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Metrics for Determining Operational Levels at Idaho State University

August 18, 2021

The COVID-19 Health Committee has carefully considered the metrics Idaho State University used to track and assist the Administrative Council in determining the Operational Level at each campus location. Many of these metrics are derived from a planning resource developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Tuscany Strategy (a public health consulting agency), and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s International Quality Group entitled, “Open Smart Edu”. These groups published an extensive COVID-19 planning guide for higher education institutions. In addition to the metrics suggested by OpenSmartEdu, the COVID-19 Health Committee has developed individualized metrics for our institution and incorporated guidance from local public health departments. These metrics include:


  • The trends for probable and new confirmed cases on campus and in the community
  • Public health risk levels of the communities in which our campuses reside
  • The degree of community spread
  • Adherence to public health recommendations for disease mitigation, such as the wearing of face coverings
  • The capacity to quarantine students in university housing and perform campus contact tracing
  • Community and campus testing capacity and turnaround times as well as the availability of personal protective equipment
  • Campus absenteeism and the numbers of university units/programs currently under quarantine


Idaho State’s COVID-19 Health Committee tracks changes in all data points for the Pocatello, Meridian, and Idaho Falls campuses and provides a weekly “scorecard” to the University’s Administrative Council. The Administrative Council references and discusses this “scorecard” to determine the Operational Level of the campuses. Levels are assigned a color of orange, white, gray, or black. Some metrics are highly data driven and quantitative and others are somewhat subjective. In order to transition from one level to another, the metrics are considered holistically, however, there are individual metrics that could rapidly influence a change in operational status. For example, a significant change in infections in individuals from the campus community or several clusters of cases, such as in our housing units, would likely necessitate a quick transition in an operational level.


The Roaring Back website is updated regularly, and changes in operational levels will be reflected online. If the situation warrants a campuswide announcement, a mass email will be sent to all students, faculty, and staff.


The operational levels for the Twin Falls, Anchorage, and Caldwell campuses are primarily determined by the status of the host campus. In these cases, this is the College of Southern Idaho, College of Idaho, and the University of Alaska-Anchorage.



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