Faculty Classroom Guidance during Pandemic

Monday, August 16, 2021
Letter from Provost and Faculty Council President

Dear colleagues,

We are now a week out from the start of classes.  As faculty, you are trusted sources of information for your students. Take the opportunity to welcome your class - whether through email, Canvas, or in person - and to educate them about health and safety during the pandemic.  As you do so:

  • Encourage students, if they are not vaccinated, to get vaccinated as soon as possible before returning to campus (find a Vaccination Location) or to sign up for an on-campus clinic
  • Ensure that students understand that once vaccinated, they must submit their Vaccine Reporting Form. Unless this form is submitted, vaccination status at the University is officially “unvaccinated” and they will be required to adhere to weekly testing requirements.
  • Take the opportunity to address disinformation and misinformation about COVID, masks, and vaccination. See COVID-19 Vaccine Fact vs. Fiction for helpful information. Consider a low stakes quiz or an interactive Poll Everywhere to draw attention to the facts.
  • Remind students that mask-wearing is required for everyone in all indoor spaces. 
  • Explain your classroom policies related to the ongoing pandemic, such as absenteeism, accommodations, and late assignments. COVID-related policies are on the Office of Legal Affairs website under suggested syllabus messages.
  • For unvaccinated students, the University protocol for weekly testing should not interfere with classroom attendance. However, the Student Government Association requests that faculty consider flexible policies to allow students to get vaccinated and recuperate from any side effects.
  • As always, students should be reminded to monitor their university email in this evolving situation.

Please take care of your physical and mental health and encourage students and colleagues to do the same. We will do our best to keep you informed through the Niner Nation Cares website and the Instruction During Pandemic webpages, and let us hear from you if you have concerns.

Thank you for all you do and have a great semester,

Joan F. Lorden
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Susan Harden
Faculty Council President

Debra Smith
Faculty Council Secretary