What to Expect - Instructors
Guidance for In-person Instruction at UC Riverside
These FAQs were developed by the Instructional Continuity Workgroup (ICW) to help instructors prepare for and deliver their in-person courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICW established five principles to guide our return to in-person instruction:
- Prioritize the health and safety of all members of our campus community.
- Extend in-person education to the greatest extent possible, consistent with our mission as a residential R1 research university.
- Balance consistent decision-making at the campus level with appropriate pedagogical flexibility at the department/program level.
- Communicate clearly with the campus community.
- Prepare to adapt to ever-changing conditions.
As an instructor, you are expected to:
- Comply with all employee requirements. These include the campus vaccination policy, campus face covering policy, COVID Screening Check, and other requirements.
- Be familiar with available resources. These teaching resources for both in-person and remote instruction, new technologies in general assignment classrooms, and guidance for students seeking remote attendance as a disability accommodation.
- Teach in-person, but be prepared to suspend in-person instruction if directed by the campus. If you have been assigned to teach an in-person class, then your default teaching mode is in-person. However, if there is a greater-than-normal risk that you may be unable to teach in person for some period of time – perhaps due to changing public health guidelines, worsening pandemic conditions, or if you get sick yourself, having a contingency plan to pivot to remote instruction on short notice, and informing your students of this plan in advance, is essential. XCITE has resources to help you accomplish this.
- Encourage your students to adhere to COVID-related health and safety requirements. You are not obligated to actively enforce the campus vaccination or face covering policies in your classroom. However, please help to preserve our ability to offer in-person instruction by encouraging your students to comply. You can learn about student requirements here and download “Let’s Do R Part” graphics and templates here. It is also recommended to include the following suggested text in your syllabus: All students in this course, as a condition of physical presence in the classroom (including for exams or tests in the classroom or other location on the UCR campus), must be compliant with the UC SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program (Program) at all times. Compliance is easily achieved by providing proof of Full Vaccination or submitting a request for Exception or Deferral as required by the Program. Students in violation of the Program or related directives of the instructor will be subject to disciplinary or other remedial action. The Policy can be found at: https://policy.ucop.edu/doc/5000695/SARS-CoV-2_Covid-19
- Watch for updates. The campus continues to monitor public health conditions closely. The Campus Return website is the “go-to” site for the latest information about instruction, and will be updated frequently with the most recent guidance and any operational changes necessitated by public health conditions. Please check this site often and be alert for other campus communications.
AS AN INSTRUCTOR YOU MUST NOT
- Ask about vaccination status. Do not ask students about their vaccination status or request proof of vaccination. The central campus administration is responsible for reviewing vaccination status and clearing students, faculty, and staff to return to campus.
- Share information about positive cases. UCR's COVID Management Team is responsible for case investigation, and has policies and procedures for informing students, faculty, and staff about possible exposure. Due to privacy concerns, you should not communicate information about positive cases that could disclose anyone’s personal health information.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - INSTRUCTION
If you have general questions about instruction that are not answered below, please send them to the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee via the Academic Senate Chair or Vice Chair, or directly to Erin Schuster, Executive Assistant to the Provost, at email@example.com.
(Masking, vaccination, testing, cleaning, etc.)
How is the COVID Screening Survey advertised to students? Do they know they must complete it before they come on campus? (Revised 5/11/2022)
Students are educated on the importance of the COVID Screening Survey through various communication mechanisms, including the COVID-19 Education module on R’Web that should be completed by all UCR students. The module emphasizes that the COVID Screening Survey is to be completed if they are reporting the result of a positive COVID-19 test, they have COVID-like symptoms (symptoms from a known or chronic condition (e.g. allergies, asthma, etc.) are not considered COVID-19 symptoms for this report), they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (close contact with a known positive person for more than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period), or they are reporting the completion of their required weekly COVID-19 test. There are also regular and ongoing communications and reminders send to students.
