Coronavirus FAQs - Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff FAQs Related to Reopening

When will employees return to campus?

If you are currently working remotely, please continue to do so until additional guidance is provided by your supervisor. Staff members will return to campus at different times, depending on their roles and responsibilities. Some employees may continue to work remotely as their role allows, possibly beyond the beginning of fall semester. Supervisors will receive additional information shortly. Please see the Reopening Phases for more detail.

Reopening Phases

When will faculty know whether their classes will be remote or in person?

We understand how important it is that decisions be made as soon as possible regarding which specific classes will be delivered in person or remotely. Virtually every part of the university is working diligently to identify feasible academic solutions given the constraints driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will researchers return to campus?
Will staff receive any personal protective equipment (PPE)?

We plan to provide two reusable cloth masks for every employee.

How do I order personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Will departments need to pay for PPE for faculty, staff and student employees?

All PPE supply orders will be centrally funded by the university when ordered through FlashTrack.

What types of PPE are currently available for departments to order for faculty, staff and student employees?

Washable masks, hand sanitizer spray mist, disposable nitrile gloves, service counter protection guards (sneeze guards) and sanitizing cleaning products for workspaces are currently available to order.

How much Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should I order?

With the potential surge in initial demand we ask that you please be conservative with your initial order and only order what you anticipate you will need as your employees begin to return to campus in the coming months. PPE supplies will be continuously replenished and made available as needed.

When should I place my PPE order and how long will I have to wait to receive it?

We encourage departments, when possible, to place their initial order three to four week before their employees are scheduled to return to campus. This will allow us to coordinate all deliveries to be made directly to departments prior to employees moving back onto campus. This will limit employee exposure and ensure that supplies are available to employees as they return to campus. Subsequent orders should be placed when needed.

How will departments receive their PPE orders?

All PPE orders placed via FlashTrack will be delivered directly to departments. Mail Services staff will deliver orders for the Kent Campus. Regional Campus and College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) orders will be coordinated directly with a Regional Campus/CPM representative.

How do I order PPE supplies?

Departments will place PPE orders using FlashTrack. You can access detailed order instructions using this link or by going to this link: https://www.kent.edu/ufm/work-ordersflashtrack

I need specialty PPE not listed on the order form in FlashTrack. Who do I contact to coordinate the order?

Please reach out to the Procurement Department via email at procurement@kent.edu for assistance with specialty PPE products.

I have my own mask that I would like to use when I am back on campus. Do I have to use the masks purchased by my department?

Per our Flashes Safe Seven principles face masks or cloth facial coverings will be required. We understand that many employees may have their own face coverings that they wish to wear once they are back on campus. Employees may wear their own face covering as long as it follows the recommended protection guidelines specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Learn more information about the CDC's guidelines for face coverings at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

My office needs service counter protection guards (sneeze guards).  How do I order those?

Requests for the installation of a service counter protection guard can be made by entering a work order through FlashTrack at https://solutions.kent.edu/flashtrack/ or by logging into FlashLine/Employee/Workflow and select Maintenance/FAMIS.

I see misty reusable spray bottles with hand sanitizer are being offered to employees. How do I obtain a refill of the product?

Custodial staff will refill the reusable hand sanitizer spray bottles. Employees can request refills by entering a work order through FlashTrack at https://solutions.kent.edu/flashtrack/ or by logging into FlashLine/Employee/Workflow and select Maintenance/FAMIS.

Will departments be provided with adequate cleaning supplies for employees to use in their workspace?

Yes, per our Flashes Safe Seven principles, all employees will be required to clean and sanitize their workspaces and common spaces throughout the day, between shifts and at the close of each day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones and keyboards. Departments will place PPE orders, including cleaning supplies for employee use, using FlashTrack. You can access detailed order instructions using this link or by copying this URL https://www.kent.edu/ufm/work-ordersflashtrack to a web browser.

For Faculty & Staff: Business Operations

I need to place an order for my department, but my building is locked. How do I access my delivery?

With the “stay-at-home” order all Kent campus package deliveries should be directed to Mail Services for pick up, unless you specify a different on campus delivery location. Please use the following address for Mail Services delivery, 1500 Horning Rd., Kent, OH 44242

You can pick up your deliveries in Mail Services between the hours of 8-12 Monday through Thursday. Departments that do not pick-up their items at this time will have their items held until normal operations resume at the University. Mail Services is located on the bottom floor of the Administrative Services Building, see link https://map.concept3d.com/?id=568#!m/57846.

Is Mail Services processing on and off campus mail?

