Overview of COVID Education Efforts

Throughout the summer and into the fall semester, the Division of Student Life has taken a number of steps to educate students and their families about COVID-19 and help them prepare for a fall semester unlike any other. The strategy has been a multi-pronged approach, centering around reaching students with the information they most need at the time they most need it. 

“Students and families have received a lot of long emails,” said Jen O’Brien, director of communications for the Division of Student Life. “We’ve tried to break those emails down to digestible pieces in clear, student-friendly language.” 

The Student Life Instagram page has been the conduit for many of these messages, with supporting messages on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the Student Life blog. Parents and family members have been a key partner in reaching students as well. 

“We know parents and families are receiving information from many sources about their own community and their student’s community at Miami,” said Mark Pontious, director of parent and family programs. “Simplifying this information, giving action steps for their student, and giving sources for more information has been key to getting the message across to our students.”

Healthy Together Module

The Division of Student Life partnered with third-party vendor Get Inclusive to develop and publish a COVID-19 educational module. The module, an interactive training experience, included public health precautions and policies and procedures unique to Miami. Students completing the module also electronically acknowledge Miami’s “Pledge to the Community.” 

Over 17,800 students have completed the module as of September 21.

Student Life Blog Series

The division published a series of blog posts from July through September on practical COVID-19 topics written in a student-friendly voice. Blog readership increased by 47.9% compared to the same time period in 2019. Some topics included:

  • Why are Oxford and Miami taking mass gatherings so seriously?
  • 7 situations to avoid: how risky is it?
  • Packing your “go bag” for quarantine or isolation

All posts can be found on the Healthy Together section of the Student Life blog.


Warfield Hall in the background with text overlay that reads Why Are Oxford and Miami Taking Mass Gatherings so seriously?"


Virtual Information Sessions

Over the course of July, August, and September, the Division of Student Life partnered with Academic Affairs to host four live information sessions for students and their families. These sessions focused on attendance options, move-in testing, and what to expect for fall semester. About 7,000 people viewed these webinars between live attendees and later views of the recordings. 

Healthy Together 2020: What to Expect Video

In early August, the Division of Student Life widely released a Healthy Together video, with Dr. Jayne Brownell narrating an overview of what to expect on campus this fall. Well over 10,000 people viewed the video on YouTube and social media.

Social Media

student Emma Jewell wearing a mask with quote in text over the photo - ""I wear one to follow CDC guidelines, and because I care about public health." emma jewell, senior.

The Division of Student Life led the university on COVID-19 and safe return to campus messaging for students and families on social media. Throughout the summer, Student Life’s central social media accounts posted updates, question and answer sessions, educational resources about proactive health measures, and more. Some examples include:

  • Weekly feature of Miami students wearing a face covering, with quotes from the student on why they mask up.
  • Weekly feature about physical distancing using graphics from beloved Miami University traditions and landmarks and a healthy dose of humor.
  • Several question and answer sessions on Instagram stories about return to campus options, COVID-19 testing, quarantine and isolation, and move-in. Over these Q&A stories, students submitted hundreds of questions and the story slides yielded over 300,000 impressions. Some of these stories were shared on the Parent & Family Facebook group.
  • Series of handwashing videos in partnership with music-related student organizations.
  • Regular reminders about expectations, public health measures, science behind recommendations, etc. 
A few examples of Instagram stories:
Instagram Story Slide titled Risk Levels according to the CDC. Three red overlapping circles like a venn diagram at the top, labeled "No masks worn", "indoor space" and "crowded space." the overlapping center reads Hot Spot. Green circles are at the bottom, labeled "masks worn, outdoor space, and 6 feet of space between people" with the center space labelled safe spot.
Instagram story slide titled Campus Life this Fall. 01. Residence Halls - expectations in the residence halls. 02 - Campus life: expectations outside the halls. 03 - testing - students will be tested on campus upon arrival for move in 04-Quarantine and Isolation. What happens if you've been expsoed to COVID or you are diagnosed? 05 - What else? A few other pieces of business.
Instagram Story slide with title Overview. 4 concentric circles with the smallest circle labeled Symptomatic, the next one Close Contact, the next Wide-Net and the 4th and largest labelled Surveillance

An example from the physical distancing series:

Red graphic with white sundial. Text reads About one sundial. But please do not climb on it.

Student Leader Influencer Videos

After many students moved into their off-campus houses and apartments in early August, Student Life reached out to student leaders asking for them to submit videos about following Healthy Together  protocols. Over the course of three weeks, Student Life posted 11 student-submitted videos on Instagram from leaders of student organizations, resident assistants, and student orientation undergraduate leaders. Videos garnered 54,533 impressions and were shared 250 times. 

Jannie Kamara - screenshot from instagram video

Jannie Kamara, student body president

Screenshot from Sidra Capriola student leader video, student member of the Safe return to campus committee

Sidra Capriolo, student member of the safe return to campus committee

Chase Harris - screenshot from student leader video

Chase Harris, vice president of the black student action association

Communication during the global pandemic has not been straightforward or easy. “It seems like things are changing at lightning speed,” said O’Brien. “Flexibility has been key.”