Preparing to Teach
As COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses are on the rise this fall, Academic Affairs is providing guidance on policy-based expectations for faculty, particularly when teaching a course partially hybrid (HYB) or completely face-to-face (FTF) on campus. We seek to ensure consistency in informing students and address several items, including safety, syllabi, and teaching and related issues. Requirements, courses, and other elements of university services may be revised or suspended at any time as conditions change.
We strongly encourage all Weber State students, faculty and staff to self-test if they are feeling sick and to get vaccinated.
Face coverings: WSU recommends face coverings for individuals returning to class after isolating from illness.
Self-screening: All individuals need to evaluate themselves for symptoms of illness before coming to campus and to stay home if they are symptomatic.
Include a COVID-19 statement in the syllabus and on Canvas: A sample statement is available in Canvas Commons to drop into your canvas course (search for the title "Student Acknowledgement of Mitigation Protocols").
COVID-19 has increased the importance of syllabi being explicit regarding your expectations for students in the class. Course delivery formats and coronavirus mitigation protocols may warrant further explanation of expectations. We suggest various topics to consider adding to your syllabus and sharing them with students as soon as possible. For more information on syllabus guidelines, see the TLF Syllabus webpage.
Class Behavior/Participation: The forms and nature of class participation should be explicit in the syllabus for students to understand what is expected. Please explain attendance expectations and how that will be monitored, particularly for hybrid courses, which is a format that may be unclear to students.
Accommodations for Sick Students: Students or members of their households may get sick and need to stay home. Such students must stay at home and not attend courses with a delivery format requiring on-campus meetings (FTF, HYB). Although we want sick students to remain off-campus, we recognize that accommodating them is challenging. We suggest:
- Giving some thought to how you will handle such instances should they arise.
- Exploring whether you can use simulcast or other technologies for delivery of on-campus classes to virtual students.
- Including syllabus guidelines or policies addressing how you will accommodate student illnesses or quarantine requirements.
Technology Requirements: Many class formats have technology requirements for students to engage and be successful. Make sure the technology requirements for the course are clearly documented in the syllabus. Please let students know of technology available to them if needed, including laptop and hotspot checkouts through the WSU Computer Labs or the Stewart Library. We suggest you include in the list the requirements for headphones with a built-in microphone for students in recorded or live virtual synchronous classes. This would protect the privacy of other students in the class.
Recordings of Classes: The university has a prohibition against students recording class lectures unless the faculty member grants explicit permission (PPM 6-22.6.6). There may also be copyright or privacy issues involving students sharing faculty recorded lectures, particularly if students are captured in those recordings. To set expectations for your class, you must note rules regarding recording or sharing of recordings of lectures in the syllabus. The language could read: The lectures recorded and posted on canvas are for the exclusive use of students enrolled in the class and may not be shared without previous authorization. Violations will be referred to the Dean of Students for adjudication under PPM 6-22, Student Code.
Office Hours: Faculty should be explicit about when and how office hours will be held. PPM offers faculty the option of providing office hours virtually or in-person as the faculty prefer (PPM 4-9a, B3, PPM 9-5 3.2.4).
Emergency: It is already policy (PPM 4-9a.2.B.6) that faculty teaching on campus will include a statement in the syllabus about contingency plans for remote instruction in case of an emergency that closes or prevents reasonable access to campus.