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COVID-19 Response and Updates

Faculty and Staff Resources

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Returning to Campus Resources for Faculty

In lieu of traditional attendance policies, it is important to assess student learning through other means than physical class attendance. Consideration should be given for students who are not able to attend class due to illnesses. Alternative options for evidence of course engagement should be utilized to determine if course objectives are being met. In CougarView, evidence of course engagement can be found under the Class Progress tool, accessed under the Communications navigation tab. Selecting a student from the class list shown in this tool allows instructors to view CougarVIEW login history, course access, access to certain topic pages, attempts on a quiz, or discussion participation, among other tools.

For classes that are meeting in the face to face format, please make sure that you note who is physically present in the room on that day of class. This information will be essential if contact tracing is necessary during the course of the semester.

Dear Faculty, Chairs, and Deans,

There have been some questions and concerns about the maximum capacity numbers that have been shared with the colleges and departments. These physical distancing maximum capacity numbers on the initial space audit sheets are recommendations only. While faculty may not adjust the number of students enrolled in the class, they may adjust the maximum number of students who will be permitted in the room at one time.

As faculty, you may work with your chair and dean to adjust the number of students physically in the classroom. This may be done by rotating smaller groups of students in the classroom throughout the semester using the extended classroom model. The current physical distancing designations on the seats and desks will provide a guide to faculty on how they want to use the spaces. It will be extremely important to notify the students of when they are to be physically present in the classroom before the start of the semester.

Physical distancing in our classrooms is just one layer of defense against the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols, increased availability of hand-sanitizing stations, and required wearing of face masks provide additional layers of protection for employees and students alike. The university is preparing a number of "wearing is caring" reminders and communications about the face mask requirement as part of our return-to-campus plan. Faculty’s help in enforcing this requirement will be pivotal to everyone’s health while on campus.

Your ideas and suggestions are greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to a productive, albeit different, start to the fall semester.

Many thanks,

Deborah

Deborah E. Bordelon, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President

Dear Colleagues,

It has been brought to my attention that there are some questions about the USG accommodations process. I would like to address these concerns.

The process to request accommodations starts with Human Resources. Faculty and staff members who meet the criteria for accommodations complete the form electronically and submit it to HR. The form may be found in My CSU under Faculty and Staff-Forms-Human Resources. The form that is used to request accommodations is also attached to this email. Human Resources makes the determination of whether the individual meets the criteria for accommodations. If the person does qualify, then the dean or supervisor receives an email from HR indicating that the person is eligible for accommodations and the type of accommodations the individual is requesting. Human Resources does not approve the accommodations. That approval occurs in the college through a discussion among the faculty member, chair and dean.

There was a question about online teaching being a default accommodation. There are no default accommodations. Online teaching is one of many accommodations that may be requested. Once the dean and chair are notified of the individual who qualifies for accommodations, they are to meet with the person and discuss the requested accommodations. This is a very important step in the process.

There is no CSU or USG mandate that states when a faculty member receives accommodations and courses are moved to an online or hybrid format that the face to face courses must be added to another faculty member’s schedule. There may be some adjustments of course schedules, but that is done as part of the discussions that take place within the department and college. It is also possible that the courses are offered only in the online or hybrid format. If a course is moved entirely online or hybrid, we will need to make that change in Banner and notify the enrolled students.

There is also no CSU or USG mandate that every course must be offered in a face to face and online format. Some departments have chosen to offer courses in that manner, but that is solely a decision of that unit.

I am also aware that some information was sent by a unit that implied that accommodations that were already decided upon by the unit and the faculty member would be adjusted. I have reached out to the leadership in that area to clarify that once an accommodation has been decided upon in the unit and changes made in the faculty member’s schedule, it will be honored.

Any faculty member who is eligible to apply for accommodations is strongly encouraged to do so. If anyone who meets the CDC criteria feels hesitant to submit a request for any reason, please contact me, and I will assist you in navigating the process.

There are no mandated ratios of face to face, extended classroom, hybrid, and online courses. We are running reports weekly of the number of classes in each category so that we have a clear understanding of the facilities and resources needed on campus, the technology needs, and other needed resources.

We are also aware that there are challenges with employees who have children at home based on school or daycare closings or the shifting to virtual classes in MCSD and other school districts for the first nine weeks. We recognize that each circumstance is unique. I am requesting that all supervisors work with employees impacted by this situation. This may involve having adjusted work hours and/or moving courses into a hybrid or online format.

I greatly appreciate all of you and the work you are doing to prepare for the fall semester. This is new territory for all of us, and it presents additional challenges every day. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or need assistance.