Yes, mail services will continue to process on- and off-campus mail delivery. Departments can bring/pick up their office mail at Mail Services between the hours of 8-12 Monday through Thursday. Departments that do not pick up their office mail at this time will have their mail held until normal operations resume at the University. Departments can also drop off their mail in the blue mailbox located at the back of the Administrative Services Building. Mail Services is located on the bottom floor of the Administrative Services Building, see link https://map.concept3d.com/?id=568#!m/57846.

Can we have supplies shipped directly to employees’ homes?

Purchases with University funds can only be delivered to university buildings. Departments can have orders shipped directly to Mail Services at 1500, Horning Rd., Kent Ohio 44242. Employees can pick up departmental orders in Mail Services between the hours of 8-12 Monday through Thursday. Mail Services is located on the bottom floor of the Administrative Services Building, see link https://map.concept3d.com/?id=568#!m/57846.

Is faculty and staff travel canceled? Are there safe-travel guidelines?
  • University-sponsored travel – domestic and international – remains suspended until further notice. No future university-sponsored travel may be booked unless approved by a dean or vice president until further notice. 

  • While Kent State is not able to stop anyone from taking a personal trip, we strongly urge members of the Kent State community to consider such plans carefully at this volatile time and recommend that all heed CDC travel notices.

  • During this time, if you are fulfilling your university responsibilities (e.g., teaching courses, research commitments, service commitments) and other university duties remotely, you are not considered absent from campus. However, if you travel for any reason out of state (or even to known hot spots in the state), please notify your chair/director.

  • Depending on the travel destination, faculty, staff and students may be subject to self-isolation and/or quarantine requirements before they will be permitted to return to campus.

  • If for any reason you are not fulfilling your university responsibilities during the term of your employment contract, you must fill out the appropriate form (e.g., sick leave, FMLA, etc.).

  • Keep in mind that full-time faculty are on contract during the week of spring break and must be available to fulfill your university responsibilities during that time.

I had to cancel my travel plans due to this COVID-19 crisis and I have yet to be reimbursed. How do I seek reimbursement?

First it is important to work with your travel vendors to obtain either a refund or travel voucher/credit. If you receive a refund, it will not be necessary to reimburse. If you obtain a voucher/credit and you did not purchase through one of the university’s preferred travel providers, you will need to notify your department budget representative to let them know you have a voucher toward a future trip. The university will reimburse you for the cost of the original flight. If you purchased through one of the university’s preferred travel providers, they will work with you on tracking unused tickets/vouchers.

I handle the budget for my department, how do I address travel cancellations?

The first step is to ensure the traveler has exhausted all measures to obtain a refund or credit/voucher toward a future trip. If the traveler receives a refund and the traveler has been reimbursed (i.e. airline tickets, first night’s hotel deposit, etc.), by the university then the traveler owes the university. Please seek reimbursement from the traveler.

If the traveler receives a refund and the traveler has not been reimbursed, there is nothing else you need to do.

Please note most airlines are providing transferable vouchers if the travel was cancelled, but this differs greatly by the airline and the circumstances related to the travel cancellations. Most if not all hotels will refund for the first night’s deposit.

If your traveler used one of the university’s preferred travel providers, the agency will work with you and provide information on unused vouchers. One of the advantages to using one of the university’s preferred travel providers is the support provided with cancellations and the visibility to unused tickets/vouchers.

If the traveler receives a voucher or credit toward a future trip and the original purchase was not through one of the university’s preferred travel providers, you will need to keep track of it to determine if there could be a use for a future trip either for that traveler or another traveler within your department (if a transferable voucher). Currently airlines are allowing for transferability with some future vouchers. Please keep in mind, there is an expiration date on the airline vouchers.

If the traveler receives a voucher and has not yet been reimbursed, the traveler should seek reimbursement and ensure use on a future trip. If the traveler has been reimbursed, the voucher still needs tracked for future use.

If the purchase was made via a department PCard, the same steps apply with respect to receiving and tracking a voucher for future trips.

How do I code additional costs incurred related to the COVID-19 crisis?

Code all expenses as you normally would and track separate on a spreadsheet to be collected later (communication was sent to your respective division’s budget officers about the importance of tracking these types of costs along with a template). Please reach out to your division budget officer for this information. Costs should still be carried in the appropriate index/account to which it applies.

I am using my personal printer print documents. How will I get reimbursed for the use of paper and toner?

We encourage employees to convert documents to PDFs and utilize Adobe to add comments their documents just as they would if they had the paper in front of them, see link for more information about adding comments to .pdf document https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/commenting-pdfs.html. In cases where a document must be printed, employees should utilize their network printer that is currently mapped to their computer and either coordinate for pickup of the documents or process the document once the employee is back on campus. If an employee does not have access to a network printer from home they will need to coordinate to access an on-campus printer in their building to print their documents.

