FAQ Concerning Short Term Use of Distance Education Technology When Teaching In-Person Classes
What options should I consider if I am ill in Spring 2022, symptomatic due to Covid or need to quarantine/isolate?
One option is to make short term use of distance education technologies such as Microsoft Teams to hold synchronous online sessions at your usual class time. Such short term use shouldn’t extend beyond five consecutive weekdays.
A second, if you plan to miss no more than one in-person session, you can consider canceling your class session and creating an asynchronous assignment using distance education technology such as Canvas. This option should not be used to cover more than a single class session given that students signed up for an in-person class and have a right to expect synchronous instruction. If you are unable to return to the classroom after canceling one class session, consider either making short term use of distance education technology to hold synchronous online sessions at your usual class time or taking sick leave.
A final option to consider (especially if you are experiencing significant symptoms) is simply canceling the class without making short term use of distance education technology as you might have done in similar circumstances pre-pandemic.
After I have considered those options what should I do?
Make sure to notify your academic unit administrator to discuss the option you intend to implement and your plan for the students. You should also inform your unit administrator of the mode of communication you intend on using to communicate the plan to your students. It is not necessary to discuss your symptoms or your condition with your unit administrator. If you are using sick leave, please follow the normal process in Flashline.
Make sure to notify your students of the option you selected and clearly indicate the strategies you will be implementing to remediate lost class time, if appropriate.
If your symptoms persist or you need to remain in quarantine/isolation for more than a total of five consecutive weekdays, you should talk with your academic unit administrator about whether it is appropriate to continue making use of distance education technologies to hold synchronous online sessions or whether alternative arrangements to cover your in-person class are needed.
What other situations might warrant short term use of distance education technology in an in-person class?
In addition to cases in which you are exhibiting symptoms and/or need to quarantine/isolate, there are other circumstances where making short term use of distance education technologies in your in-person class would be warranted. Such situations include but are not limited to:
- Your child’s daycare/school has been canceled or your child has been sent home sick and you need to be home with your child.
- A significant portion of the students in your class are symptomatic and/or in quarantine/isolation.
- The University is closed for a snow day or other adverse weather event, but you’d prefer not to have to cancel your class.
- You are away from campus on University authorized travel and would prefer not to have to cancel your class.
In such cases, the same rules apply: Notify both your academic administrator and students that you plan to make short term use of distance education technology. Ensure that your use of distance education is genuinely short term—i.e., no more than five consecutive weekdays for synchronous online delivery and no more than the one class session for asynchronous online delivery
What sort of language should I include on my syllabus to let students know that I might make short term use of distance education technology if needed?
If you do plan to make short term use of distance education technologies in your in-person class if needed, make sure to include a statement to that effect in your syllabus. For example, you might include a version of the following statement:
- In the event that I am unable to come to campus (due to mild illness, quarantine/isolation, snow closure, etc.) but able to teach, we will meet via Teams during our regularly schedule class time. You will be informed via email [and also via Canvas] as soon as feasible of such an occurrence and provided a link to our virtual classroom.
What should I do if someone I live with or myself is immunocompromised or ineligible for the vaccine and I don’t feel safe teaching in person this semester?
Start by talking with your academic unit administrator. Perhaps you can be reassigned to teach only courses that have been approved by the curriculum committee of your department for distance education delivery.
Contact HR [firstname.lastname@example.org] about the possibility of a medical accommodation. HR can determine whether you qualify for such an accommodation and, if so, work with you and your academic unit administrator to identify an appropriate accommodation. If reassigning you to teach only courses that have been approved by the curriculum committee of your department for distance education is not an option, perhaps there is a way for you (with the help of a G.A. or student worker in the classroom) to teach an audience of students who are together in the classroom from your home or other off-campus location. Perhaps taking medical leave (such as FMLA) for the semester would be appropriate. HR can help you and your academic unit administrator find a workable solution.
Why aren’t we using the term ‘remote’ anymore?
The term ‘remote’ was a course designation invented at the start of the pandemic to indicate a class that ideally would have been, but in fact could not be offered in person. Although offered wholly online, remote courses didn’t carry the additional student fee associated with traditional online courses. Starting Spring semester 2022, there are no courses scheduled with the ‘remote’ designation. In addition to traditional, in-person classes, we continue to offer three types of distance learning/online courses: V1 (wholly asynchronous), V2 (significantly synchronous), and V3 (a hybrid of in person and either synchronous or asynchronous online delivery). Any course being offered in a distance education/online format must be officially listed as V1, V2, or V3 in the course schedule and will come with an additional student fee. Also, only courses that have received prior curricular approval for V1, V2, or V3 delivery by the curricular body of your academic unit can be offered in one of those formats.