Faculty FAQs Fall 2021

Can I exclude unvaccinated students from certain classrooms for field studies activities?

No. Faculty should not ask students their vaccination status. Vaccinated students and unvaccinated students with evidence of a negative COVID-19 test weekly will have a green “Cleared” screen in their Daily Wellness Screening that clears them for participation in all in person class activities.  

Does SSU currently know which students are vaccinated and which are not? 

Vaccinated students may upload their vaccination status through their MYHealth portal. Students that have not provided evidence of vaccination are required to provide evidence of a weekly negative COVID test in order to attend face-to-face classes. Faculty may ask to see that  a student is cleared to attend face-to-face classes via the Wellness Screening Tool. 

Does SSU currently know which faculty and staff are vaccinated and which are not? 

All non-represented employees are required to be vaccinated. Vaccination requirements for faculty, staff, and other represented employees are currently under discussion with relevant unions. SSU began collecting voluntary attestations of vaccination status on August 12, 2021 which final requirements are under review.

I am considering requesting that my in-person class be changed to on-line. Is that possible?

No. Students were strongly encouraged to consider course modality when registering for courses and subsequently made decisions based on their course choices. 

Must I accommodate a student that has not been vaccinated by the deadline?

Students that are not vaccinated must show evidence of a negative COVID test weekly in order to attend face-to-face classes. Faculty are not required to provide additional accommodation.

Who will clean classroom hardware before I use it?

There will be clearly labeled “low moisture” sanitizing wipes in every class, on or near the instructor station. You are welcome to use these wipes to clean the classroom hardware, such as the teaching station. Please do not use personal sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, or any other substance to clean the classroom hardware because the moisture in those products could break our equipment.

Are students being tested?

Unvaccinated students must have a negative COVID test weekly in order to attend face-to-face classes or access campus facilities.

Are students allowed to come to campus after they travel?

SSU is not monitoring student travel. Students are required to submit their daily wellness screen and receive a green “Cleared” screen before attending a face-to-face class.

Will there be specific rules about social distancing in classrooms?

Currently, SSU does not have any social distancing requirements indoors.

Do I need to make special accommodations for a student whom the University will not clear to come to campus due to Covid symptoms?  

No. We encourage you to treat that student as you would any ill or absent student in your course. That said, we strongly encourage you to be flexible around due dates and other student work and discuss your policy on that, as well as how students should get the content they missed, on the first day of class. That way, students are not incentivized to come to class when ill. Being compassionate and open with students about this will help keep all of you safe.

What do I do if a student is exhibiting possible COVID symptoms in my class?

Faculty will need to be cautious in diagnosing or attributing symptoms of COVID to students, because those symptoms might also be consistent with allergies or a common cold. If a student can demonstrate a green indicator in their daily wellness screening, they are permitted to be in class.

Am I allowed to ask students if they have been vaccinated?  

No. Faculty are not to ask students to disclose personal health information. Only the Student Health Center is allowed to ask students about vaccination status.  You may not ask students to show their vaccination cards, and you may not ask them to disclose whether or not they have been vaccinated. Additionally, unvaccinated students cannot be excluded from academic activities unless they are not in compliance with the wellness requirements.  
Students are required to complete a daily wellness screening that will notify them if they are cleared to come to campus. They receive one of three indicators. A green indicator means that they are cleared to come to campus and means they have completed their wellness screening questionnaire and are vaccinated or have been COVID tested within one week. A yellow indicator means that more information is required before they can come to campus, generally because they have not completed their weekly test or their wellness screening questionnaire.  A red indicator  means that they are not cleared to come to campus due to an isolation or quarantine order or certain pending test results. You are permitted to ask the students to show you their status prior to coming into the classroom, but you are not required to. You are also allowed to ask to see the indicator when doing in-person advising. For more information, visit the Student Health Center webpage on Wellness Screening.

Is there a sample syllabus statement that I can include regarding the required student daily wellness screening?

Here is a sample syllabus statement: 
“It is the responsibility of all SSU community members to adhere to Covid safety protocols. My expectation is that you carefully read all sections of the Sonoma State Covid-19 information page. Before leaving your residence or coming to campus, you are required to complete the daily wellness screening.  I expect you to have completed this screening and receive a green indicator such that you are cleared to come to campus prior to coming to class. If you are unable to come to class because you have not been cleared or if you are experiencing COVID-related symptoms, I can work with you so that you can make up the missed class sessions and/or assignments. When we are in class, we are required to wear masks at all times. If you forget to bring a mask you may obtain one at Seawolf Services, the University Library, or the Student Center. Thank you so much for helping to keep the members of our class safe.”

What do I do if a student is sick with COVID or if I suspect that they are?

Communicate to the students at the outset of the course and throughout the semester that they may not attend class if they test positive for COVID or if they have any symptoms that may be indicative of COVID, even if they are vaccinated. Assure them that their grade will not suffer and have a plan for how they can make up any work missed. For instance, encourage them to connect with classmates to go over the notes for a class session. Provide a reasonable make-up timeline for completing missed assignments. If the student is required to be absent for an extended period of time, they may choose to withdraw from the course or depending on the circumstances, receive an incomplete for the course. 

What do I do if I become sick with COVID?

If you test positive for COVID, you are required to follow the reporting procedures for SSU employees. Like students, if you test positive for COVID or have symptoms that may be indicative of COVID, you may not come to campus until cleared by University Personnel or the COVID Monitoring Team. How you proceed with your courses is your decision. You may wish to hold class via Zoom and record the session in case students are unable to attend. Or you may move the content that you planned to teach to the next class session. If you become ill for an extended period of time, you should notify your department chair and Dean. 

