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Fall 2021 Instructional Guidelines for Faculty

Updated as of 8-13-2021
Some Practical Recommendations
This document may be updated regularly, so please check back often

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizing that conditions can evolve rapidly. Southern Utah University will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention (CDC) and state and local health departments. We are working within the legal parameters set by SB 107, HB 308 and HB 1007 during the 2021 Legislature, including:

In-person Instruction Prioritization:

"For fall semester in 2021, an institution of higher education shall offer a number of in- person courses that is at least 75% of the number of in-person courses that the institution of higher education offered for the analogous semester that began immediately on or after August 1, 2019."

COVID-19 Vaccine Amendments:

"A governmental entity may not require, directly or indirectly, that an individual receive an emergency COVID-19 vaccine."

And, Face Covering Requirements:

An institution of higher education…may not require an individual to wear a face covering to attend or participate in in-person instruction, institution-sponsored athletics, institution- sponsored extracurricular activities, in dormitories, or in any other place on a campus of an institution within the system of higher education at any time after the end of the spring semester in 2021.

With those constraints in place, please follow closely the guidelines in the standard syllabus template

Additional Information on Teaching Modalities and Accommodations

SUU is working diligently to protect the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff as well as honor our commitment to students that their courses will be delivered in fall 2021 semester as originally scheduled. If faculty do not feel safe teaching face-to-face, there is a process for faculty to adjust their class delivery modality. For those faculty interested in changing their class delivery modality, they should first meet with your department chair to explore options for additional classroom support. If an instructional modality shift is required, faculty are asked to coordinate with their department chair and must do so as soon as possible. Additionally, if faculty have health concerns holding face-to-face office hours, they should work with their department chair to facilitate remote office hours and contact the ADA Coordinator if necessary.

If faculty are teaching face-to-face, faculty must host live classes at the scheduled time in the assigned classroom. They have discretion to determine whether to offer additional modalities: (e.g., live-streaming a class meeting or creating a  recording for students to access at home). However, this is not required, unless otherwise required as a disability accommodation (which will be determined on a case-by-case basis). 

If a faculty member tests positive for COVID, the faculty member should follow all guidelines for a positive COVID test for quarantine and isolation. The faculty member is welcome to continue to teach in a remote format if they are healthy and nonsymptomatic, if not, the faculty member should work with their chair to provide alternate instructional arrangements for students during the illness. 

If in-class attendance is a necessary component of the course for pedagogical reasons (e.g. laboratories, studios, or artistic training), this should be stated in the syllabus.

Consider Using this standard language in your syllabus:
"Given the nature of this course, attendance is required and adjustments cannot be granted to allow non-attendance. However, if you need to seek an ADA accommodation to request an exception to this attendance policy due to a disability, please contact the Disability Resource Center. DRC will work with us to determine what, if any, ADA accommodations are reasonable and appropriate."

Faculty must accommodate reasonable instructional needs of students who complete the COVID-19 Self-Report Form and are quarantined or self-isolated due to COVID-19, or who have ADA accommodations. Please communicate with the student 24-48hrs upon receiving a positive COIVD-19 case notification from the University.

Acknowledging that students will be affected by Covid, faculty will need to ensure that necessary course content is made available to students who are expected to quarantine. While Zoom recordings are not required, they are recommended; the logistics will be up to individual faculty and/or departments.

  • Each course and each student's circumstance will be different. Please be as open-minded and flexible as is possible and reasonable, when students need  COVID-19 related academic accommodations.
  • Have a contingency plan in case your course has to move to remote instruction.
  • If a student is self-isolated for a longer period of time due to a COVID-19 infection, faculty are encouraged to draw on their most successful strategies from 2020-2021 to accommodate the student. If necessary, faculty may want to consult with the Disability Resource Center.

