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COVID-19 Response and Updates

Guidance for Faculty

COVID Procedures in the Classroom

Faculty can request the use of face coverings and masks in the classroom among all students, even those who are vaccinated, but cannot make the use of those mandatory. Faculty must refrain from discriminating against or segregating students based on their decisions to wear or not wear face coverings in the classroom. Faculty may choose to wear a face covering or mask during the entirety of the class meeting, regardless of their vaccination status.

Where possible, faculty can enforce assigned student seating and maintain a seating chart. This practice will be especially helpful to the COVID-19 Response Team’s contact tracing efforts. Faculty cannot make seating assignments by inquiring about students’ vaccination status, nor can they make assumptions about a student’s vaccination status based on which students are wearing and are not wearing face coverings and masks.

As always, faculty may arrange students in class to benefit instructional efforts, but all classroom furniture must return to its original configuration at the end of the class meeting.

Faculty should be prepared to accommodate students who are required to go into quarantine or isolation. Faculty will receive an official excused absence notification from the COVID-19 Response Team, however, to maintain students’ privacy, the reason(s) will not be disclosed. Some students may reach out to faculty in advance of that notification and at the time they initially submit an online COVID-19 Self-Report Form to discuss on how best to remain engaged with the class and productive in their studies.

Changes in Course Modality

Verified vaccination status can be used to determine whether faculty should quarantine after a close contact with someone who tests positive for or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. Faculty who believe they have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 must consult with the COVID-19 Response Team, obtain approval to self-quarantine from the Office of Human Resources, and receive approval to move the class to a virtual format from their applicable dean and the provost.

In some situations, a specific class modality may temporarily shift from in-person to virtual instruction as a result of COVID-19 reporting or a faculty member’s health status. The department, college and Office of the Provost will explore every available option to maintain the continuity of in-person instruction before making the decision to shift to virtual class meetings. Please note that the pandemic-era SACSCOC Substantive Change Exemption for moving courses online has expired.

Change in modality is subject to an end date and will correlate with isolation or quarantine timelines. Department chairs will arrange for class coverage when faculty are unable to teach due to illness. No USG institution may change its overall modality of instruction.

Virtual Advisor