Where do I drop off my departmental deposit?

Deposits should be placed in the outdoor drop-box in the Schwartz Center. The outdoor drop-box is located across from the parking booth. There is an envelope slot (5 in. by ¼ in.) that does not require a key and can accept envelopes with a small amount of checks. Please do not use paperclips in your envelope since they can cause the envelop to get stuck in the slot. the Cashier’s Office will process deposits on Mondays and Thursdays. Please contact cashiering at cashier@kent.edu or via phone 330-672-2757 if you have any questions about deposits.

I have questions about accounts payable, electronic signatures and frequency of payments.

Will Accounts Payable accept an electronic signature for payment requests/invoices?

Accounts Payable will accept electronic signatures in the form of accept digital signature certificates and email approvals for payment requests and PO invoices.
 

How can I sign the payment requests/invoices electronically?

Details on the requirements for both types of signatures/approvals can be found on Accounts Payable’s Temporary Payment Procedures page.
 

What if I cannot sign payment requests/invoices electronically?

Hard copies of payment request forms and POs can be put in the drop box that is located on the back side of the Schwartz Center.
 

How often is Accounts Payable issuing payments? How long will it take for my payment to be made?

Accounts Payable is keying invoices every day and issuing payments every Monday and Thursday.

  • Fully documented and signed payment requests that are received by 9 a.m. each Monday are paid on the next Monday, if the payees are established vendors.
  • Fully documented and signed payment requests that are received by 9 a.m. each Thursday are paid on the next Thursday, if the payees are established vendors.
  • Payments to vendors who have not completed the PaymentWorks onboarding process will be delayed.
What are the time approval guidelines for supervisors and how do I access Empower from off campus?

Supervisor Time Approval Guidelines

Hourly Employees

  • Supervisors now have the ability to enter hourly employee hours from off-campus via https://ksuwfm.kent.edu, as if you the supervisor were on campus.
  • Employees do not have the ability to enter their time into empower from off campus.
  • Employees who do not have hours entered will not be paid. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to enter their time.
    • For hourly employees at home working remotely–Supervisors should enter the total number of hours scheduled as University Business. Keep in mind for full time employees, the number of hours to be worked each week is 40 hours of University Business. For part-time hourly employees, enter the number of hours that the employee works as University Business.Hourly employees who are working on-campus should use Empower to clock in and out as they normally would.
  • Overtime for hourly employees (over 40 hours in a week) is not permitted during this period and should not occur. (However, if for some reason an employee in fact works more than 40 hours, the employee should be paid for the actual hours worked.)
  • Hourly employees who are working should continue to record exception time (vacation, sick and personal leave) as they normally would.

Salaried Employees

  • Salaried employees are responsible for accurately reporting the number of leave hours (vacation, sick and personal) taken and submitting them for approval in a timely manner. Leave is to be reported by the employee through the Banner Leave Reporting channel in Flashline.
  • Salaried employees who are working should continue to record exception time (vacation, sick and personal leave) as they normally would.

All Employees

  • Employee are expected to be available to work – and to the extent possible perform work – during their normal scheduled hours. Supervisors should regularly interact with employees to help them stay engaged.
  • Employees not available to work are expected to use accrued leave time for the hours unavailable.

Access additional HR Teleworking Resources
 

Supervisors: Access Empower Off Campus

As I work remotely, what resources and technology are available to me and how do I safeguard university property, data and documents?

Resources and Technology Available

The Division of Information Technology has created a hub of information to facilitate working from off-site. Access that information, as necessary.

Working from Home

In the event you have been approved to work from home during the current period that Kent State is taking precautionary measures to mitigate the Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are steps that should be taken to safeguard university property, data and documents.

Working from Home with IT Support

Faculty/staff are expected to work with local IT support to verify that your computer is up-to-date and set up to enable you to be productive remotely and that data remains secure.

This includes:

  • Any software you may need, such as Microsoft Office and Teams
  • Email access
  • Access to shared resources, such as file shares, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive
  • FortiClient VPN to access some university resources and data (Many systems such as Blackboard Learn, email and Microsoft Teams do not require a VPN for access.)

Please address these items before beginning to work remotely. The current public health situation is a new experience for Kent State and working remotely is unfamiliar to many faculty and staff members. Supervisors should be clear in stipulating work expectations for any of their remote employees and communication should occur no less than weekly between supervisor and their remote-working employee(s). Email communication is sufficient.

To support technology-related questions, the university has assembled a Working from Off-Site website that includes best practices and information about tools and resources available to you. For general questions related to university operations for faculty, staff and students, see the FAQ’s located within this COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) information page for Kent State.

