Instruction and course design

Have a question that isn’t answered below? Email together@vcu.edu or see a list of additional contacts who may be able to help.

Q: What should faculty do if a student reaches out to report symptoms but refuses to contact Student Health and get tested?

A: Faculty should encourage students to get tested and ask that they contact Student Health at 1-804-MYCOVID. As a member of the VCU community, all employees and students have the responsibility of following health and safety protocols outlined, including monitoring and reporting any COVID-19 symptoms. If the student refuses to report symptoms to Student Health, faculty should contact the Dean of Students at vcudean@vcu.edu.

Q: For in-person/hybrid classes, will there be an official protocol/system (e.g., a Google Form) to assist departments/faculty to record/document student requesting to attend classes online for a reason (i.e., immunodeficiency, caring for at-risk family members, etc), or will departments/faculty be left to their own devices?

A: Students have been encouraged to contact their faculty member directly if they have any special requests or need some additional flexibility. Departments may choose to create a Google Form to collect this information. No central reporting is required and requests should be managed at the local level.

Q: Are there any provisions for establishing cohorts or bubbles within majors or particular years within majors? For example, all sophomores in a design studio might take their support courses together and commit to staying within a closed community.

A: Some academic programs are currently organized around a cohort model. This type of flexibility and scheduling may be possible. Faculty wanting to explore this possibility should contact their department chair/director/dean.

Q: How can faculty teaching lecture classes enforce the face covering requirement in their classes?

A: Faculty teaching lecture courses may want to consider displaying a slide at the start of every class meeting while students are taking their seats, that reminds them of the face covering/mask requirement, and that class can not start until all students in the room are wearing their mask or have provided the instructor with an accomodation letter. Instructions on where to obtain a disposable mask in the building should be included so that students can quickly leave and return with a mask.

Q: If a student is displaying signs/symptoms of being sick in a classroom, what is the protocol for the instructor? Do they have the right to request the student leave?

A: Yes, you do have the right to ask a student to leave. We know the key is setting clear expectations up front. The syllabus will be important in setting clear expectations. Also, there will be a location in every building where a student to get a disposable mask in case they forgot their mask.

Q: I understand that faculty, who teach an official in-person class, cannot be required to create an online option for their students. What about faculty who offer hybrid or blended classes (different from in-person). Can these facutly be required to provide an online option for students who never want to attend the class in person?

A: Faculty are not required to provide a fully online companion. We encourage all faculty to have a strategy for assisting students who may need to miss class for legitimate reasons. Faculty are asked to consider ways to livestream lectures and/or use posted video recordings.

Q: Will all classrooms be equipped with 'livestream' capability? Will those with the code of 'flex' be guaranteed ability to livestream?

A: Not all classrooms will have the technology to guarantee livestreaming. However, many faculty have found effective ways to livestream using a laptop or tablet. The staff in Academic Technologies can be of assistance for any faculty member needing help.

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