Preparing to Teach, Fall 2021

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The university is providing guidance on policy-based expectations for faculty preparing to teach this fall, particularly when teaching a course partially; (Hybrid) or completely face-to-face (FTF) on campus. We seek to ensure consistency in informing students and address several items, including safety, syllabi and teaching and related issues. The guidance offered is based on current conditions. Requirements, courses and other elements of university services may be revised or suspended at any time as conditions change.

Safety Issues

Weber State strongly encourages all university students, faculty and staff to get tested and vaccinated. Please check the WSU COVID-19 testing and safety and vaccines pages for times, days and locations.

Face coverings:

WSU will provide KN95 masks to faculty and staff at the beginning of the semester. There is a limited supply of additional masks available to students as we have in past semesters.

Please be respectful and supportive of your fellow Wildcats.

Self-screening: 

All individuals need to assess themselves for symptoms of illness before coming to campus and to stay home if they are symptomatic. Visit the WSU COVID-19 website for more information.

Keep a record of attendance and seating:

As part of the work to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, faculty will continue to keep a record of attendance and seating for contact tracing purposes. This record-keeping can be accomplished by maintaining an assigned seating chart in Canvas or any other way faculty find convenient. This information may be invaluable if the university needs 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 the WSU COVID-19 website), the university suggests faculty include the Student Acknowledgement of Mitigation Protocols statement in the syllabi. The statement is available in Canvas Commons to drop into your canvas course (search for the title "Student Acknowledgement of Mitigation Protocols").


Syllabus Expectations

The pandemic has increased the importance of syllabi being explicit regarding your expectations for students in the class. Course delivery formats and coronavirus mitigation protocols may warrant further explanation of expectations. We suggest various topics 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 class participation should be explicit in the syllabus for students to understand what is expected. Please explain attendance expectations and how they will be monitored, particularly for hybrid 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). Although we want sick or quarantined students to remain off-campus, we recognize that accommodating them is challenging. WSU suggests:

  • 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 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 needed, including laptop and hotspot checkouts through the WSU Computer Labs or the Stewart Library. We suggest you include in the list the requirements for 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 students recording class lectures unless the faculty member grants explicit permission (PPM 6-22.6.6). There may also be copyright or privacy issues involving students sharing faculty recorded lectures, particularly if students are captured in those recordings. To set expectations for your class, you must note rules regarding recording or sharing of recordings of lectures in the syllabus. 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, B3, PPM 9-5 3.2.4).

Emergency:

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.


Teaching and Other Issues

WSU recommends face coverings, especially for unvaccinated individuals. Current guidance from the CDC can be found on the COVID-19 webpage.

Teaching Setup:

Classrooms will be equipped with the following:

  • A plexiglass shield will be located at the teaching station.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided in each teaching space and at major building entries.
  • A bottle of EPA-approved disinfectant will be located in each space for occupant use.
  • A limited supply of face coverings to accommodate students who may need one.
  • Ventilation and filtration in all teaching spaces will be maximized, as deemed appropriate, given the limits of the existing building systems.

Cleaning the faculty space:

Faculty will be expected to clean the lectern area, computer, keyboard, 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 (if you choose to do so):

Face coverings are no longer mandated, but faculty who prefer to wear one may do so. To promote faculty voice amplification, use the simulcast technology (and the omnidirectional microphone) 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 need to contact CTS@weber.edu to checkout voice amplification hardware.

Reporting COVID-19 cases:

Faculty may request that a student in the class, who is suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms or has indicated 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 instruct them to submit a self-report form located at weber.edu/coronavirus. You may also report that information to Public Safety  (email covid19@weber.edu), who will inform the local health department and provide you with additional guidance (including asking for the list 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 are assigned or formats are 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 3.2.4). Should the need arise to change delivery formats due to changes in conditions, faculty will be expected to exercise their contingency plan outlined in PPM 4-9a.II.B.6.

Asking about student vaccination status:

In general, faculty and staff should not ask students if they are vaccinated, or plan to be vaccinated, because that conversation may prompt disclosure of disability-related information.