Skip to Main Content

Dreamforce 2021: Your inside guide is here - EXPLORE IT


5 steps to reopening higher education with

June 17, 2020By
students sitting in a library moving forward together

The last three months have brought about unprecedented change in every industry. For higher education, we began with a fundamental shift in how we deliver the classroom experience on a scale few schools have ever considered. But as many communities move beyond the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education is looking forward to how we can reopen our campuses. While every school will develop an approach that works for their unique context, we wanted to look at how digital technology can help us forge a path to the new normal.

We’re particularly interested in Salesforce’s return-to-work platform,, and want to take a quick look at how higher education can strategically use this tool.

What's Learn more in our blog.

Getting to the new normal

In their framing of the challenge, Salesforce has likened the return to the new normal as Stabilize > Reopen > Grow. Many of us have made it through Stabilization: we’ve rapidly shifted to an online-only model.

We're optimistic that an incredible Grow phase lies ahead, one in which industry leaders reshape the education experience.

To get there, we need to begin by Reopening our schools. First, let’s paint a picture of what reopened campuses might look like in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Risk Mitigation: The reopen phase will be one of minimizing physical contact, increased health and safety protocol and supporting ongoing testing.
  • Contact Tracking: Be prepared to help your community understand their exposure to COVID-19. Great organizations will help their constituents understand when they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and help them get tested.
  • Social Distancing: Help your community generate boundaries. Social distancing will require classrooms and common areas to be reconfigured and the capacity of facilities to be rethought.
  • Isolation Management: Community members will need to identify their exposure to COVID-19 and may need to self-isolate when they are symptomatic. In order to support individuals in self-isolation, schools will need to experiment with models of class delivery. It will become increasingly important to accommodate faculty and students’ changing ability to be on-campus.
  • Communication & Change Management: The importance of communicating all COVID-related changes will be a vital component of returning to campus life with confidence. Schools will need to identify their key constituent groups and ensure communication channels are accessible and support two-way dialogue and feedback.


Formal Contact Tracing is a complex process that for most schools is best handled by State/Provincial governments. Education institutions can support the process, however, by partnering with government agencies and relaying data from campus systems. More information.

Five steps to te-opening higher education with

To enable this new campus life, Traction on Demand (ToD) has developed a five-step approach for higher education institutions to leverage

Step 1: Rapid Support for Secure Data provides a pre-designed framework for managing COVID-19 related campus data, including managing building access, tracking disease spread, and more. Keeping this data separately means you’re rapidly able to meet FERPA - and in some contexts HIPAA - compliance.

When building for crisis scenarios, we recommend creating isolated solutions first and adding integrations later. This can reduce month-long implementations to weeks or sometimes even days. By using the framework you can rapidly build and deploy, integrating other systems once you’ve gone live. Once implemented, you have instant access to the analytics insights provided by the Workplace Command Center, an Einstein-driven overview of all campus COVID data.

While the Workplace Command Center was originally intended for corporate contexts, ToD has developed best practices for adapting this to the education industry, so you can leverage the best Salesforce innovations in a context that works for you.

HIGHER ED SOLUTION Workplace Command Center: A single pane of glass for managing all the complexities of reopening your organization. The Workplace Command Center helps institutions decide when and how to safely bring constituents back to their campuses and, once reopened, monitor ongoing team and campus safety. Learn more.

Step 2: Enable Self-Reporting’s Employee Wellness Check provides a pre-built way to understand COVID-19 exposure among your constituents.

Built in consultation with global health experts to cross-industry standards, ToD’s best practices allow for the clean application of this human resources management tool in a campus setting. Allowing education leaders to leverage this robust self-assessment tool for the dynamic context of students, faculty, staff, and campus guests.


Employee Wellness Check App: Utilize Salesforce surveys to monitor constituent wellbeing, gain wellness data insights and view the overall health status of your campus in a simple and secure dashboard. Learn more.

Step 3: Track Facility Utilization

The data model allows you to handle campus guests, building capacities, and more, with minimal infrastructural adaptations. Track facility use in a flexible way that makes sense for your campus, as schools will have different needs and solutions.

Where integrating legacy systems can be unwieldy, Traction Guest — a visitor management system available through — is a cloud-based, mobile system that allows touchless in-and-out access to any facility. Pre-built connectors allow full integration with the Workplace Command Center, providing a path to an instant launch of building access management.


Traction Guest: Safely reopen your campuses by integrating ZeroTouch visitor management software into the Workplace Command Center. Learn more.

Step 4: Notify & Test

Support your constituents’ health by connecting exposure and facility data and notifying potential COVID-19 cases. Because enables you to know who’s been where on campus, as well as individuals’ virus exposure, you can now empower your community with data.

Privacy is protected, while dashboards and notifications can keep individuals aware of their risk. Use of Lightning Knowledge Communities can connect your stakeholders to emerging test protocols, as well.

Step 5: Prioritize Constituent Wellbeing

COVID-19 is not just a health challenge — it’s a mental health challenge as well. ToD is supporting higher education by implementing as part of its offering. This product allows schools to track student sentiment in the systems they use — in a browser, calendar, LMS, and more.

As students move in and out of self-isolation and explore new learning and connecting models, accessing real-time data on what keeps your students focused and engaged is critical to supporting mental wellness. We at ToD contend that the key to a “bettr” future — both on campus and beyond — means caring for the whole person.

HIGHER ED SOLUTION Champion constituent wellness by integrating the data-rich, sentiment tracking platform into the Workplace Command Center. Learn more.

Moving towards grow

The path to grow will be different for each school. provides a valuable tool set for safely reopening campuses, and with ToD’s best practices on applying this package to a higher education context, you can find effective, efficient ways to adapt these tools to your needs.

What excites us the most is the ability to leverage for future growth.

Innovating through the crisis allows developments generated in reopening the campus to lay the groundwork for future transformation. A org could potentially become a future enterprise operational org; self-reporting COVID-19 exposure can template a new model for community support; launching to support students in self-isolation can roadmap a long-term digital mental health support framework; developing a short-term phygital delivery model could lead to a full transformation of curriculum delivery.

Whatever your way forward, Traction on Demand,, and are here to support your school. To learn more about our “back to school” and higher education solutions, get in touch with one of our experts.

Up next

Keep an eye out for Jeff’s next higher education blog, where he digs into how this unprecedented change has allowed us to start sowing the seeds of a new model of higher education; one we like to call the phygital university.

Reopening Your Campus?

Download our Five Steps to Reopening Higher Education webinar.

Related articles