Spring 2022 Academic Council Expectations

Academic Council Spring 2022 Guidance and Expectations during COVID-19 Pandemic

March 9, 2022

The Academic Council met in February and March 2022 to discuss guidance for Spring term 2022. The university is continuing its instruction not to come to campus with symptoms and thus some flexibility is needed in terms of absences. However, the Council acknowledges the challenges faculty are facing in dealing with student absences and the need for accommodations. As such the Spring 2022 guidance that follows has been adjusted accordingly. Apart from the specific guidelines and expectations below, we encourage faculty to exercise their judgment and empathy for students in providing appropriate flexibility.

The Academic Council has approved the following guidance and expectations for Spring 2022 term under the University Senate policy on Academic Continuity (see: https://provost.uoregon.edu/files/appendix_a_-_2019-4-03-approved_academic-continuity-final.pdf and https://provost.uoregon.edu/academic-continuity-planning). When the University President declares an end to the COVID emergency, the Academic Council will stand down from its role in governing COVID-related academic policies

Standard Academic Policies

Please familiarize yourself with standard academic policies related to instruction and working with students. The Office of the Provost has created an Academic Policy library here: https://provost.uoregon.edu/academic-policies-procedures-and-guidance. Note the following new policies and guidance passed by the University Senate Spring 2021:

University Policy Guidance

Masks

The University’s mask requirement will end on March 18, 2022. After that, masks will be welcome but optional at the UO with some exceptions, such as in health care settings, and as otherwise required by law. Instructors should create a classroom environment that is respectful of individual choice to wear a mask or not. The university policy is that instructors are not allowed to establish mask policies in their classes that differ from the university policy.

Mandatory First-Class Attendance

(see https://provost.uoregon.edu/mandatory-first-class-attendance-policy)

The Mandatory First-Class Attendance policy is suspended for Spring 2022 term.

For courses that normally have mandatory attendance, instructors may wish to include a “first-week contact” policy on their syllabus as part of their attendance/participation policies. This could have some grade or points attached and serve as an early signal of instructor expectations around engagement.

Eating and Drinking in Classrooms

Now that the mask mandate is lifted for Spring 2022 term, eating and drinking in classrooms is subject to normal university policies.

Course Preparation

In general, it is good practice to plan course activities and assignment two to three weeks out to aid in responding to a sudden significant academic disruption. This can provide a cushion of material to work with should a disruption occur either for the individual instructor or the university as whole. Given the unpredictability of public health conditions and regulations, instructors should be prepared to switch to remote teaching with limited advance notice. The Teaching Engagement Program has resources here to help with that.

Syllabus statement – instructors shall include the following statements on all course syllabi or clearly indicate on the syllabus where this information can be found on Canvas (for instance, a page could be created called “University COVID Policies”). Instructors can import a page from Canvas Commons that has all of the university-required syllabus language.

Academic Disruption

In the event of a campus emergency that disrupts academic activities, course requirements, deadlines, and grading percentages are subject to change. Information about changes in this course will be communicated as soon as possible by email, and on Canvas. If we are not able to meet face-to-face, students should immediately log onto Canvas and read any announcements and/or access alternative assignments. Students are also expected to continue coursework as outlined in this syllabus or other instructions on Canvas.

In the event that the instructor of this course has to quarantine, this course may be taught online during that time.

Staying Safe in Classes

As the University of Oregon continues in-person instruction, instructors and students play a key role in keeping our community healthy and safe.

Prevention: To prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms and on campus, all students and employees must:

  • Comply with vaccination policy
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Complete daily self-checks
  • Say home/do not come to campus if feeling symptomatic
  • Individuals with no symptoms or mild symptoms can get tested at McArthur Court through UO's Monitoring and Assessment Program. Masks are required at COVID-19 testing sites including in line outside.
  • Visit the Exposure Scenario page page for information on reporting cases.

 Support: The following resources are available to you as a student. 

Attendance and Makeups

Instructors should clearly express on their syllabus and in early class meetings their expectations around attendance. As the University moves into low-risk status, expectations for attendance should be closer to pre-pandemic expectations, with some flexibility for absences but not unlimited flexibility. It should be made clear to students that they are expected to attend class unless they are ill, as would have been the case prior to the pandemic. Instructors should also make clear to students what they can expect in terms of course materials for makeups. Instructors are not expected to record lectures or provide access to course materials beyond what they would have done prior to the pandemic.

Instructors may count attendance and participation as part of the grade as they would have prior to the pandemic provided they have reasonable ways for students to complete make-up assignments for a reasonable number of missed class sessions or participation points without loss of credit or points. Instructors must communicate these policies in their syllabi and can state in those policies how many absences are allowed before the grade will be affected. If a student’s frequent absences and lack of availability for make-ups are jeopardizing their success in the course, instructors should communicate with those students as early as possible and recommend students work with an advisor to consider their options.

Students who are directed or advised to quarantine by the university or other public health authority or provider should be held harmless in attendance policies. Instructors may ask students to show the document instructing them to quarantine/isolate as verification of their quarantine/isolation status.

Instructors are not required to accommodate students who signed up for an in-person class but are requesting remote access for the entire term except where accommodations have been agreed upon by AEC and the instructor. Students have been advised to create a class schedule that best fits their situation; if they cannot attend in-person, they should enroll only in online courses.