Can I require stronger restrictions in my classroom than campus requires? Such as distancing or negative tests? (Added 12/30/2021)
No, please adhere to campus policies. These policies have been developed with broad input from stakeholders including medical and legal experts. If you would like to suggest an instructional policy change, you may send it to the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee via the Academic Senate Chair or Vice Chair
Will I know the vaccination status of students in my courses? (Revised 5/11/2022)
Vaccination status is private health information, so you will not know the vaccination status of your students (neither individually nor in the aggregate) and you are not responsible for enforcing the vaccination policy. The central campus administration is responsible for reviewing vaccination status and clearing students, faculty, and staff to return to campus.
Students who are temporarily not cleared to return to campus (e.g. due to exposure, symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test) will be directed not to attend classes. You are encouraged to help these students keep up with coursework remotely until they are cleared to return to campus.
Students who are not compliant with the UC vaccination policy also will be directed not to attend classes. In addition, they will be unable to participate in second-pass registration for fall or registration for winter, and will be subject to progressive disciplinary actions including dropped enrollment from in-person courses and interim suspensions. You are not obligated to provide a remote option or supplemental materials for these students.
Can I request expedited review for my students who have submitted their vaccination records but are still listed as non-compliant and thus not yet able to come to campus for in-person classes? (Added 9/22/2021)
The COVID Management Team is able to review most records within 72 hours of submission. There will be increased demand for review during housing move-in and close to the start of the quarter, but the COVID Management Team will do everything they can to maintain this schedule. The Team is unable to contact instructors about the status of their students.
Am I required to wear a face covering while teaching? (Revised 5/11/2022)
No, the use of face coverings indoors is strongly recommended for those who are up to date on vaccinations, which includes receiving all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any single booster dose when eligible. Face coverings indoors remain required for anyone who is not up to date on vaccinations.
Face coverings are also required in the following indoor:
- Healthcare settings (e.g. Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services)
- On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation).
- State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
- Homeless shelters
- Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
- Long term care settings and Adult and Senior Care Facilities
Face coverings are available for all employees and can be requested here. A face shield with a drape is an approved alternative to a face covering, and may be preferable in some situations. EH&S currently has a limited supply of face shields with drapes.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you would like to request one. Instructors also may purchase a face shield at their own expense but it must include a drape at the bottom. A recent study on sound attenuation from the University of Illinois may be helpful for deciding which kind of approved face covering you want to use.
What should I do if a student does not have a face covering?
If a student does not have an acceptable face covering and would like to get one, they have a few options: (1) they can schedule an appointment to pick up a mask (and other health supplies) from The Well in HUB 248; (2) they can stop by The Well without an appointment to pick up a mask (operating hours can be found here); and (3) students in need of a mask who are also experiencing food insecurity can schedule an appointment at R’Pantry. Instructors also may want to have extra face coverings on hand for cases where a student forgot to bring one. Instructors can request face coverings in bulk from The Well by filling out this online form. EH&S also is arranging for delivery of bulk masks to each academic department office.
- How will classrooms and shared teaching equipment be kept clean?
What are some good resources on COVID-19 information and for countering misinformation?
- Making sense of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. August 6, 2021.
- Reported COVID-19 vaccine adverse events. August 17, 2021.
- The Real Chance of Breakthrough: One in 5,000
Please note that the above article is behind a paywall.
- Making sense of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. August 6, 2021.
COVID SYMPTOMS, POSITIVE TESTS, AND HEALTH CONCERNS
What will happen if a student in my class tests positive for COVID-19? (Revised 12/9/2021)
Instructors are not responsible for monitoring the health status of their students or making decisions about suspending in-person instruction. If a student tests positive, the COVID Management Team will be notified when the student submits their COVID Screening Check. The student is not obligated to directly notify you of the positive test (see related FAQ about a student notifying an instructor of a positive test). The COVID Management Team will initiate a case investigation. Notices will be posted on UCR’s COVID-19 dashboard, you will receive an email if you are teaching in an affected room, and close contacts (identified through case investigation) also will be notified via email.
Students who are instructed to isolate or quarantine based on the findings of the case investigation may contact you to discuss options for continuing to make progress in your class during this time (see related FAQ about offering remote options to such students). Student Health Services will provide these students with a “COVID Awareness Letter” that can be shared with instructors for verification.