With much gratitude,

Deborah

Deborah E. Bordelon, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President

It is important for faculty to communicate with students at least a week before the first day of class (through email, EAB, and CougarView) and often and early during the semester. The medium for which communication occurs may be determined by the faculty member. This is imperative in the event the class delivery has been altered prior to the start of class or if it must change during the semester. Also, this helps to strengthen interaction and potential for students’ success in their courses.

All instructors should complete the following three steps in each course section to make sure all students know what to do on the first day of classes:

  1. Post a message in CougarView announcements with the heading Day One of Class that lets students know who is expected to attend remotely through CougarView. This is necessary in the case that class attendance must be divided for physical distancing purposes.
  2. Send a text by EAB to students who are enrolled in each course section to inform/remind them to check CougarView for information about attendance on the first day of classes. [Log on to MyCSU > Access EAB Navigate on the left hand navigation bar (if faculty do not have access or need help, please contact Kelly Koch at koch_kelly@columbusstate.edu) > Select "Professor Home" (it may be the default for some) > In the "students in my classes" section of the "Professor Home" > Select all students and choose to send a message under actions. Create a SHORT text (160 characters max) directing students to access more detailed information via their CSU Email or CougarView]. (Sample message [could be edited based on need]: Please access your CSU Email/CougarView for specific information on attending class).
  3. Send an email to the class with the same information (could be copied from CougarView, or could refer students to CougarView.)

Dear Colleagues:

The Student Government Association (SGA) Leadership Team reached out to me with some ideas on making the start of the fall semester an informed and positive one for all students. They suggested having course meetings with the faculty prior to August 17. I thoroughly support the idea.

This would involve faculty members meeting with their classes briefly at least once next week (via video conferencing) to go over the plans for the semester. Students are interested in hearing directly from their professors about the layout of the class, what they should expect from the course, and what the expectations are for them. These sessions will make the transition into the fall semester more transparent and better prepare our students for a successful and safe start of the semester.

I recognize that this is an extra step in your preparations for the fall semester, but I strongly believe that it will result in tremendous benefits for you and your students. I encourage you to schedule these brief meetings with your students next week. Feel free to use the platform (Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, Zoom, etc.) you are most comfortable with for these sessions. Our students are excited to work with you and greatly appreciate being able to prepare for a productive semester.

Warm regards,

Deborah

Deborah E. Bordelon, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President
Columbus State University

Students and faculty are expected to remain socially distanced during the course of the pandemic. For courses that are designated for face-to-face or hybrid delivery, it is advised that information sharing should occur electronically. For safety, while physically present, all individuals should remain 6+ feet apart at all times. Unless otherwise necessary, syllabi and other educational materials should be provided via CougarView, email, or other remote medium. Remote activities are necessary, as it is possible that a move to fully online instruction may be required before this course is completed.

The University System of Georgia (USG) requires all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings. Face covering use will be in addition to and is not a substitute for social distancing. All classrooms will be set up in adherence to physical distancing guidelines. While certain lab and studio courses may not meet the 6-feet recommendation, students and faculty are required to wear face coverings and adhere to the necessary sanitation requirements for the lab or studio space.

Anyone not using a face covering when required will be asked to wear one or must leave the area. Repeated refusal to comply with the face mask requirement may result in disciplinary action through the applicable conduct code found in the Student Handbook and Community Guide.

Any student asked to leave will be counted absent for that class period. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face-covering for documented health reasons. Please notify your instructor immediately if you require a face-covering accommodation.

If you are not able to attend class due to illness, please send an email to indicate that you will be absent. In lieu of attending class, you may access the course materials through CougarView, and participate remotely until such time that you are able to return to class. Please keep me informed on your ability to return to class, in accordance with CDC guidelines, as it is important for me to know when to expect you in-person.

CougarView will be utilized for all classes. Technology will be used for classroom activities (e.g., group work, learning communities, submitting assignments, engagement beyond physical attendance). Faculty will establish minimum technology needs for their courses (modified in person, hybrid, online formats). The technology needed will be based upon instructional context/expectations. If at all possible, students should ensure that these technology requirements can be met through personal means. Students who do not have access to adequate technology, may contact the UITS Help Desk here or by calling 706-507-8199 or emailing helpdesk@columbusstate.edu. Students who have arranged to borrow equipment, may access those items at the library. If internet access is an issue, Eduroam is one option for connectivity to the internet. If needed, other options will be explored.

Other Information for Faculty

COVID-19 Related Instructional Information

Alternative Educational Arrangements for Students who are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

Center for Accommodation and Access Faculty Handout