The Higher Education COVID-19 Community of Practice

The Higher Education COVID-19 Community of Practice (HECCOP) is a collaboration of diverse disciplines within higher education.

HECCOP leverages the expertise and resources of its members to create and cultivate a community of practice for institutions of higher education (IHEs) on the topic of COVID-19 behavioral mitigation efforts. Through peer-to-peer collaborative activities, members of HECCOP come together virtually to share information, build knowledge, develop expertise, and solve problems aimed at reducing SARS-CoV-2.

HECCOP focuses on COVID-19 behavioral mitigation efforts, such as masking, handwashing, physical distancing, and testing. The community includes students and college health and wellness professionals as well as those in residence life, dining services, student affairs, athletics, recreation, facilities, and more.

To support the Community of Practice, ACHA, through the HECCOP project, created the following materials:


In February 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACHA entered into a cooperative agreement funding two projects: The Higher Education COVID-19 Community of Practice (HECCOP) and the Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative (CoVAC). HECCOP focused on bolstering behavioral mitigation strategies through peer-to-peer engagement, and CoVAC focused on building COVID-19 vaccine confidence across campus. The two project teams worked closely together to provide a cohesive strategy for COVID-19 management on college campuses, producing educational content, publications, and toolkits through into the start of the Fall 2021 semester.

The two projects were scheduled to conclude at the end of September 2021, however, the CDC extended the CoVAC Initiative through September 2022. Because institutions of higher education manage the COVID-19 pandemic holistically, the ACHA staff, with CDC’s approval, chose to merge the critically important components of HECCOP into the CoVAC Initiative. Beginning in October 2021, the scope of the CoVAC Initiative will expand to empowering institutions of higher education to use every available public health tool to protect campuses and neighboring communities from COVID-19 by implementing effective, equitable, inclusive and layered prevention strategies to reduce COVID-19 transmission on campus and in their surrounding communities.

You can find the CoVAC Initiative Project Description here.

What Is a Community of Practice?

A community of practice is a group of persons who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise by interacting regularly.1 The three distinct elements that comprise a community of practice are 1) a community that enables interaction (such as discussions, collaborative activities, and relationship building); 2) an identity defined by a shared domain of interest (such as COVID-19 mitigation efforts within higher education communities); and 3) a shared practice of experiences, tools, methods, and ways of addressing recurring problems.