You should not suspend in-person instruction for all students because of a positive test, a case investigation, or a group of students in isolation or quarantine. However, COVID Management Team will notify the Registrar if your classroom must be temporarily closed for cleaning or disinfection in accordance with CDC guidelines. In the unlikely event that this happens, the Registrar will notify all affected instructors (including TAs), deans, department chairs/program directors, and academic scheduling coordinators. You will be responsible for notifying your students. Cleaning and disinfection typically require less than 24 hours, and you may teach remotely during this time. When your classroom re-opens, you should return to in-person instruction. Generally, if you have not been directed to suspend in-person instruction by the COVID Management Team, the central campus administration, or your dean, you should continue teaching in-person.
What should I do if a student tells me they have tested positive for COVID-19? (Revised 5/11/2022)
Advise the student not to participate in any on-campus in-person activities and to complete the COVID Screening Check immediately, and follow the provided instructions. A COVID Management Team member may contact the student for additional information. If the student has questions in the interim they can contact the COVID Management Team at email@example.com. The COVID Management Team will advise on next steps.
As an instructor, when should I quarantine? (Revised 5/11/2022)
Please complete the COVID Screening Check to report the result of a positive COVID-19 test, have COVID-like symptoms (symptoms from a known or chronic condition (e.g. allergies, asthma, etc.) are not considered COVID-19 symptoms for this report), were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (close contact with a known positive person for more than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period), or are reporting the completion of their required weekly COVID-19 test. and follow the instructions for your particular situation. Upon completion, instructions will be provided via email.
Do I have to provide a remote option for students who are symptomatic, test positive for COVID-19, or must quarantine due to close contact? (Revised 5/11/2022)
You are not obligated to provide a remote option. However, if you adopt a strict approach that limits all remote access to your course, students may feel additional pressure to attend class when they are symptomatic, or to fail to report a positive test or close contact. Therefore, instructors are encouraged to be flexible and seek compromises to help protect public health on campus and our ability to offer in-person instruction and other activities. If you find yourself in an untenable situation, such as the unlikely event that a large number of students must quarantine for an extended period of time, contact your chair to discuss options but do not unilaterally suspend in-person instruction. If a solution that maintains in-person instruction cannot be found at the department level, escalate to your dean.
If a student has an especially prolonged case of COVID, as determined by Student Health Services, the student may have the option to register with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) and receive formal disability accommodations. The SDRC is available to answer your questions and offer guidance in these situations.
- How can I report a COVID-19 or public health related concern?
OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL ISSUES
Instructional guidance, guest speakers, in-person delivery, preparing for another transition, and other questions.
Is there any guidance for off-campus instructional activities such as fieldtrips or fieldwork? (Added 9/22/2021)
Instructors should complete a Field Safety Plan before teaching off-campus. To complete the plan, visit the "Documents and Forms" section on the Field Safety Site.
Participants in off-site instructional activities generally should follow the same requirements as on-site, including completion of the COVID Screening Check, face coverings when indoors, testing, etc., that are outlined on the campus return site.
Also follow current guidance for UCR personnel which indicates that all CDC guidance on travel should be followed. Anyone who leaves the state of California and is not fully vaccinated will be subject to testing and quarantine requirements upon return. Because non-fully vaccinated individuals are more at risk, especially when traveling to areas with higher virus transmission risk, instructors should consider if alternatives that do not require travel can be made available to students. For longer, multi-day trips, the instructor should consider how to implement testing and quarantine for anyone who becomes symptomatic.
Currently there are no restrictions on food and beverage service, but instructors should consider service styles that reduce health risk, including individually packaged food/beverages and boxed meals, and avoiding self-service buffets.
Can I teach remotely if I have young kids at home or if I live with an immunocompromised individual? (Added 9/22/2021)
Please refer to the announcement from the Instructional Continuity Workgroup and/or our Campus Briefing video (discussed at minute 28:00)
Where can instructors assigned to a remote course find information about remote teaching? (Revised 9/22/2021)
UCR’s instructional guidance is applicable to all instructors including Associate-Ins, Teaching Assistants, and other Academic Student Employees (ASEs) serving in an instructional capacity. However, ASEs should always consult with the instructor of record for their course before taking actions that are informed by this guidance. Key sources of guidance include the What to Expect – Instructors website and XCITE’s teaching and TA websites.
