing and use masks as needed. Please note that both the building management and NASPAA are, and will do, everything we can to minimize the health risks to all staff, but we cannot completely eliminate it, and that some risk will accompany any level of re-opening, and NASPAA is not liable for that. If you become aware of any potentially harmful or damaging practices by either the management of 1029 Vermont, or within NASPAA on the 11th floor, please notify Monchaya and Laurel immediately, and we will attempt to have it corrected.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented, global public health crisis demanding the prioritization of the health and safety of our colleagues, students, and families. As we navigate the evolving situation, the importance of our role as public service educators is unmistakeable and COPRA takes seriously its role in supporting each accredited program during this time.
NASPAA, COPRA, and accredited programs, are bound through the accreditation process by a commitment to public service values and continuous improvement, ensuring that students and faculty are well-served and successful. This commitment distinguishes our programs, and we are confident in your ability to continue supporting your communities by embracing your strengths even while adapting to the unknown. We encourage you to rely on the NASPAA community for support, reflect on learning opportunities, and continue to find innovative ways to promote public service education and student success.
COPRA understands the fast evolving nature of university responses to the pandemic and acknowledges that in response to the public health crisis most programs are imminently moving to distance learning, canceling important events, and managing large-scale changes to course delivery and faculty and student engagement. As programs and universities grapple with how to best respond, we are sensitive to the extenuating circumstances surrounding these decisions and supportive of moves that place student and faculty health and safety at the forefront. The Standards are designed to be flexible to accommodate varying contexts, missions, and changing situations like this one.
In the context of current and anticipated academic disruptions, COPRA wishes to highlight several Standards (below) that are immediately linked to the evolving situation. While COPRA has only highlighted some of the NASPAA Standards, it recognizes that university responses to COVID-19 will be varied, student-centric, and will impact programs across all aspects of delivery. This is a unique circumstance and COPRA is mindful of this, anticipating that these impacts will be focused on the short- and medium-terms and that programs will be able to adapt strategically while ensuring conformance to the Standards and student success in the long term.
We will continue to monitor official guidance about the response to COVID-19 and be mindful of how it is impacting accredited programs. This is a critical time for our society and we are honored to be supporting a field that is so deeply embedded in educating the public servants guiding us through this time.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Maja H. Holmes
Chair, Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA)
Standard 2.1 Administrative Capacity: The program will have an administrative infrastructure appropriate for its mission, goals and objectives in all delivery modalities employed.
Standard 2.2 Faculty Governance: An adequate faculty nucleus—at least five (5) full-time faculty members or their equivalent—will exercise substantial determining influence for the Self-Study Instructions – governance and implementation of the program.
COPRA recognizes that many, if not most, decisions regarding responses to COVID-19 will be made by the university. As decisions are implemented at the program level, the Commission emphasizes that the governance arrangement, including administrative leadership, should ensure the ongoing integrity of the program. Because program nucleus faculty members have deep knowledge of their program and a commitment to participatory processes, they also should play a significant role in the governance and execution of the program.
Standard 4.3 - Support for Students: The program will ensure the availability of support services, such as curriculum advising, internship placement and supervision, career counseling, and job placement assistance to enable students to progress in careers in public service.
Programs should maintain transparent and accessible support for students, especially as there are changes to program delivery and course expectations. These changes may necessitate additional or new support services be available to students to help navigate any academic disruptions, and programs should consider how to ensure the necessary resources and guidance are available to students. Programs should continue to provide services that help students achieve their educational, internship and career objectives.
Standard 7.1 - Communications: The program will provide appropriate and current information about its mission, policies, practices, and accomplishments—including student learning outcomes--sufficient to inform decisions by its stakeholders such as prospective and current students; faculty; employers of current students and graduates; university administrators; alumni; and accrediting agencies.
When communicating with stakeholders, programs should be transparent, accountable, and truthful, and this is especially important during a rapidly evolving public health outbreak. Programs should be sure to exemplify the public service value of transparency in programmatic actions.