Best Practices, Procedures, and Suggested Syllabus Language for
Faculty in the Age of COVID-19
Prior to and Entering the Classroom
Communication - Clearly state in your syllabus how you will communicate with your students (in Canvas, Teams, Email, etc.). Encourage students to check IU email for updates should issues arise.
Let students know your plan for virtual instruction should it become necessary. Will you have synchronous meetings over Zoom? post instructional materials? have online modules?
Provide a link in the syllabus to IU COVID website for general information on COVID-19 and IU’s response.
IU prohibits faculty and students from inquiring into the vaccination status of others.
Illness- If a student attending class is noticeably ill, the instructor should use their best judgment in communicating with the student that they should leave class, seek treatment, and continue their learning remotely until they are well. We encourage faculty to follow-up with such students about missed content/work.
Masks- In order to promote the health and safety of our campus community all students, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, including while in class. However, if there is space to distance from students, then faculty may remove their masks when necessary for instructional purposes; masks should be replaced as soon as possible.
Other exceptions to the mask policy include while alone in a private office with the door closed or while eating and drinking in an indoor seating area (outside of the classroom) for dining.
While masks will be provided, individuals may also choose to wear their own (see guidance for examples of acceptable face coverings). Masks with exhalation valves are not considered safe and should not be worn on campus. If a student forgets their mask, there will be disposable masks available in the classroom for their use.
As we return to more normal operations, please treat non-mask wearing or incorrect mask wearing in your classroom as you would any other behavioral disruption:
We suggest the following protocol related to mask non-compliance:
1) If a student forgets their mask, ask the student to immediately put one on or to leave the class.
2) If a student refuses to wear a mask, ask the student to speak with you outside the classroom before starting the class. Inform them that it is University policy that masks are required. Explain that if they choose not to wear a mask they cannot attend class and will be in violation of the Indiana University Code of Students’ Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct (the Code) and the SCF, and are subject to disciplinary action. Document the incident by submitting a Personal Misconduct Reporthere.
3) If they still refuse to wear a mask, inform them they need to leave and that they will be referred for a violation of the Code of Conduct. If they refuse to leave, you should notify IU Police at (219) 980‑6501 that you have a disruptive student in the class who is refusing to leave and, again, let the student know they will be referred to Conduct. Document the incident by submitting a Personal Misconduct Report here.
Seating: Ideally, for the purposes of contact tracing, all students should be assigned a seat for the semester. If you take this approach, seat assignments should be determined and distributed to students before classes begin. This is not meant to discourage instructors from using active, collaborative learning methods.
If you choose not to do assigned seating, please ensure that students know peers who are seated within three feet of them, should they be asked by IU to contact trace.
Canvas has a seating chart feature in the Attendance tab. If you are interested in this option, but unsure how to utilize it, please contact CISTL for assistance.
Additional resources include:
How to use the Attendance tool - https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13050-4152107406
How to create a seating chart using the Attendance tool - https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13058-4152107416
Reporting Positive COVID-19 tests or contact with someone with a positive test - This must be reported using theCOVID-19 Self Reporting Form. All users will provide a contact phone number. The user then selects whether they are reporting as positive or a close contact. If reporting positive, they will be asked to provide the test date. If they are reporting as a close contact, they will be presented with a series of questions to confirm that they meet the public health criteria of a close contact for contact tracing purposes.
Attendance - Because everyone’s health is at stake, we are asking anyone who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID or any other contagious illness to stay home and not attend class. Additionally, students may need to quarantine or isolate due to possible COVID exposure or diagnosis. For students to be able to meet these obligations, attendance should not be a factor in determining a student’s overall course grade.
We advocate allowing absent students to make up missed work and we encourage instructors to not impose mandatory grade penalties. We suggest that instructors base decisions on a case-by-case basis. This applies to online and hybrid courses as well, as student illness may be severe enough to prevent them from participating in online and virtual class activities.
