COVID-19 Classroom Guidance for Faculty

Download a PDF of the complete Fall 2021 COVID-19 Classroom Guidance for Faculty.

How do I prepare for teaching in person this fall?

Preparation for Fall In-person Teaching

Faculty are encouraged to visit the classroom(s) in which they teach to become familiar with the environment, including the technology.

Classroom technology will be particularly important this fall as faculty are wearing masks which may make being heard in large rooms difficult and as students may be both in-person and online. TLT and ITS have designed a Self-paced Online Course on Classroom Technology to familiarize faculty with the technology in their classrooms.  In addition, a number of training opportunities for use of classroom technology have been planned.

ITS is making individual microphones available to faculty. Faculty may secure a microphone by submitting a Technology Service Desk request or calling 940-898-3971.  Denton faculty may also pick up a microphone in MCL 209, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.

A few courses are being taught in a hyflex format—they are being simultaneously taught in the in-person classroom and online in a manner where the two groups may interact.  This teaching strategy requires technology available only in certain rooms.  All courses scheduled in this format have been scheduled in rooms with the technology.

Should some students be quarantined and unable to attend in-person courses, faculty may move to hyflex instruction if the equipment is available. Teaching and Learning with Technology has created a webinar and other resources on hyflex teaching that provide guidance for using this strategy successfully. TLT instructional design partners are available to assist faculty in this transition if it becomes necessary.

How do I prepare for teaching online this fall?

Preparation for Online Teaching

  • Faculty are reminded that captioning is required for all lectures and videos posted online for students. Teaching and Learning with Technology has prepared a Universal Design Toolkit to assist faculty with making their teaching resources accessible to all students.
  • Teaching and Learning with Technology is offering training opportunities for faculty who are teaching online and hybrid courses.
  • Any faculty member may request individual assistance with course design from an instructional design partner.

What are the general guidelines for classroom interactions?

General Guidelines for In-Person Courses

  • Academic Affairs has developed a COVID-19 statement that is available at Faculty & Staff Resources > TWU Syllabus - Template which should be included in all course syllabi.
  • Disposable face coverings will be available in classrooms.
  • Face coverings with clear panels may be necessary for faculty in courses with students who are hearing-impaired. Disability Services for Students has a small supply of these masks which faculty may request if a student needing such an accommodation is in the class.
  • Using podium microphones will make communication while wearing face coverings more comprehensible.
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing supplies will continue to be available in classrooms as well as in many locations around our campuses.
  • Consider propping doors open as students arrive and leave to reduce the need to touch knobs/handles.
  • Remind students not to come to class if they are feeling ill. Students who have tested positive are not allowed to return until released by Risk Management.
  • If a student contacts you to indicate she/he has COVID-19 or the symptoms of COVID-19, encourage the student to complete the Risk Management form entitled COVID-19 Reporting Form. Students and faculty must report illness so the university can conduct contact tracing and cleaning as appropriate.
  • Contact Risk Management if you need assistance with any of the guidance in this document (risk@twu.edu). Risk Management has also developed additional guidance for non-traditional instructional spaces (e.g., art and dance studios).

How do we track/trace our student population should a COVID-19 case occur?

Supporting Contact Tracing in the Classroom

  • To assist with contact tracing, and potentially minimize disruptions to your in-person classes, consider creating a seating chart on the first day of class and ask students to sit in the same seats each time they come to class in order to assist in contract tracing should it be needed.
  • Take time on the first day to discuss the reasons for the seating chart with the class so that they understand why it is necessary.
  • Take attendance in order to know who was in class should contact tracing be needed.
  • Risk Management has posted additional information on TWU’s contract tracing process.

What happens if there is a known case of COVID-19 in my course?

Preparing to Transition to Online Instruction for a Student or the Class

If a student becomes ill or otherwise is prohibited from coming to class or campus. Faculty may be able to provide asynchronous instruction to such students (e.g., recording lectures with Panopto and posting them online after each class session. A Panopto guide can be found in the TWU Knowledge Base.  While there, look for the videos Getting Started with Panopto Part 1  and Getting Started with Panopto Part 2. Faculty will not be notified by Risk Management about those students who are quarantining (i.e., tested positive). Risk Management will instruct the students quarantining to contact their instructors to let them to know they cannot attend and discuss access to the course. Students who are ill may also seek assistance from Student Life in contacting their faculty members.  Please work with these students as much as possible during their illness—just as you do for any other illness students encounter.

Despite taking health precautions, faculty need to be prepared to transition to online instruction in any of the circumstances below.  The Distance Education Advisory Committee has prepared a document entitled DEAC Online Course Design Best Practices Checklist to provide both best practices and TWU resources to assist in implementing those practices in the online education environment.

  • A student becomes ill and exposes other members of the course through in-person class sessions. This may require the course to transition to an online format.
  • The faculty member tests positive without symptoms and must quarantine or is otherwise prohibited from coming to campus. The faculty member will need to transition the course to an online format for the period of the quarantine.
  • The faculty member becomes ill and cannot teach. The academic component administrator in consultation with the dean will design a plan for coverage of the class during the time the faculty member is unable to teach.
  • It becomes necessary for TWU to transition all courses to online instruction again, due to government requirements or a worsening public health situation.

It becomes necessary to close a specific classroom because of a COVID-19 diagnosis.  In accordance with CDC guidelines, when an individual with COVID-19 has spent significant time in a space, TWU will need to temporarily close the classroom for at least 24 hours to allow any potential virus particles in the air to settle out, and properly disinfect it. There are two safe options for disinfection: (1) Close the space for 24 hours to allow the virus to settle, followed by enhanced cleaning (done by a contractor currently). (2) Close the space for 7 days to allow the virus to naturally decay, followed by standard cleaning by TWU custodians. For busy classrooms, Option 1 is likely, but the situation requires a rapid closure and potential need to pivot classes to an online format. University scheduling will attempt to locate an alternative location of the appropriate size for the class.  If a room is not available, the class will need to be online until the classroom is reopened.

Page last updated 1:42 PM, August 11, 2021