COVID-19 Update: Reminders and Additional Information for Fall 2020
Aug. 12, 2020
Dear Saint Louis University faculty and staff,
As we continue forward with our plans to offer a mixture of in-person and online courses starting Aug. 17, I wanted to provide you with additional information on the following topics:
- Technology tips and reminders
- Additional policies and guidance for the fall semester
- Returning to campus and events information
- Flexibility for our students
Technology tips and reminders
ITS is currently working to ensure that all classroom and event spaces being used this fall are ready for in-person and hybrid courses (courses with both in-person and online students participating at the same time) from a technology standpoint. To aid our faculty in navigating this new landscape, I wanted to pass along some brief technology information.
- Tips for using Zoom in a hybrid course: ITS has compiled a list of tips for instructors when using Zoom to conduct a course with a mix of in-person and online students. The information is available on the ATC’s website.
- Respondus Monitor and Lockdown Browser: we have partnered with Respondus to use their Monitor and Lockdown Browser software (which integrates with Blackboard) to administer online exams in a secure environment. Information is also available on the ATC’s website.
Additional details were provided by ITS in this Monday’s Newslink.
Additional policies and guidance for the fall
A number of policies, syllabus statements and guidance for our faculty and staff were developed in the last few weeks. These were designed in response to the pandemic and to keep public health as the top priority for our community this fall. Please read on for more information.
- Travel policy: In collaboration with the President’s office and Human Resources, we are drafting a policy related to University-sponsored travel. It will focus on limiting and/or restricting University-sponsored travel for the fall semester, and encourage our faculty and staff to limit their personal travel. The final policy will be announced soon.
- Syllabus statements: In addition to the syllabus statement on face masks in classrooms, two additional syllabus statements were developed for the fall semester. The first is related to distance education etiquette for students (recommended syllabus statement), and the second is a statement on class attendance (required syllabus statement). Both of these are available now on the course syllabus information webpage under those respective categories.
- University mask policy: Please familiarize yourself with the University’s interim policy on face masks if you have not already. This policy details that all people present on campus shall wear a face mask, unless they require an accommodation from the Office of Disability Services (students) or Human Resources (faculty and staff).
- Checklist for teaching in lab spaces: A checklist on protocols for lab spaces was developed this summer to ensure public health safety in those spaces. These were designed with science labs and clinical spaces in mind, and may not apply entirely to other experiential learning spaces, such as performing arts studios. Many of these guidelines have been implemented across campus already.
Returning to campus and events information
- You should only spend time on campus for teaching and/or research responsibilities, or work that cannot be completed remotely.
- Any departmental or staff meetings, office hours or other normally in-person activities should be conducted virtually.
- Significant public health protocols are in place (e.g., mandatory face masks, social distancing, among others) to make our classrooms and buildings as safe as possible for faculty, staff and students.
As the President’s recent message outlined, we are cancelling all in-person events for the fall. For the fall semester, Event Services will be following our interim policy on campus space prioritization to ensure that these spaces are dedicated to academic instruction.
Flexibility for our students
Some students are asking to start the semester online and move to in-person classes a few weeks into the semester; we will handle these requests on a case-by-case basis. Others may need to move to isolation housing and start the semester online if they test positive for COVID-19, or move to quarantine housing if they have an exposure to someone who tests positive. Many international students are quarantining for two weeks upon arrival to St. Louis and will start their classes online. Our faculty and staff may hear from these students, so I urge you to be flexible and offer grace in dealing with these requests.
Finally, please ensure you are offering that same grace and flexibility to our international students who are unable to return to campus. A number of these students live in countries where internet access, restrictions on specific websites, or time zone differences may impact their ability to participate in their courses. Students studying remotely may also experience significant delays in the arrival of their textbooks. Faculty are encouraged to confirm student access to course materials.
I realize this is a lot of information, so I thank you for all you are doing for our community to make this semester a success, especially during this uniquely trying time.
Thank you and God bless,
Michael Lewis, Ph.D.