This continuing pandemic is taking a toll on all our lives. We need to approach our students with empathy and generosity of spirit as we try our best to ensure that teaching and learning takes place.
If a student needs to quarantine what is the responsibility of the faculty and of the student?
If a student needs to quarantine due to IU protocols, the student and the faculty should work together to establish a means for the student to continue to achieve the learning outcomes of the course. While we encourage empathy and grace, faculty are not expected to make extraordinary arrangements. Consider how you handled situations in Fall 2019 or earlier when a student became ill, had to travel unexpectedly, or needed to take care of a loved one. In the end, use your best professional judgment.
If you are willing to provide a Zoom option in certain cases, you might consider language that is provided below in the Zoom section toward the end of this document.
Suggested Syllabus Language
Health - Please practice basic health precautions and to self-monitor your health for COVID-19 symptoms by taking your temperature daily, wearing masks on campus, and staying home if sick or exposed to COVID-19.
As guidance regarding the virus changes, university policies will evolve. To confirm current guidelines, please visit the IU COVID website. To protect the health and safety of everyone on campus, each person participating in face-to-face classes is required to follow these measures:
- Because COVID testing and contact tracing is protected medical information, your professors are not automatically notified if you test positive or are quarantined. So, as with any time you are ill, it is essential that you contact your professors as soon as possible to determine how best to address missed class work.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID or other contagious illness, do not come to campus. If you develop symptoms while on campus, go to your residence and contact your healthcare provider.
- Due to the masking requirement, eating and drinking in class is prohibited.
- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccine status, is required to report this to IU (if not tested on campus) and isolate.
- Faculty and students cannot inquire into the vaccination status of others.
You can find more detailed information about all the actions that Indiana University is taking to ensure the health and safety of all members of the campus community at the IU COVID website or through the IU Mobile App. To help maintain the safety of our IU Community, we also encourage you to follow the safety protocols when off-campus.
Masks -In order to promote the health and safety of our campus community all students, faculty, and staff are required to wear a mask indoors at all times while on campus, including while in class. Please note: if there is space to distance from students, faculty may remove their masks when necessary for instructional purposes; masks should be replaced as soon as possible. The same exception applies to student presentations when spacing requirements are met. Other exceptions to the IU mask-wearing policy include ADA accommodation, when a person is eating (outside of the classroom), or when a person is alone in their office or alone in a designated study space.
Should you lose or forget your mask, tell your instructor when you arrive in class, who will be able to provide a mask for you. ( Proper Wearing of Masks)
Illness - If you are feeling ill or experiencing respiratory symptoms (i.e. sneeze or cough) or fever (100.4 degrees or higher) you should not come to class and should notify your instructor and report to IU Health Virtual Visit. Follow instructions to download an app to find care and, if necessary, be tested. If you prefer to be in contact with your personal doctor, you may do so. You should contact your instructor about missed content/course work if you have to miss class due to illness. If you are in class and begin to feel ill, you should leave the classroom.
Reporting Positive COVID-19 tests or contact with someone with a positive test - Covid-positive tests from third party sources must be communicated to IU using the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form. All users will provide a contact phone number. The user then selects whether they are reporting as positive or a close contact. If reporting positive, they will be asked to provide the test date. If they are reporting as a close contact, they will be presented with a series of questions to confirm that they meet the public health criteria of a close contact for contact tracing purposes.
Contact tracing is a centralized function and not the responsibility of IU Northwest and will be initiated as a response to completing the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form.
If a student is required to quarantine or isolate, he or she should contact the instructor to establish a means for maintaining progress in the course while away from in-class instruction.
While in the classroom
Attendance -Faculty are no longer required to document in-person attendance of students for the purposes of contact tracing. Individual policies for attendance should be covered in each faculty member’s syllabus.
Zoom Option - If you are willing to provide a Zoom option in certain cases, we encourage you to establish parameters in order to prevent Zoom drift. (See below.)