If a student tells me that they have tested positive for covid, am I supposed to report it, and if so, where do I do this?

Yes, the COVID Monitoring Team asks that all reported COVID cases be reported so that the university can ensure anyone who may have been in contact with that student is notified and so that the student can receive support during their illness.  Report by emailing covid.monitoring@sonoma.edu or calling (707) 664-2684. 

If a student tells me that they have tested positive for covid after being in class, am I supposed to cancel the next class? Am I required to notify the students?

Am I required to notify the students?If a student reports they are COVID positive after being in your class, do not notify the students.  Notify the COVID Monitoring Office right away by emailing covid.monitoring@sonoma.edu or calling (707) 664-2684.  Notifications are made by the university when required by county public health officials.  Never reveal the name of a COVID positive student to anyone outside of the COVID Monitoring Team or the Student Health Center.  

Where do I go if I have questions that are specific to my course?

The team at CTET are here to help you with any teaching related issue you may have. To ask a question or to set up a consultation, contact us by email, our Zoom Room (open 8-5, M-F), or at our new in-person location, Salazar 1060 (open 10-3, M-F). 

Can faculty require attendance for in-person courses?

Yes, faculty may require attendance for in-person courses. Students are advised to only register for in-person courses they are able to attend. 

Are faculty expected to livestream their class for students who cannot attend due to COVID quarantine or illness?

No, you are not required or expected to live stream, although you are allowed to if that is possible for your curriculum and class size. We recommend that you treat this as you would have treated an ill student prior to the pandemic. We also encourage you to be flexible in your late policies to allow all students an opportunity to make up work if they are absent or ill, and discuss these policies with your students on the first day of class. This flexibility should reduce the risk of a student trying to attend class while ill.

Must faculty wear face coverings while teaching in-person courses?

Yes, faculty are required to wear face masks while teaching in-person courses. Students, too, are required to wear face masks while attending in-person courses.  Everyone on campus will be required to wear face masks while state and county mandates are in place. Masks will be available in the Library, at the Student Center, and at Seawolf Services. 

What should I do if a student won’t put a face mask on or wear a face mask properly during class?  What do I do if a student comes to class and they have not been cleared?

    1.    As with any disruptive behavior, seek to resolve the issue in a one-on-one manner with the student.

    2.    If the behavior cannot be resolved, ask the student to leave the classroom and refer the incident to the Director of Student Conduct ben.ellis@sonoma.edu or 707.664.3396.

    3.    If the student refuses to leave, or the disruptions are severe, faculty should contact the University Police Department (UPD) for support (707) 644-4444 (or 911 for emergencies).


Is it permissible for me to allow vaccinated students to remove masks during my class?

No. Faculty and students are required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. 

Can students eat and drink in the classroom?

Eating in classrooms is not permitted during the fall 2021 semester. The University allows temporarily lifting or removing masks to drink.

If a student decides they no longer want to attend in person, must I make a special accommodation?

No, faculty are not required to make special accommodations for students who no longer want to attend in person, but we encourage having a conversation with the student, just as you would anytime a student stops attending or has a health or personal situation. It's possible the student may need to work with an advisor to withdraw from individual classes, but that is not the only solution possible. Faculty might consider posting a Student of Concern Report for the CARE Team if a student stops attending or indicates they intend to stop attending in person. Getting the student to an advisor is the most important thing you can do in this situation.

Can I take my class outside if the weather is nice?

Yes, faculty can take a class outside. Masks are required if 6’ of social distancing cannot be maintained. Faculty will also need to consider the accessibility of such outdoor classes for students with mobility limitations and other accessibility needs.

Will there be options for students in face-to-face classes to do alternative options if they are living geographically distant and can’t physically attend?

If a student registered for a face-to-face class, the expectation is that they should be able to attend and participate in person (barring illness or other emergency). If students are living geographically distant and can't physically attend, they need to schedule online courses to complete graduation requirements. If a remote student has a requirement that can't be completed online, the department might consider substitutions or waivers to help the student graduate in a timely way. Instructors may try to implement HyFlex or another mixed teaching modality to include a remote student in a face-to-face class, but they are not required to, and they should carefully consider the technical capabilities of their classroom and the impact of that decision on themselves and all of their students before they commit to it. We are going to have to be flexible and creative as we repopulate, and we must explore all possibilities for graduating students on time. 

How are classroom safety and occupancy being decided? 

SSU does not currently require social distancing indoors. Classrooms will have furniture appropriate to their pre-pandemic occupancy limits. All students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings while indoors, including in classrooms. Students and employees are required to report symptoms or exposure to COVID positive persons daily using the university’s wellness screening tool.

Facilities Management has added hand sanitizer stations to most classrooms, and special cleaning products that protect against viral and bacterial material for extended periods of time have been applied in classrooms. Campus building air filters will regularly cycle and clean air in all indoor spaces. Finally, special low-moisture sanitizing wipes should be available at all classroom instructor stations for cleaning classroom teaching hardware. Please do not use personal wipes to clean the hardware, as the moisture in regular sanitizing wipes or hand sanitizer could easily destroy the equipment. 

Should in-person/hybrid F2F courses be shorter in duration due to cleaning? By how much?

No, in-person and hybrid courses will not reduce class time for cleaning. Classes are being scheduled to allow for cleaning that meets CDC and state guidelines.

I am hoping to teach my online course from my office. Is that allowed?

Yes. Faculty will be able to record or teach their online classes from their offices.