Is it acceptable to have office hours online rather than in person? (Added 9/6/2021)
Yes—it is acceptable to hold office hours online rather than in person. As always, office hours should be structured to effectively support student learning and facilitate student engagement with instructors.
If my class is approved for in-person delivery, can I expect a “normal” term of classroom instruction? (Added 9/6/2021)
No—instructors teaching in-person courses will have to follow all campus policies related to COVID management and be prepared with a plan for moving back to remote instruction at any time if developments relating to public health (or other emergencies) render it necessary. A summary of COVID-related instructor responsibilities is available here.
When is it permitted to pivot to remote instruction? (Revised 5/11/2022)
Generally, if you have not been directed to suspend in-person instruction by the COVID Management Team, the central campus administration (which includes instructions you receive through the COVID Screening Check), or your dean, you should continue teaching in-person. As was the case before the pandemic, a temporary shift to remote instruction is appropriate if an instructor is temporarily unable to teach in-person. For short disruptions, including due to illness, faculty should do what they would have done before the pandemic, whether cancelling a class, offering the class remotely, or giving a small assignment to substitute for the class session. However, in all such instances, faculty should immediately notify their department chair or program director so that their unit is aware of the situation. For potentially longer disruptions, including if a faculty member (or their young children) are instructed by public health to quarantine/isolate for an extended period of time, instructors should confer with their chair and propose a solution to their dean as soon as possible.
In pivoting to remote instruction, communication with students is critical. Students should be reminded of the possibility at the start of the term so that they may make remote arrangements on their end (i.e., finding a location, wifi, devices, etc.). It is good practice to include this information in your syllabus.
Can I get a personal microphone for in-person instruction? (Added 9/6/2021)
Campus provided microphones will be assigned to rooms rather than instructors. The primary mode of COVID-19 infection is through exposure to respiratory droplets and the risk of surface transmission is low. However, all teaching spaces will be supplied with disinfecting wipes which can be used to wipe down shared equipment including microphones (while powered off, and excepting foam windscreens) before and after use. In addition, for rooms equipped with lavalier microphones, instructors may purchase their own wired lapel or “over ear” mic with TA4F jack, and connect this personal equipment to the campus-provided portable transmitter in each room. More details including suggested manufacturers are forthcoming from ITS. For classrooms that are not wired for amplified sound, a recent study on sound attenuation from the University of Illinois may be helpful for deciding which kind of approved face covering you want to use.
Can I offer an in-person exam for my remote course? (Added 9/6/2021)
No – remote courses have no in-person activities. It would be unfair and potentially problematic to introduce in-person activities, including exams, after students have finalized their schedules and planned their lives and living arrangements around those schedules. XCITE has resources to help you conduct remote assessments.
Should instructors of fully in-person classes make any preparation to offer remote exams in the event of emergency conditions? (Added 9/6/2021)
All instructors should be prepared to pivot to remote instruction, including exams, in the event of a public health or other emergency situation. XCITE has resources to help you do this which are specifically focused on assessments.
I would like to do a mix of in-person & remote teaching for my lass. Do I need permission to hold some of my class sessions remotely? Does it depend on how many sessions are remote vs in person? (Added 9/6/2021)
No special permission is required for occasional remote sessions that are designed to enhance student learning.
What if I do not feel comfortable teaching in person?
It is difficult for any of us to feel fully comfortable in any group setting during the ongoing pandemic. Currently, it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of virus transmission on our campus, or anywhere else. However, there is consensus among public health experts that with the highly effective vaccines now available, the high anticipated vaccination rate on our campus, and the other precautions we are implementing, the benefits of returning to in-person activities including instruction outweigh the risks. If you have been assigned to teach in-person but feel your personal risk level is unacceptably high due to a medical condition or other disability, you may request a disability-related accommodation through Disability Management (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Can I invite a guest speaker to participate in-person?
Yes, the campus is currently open to visitors who comply with all applicable health and safety protocols. However, it may be preferable to schedule guest speakers to participate remotely, both to help protect public health on campus and to hedge against the risk that the campus might later be closed to visitors.