If you need any technical assistance, please contact your local IT support professional or the Kent State Helpdesk.

Will I get paid on my regular schedule?

Current payroll processing periods and benefit coverages will remain in place.

Hourly employees working from home will be allowed to report hours on a weekly basis to their supervisors, who will confirm such hours for pay purposes.

What are the budget implications and impact for FY 2020 and FY 2021, as a result of COVID-19?

For Faculty: Academic Information

What is academic continuity and what resources are available?

What is academic continuity?

Academic continuity refers to the continuation of courses (programs, degrees). In the case of an on-campus emergency (weather, pandemic), academic continuity for classes on campus may not be able to be ensured unless other teaching modalities, including remote delivery, are considered.

Where do I access resources related to academic continuity?

The Office of Continuing and Distance Education has developed a set of resources for additional information.

Who do I contact with questions related to academic continuity and instructional support?

Contact keeponteaching@kent.edu

Note:

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    Information on remote instruction for students, including access instructions and technology resources, is at www.kent.edu/keeponlearning.

  • For technology issues, contact TechHelp by either submitting a support ticket or via Live Chat with support staff. You can also call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 330-672-HELP. 
Remote Course Content and Requirements

What is the best way to document the changes I made to my course content and requirements?

It is important that you document changes that you make to your course and provide students with a revised syllabus as soon as possible. You should also send any changes you make to your syllabus to your chair, director, or dean.

How does the Kent State Library support remote teaching?

Check University Libraries’ COVID-19 Support Page for more information.

What are the minimum faculty expectations for teaching remotely?

All courses carrying university credit require instructors/student interaction which is appropriate to the discipline and the course. The minimal expectation of instructors/student interaction should be analogous to the amount of instructors/student interaction that takes place during the course when it is delivered in a synchronous environment (i.e., “face-to-face”). Instructors may implement one or more active instructor/student interactive methods in a remote platform, including but not limited to:

i. synchronous or asynchronous lectures and/or discussion;
ii. student communications via email, open forums or discussion boards;
iii. sessions for synchronous or asynchronous demonstrations;
iv. collaborative team/group work;
v. simulations; and/or
vi. Q&A sessions.

Instructors should select and implement remote platforms which are appropriate to the discipline and the activity for these interactions, including but are not limited to:

i. chat rooms,
ii. email,
iii. open forum and discussion boards,
iv. audio and video conferencing applications,
v. web conferencing, and/or
vi. other synchronous or asynchronous collaboration tools.

What if I am ill and cannot continue to teach remotely?

If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, you should immediately inform your chair/director/dean. While you may be able to teach through the symptoms, you want to prepare for the possibility that you will become too ill to continue teaching remotely. If you aren’t using BlackBoard to enter your grades, you should send an updated copy of your gradebook and syllabus for each class to your chair/director/dean. If you have class assignments or exams that have not already been shared with your students, post those to BlackBoard or send a copy to your chair/director/dean. If possible, recommend to your chair/director/dean a colleague who would be qualified to take over your course.

What if I am asked by my chair/director/dean or a colleague to take over a course for a colleague who has become too ill to continue teaching remotely?

If an academic unit determines that an instructor is needed to cover a course for another instructor, instructors who may be interested in accepting such an assignment will be informed about the assignment and then decide whether they are willing and able to take over the course. If you decide that you are not willing or able to cover the course, inform your academic unit administrator of your decision immediately.

While it is not uncommon for instructors to agree to cover a course for a short period of time for a colleague who is out of town or ill, being asked to take over a colleague’s course who has become too ill to finish out the semester is a significant departure from this usual practice.

Instructors agreeing to take over another instructor’s course for a substantial period of time (more than 2.5-3 contact hours) should be suitably compensated. (The same is true where taking over a course for a short period would require extensive preparation on the part of the substitute instructor.) Academic units should first consult their Faculty Handbooks for guidance concerning these situations. The workload section and/or other sections of Faculty Handbooks may provide established parameters and processes for how academic units should handle such situations and how to calculate appropriate compensation for substitute instructors. In the absence of guidance in the Faculty Handbook, compensation could include but not be limited to: overload pay, revised responsibilities, or workload credit that can be used at an agreed upon time. In all situations, compensation for additional assigned responsibilities must comply with the terms and conditions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements and other employment contracts.

What is the plan for Summer Courses?

All face-to-face courses starting before July 9th are being delivered remotely. Courses originally scheduled to be taught face-to-face may be taught through synchronous and/or asynchronous remote instruction. Courses originally scheduled to be online courses will continue to be delivered as online courses. A decision regarding face-to-face courses starting after July 9th will come at a later date.

