Faculty FAQs for In-Person Instruction

Can I require students to wear a face covering?

Approved face coverings are required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, on all Kent State campuses, with very few exceptions. Students requesting an accommodation not to wear a face covering should contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS).  As always, any accommodation granted by SAS will be communicated to you in writing.  You can require students who have not been granted an exception by SAS to wear a face covering.

Do I have to wear a face covering while teaching?  

Instructors may choose not to wear a face covering while teaching in-person if they can maintain a safe distance of at least six (6) feet from their students.

What should I do if a student refuses to wear a face covering but has not been granted an SAS accommodation?   

Instructors should first remind the student that face coverings are required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, on all Kent State campuses.  If the student does not comply, the instructor should ask the student to leave.   If the student continues not to comply, the instructor may dismiss the class for the day.  For additional information see, Guidelines for Reporting Students Who are not in Compliance with the Flashes Safety Principles.

Can I ask students for their vaccination status?  

No. 

Can I move my remote class to in-person?  

No. Instructors were given multiple opportunities to elect to teach their class in person and the deadline for doing so has now passed.  In most cases, classrooms sufficient to accommodate more than a handful of students have already been assigned to instructors who previously elected to teach in person.  Students registered for your class with the expectation that they would be receiving remote instruction and may not be living within driving distance of your campus.

What are the appropriate steps if I no longer feel comfortable teaching my class in person?  

You must work with your unit administrator (e.g., department chair, school director, campus dean) to determine how that change will occur with minimal disruption to the learning environment of the students.  While no instructor will be required to teach in person,  please keep in mind that students registered for your class with the expectation that it would be offered in person.  In order not to disrupt students’ existing course schedules, and to live up to our commitments, any change from in-person to remote instruction must be to synchronous remote instruction.

If I teach an in-person course and get COVID symptoms, can I deliver my course remotely for a limited period?  

Yes. As with any time when you are sick, you can provide alternative assignments or deliver your course synchronously.  Please make sure you notify the unit administrator (e.g., department chair, school director, campus dean) and communicate the alternative arrangement for the course period including how students can access the course remotely (e.g., Teams Link).  Also be sure to notify students in the syllabus that this approach could be used to deliver the course if you are unable to meet in person.

What happens if a student in my in-person class tests positive for COVID-19?  

If the COVID-19 response team is made aware that a student in your course has tested positive for COVID-19  (note that the student in question has to contact the COVID-19 response team), and if the positive case does not know the names of the close contacts, the COVID Response Team will issue a health advisory to you and the students in the course stating that they may have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case.  The local health department will conduct contact tracing and inform any individual (including the instructor) who may need to quarantine or isolate.  The instructor will not be notified about a positive test result by the COVID-19 response team, but instead by the local health department if deemed necessary. 

What if a student tells me they have COVID symptoms? 

Refer the student to the Flashes Safe Eight principles.  Instruct the student to go home and not attend any classes.  Also, tell the student to reach out to the COVID Response Team at 330-672-2525 to report symptoms, ask health questions, seek treatment, or arrange for a COVID-19 test.

How should I handle student absences related to COVID? 

Please continue to be flexible concerning student absences for COVID-19 related reasons.  In any given year, students may miss class for various health reasons. For more information see, Guidelines for Instructors When a Student Becomes Ill During the COVID-19 Pandemic and What it Means to be Reasonable, Flexible, and Equitable When Students are Required to Quarantine or Isolate Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Students residing in residence halls are required to get tested for COVID prior to coming to campus.  If they test positive, they will remain home for their isolation period. These students will need to work with their instructors during the first one to two weeks before they can come to campus or class.

How can I assist with keeping my classroom safe?  

Encourage students to follow the Flashes Safe Eight principles.  Encourage students to stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, be flexible around student absences, and wear a face covering indoors when others are present.  (Instructors who have opted to teach in-person classes may choose not to wear a face covering while teaching if they can maintain a safe distance of at least six (6) feet from their students.)

