Preparing to Teach, Fall 2020
- Dear WSU Faculty,
We are providing guidance on policy-based expectations for faculty preparing to teach this fall, particularly when teaching a course partially (Flex or Hybrid) or completely (FTF) on campus. We seek to ensure a measure of policy consistency for students that address several items, including Safety Issues, Addressing Violations, Syllabi Suggestions, and Teaching and Related Issues.
- SAFETY ISSUES
- Face coverings:
Faculty, staff, and students are required to properly wear face coverings in all indoors and some outdoor spaces on campus (see WSU COVID-19 statement on face coverings).
- Keep a record of attendance and seating:
As part of the work to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, we ask that you keep a record of attendance and seating for contact tracing purposes. This will be accomplished by maintaining an assigned seating chart in Canvas or any other way faculty find convenient. This information will be invaluable if we need to contact other students who may have been exposed to a student in your class diagnosed with the virus.
- Include a COVID-19 statement in the syllabus and on Canvas:
To help ensure students are aware of campus-and course-specific policies and procedures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (see WSU COVID-19 website), we suggest that faculty include the Student Acknowledgement of Mitigation Protocols statement in your syllabus that is available on the Canvas Commons Website. You may wish to set up a module or mandatory ungraded quiz to ensure students are aware of campus policies and procedures as well as course-specific policies that acknowledge and address student health concerns.
- Face coverings:
- FACULTY RESPONSE TO STUDENT SAFETY VIOLATIONS
Enforcing these requirements to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus is important.
The approach we suggest is to follow a sequence of alerting students to the policies and procedures, accommodating their needs where possible, and finally adjudicating any complaint they may have.
- 1) Alerting students:
A university-wide campaign is underway to inform students about university requirements regarding face coverings. It would also be helpful to email students prior to the beginning of classes to let them know about class expectations regarding face coverings and other mitigation requirements. Inform them that if they are uncomfortable with the class expectations, they can switch to a virtual or online course option. For assistance in changing classes, students can reach out to their academic advisor.
A student arriving at a class without a face covering could be offered one from the limited supply of disposable face coverings for each class. If a student is reluctant to wear face coverings, we encourage educating him or her on the reasons for the policy, including reviewing relevant material from the university campaign.Though the absence of cases cannot be guaranteed, complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local guidelines can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Faculty may opt for a class discussion of the importance of face coverings in mitigating the spread of the virus (see theWSU coronaviruses website on face coverings). You may wish to include the explanation that if everyone wears a face covering, then it is less likely the class will need to self-quarantine (stop meeting in-person) in the event a class member is diagnosed with COVID-19.
- 2) Accommodating Students:
There may be legitimate reasons for being unable to wear a face covering and sensitivity is encouraged. If students continue to object to wearing face coverings, explore whether accommodations can be made. This informal resolution may involve directing the students to request acceptable accommodations with Disability Services. Disability Services will work with faculty to review requested accommodation for students who cannot wear face coverings in class. Faculty should not ask or require students to provide information about medical conditions or disabilities.
- 3) Adjudicating Students:
Students who continue to refuse to properly wear face coverings when directed may violate PPM 6-22, the Student Code.
Students may be subjected to discipline for misconduct, including conduct which violates Weber State rules or regulations and conduct which unreasonably disrupts, adversely affects, or otherwise interferes with the lawful functions of the University, or the rights of any individual to pursue an education at Weber State University. (PPM 6-22 IV.B.3)
Examples include violation of published rules or regulations by officials acting withinthe scope of their authority (PPM 6-22 IV.C.31) and refusing to respond to reasonable requests and directions from University or local government officials acting in the performance of their duties (PPM 6-22 IV.C.29).
Also, Weber State University reserves the right to take appropriate action against any individual or group, who is found to pose an unreasonable risk of harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the University community, subject to applicable due process rights (PPM 6-22 IV.F).
In cases where students have been resistant to wearing masks or follow other virus mitigation requirements, despite attempts to educate and accommodate them, faculty retain a number of options to manage the situation.
- Faculty can remove a student from a classroom for one session (PPM 6-22 X.C.6.a-e) and immediately contact the Dean of Students (notification must be made within 24 hours).
- Faced with a resistant student, faculty can cancel class, notifying the student and the Dean of Students about the violation of the policy.
- If the student resists leaving the classroom, faculty may call campus police (801-626-6460).
- 1) Alerting students:
- SYLLABUS EXPECTATIONS
The pandemic has increased the importance of syllabi being explicit regarding your expectations for students in the class. New course delivery formats and coronavirus mitigation protocols will leave even experienced students confused about expectations. We suggest various topics for you to consider adding to your syllabus and sharing them with students as soon as possible. For more information on syllabus guidelines, see the TLF Syllabus webpage.