COVID  Protocol for Instructors

Follow the Faculty Response to Student Report of COVID-19 for proper managing of student notifications  of COVID-19 infection. These instructions will come via email should a student in your course test positive or having been requested to isolate or quarantine. Additionally, the COVID-19 Self-Report Form will integrate with the Canvas Dashboard and help faculty identify students who are requesting academic accommodations.

There is now a link called "COVID Dashboard" for faculty on their faculty course list in the portal at https://my.suu.edu/facultycourselist/.

This COVID Dashboard will show students in any of the faculty member's courses who have filled out the COVID Self Report Form. It shows the date they filled out the form, the date they are expected to return, the number of days until they can return, and a quick visual indicator if they have been cleared to return (their expected return date is past). 

The following resources are available to support faculty with these efforts

CETL and OTL websites can direct you to services available to help with your teaching needs this fall.

The Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning also has a collection of COVID-19 teaching-related articles and recorded webinars. You can access them here:

The following are statements you may consider adding to your syllabus

These statements complement the statements on the syllabus template, feel free to copy and paste into your syllabus.

General Health Practice Statement

University leadership recommends all faculty, students, and staff to model the vaccination, daily health self-assessment, testing and hygiene habits we want to see in our campus community.

These include:

  • Vaccination
  • Health Monitoring
  • Coronavirus Testing
  • Hygiene Habits

Vaccination

Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccination if you have not already done so. Vaccination is proving highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalization and death from coronavirus. Being vaccinated can significantly reduce the need to quarantine and isolate, and therefore, cause less disruption to your work and/or school presence and participation.

Students who would like to receive the vaccination should work directly with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department and other local locations providing vaccines.

For more information:

 CDC: Your COVID-19 Vaccination

 Utah.gov: COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Schedule your vaccination

Health Monitoring

Students should self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms daily before going to class or campus. 

If you have symptoms known to be associated with COVID-19 or known exposure, please get tested and isolate or quarantine, in accordance with public health standards until you receive a negative test result. Testing is available on campus.

COVID Testing

The on-campus COVID testing will reopen Aug. 30, 2021  and will primarily serve symptomatic members of the campus community. If you are ill or worried you may have been exposed, please wear a mask and get tested on campus. The University COVID Testing Center is located in the parking lot of the J. Reuben Clark Center. Additionally, you can also get tested at Cedar City InstaCare or Walgreens (Drive-Thru Testing).

SUU's testing center is convenient and open Monday – Friday, 8am -12pm

If you test positive for COVID-19 please isolate or quarantine, in accordance with public health standards. The specific timeframes and requirements vary depending on the circumstances and vaccination status and are available at the Utah Coronavirus website.

Remember: Students must complete the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form if they test positive to receive academic accommodations (such as assignment extensions, etc…)

Hygiene Habits

Pay attention to personal hygiene. Yes, we know you've heard all this a million times already. It bears repeating. There are a lot of things we don't know about this virus, but we do know it spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Other individuals may be infected when they touch a surface that has virus particles on it and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Hand hygiene is the very best weapon in any fight between human and contagious disease.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don't touch your face. This is a lot harder than it sounds and requires conscious effort. The average person touches their face 23 times an hour, and about half of the time, they're touching their mouth, eyes, or nose — the mucosal surfaces that COVID-19 infects.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow or upper arm.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick, and seek appropriate medical guidance.
  • Practice "social distancing." The number of people in any given location is important, but density is even more important. Stay at least six feet away from others — the distance respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze are thought to travel. Protect yourself by staying out of range.
  • Wear a Mask. SUU is now a Mask Recommended Campus. Due to a recent spike in COVID cases, SUU has moved from a Mask-Friendly to a Mask Recommended environment. This means that the University recommends that students, faculty, staff, and visitors wear masks inside campus buildings.

Check the CDC website periodically for masking updates
CDC: How to Protect Yourself & Others
CDC: Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

Student Mental Health Resources

Rates of burnout, anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness have noticeably increased during the pandemic. It is ok to need help, and SUU has resources available.