Disease and Weather-Related Campus Closures. Parchment Guidance to Member Institutions.
Last Updated: Friday, March 20, 2020
Disease and Weather-Related Campus Closures
Parchment Guidance to Member Institutions
Whether it be snow in Colorado, flooding in Missouri, hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes in Texas, or the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Parchment members rely on our services to operate without interruption. Whether a high school or college, brick and mortar institution or 100% online – students and alumni expect partners to be resilient to the externalities of local and global events.
Academic institutions operate globally through study abroad, international students, conferences, and more. In the last week, we have received a number of inquiries from our member institutions specifically regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the potential impact it may have on our services, and necessary coordination steps. We thought we’d take some time to answer those key questions and if more arise, we will certainly provide updates and answers as they become available.
How is Parchment geographically organized?
With the recent merger of Parchment Inc. and Credentials Solutions, the new Parchment now has 230-employees that work in local offices and remotely in and out of the country. Our Print & Mail service operates out of our two main offices, located in Scottsdale, Arizona and Deerfield, Illinois. Through these facilities, we’ll print and mail a combined 2.2 million certificates, diplomas, and transcripts, in the next twelve months!
We also have offices in Roseville, California, Denver, Colorado, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Among other things, 27% of “Parchies” (what we call ourselves) work remotely throughout the U.S. and Canada. Because of the secure infrastructure we’ve built and the SaaS-based nature of our work, we can flex a high percentage of our staff with the ability to work remotely to ensure continuous operations, if needed.
Is Parchment going to Work From Home?
Our number one priority is the health of our staff and their families. As of the original writing of this post, we had not taken the step to direct staff to work from home. But, as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we have directed all non-essential staff (all of those except Print and Mailroom staff and some Production Support staff) to work from home. Our staff are prepared to do this and we do not foresee any interruptions to business continuity
Is Parchment making any changes to order expiration?
Yes, we are. To give some context to this, historically fulfilled orders have expired after 30-days. This is done for a number of reasons including student experience, institutional preferences, and recipient processing requirements. In light of campus closures and many staff working from home, we’ve extended some of those order expiration rules so as to not create undue hardship for students and processing staff later on. Here are those changes:
- Credential Issuing:
- Parchment 7: unprocessed requests will remain active for up to 90 days
- Parchment 6: members can control the expiration period that an emailed order is available. This is a member controlled feature that we are not changing.
- Credential Receiving:
- Receive Lite: historically, credentials that are not downloaded within 30 days of delivery expire. Effective March 20th, we are extending the download period from 30 days to 90 days. We’ll reevaluate and provide notice around reverting this back to 30 days early in June 2020.
Can I update messaging to my students through the application? If so, how?
Through the combination of Parchment Inc. and Credentials Solutions LLC, we have several credential-issuing services. As a Parchment member, your institution learned best practices during onboarding training. As a reminder, administrators can easily update student-facing information as outlined below:
- TranscriptPlus® users can notify requestors of processing delays via RSS using the Message Management feature, located within Administrative Tasks on the main menu.
- Edit an existing message using the pencil icon; use the On/Off toggle buttons to turn messages on or off. Alternatively, add a new message using the respective button.
- P7 institutions whose learners use Parchment.com for ordering can notify students of important office closures from the SETTINGS page.
- Add a closure message by clicking on SETTINGS > Ordering > Office Closure tab; enter a message into the placeholder field then click Save.
- Please note: Automated schools will continue to process orders, assuming they qualify for automation.
- P6 institutions whose learners use your school-specific ordering workflow can notify students of important office closures and disable incoming orders using the Storefront Editor located under Settings.
- Disable ordering and communicate school closures by clicking on Settings > Storefront Editor
- Using the Storefront Page drop-down box, select Disable Ordering then enter a message into the related field. Click Save.
- Use the Activate Page button located under Revisions to disable ordering and update the message.
- Please note: As a friendly reminder, you’ll need to return to this screen to enable ordering once the closure ends.
As a final measure, we recommend updating information on your institutional web page where details are provided regarding transcript ordering; this consistency helps learners fully comprehend the message and sets clear expectations.
- Parchment Receive makes it easy to receive and route documents. If you need guidance navigating your Inbox, members can find helpful user guides related to Receive Premium and Receive Lite by clicking on the associated links.
If we close our campus, what impact will this have on our ability to fulfill transcript, diploma, and other credential requests?
As always, you, your staff, as well as your students and alumni can access Parchment from anywhere you have internet access.
For high school and post-secondary institutions with transcripts and diplomas requiring web-upload fulfillment, continue processing as you normally do, assuming your staff also has remote access to the system of record. Alternatively, if your staff does not have remote access to the system of record, we’ll continue to take requests, however, fulfillment won’t take place until the applicable credential is uploaded.
For the institutions whose credential requests are fully automated, requests will continue automatically fulfilling as you would normally expect.
What about Printed & Mailed Transcripts and Diplomas?
Similar to above, if you print and mail your own documents on campus, we’ll continue to take requests, but they won’t be fulfilled until your staff processes. Alternatively, for the thousands of Parchment institutions who have come to rely on our Print & Mail service, we will continue to process all requests, as you’ve come to expect, regardless of whether or not you’re in the office.
As previously mentioned, Parchment will print and mail over two million certificates, diplomas, and transcripts this year. If you aren’t using our Print & Mail service and want to explore all its benefits and features, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about travel and conferences?
Parchment staff travel around the country for campus visits, RFP-defense meetings, local, regional, national, and global conferences. Whether it be an in-person visit on campus, a meeting at a conference, or via remote through a service like Zoom – we understand the importance of our collaboration. Only through our partnership can we continue to learn from each other while placing a spotlight on student and institutional success.
Similar to our monitoring of CDC guidance for businesses (noted above), we are keeping a close eye on CDC guidance on travel as it relates to COVID-19.
Since this blog post was first released, a number of conferences have cancelled (Groningen Declaration, Ellucian Live, Oracle Alliance, AACRAO, CSSO, and CACCRAO to name a few). In addition, our prospective and member institutions are focused on readiness and preparedness for their students and staff to go fully-online, close campus, or somewhere in-between.
So, it is both out of an abundance of caution and our understanding that the first priority of staff and faculty at higher education institutions is their students and colleagues, we are requiring that all non-essential travel (flights, trains, cars) to campuses, conferences, and meals for all Parchment staff in the higher education team be postponed from March 13th – April 3rd. The Executive Team will be re-evaluating regularly to determine if we need to extend the travel restriction for Parchment staff.
Educational Webinar Resources
Whether you need training or simply a refresher, we’ve got you covered. We have put together a series of training webinars you and your staff can use to get up to speed. For a complete list of issuing and receiving-related webinars as well as registration links, please click here.
As you have more questions, please feel free to send them to us at email@example.com and we’ll update this blog post as soon as we have an answer.
Wishing you and yours health and happiness,
The Parchment Team
Previous versions of this post are available by clicking on the applicable dates below.