Oct. 4, 2021
Dear instructional faculty and advisors:
I’m writing to share a few commonly asked COVID-19 questions our Buff Info team has been fielding related to health and safety measures for you and your students. I’m hopeful you will find these helpful.
Thank you for all that you do, and please feel free to reach out to me directly via email if you have questions or concerns.
Senior Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Planning and Assessment
Professor of English
What do I do when students tell me they have tested positive for COVID-19?
Encourage students who test positive for COVID-19 to notify Contact Tracing, firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Tracing will confirm a positive result with public health officials and follow up with the student with next steps. Contact tracers will also notify those who have been impacted.
Contact Tracing will not confirm with faculty when a student has tested positive, even if a student has notified a faculty member of the situation.
Under no circumstances should you notify an entire class when a student reports a positive case, nor should you direct people to quarantine. Your class instruction mode should remain the same.
Contract Tracing will recommend different actions for different students who have tested positive for COVID-19, depending on factors such as vaccination status, time elapsed since infection, etc. Please do not require students to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before they return to class.
Once close contacts are identified, public health staff will begin notifying people (contacts) of their potential exposure. This is done as quickly and sensitively as possible. Contact tracers call each contact to review information and provide the most appropriate quarantine guidance based on symptom status, exposure, vaccine status and other factors.
If you have been around someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and you are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or be tested for COVID-19. However, you should monitor yourself for symptoms. For more information on current quarantine guidance, visit the quarantine section of the Public Health webpage. You are also welcome to reach out directly to Contact Tracing with any questions.
What do I do if a student misses class or falls behind on assignments because they have been sick with COVID-19?
Please handle student illness or quarantine due to COVID-19 in the same manner that you would handle any other student absence for medical reasons, which means you should give students make-up work, make-up exams or assignment extensions according to your usual policy for students who are ill. Students should not be penalized for missing class due to illness or quarantine.
If you are teaching an in-person class, you are not required to teach the class remotely or give remote exams to students who are absent due to illness or quarantine, or to share your class notes or slides with these students. However, you may choose to do so if you wish. Many students have found that they fare better in a class if some accommodation is made along these lines. You may also use other practices for helping your students keep up with their work, such as giving a make-up exam when the student returns to class or having other students share class notes with the student who is absent.
What do I do when someone in my classroom is not wearing a mask?
First, politely remind people of the mask requirement or point out nearby signage. If the student does not comply, follow the steps indicated in the required syllabus statement on COVID-19: “Students who fail to adhere to these requirements will be asked to leave class, and students who do not leave class when asked or who refuse to comply with these requirements will be referred to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.”
A student who is not able to wear a mask based on a documented disability must receive approval from the Office of Disability Services. If approval is granted, Disability Services will contact the course instructor to determine if the accommodation will fundamentally alter their course and whether necessary technology support is in place.
Do I and my students have to wear a mask in my classroom? Am I required to remove my mask while I’m teaching if I am more than 6 feet away from my students? Doesn’t removing masks in the classroom violate Boulder County masking requirements?
The baseline practice is that everyone in the classroom should wear a mask, including the instructor. All teaching and conference rooms are considered public spaces, so masking mandates that apply to public spaces must be followed. This includes classes where students work in small groups, where the classroom door is closed, and/or that are held during evening hours.
Vaccinated faculty are allowed to remove their masks in their classroom if they are at least 6 feet away from all other people in the room, but they do not have to remove their masks. Due to CU Boulder implementing a vaccine requirement, we have been able to work closely with Boulder County Public Health to implement modified masking protocols.
Instructors whose classes have particular instructional needs for students to go unmasked should work with their departments on requesting mask exemptions from the Public Health Office. Mask exemptions will be granted based on a clear and compelling need in alignment with public health guidance. Department approval is required.
Where can I find the current edition of the Academic Instruction Guidance?
Current and past editions of Academic Instruction Guidance are posted online. The most recent edition, Volume 2, Edition 1: August 11, 2021, addresses instruction issues related to COVID-19, includes information on instruction protocols and final exam planning, and includes resources available from the Center for Teaching & Learning and the Office of Information Technology. Further editions of guidance will be published as needed to update the colleges, schools and instructional faculty.
What are the current vaccination rates?
Campus is reporting a high vaccination rate. The Health and Wellness team has verified that 95% of students who submitted their information received the vaccine and 96% of employees who completed the requirement have received the vaccine. For the latest vaccine requirement data for students and employees, please visit the COVID-19 dashboard. The dashboard continues to be updated as student and employee submissions of their vaccination information are verified.
Students not in compliance will receive individual communications about fees and a registration hold. Employees will receive follow-up communications from Human Resources.
What is campus doing to keep classrooms safe? Have we made our classrooms unsafe by returning to full classroom capacity?
While vaccination offers the greatest protection against transmission of COVID-19, many mitigation measures at campus facilities are continuing this fall as an added precaution. This includes the mitigation measures employed in all our campus buildings for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) to maximize airflow, filtration and outdoor air. Enhanced cleaning measures are also continuing. With all of these precautions in place, our science team has endorsed returning classrooms to their normal, pre-pandemic capacities. Read more about infrastructure mitigation efforts and view a presentation by our science team on how the campus is approaching its sustainable response to the pandemic.
Where can I find a list of frequently asked questions from faculty and staff?
Additional frequently asked questions are available on the Human Resources website.
I still have a few questions, where can I go to ask them?
Campus Health and Wellness Summit Oct. 12-15
The Health and Wellness Summit is focused on mental health, self-care, connection and belonging, and community wellness––all areas that were deeply impacted by COVID-19. The summit is open to CU faculty, staff and students. Registration is required.