Options for Students Not Able to Meet Course Expectations – Incompletes, Withdrawal, Dean of Students Emergency Academic Notification

Incompletes

 “In cases where students are missing only minor yet essential coursework, a grade of “Incomplete” may be used for make-ups that will take place after grades are due (see Incomplete Policy https://provost.uoregon.edu/grades-incompletes-policy).”

  • Instructors have discretion to determine what constitutes “minor yet essential coursework”.
  • Incompletes are intended for the situation where a student is engaged and performing passing work but something unexpected happens toward the end of the term that prevents them from completing some of the coursework. Incompletes are not intended for the student who is not engaged or not performing passing work over the course of the term and wants an opportunity at the end to improve their grade.
  • When assigning incompletes, instructors should develop clear contracts with students that define the work to be completed and the deadline for that work. The deadline can be less than one year – that is up to the instructor. The contract should be filed with the department.
  • Instructors may refer students to the Tutoring and Academic Engagement Center, which offers support for them as they work to clear Incompletes. (Learn more.)
  • Instructors should remember that they can also enter a grade that represents work done to date, and then change that grade later if they are allowing late work to be submitted. See How to Change a Grade.

Withdrawing from a course, changing grading options, and petitioning Students have until Sunday before week 8 (5/15/2022) to drop courses via DuckWeb (deadlines throughout the term determine how much tuition is owed) and to change their grading options to P/NP for grade-optional courses. If they miss this deadline, they may petition the Scholastic Records Committee (here are the required forms; instructors can provide a supporting statement.) Students can learn more and schedule an appointment with an advisor here.

Dean of Students “Emergency Academic Notification”

Students who have extended absences due to crisis, serious injury or illness can follow a process with the Dean of Students to have an “Emergency Academic Notification” email sent to instructors. Instructors can help students that are unable to attend classes for an extended time due to a crisis, serious illness or injury, or hospitalization by including a link to the Dean of Students “Emergency Academic Notification” process: https://dos.uoregon.edu/dos-faq and by proactively reaching out to students if the Instructor is concerned and wishes to offer help. Information on signs of student crisis and ways faculty can help are located here https://dos.uoregon.edu/assisting-students-concern. For students who follow this process, the Office of the Dean of Students will notify the student’s faculty members by email that the student is experiencing an emergency and steps the faculty member can take.

Course Format and Engagement

In the Spring 2022 course schedule, courses are listed with one of three delivery modes in the "Location" column. They will either have a room location, “ASYNC WEB”, or “SYNC WEB”. The current schedule is based on pre-pandemic offerings with a limited number of ASYNC WEB courses and only a few SYNC WEB courses. Nevertheless, the following guidance remains in place for those courses and will be especially important to observe should conditions change.

In-person Courses

  • Courses with a room assignment will be delivered in-person. Those courses should meet as scheduled, following university COVID-19 regulations for in-person gatherings.

Asynchronous Online (ASYNC WEB)

  • Courses listed as “ASYNC WEB” are asynchronous and do not have a class meeting time listed. In order to not interfere with students’ scheduled activities, instructors of these courses should not schedule required class meeting times (optional-to-students enhancement activities are allowed and encouraged as long as they don’t provide advantages to those students in terms of grades). These courses should follow the UOCC guidelines for online classes and the additional guidelines for graduate online courses where applicable. In addition, WEB courses, like all other courses, should include the following:
    • Contact from the instructor by the first day of classes. This should be an email or Canvas message that welcomes students to the class, orients them to the general structure of the course and the Canvas site, and lets them know where to find the syllabus. UO Online and TEP have created customizable “Welcome Modules” that can be imported to your Canvas site and customized to supplement your welcome message.
    • Clear Communication. Inform students how they should communicate with you and GEs or TAs, and provide reasonable expected response times.
    • Scheduled Office Hours – At least 2 hours per week with a mix of scheduled and by-appointment options, and live, synchronous options.

Synchronous Online (SYNC WEB)

  • Courses with “SYNC WEB” have class meeting times and shall provide live engagement during the scheduled meeting times as defined by the Student Engagement Inventory for the course:
    • Live engagement can take many different forms. For example, it might include a mix of content delivery, facilitated discussions on Zoom, facilitated discussion-board discussions, breakout sessions for students on Zoom, group project time with the instructor available for guidance. The following are not suitable replacements for contact under current policy:
      • Posting of supplemental content materials
      • Announcements
      • Assignments
      • Office hours, online or otherwise
    • Whatever the mix, at least 50% of the live engagement should include planned and structured content delivery or discussion.
      • Note: It’s important that students feel the instructor’s presence and engagement in the class. The most visible part of instructor engagement is in the scheduled class time, so instructors are encouraged to think carefully before they use scheduled class time for anything other than live interaction. Moreover, some students noted a sharp increase in workload for remote classes. That increase seemed to be created by multiple, asynchronous activities meant to replace classroom engagements combined with the time demands of navigating new technology and multiple platforms, finding course materials, typing rather than speaking responses, etc. Thus, instructors also should know that part of the intent of the live meetings requirement is to be a “container” for student work, which should never go above 30 hours total per credit per term (or 120 hours total for a four-credit course). 
    • Where appropriate and possible, instructors should create opportunities for student-student interaction.
    • Whatever the mix, instructors should be available to students during each scheduled class period. If instructors are not going to be available during a scheduled class period, they should treat that as a “cancelled” class meeting and handle that as they would during a regular, non-remote term with appropriate notifications to students and anyone else as required by the department, and appropriate replacement of that instructional time. Instructors should schedule and be available to meet during office hours outside the scheduled class time in accordance with Academic Council, department and/or school/college policies on office hours.