Assigned Seats - Though not required, it would be ideal for the purposes of IU contact tracing, to assign all students a seat for the semester. If you take this approach, seat assignments should be determined and distributed to students before classes begin. Canvas has a seating chart feature in the Attendance tab. This is not meant to discourage instructors from using active, collaborative learning methods.
Technology - In addition to the technology that is typically included, classrooms are now equipped with webcams and microphones for enhanced classroom recording and Zoom conferencing as well as white boards to be used with document cameras for notes, problem solving, or other uses.
Eating and Drinking - no food and drink in the classrooms in order to keep everyone wearing their masks at all times.
Suggested Practices while using Zoom
While using Zoom conferencing is not required of faculty teaching face-to-face, if your course modality includes a Zoom component, it is important that your Zoom discussions offer a chance for everyone to engage with the material and each other, but it is also important that everyone feel safe using the video communication technology. If able, students are encouraged to turn on their video during class discussions. However, if they prefer not to for any reason, then they should not be required to turn on video. If they do not turn on their video, you may encourage them to include some kind of image of themselves in place of video. This could be a real photo of the student, or perhaps a Bitmoji (a cartoon recreation).
Students should have a microphone and be reminded to unmute to participate in class discussions. Please remind students to mute when they are not actively participating in the class discussion. You may also encourage them to type in the Zoom chat as often as they like. However, it is up to the individual instructor to design discussion opportunities that are appropriate to the discipline and that will successfully meet class learning outcomes.
Suggested Syllabus Language
Zoom Discussions - Zoom discussions offer a chance for everyone to engage with the material and each other, but it is also important that everyone feel safe in Zoom. You are encouraged to turn on your video during class discussions. However, if you prefer not to for any reason, then you do not have to turn on your video. If you choose not to turn on your video, you are encouraged to include some kind of image of yourself in place of video. This may be a real photo or a Bitmoji (a cartoon recreation).
You should have a microphone and remember to unmute to participate in class discussions. Please mute when you are not actively participating in the class discussion. You are encouraged to type in the Zoom chat as often as you like.
If you are willing to provide a Zoom option in certain cases, you might consider the following language in order to prevent Zoom drift:
Zoom use when unable to attend class - If, for whatever reason, a student is unable to attend a scheduled in-person class session, participation via Zoom may be an available option. The first “zooming in” instead of attending in-person is a “freebie.” Each additional instance of participating via Zoom will count as an absence from the class.
- Student Responsibility: In the event that, for whatever reason, a student must be absent from class, the student is responsible for: (a) notifying the instructor in advance of the class session, and, (b) becoming informed about topics and activities involved in the “missed” session.
Office Hours--Faculty must maintain office hours. Since most offices are not conducive to appropriate physical distancing, virtual office hours are recommended. They may be held from individual campus offices or from home. Masks must be worn for face-to-face office-hour meetings.
Suggested Syllabus Language
Academic Support Services - will be available remotely and in person
Student Support Services - will offer one-on-one tutoring in person or via Zoom to eligible students. If a student wants to meet in person for a tutoring session, a space will be determined either indoors or outdoors. Current physical distancing guidelines will be followed.
Supplemental Instruction- will be operating as a hybrid with in-person and virtual options as needed.
Math Assistance Center - will offer assistance via Zoom. Students wanting to come on campus for tutoring will be required to schedule an appointment (since there is a two-student maximum allowed in the Math Assistance Center at a time). Tutors will receive safety instructions prior to beginning work and it will be clearly marked where students can sit and where tutors can sit/stand.
Writing Center -will offer both in-person and online tutoring sessions this fall, including evening online sessions.
CIS and LSAMP One-stop STEM Tutoring - will offer both in-person (Library 230A) STEM tutoring as well as online tutoring through Zoom. Tutoring will be available beginning the second week of the Fall 2021 term.