Fall 2021 Instructional FAQs

1. 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. At this time, we are not supporting HyFlex (having online students attend in-person courses).

2. 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 that might be something some faculty want to do if that is possible in the classroom. You can treat this situation as you would normally treat a student who is ill. We would encourage you to be flexible with students who have COVID and to help them make up any work they miss. If you do choose to live stream, CTET has a list of classrooms upgraded with AV suitable for that purpose. 

3. 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, in the Student Health Center, and at Seawolf Services. In addition, physical distancing will still be in place. Currently the guidance calls for 6 feet of distance between people in any indoor space, however, the CDC has recently announced a reduction in distancing for K-12 schools to 3 feet.  We have not yet received information about how that guidance will apply to higher education, but our protocols will be updated accordingly as CDC guidance changes. .

4. What should I do if a student won’t put a face mask on or wear a face mask properly during class?  

You should inform the student of the campus regulation that anyone on campus must wear a face mask properly. If they refuse, faculty may ask a student to leave the classroom for that session. Faculty should consider this a violation of the disruptive student senate policy formulated by the Academic Senate. This may require the student to meet with the faculty member and department chair, and potentially with the school Dean to set expectations for the student to return to class.

5. 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.

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

Yes, faculty can take a class outside when weather permits. Masks and physical distancing will still be necessary. Faculty will also need to consider the accessibility of such outdoor classes for students with mobility limitations and other accessibility needs.

7. People are interested in the vaccination status of instructors and students. How will people know they are safe?

Neither employees nor students at SSU are required to reveal their vaccination status, and it is illegal to make that a requirement for attending in-person classes. 

Upon advice from the CSU Office of General Counsel, and in extensive consultation with counsel at other institutions of higher education throughout the country, the CSU has determined that it is not able to require employees and students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of maintaining employment or enrollment. This limitation is due in part to the fact that the three currently approved vaccines have only Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), not full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure (unlike, for example, the flu vaccine), and pursuant to FDA regulations individuals must be told at the time of vaccination that they have a right to refuse. In addition, objections by employees and students based on their disability or religious beliefs must be accommodated. While it is not known at this time when one or all of the COVID-19 vaccines will be FDA approved, once it is approved vaccine statistics may start to be collected. In the meantime, the university’s focus is to actively encourage (through education and promotional efforts)  employees and students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are deemed eligible and the vaccine is available in their local area. 

8. 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?

We will not be able to support HyFlex classes (where an in-person class offers online students the opportunity to participate). 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. We are going to have to be flexible and creative as we repopulate, and we must explore all possibilities for graduating students on time. 

9. How are classroom safety and occupancy being decided? 

Classroom occupancy is currently calculated based on 50 square feet per person for lecture spaces. Labs and other non-traditional classrooms are calculated based on the configuration of workstations or based on the type of activity planned in the space to ensure that physical distancing is maintained throughout the activity. For each classroom, there is a designated space for the instructor that is excluded from the occupancy calculation. 

The CDC has recently announced a reduction in distancing for K-12 schools to 3 feet.  We have not yet received information about how that guidance will apply to higher education, but if that guidance is applied at the university level, our protocols will be changed to 20 square feet per person. 

RMSS and CTET will hold multiple workshops prior to Fall semester to review best practices for classroom safety. Facilities Management is adding hand sanitizer stations to most classrooms, and special cleaning products that protect against viral and bacterial material for extended periods of time will be applied in classrooms. EH&S is developing a program for testing surfaces to check for viral and bacterial materials. All students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms. Students and employees are required to report symptoms or exposure to COVID positive persons daily using the university’s wellness screening tool.

10. Where are barriers needed to ensure physical distancing?

In open areas with multiple workstations, cubicle walls provide distancing protection between people. If workstations have very low cubicle walls or no cubicle walls, and it is not necessary to have visibility through the barrier, the university is investigating alternate physical barriers, like temporary walls or screens. Plexiglass is used at points of service where paper, money, or another object change hands.

11. What measures will help ensure physical distancing in the new academic spaces on the second and third floors of the Schulz library?

The cubicle walls provide proper distance protections. Individuals will wear masks when working there and wait for others to pass by or clear the space when they need to move around. Corridors will be marked as single direction when the width of the corridor is too narrow for two people to safely pass. 

12. How will course delivery modes be assigned to faculty? 

Faculty are working within departments to deliver courses that meet the curricular needs of each program. Faculty should contact their department chair for further guidance.

13. What is a hybrid class?

A hybrid class is one conducted using a mixture of both in-person and online components. The online components can be either synchronous or asynchronous. The definition of all course modes are available here (scroll down to Teaching Mode Definitions). Generally, faculty teaching in hybrid mode will offer some class sessions in-person and other online. You can split the class into teams and have different groups of students coming into class in-person on different class days, but the syllabus can be complex in that scenario. Please contact CTET for more 

14. Should in-person/hybridF2F 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.

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

Yes. Faculty will be able to record or teach their online classes from their offices or from campus touchdown spaces. There are also classrooms that are too small for face to face instruction that can be utilized for faculty to hold a synchronous class session. Your Dean or Department Chair will have details as we move closer to the fall.