In addition, we strongly encourage you to use class floorplans and assigned seating, and record class attendance.  Using the floorplan to assign seating will assist the COVID-19 response team to provide helpful information to the local health department if contact tracing is required.  The health department efforts to notify students who need to quarantine will be much more accurate and swifter if they have such information from you.

What are class floorplans?  

The University Architect has provided digital floorplans for each classroom space on all campuses.  These floorplans show the capacity and suggested layouts for your classrooms.  We understand that tables, desks, and chairs may be moved, but these are to be used as a template for your course seating assignments and will be accessible to all through an online portal.  If you move tables, desks, or chairs during your class, please return them to the indicated position on the floorplan afterwards.  Fir instructions on downloading the classroom floorplan and uploading the seating assignments for your course you can  click here. If you are team teaching, only one upload per each class section taught is needed.

What if my classroom is not listed on the Classroom Seating Chart Portal?  

If you are teaching in a room that is not typically used as a classroom space, and you cannot locate it on the portal, you are encouraged to contact the University Architect at 330-672-3880 for a floorplan of your classroom space.

I teach large lecture classes with high enrollment – how can I manage a seating chart and attendance?

You are encouraged to assign seats at the start of the semester.  You can have your students fill out the information on the seating chart to avoid using instruction time.  You can inform students that once they have selected a seat and filled in the chart, that is their assigned seat for the remainder of the semester.

Am I required to fill out a classroom seating chart and upload it into the portal?  

You are strongly encouraged to update and upload this information, but it is not required.  The purpose of this portal is to provide accurate attendance information to the local health authorities in the event a positive COVID-19 case is detected in the classroom and there is a need for contact tracing.

Do I have to take attendance?  

You are encouraged to take attendance in your classroom for the purposes of keeping accurate records if contact tracing needs to occur, but it is not required.

How can I assist with keeping my classroom safe if I want to conduct group work?  

You can perform group work in your classroom but are encouraged to keep up to date attendance records for use should a positive COVID-19 case be identified in your classroom.

How are office hours impacted by COVID-19?  

Your students must have the opportunity to meet with you to discuss any issues, concerns, or questions they may have.  See, University Policy 6-18.101.  While the policy specifies that instructors teaching face-to-face should hold in-person office hours, in these special circumstances, you should offer office hours in person only if the Flashes Safe Eight principles can be followed. If you are teaching remotely, you are strongly encouraged to hold at least some remote office hours.  In general, you should meet remotely with any student who prefers that modality.

How do I hold remote office hours?  

When you hold office hours remotely, students must be able to communicate with you synchronously.  At a minimum you could be available to receive and respond to student emails in real time during regularly scheduled times.  For more direct communication, you can make yourself available to students by phone or in a virtual office using BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another similar platform.  This may be done during regularly scheduled times or using an appointment system, provided the required minimum number of hours of availability is maintained.

How do I hold office hours in person? 

Instructors must model safe behavior for students by observing the Flashes Safe Eight principles during class and office hours.  You should hold office hours in person only if all the following conditions apply:

  • The office space is clean and sanitized.
  • The best practice would be to ensure that a facial covering is close by in case you are approached by a colleague or a visitor.  For up-to-date information on facial covering requirements, please see Facial Covering and Physical Distancing Guidelines.

If your office does not meet these criteria, you may try to reserve an alternate space on campus to meet with students or hold your office hours remotely.

When academic unit or campus meetings are held in person, will there be an option for remote attendance? 

There will be remote meeting attendance options for faculty who would prefer it this Fall semester.  However, faculty are encouraged to think of the fall semester as a bridge to what we believe will be a typical semester this Spring with a full array of in-person classes and a vibrant campus life.  Full-time faculty, even those teaching remotely, are encouraged to have at least some on-campus presence this semester if at all possible.  In person attendance at meetings is one of several ways for faculty to re-engage with campus life.