Do I need to keep the same schedule for my course if I teach a course originally scheduled face-to-face, or can I adjust my schedule?

If you are holding synchronous class sessions via BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other similar platform, those meetings must be held during the time originally scheduled for your course. Scheduling synchronous class sessions for any other times is likely to conflict with your students’ other classes and personal commitments.

Can I just deliver all of my course content asynchronously?

Faculty may deliver all or part of their course content asynchronously. Asynchronous delivery has many advantages for students, including avoiding technological issues that can happen “in the moment”. In addition, it allows students to review material as often as they need to do so in order to learn what is being covered. It is still highly desirable to establish a connection with students in the course. This may take many forms, such as sending encouraging emails, sharing videos and other ways to show concern for students’ wellbeing and to decrease psychological distance.

Conducting Remote Exams

What are the options for delivering exams?

There are many options for delivering exams and assignments (see the KeepOnTeaching: Assessing Learning webinar at www.kent.edu/onlineteaching/webinars-0 and www.kent.edu/onlineteaching/how-do-i for further information). One of the most common options is to create an exam in Blackboard. Exams in blackboard may be proctored using Proctorio (see kent.edu/ProctoredTestingSupport). If a faculty member is delivering short answer or essay questions, they may wish to consider creating an assignment in Blackboard. This allows the instructor to collect all written exams in a central location, to grade these questions in the same location within Blackboard and, if selected in settings, to use SafeAssign to compare student work with an extensive database to prevent plagiarism. Another option for delivering exams include distributing take-home exams and asking students to return them by email.

Do I still need to give a final exam?

Consistent with Policy 3-01.4, every course requires a final examination. Final examinations can take various formats including a final paper or student presentation. If you are changing the final examination in your course, please ensure that (a) all students are well informed about the changes through a revised syllabus, (b) the change is not negatively affecting any students in the class, or if it potentially affecting some students negatively consider an alternative arrangement for the students who are potentially negatively affected. The Department Chair/School Director should be consulted in making changes to the final examination.

Do I still give my final exam at the original time scheduled?

Consistent with Policy 3-01.4, Final examinations scheduled during Final Exam Week should occur at the time they are scheduled. Thus, if you are giving a synchronous final exam during Final Exam Week, this exam should occur only at the time the exam is scheduled.

What other aspects should I consider when giving a final exam?

In evaluating the length of the exam, particularly in situations where you are using proctoring software (e.g. Proctorio) ensure you allow sufficient time for set-up and for student ID checking.

If exams in your face-to-face class were proctored, and you are now considering an alternative to a proctored exam, please discuss these alternatives in your academic unit before proceeding.

In requiring a student ID, consider all students have a KSU ID but not all students may have a different type of photo ID. Make sure students are aware well in advance they need to show an ID for the exam and ideally provide multiple options of ID.

If you are changing the final examination in your course, please ensure that (a) all students are well informed about the changes through a revised syllabus, (b) the change is not negatively affecting any students in the class, or if it potentially affecting some students negatively consider an alternative arrangement for the students who are potentially negatively affected.

In making any changes/modifications to examinations check with SAS about potential accommodations students in your class may need.

What specific aspects should I consider for proctored exams?

If you are delivering a proctored exam in Blackboard with Proctorio consider creating a low-stakes or no-stakes practice quiz with Proctorio for practice and tech troubleshooting prior to a high-stakes exam. Also, consider sharing the following information to prepare your students prior to their first Blackboard/Proctorio assessment.

Top 5 Tips For Your Proctored (Proctorio) Online Exam to Share With Students

  1. Tech Check! Prior to the test/quiz/exam, ensure that Chrome and the Proctorio Extension are installed and current.
  2. Reboot & Refresh. Reboot your computer right before the testing session.
  3. Get the Most from Your WiFi! Because of the larger numbers of Internet users at home, connectivity may be slower than usual at peak times. Right before a test, run a bandwidth test. If your bandwidth test reports a speed below 1mbps, ask other members of your household to refrain from heavy internet activities (streaming video, downloads, etc.) while you take your test. If it has been a long time since your WiFi router and/or cable modem has been rebooted, a reboot can help improve connectivity as well. Being physically close to the WiFi router often helps too.
  4. During the Exam. When in an exam, allow a few extra moments for graphics and videos to download.
  5. Help & Support! If you need any help with Proctorio, click on the Proctorio extension in Chrome and choose "Live Chat" or visit proctorio.com/support for chat and email support.
Technical Support & SAS

If I run into technical difficulties, who do I contact?

If you run into technical difficulties, please visit www.kent.edu/it or contact keeponteaching@kent.edu in addition to contacting your college or campus instructional designers and IT support staff for assistance.

Where do I send students for technical support?

If students need technical support, they should contact the HelpDesk (330-672-HELP), submit a request for support or use the Live Chat available at www.kent.edu/it.

How do we account for students with SAS accommodations in a remote environment?

SAS staff are working remotely during regular business hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students or faculty can email sas@kent.edu to set up an appointment or to arrange a phone consultation. There will be no face-to-face proctoring during the period of remote instruction, and all meetings will be conducted by phone or Microsoft Teams. Students can update or send their course accessibility letters using Access KSU using the typical process. Faculty should continue using relevant accommodations, such as extended testing time. SAS will continue to provide interpreters, transcribers, alternative media, and captioning services for students with those accommodations. If you have questions related to student accommodations in your class or if you are unsure of which accommodations will apply to remote instruction, please contact SAS at sas@kent.edu.

I am worried about being able to access online materials because I don’t have reliable internet access at home and/or have a limited data plan. What should I do?

If you do not have internet at home, please do the following: If you are at a regional campus please speak with your Dean first to see if there are options available to you from your technology team at your campus. If not, or if you are at the Kent Campus, the Division of Information Technology has a limited inventory of Internet Hotspots for students and faculty in need. Please submit a request at https://www.kent.edu/ineedtech

Do I need to keep the same schedule for my course if I teach a course originally scheduled face-to-face, or can I adjust my schedule?

If you are holding synchronous class sessions via BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other similar platform, those meetings must be held during the time originally scheduled for your course. Scheduling synchronous class sessions for any other times is likely to conflict with your students’ other classes and personal commitments.

Can I just deliver all of my course content asynchronously?

Faculty may deliver all or part of their course content asynchronously. Asynchronous delivery has many advantages for students, including avoiding technological issues that can happen “in the moment”. In addition, it allows students to review material as often as they need to do so in order to learn what is being covered. It is still highly desirable to establish a connection with students in the course. This may take many forms, such as sending encouraging emails, sharing videos and other ways to show concern for students’ wellbeing and to decrease psychological distance.

Holding Office Hours

Do I still need to hold office hours?

Absolutely. University policy 6 - 18.101 (https://www.kent.edu/policyreg/operational-procedures-and-regulations-regarding-faculty-office-hours) requires a minimum of five hours of availability for full time faculty. Hours can be adjusted by the academic unit for part-time faculty. It is critical that your students have the opportunity to “meet” with you to discuss any issue, concerns or questions they may have. Those “meetings” can take a variety of forms (see “How do I hold office hours”). For courses taught remotely those “meetings” should all be virtual in nature.

How do I hold office hours?

It is important that you hold regular office hours during which students can communicate with you synchronously. At a minimum you should be available to receive and respond to student emails more or less immediately during your office hours. If a student requests to talk with you more directly, you can make yourself available by phone or by setting up a virtual office for face to face communication using BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other similar platform.
 

Expectations of Students: Illness Related

Student or Family Illness Due to COVID-19

How do I handle a student illness due to COVID-19 pandemic?

Earlier during Spring 2020 Semester, we provided guidance for instructors to be flexible in requesting documentation for a student absence when students are ill (see https://www.kent.edu/ctl/guide-handling-student-absences-due-minor-illness-0).

Due to COVID-19 and the impact on students and families, we continue to ask instructors to be flexible in requesting documentation around student absences when a student is ill and also apply that same flexibility in other academic situations. For example, when students request an incomplete for extenuating circumstances (see https://www.kent.edu/registrar/incomplete-mark-workflow), they also need to provide appropriate documentation; however, appropriate documentation is at the discretion of the instructor and academic unit, and an email from the student or the student’s caregiver may be sufficient in most situations.

What if a student indicates they have to take care of a family member due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this affects classwork?

Due to COVID-19 and the impact on students and families, we continue to ask instructors to be flexible in requesting documentation around student absences and also consider the impact that other family responsibilities may have. For example, K-12 and daycare closings and family illnesses may have a negative impact on students. Instructors should apply flexibility in other academic situations. When students request an incomplete for extenuating circumstances (see https://www.kent.edu/registrar/incomplete-mark-workflow), they also need to provide appropriate documentation; however, appropriate documentation is at the discretion of the instructor and academic unit, and an email from the student may be sufficient in most situations.

Grading Options and Grading Deadlines

What changes have been made to University Policies related to grading deadlines and grading options?

The deadline for students to withdraw from classes has been moved to April 28th. In addition, students who withdrew from classes between March 10th and March 30th have the option to re-enroll by April 1st. Finally, the deadline for students to consider whether to take a course for Pass/Fail has been moved to the end of the semester while for many courses that previously were not available for Pass/Fail, students now have the option to take a course for Pass/Fail. More details on these changes can be found at https://www.kent.edu/coronavirus/grading

What do I need to do to ensure a student receives a Pass/Fail grade?

There is nothing you need to do. You will report the regular letter grade. Faculty will only know whether a student has opted for a pass/fail grade if the student chooses to disclose that information to the faculty member.

How will I know whether a student wants to receive a Pass/Fail grade?

You will not know if a student submitted a request to receive a Pass/Fail grade.

Does requesting the Pass/Fail grade mean the student can stop participating (i.e., completing assignments, taking quizzes) before the course has ended?

Whether a student opts for a Pass/Fail grade does not affect how a student is involved in a course. The only document guiding completion of classwork is the course syllabus which outlines what a student needs to do to meet the learning objectives and assessment requirements for the course.

Some instructors explicitly state in their syllabus that all course elements must be completed, and in those cases student would be required to complete all assignments and assessments. However, others do not make that statement and would allow a student the option of not completing some course requirements. For example, an instructor may have regular testing throughout the semester. Collectively, each of the learning objectives may have been assessed during the semester. An instructor may choose to allow students to drop a lowest grade and that might include a cumulative final. The learning objectives have all been assessed, the final may be an opportunity for students to improve their grade, but not necessary for assessment of learning outcomes. In such a case, students could opt not to complete all assignments/assessments. This option may be especially desirable if a student or immediate family member becomes ill.

What if a student withdrew from a class and has now re-enrolled?

Students who withdrew after March 9th are able to re-enroll by April 1st. These students may have missed one or more assignments/exams, and we encourage you to be flexible and work with these students, so they can succeed in your class.
Can all students request the “P/F” grading option?
The P/F grading option is available to most, but not all, students. Students are asked to check https://www.kent.edu/coronavirus/grading, consult with their academic advisor and/or the OneStop or the Student Service Office at their campus.

Do students have to request the “P/F” grading option?

Yes. Students will be required to submit an online application that will be submitted directly to the Office of the Registrar. Requests will be made on a course-by-course basis.

Why are students being allowed to request the “P/F” grading option?

We are making the “P/F” grading option broadly available to students as a result of the unprecedented disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of removing all restrictions of the use of the “P/F” grading option is to reduce students’ uncertainty and stress while encouraging a focus on the successful achievement of student learning outcomes.

Can students change back to a letter grade after they request a “P/F” grading option?

No. One goal of expanding the temporary use of the “P/F” grading option is to decrease students’ uncertainty in the short term and not to prolong their anxiety. We believe requiring a well-informed decision that cannot change back and forth is a way to accomplish this goal for KSU’s high achieving students.

Can a student submit both a Pass/Fail request and take an incomplete for the same course?

No, they must choose one or the other, but not both.

  • You should talk to the student regarding their request to determine which is better for them.
  • Please keep in mind that an incomplete adds to a student’s and your workload in a subsequent semester.
  • If your default grade for the incomplete is a passing grade, then recommend that the student request a Pass/Fail instead of entering into an Incomplete contract.
Addressing Incomplete and Withdrawal Requests

Can students still request an incomplete grade?

Yes. The current plan is to manage incomplete (IN) grades the way you would normally. We strongly encourage you to carefully consider the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and make every effort possible to support students requesting (IN) grades.

What if a student wants to withdraw from my course?

KSU is extending the current deadline for withdrawal to April 28, 2020. You may want to encourage students to wait to make a decision about course withdrawal until closer to the withdrawal deadline. Faculty should caution students that course withdrawal may have a negative impact on a student’s progression and may have negative financial implications, including repayment of federal financial aid, continuing eligibility for scholarships, and may result in ineligibility for certain scholarships in the future. Please encourage students to talk with an advisor and the OneStop or the Student Success Office on their Campus.
 

Evaluations: Tenure, Thesis & Dissertations

How are thesis and dissertation defenses being conducted?

They are being conducted remotely through Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other platforms. For guidelines please also see https://www.kent.edu/sites/default/files/file/Temporary%20Guidelines%20for%20Thesis%20and%20Dissertation%20Defenses_1.pdf

How will SSIs be used this semester?

Because of the highly unusual circumstances under which everyone is operating this semester, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee has decided that we will continue to deploy SSIs; however, only instructors will receive SSI results. SSI results shall not be part of the evaluation for personnel decisions including but not limited to reappointment, tenure, promotion, renewal of appointment, and merit (hyperlink to document from faculty senate exec)

I am a pre-tenure tenure-track faculty member. Will I be able to extend my tenure clock due to the disruption of my research activities?

Kent State University recognizes that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about major disruptions in the lives of our faculty that may temporarily prevent or interrupt their scholarly productivity and achievements. This problem is especially acute for those faculty members in their probationary period who are working towards tenure. Therefore, the university is making available an extension to the tenure-clock by one academic year, for eligible tenure-track faculty members.
 

Committees

I serve on several departmental/college/university committees. Will this work continue?

Academic administrators, faculty governance bodies, and other committees have been asked to assess and prioritize their essential work with a focus on student success and maintaining personnel and other processes on which the university depends (e.g., some work may continue as planned; some work may be modified or slowed; some work may be temporarily suspended).

Faculty are encouraged to continue to participate in their service responsibilities via appropriate virtual environments provided by the department/school, campus, college and university, to the extent possible.

Given the unique challenges created by the COVID-19 disruption, the Ad Hoc Academic Continuity Committee recommends a holistic approach to the evaluation of faculty in the performance of their service responsibilities to both the university and their disciplines which acknowledges both the challenges and the successes of each faculty member’s role in in these activities.

Proposals

Can I still submit IRB proposals?

Yes, the Office of Research Compliance and Institutional Review Boards are operating as usual within the guidelines set by the university. Response time may be slower than usual; we appreciate your understanding.

Please use the self-determination form if you think your study may be a level I/exempt project. The online form and guidance can be accessed under the applications tab at https://www.kent.edu/research/office-research-compliance/irb-forms. The use of this form will greatly improve handling and processing time.

Please email your IRB application to the IRB reviewer in your college/department for review.

Questions may also be directed to researchcompliance@kent.edu.

Is the office of Sponsored Programs open to assist with grant proposals?

The physical offices in Michael Schwartz are empty, but Sponsored Programs remains fully staffed and available to assist with your proposal submissions and post-award requests. The entire staff continues to work full time remotely. We will respond to your phone calls and emails.

The best way to contact RASP is by email. If you are planning to submit a proposal, please contact Diane Skok at: dskok@kent.edu.

Post Award questions should be addressed directly to Beverly Robertson, Associate Director for Post Award at: brobert1@kent.edu. If you have been working directly with a Sponsored Programs Administrator you may reach out to that person directly. Everyone is closely monitoring email. When working directly with a particular Sponsored Programs staff member on a time sensitive proposal submission you may be provided with alternate contact information in order to facilitate communication.

Most agencies continue to adhere to their proposal submission deadlines – and we continue to work with investigators to meet those deadlines. If RASP learns of a deadline change they will let you know.

The RASP internal deadline policy for proposal submission has not changed:

*Notify Sponsored Programs 10 business days prior to the agency deadline (earlier is even better!)

*Complete budget and KUALI tasks 5 business days prior to the agency deadline

*Submit all proposal narrative documents in near final form 2 business days prior to the agency deadline.

Remote Work Locations, Compliance & Cybersecurity

Since I am working remotely, and I can do that anywhere, am I required to stay in town?

No, you are not required to stay in town. During this time, if you are fulfilling your University responsibilities (e.g., teaching courses, research commitments, service commitments) and other university duties remotely, you are not considered absent from campus. However, if you travel for any reason out of state (or even to known hot spots in the state), please notify your chair/director/dean.

Can faculty and students come into their lab right now?

Faculty or Staff that have been approved as essential personnel by your College Dean and VP for research have lab access. If for any other reason you need access for essential reasons (e.g. obtain research materials that were left in the lab), please contact your Department Chair or School Director. Building access to obtain access to research labs requires approval from your Department Chair/School Director, College Dean, and VP for Research prior to building entry and will only be provided in critical and emergency situations.

ARE THERE CYBERSECURITY PRECAUTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED WITH REMOTE DELIVERY?

Yes. It is recommended that faculty use their University issued machine to conduct classes. If using a personal computer, please do not save any sensitive data to your home devices. When interacting with services, such as Banner, that contain sensitive data please use the University's VPN. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an uptick in phishing, hacking attempts, and other malicious behavior. Please be mindful of this. Do not open attachments you are not expecting and do not share your login information with anyone. For more information, please check out this site.

IS MY ONLINE MATERIAL HIPPA AND FERPA COMPLIANT?

Blackboard Learn and Collaborate Ultra platforms do meet the FERPA requirements. Please see here for the details. LMS platforms, generally speaking do not meet HIPAA guidelines as they should not be used to house patient data. This is the case for Kent State University’ version of Blackboard Learn and the primary vendors: Learn Ultra, Canvas, and Desire 2 Learn. Blackboard has a statement on HIPAA in section 10.b of this page. Most video conferencing platforms are not HIPAA compliant. Microsoft Teams and the Health Care version of Zoom are HIPAA compliant.