- Class Behavior/Participation
The forms and nature of student participation shouldbe explicit in the syllabus so students understand what is expected. Please explain attendance expectations and how it will be monitored, particularly for FLEX courses, which is a format that may be unclear to students.
- Accommodations for Sick Students:
Students or members of their households may get sick or need to be in quarantine for an extended period. Such students must stay at home and not attend courses with a delivery format requiring on-campus meetings (FTF, HYB, FLEX) (weber.edu/coronavirus). Although we want sick or quarantined students to remain off-campus, we recognize that accommodating them is a challenge. We suggest:
- Giving some thought to how you will handle such instances should they arise
- Exploring whether you can use simulcast or other technologies for delivery of on-campus classes to virtual students
- Including syllabus guidelines or policies addressing how you will accommodate student illnesses or quarantine requirements.
- Technology Requirements:
Many class formats have technology requirements for students to fully engage and be successful. Please make sure the technology requirements for the course are clearly documented in the syllabus. Please let students know of technology available to them if it is needed, including laptop and hotspot checkouts and so forth. We suggest you include in the list the requirements for the use of headphones with a built-in microphone for students in recorded or live virtual synchronous classes. This would protect the privacy of other students in the class.
- Recordings of Classes:
The university has a prohibition against recording class lectures unless the faculty member grants explicit permission (PPM 6-22.IV.D.3). There may also be copyright or privacy issues involved with students sharing faculty recorded lectures, particularly if students are captured in those recordings. To set expectations for your class, it would be helpful to note in the syllabus rules regarding recording or sharing of recordings of lectures. The language could read: The lectures recorded and posted on canvas are for the exclusive use of students enrolled in the class and may not be shared without previous authorization. Violations will be referred to the Dean of Students for adjudication under PPM 6-22, Student Code.
- Office Hours:
Faculty should be explicit about when and how office hours will be held. PPM offers faculty the option of providing office hours virtually or in-person as the faculty prefer (PPM 4-9a, PPM 9-5.II.B.4a and .4b).
- Emergency Return to Red or Orange Risk Levels:
It is already policy (PPM 4-9a.2.B.6) that faculty teaching on campus will include a statement in the syllabus about contingency plans for remote instruction in case of an emergency that closes or prevents reasonable access to campus. During the pandemic, it would be helpful for faculty to share their fallback plan with students in case Weber State University moves back to an Orange (moderate) or Red (high) risk level.
- Class Behavior/Participation
- TEACHING AND OTHER ISSUES
- Teaching Setup:
Classrooms will be equipped with the following:
- Furniture will be arranged in most classes to create 6’ distancing between seated students.
- A plexiglass shield will be located at the teaching station.
- Hand sanitizer will be providedin each teaching space and at major building entries.
- A bottle of EPA-approved disinfectant will be located in each space for occupant use.
- Ventilation and filtration in all teaching spaces will be maximized, as deemed appropriate, given the limits of theexisting building systems.
- Disposable face coverings will be provided, in very limited supply, in each classroom for those students whocome to class without one.
- Cleaning the faculty space:
Faculty will be expected to clean the lectern area, computer, keyboard, and mouse, and other exposed or touched surfaces before class begins. They may wish to do so after the class has ended as well.
- Lecturing while wearing a face covering:
Face coverings are required for everyone, even for faculty lecturing behind the plexiglass shield. To promote faculty voice amplification, use the simulcast technology (and the omnidirectional microphone) that will be available in most classrooms. Students may better hear the presentation by logging into the simulcast software using their smartphone, tablet, or computer and accessing the simulcast. If the room is without simulcast technology, faculty will just need to contact CTS@weber.edu to check out voice amplification hardware.
- Reporting of COVID-19 cases:
Faculty may request that a student in the class, who is suspectedof having COVID-19 symptoms, or has alerted you that they have been exposed to COVID-19, should go home and self-isolate.This should be a private conversation done with sensitivity to many other causes of the symptoms particularly during allergy or flu season.
Faculty informed that a student has COVID-19 should report that information to Public Safety (or email firstname.lastname@example.org), who will inform the local health department and provide you with additional guidance (including asking for thelist of other students in the class). Please keep this information confidential, as the university follows the guidance of our local health department regarding contact tracing. See Appendix D for more information.
- Assignment of course schedules:
In the event of questions about how course schedules will be assigned or course formats will be decided, please consult PPM 1-18.9. Chairs have the responsibility to set the schedule, which includes course format delivery. If faculty have concerns about the schedule or delivery format, they should speak with their Chair. If an agreement cannot be reached, faculty should then contact their Dean.
- Faculty options to change course delivery model:
Faculty may not change the delivery format as it appears in Banner except under unusual circumstances (PPM 9-5.II.B.4a and .4b). Should the need arise to change delivery formats due to a return to an Orange (medium) or Red (high) risk level, faculty will be expected to exercise their contingency plan outlined in PPM 4-9a.II.B.6.
- Teaching Setup: