Provost Pedersen: Preparing for Fall – Health & Safety in the Classroom

Estimated reading time: 4 min

From: Provost Office
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2020
To: All instructors
Subject: Preparing for Fall – Health & Safety in the Classroom

Dear Colleagues:

These past two weeks I have had the great pleasure of getting to know Provost Rick Miranda and your deans as I have been preparing to join you at Colorado State University as your next Provost and Executive Vice President. As Rick noted in his Keep Teaching message to you yesterday, he and I are in the final couple days of our “baton hand-off.” I wanted to take my cue from Rick and thank you for all you are doing to support world class learning experiences for students through your teaching, scholarship, research, and service to the university and the public. I consider it an honor to have this opportunity to work alongside you, witness and extol your achievements, uphold our institutional values and Principles of Community, and ensure all members of our Ram community feel welcomed.

I will be sending you another email in the coming days with more details on how I will engage with you, provide you with opportunities to give your feedback so that I can hear your perspectives and understand your concerns, and offer you some insight into my priorities in our first academic semester together. Certainly, navigating the return to campus amid a pandemic is top of mind for all of us.

As part of that navigation, this is the first in a “Preparing for Fall” series of communications I will be sharing with you over the next three weeks as we near the start of classes. I will continue to share messages with you regularly throughout the semester on various topics, and we will continue to talk a lot about adapting to the rules of a new normal for teaching, learning, and living in an evolving COVID world.  I want to begin this series with an overview of what you can expect for health and safety protocols in classrooms to reduce the risk of exposure.

Classroom Hygiene and Social Norming

  • Please also see “What’s Being Done Now?” below.
  • Facilities Management will be cleaning classrooms, buildings and equipment daily.
  • Faculty, GTAs and students need to assist in keeping high-touch spaces they use sanitized with wipes provided by the university in or near classrooms.
  • Please request your students disinfect their desk or any frequently-touched surfaces by using wipes provided in or near classrooms, and you should do the same with high-touch surfaces you use.
  • Please request your students use the hand sanitizer provided in or near classrooms.
  • Please remind your students to follow social distancing by remaining six feet apart from others.
  • Students will be required to complete an online daily symptom checker before reporting to class. A student-specific symptom checker will be attached to RamWeb and will be launched in a few days. (More information in a later email on what to do if you learn of a possible COVID-19 exposure in your classroom.)
  • You also are required to complete an online daily symptom checker before reporting to campus or class using this link for employees: (This is for student employees as well.)

Face Coverings:

  • All students, faculty and GTAs are required to wear face coverings in the classroom. Cloth coverings are acceptable in most cases. The covering must be worn over the nose and mouth.
  • In some laboratory settings, students may work in closer contact during certain activities while following enhanced public health measures to include adding face shields, gloves, and disinfection protocols. (We will be sending more on this to your college leadership to share with you in the coming days.)
  • How do you respond to students who enter your classroom without a face covering? Our Public Health Precaution Adherence Working Group is compiling guidelines and scripts for you to use in responding to a student who enters a classroom without a face covering or who refuses to wear a face covering. The guidelines and scripts will account for easy interactions/compliance and more challenging situations where there is refusal or resistance to comply. (We will share that information in a few days.)
  • Faculty and GTAs may use a face shield instead of a face covering in the traditional classroom in some circumstances, but only when able to maintain a minimum of 12-foot distancing at all times.

What’s Being Done Now?

The Pandemic Planning Team has been actively preparing for fall semester with a priority of protecting the health and well-being of the CSU community. They are working to create an environment that incorporates current public health guidance to mitigate risk during this time. For example, new COVID-19 health protocols currently are being piloted in three hybrid summer classes. This SOURCE story talks about the pilot testing and has an excellent video produced by Journalism and Media Communication chair Greg Luft on the new health protocols: I would encourage you to watch this video and even consider playing it for your students on the first day of in-person teaching.

Additional precautions by the university:

  • Desks in classrooms will be spaced six feet apart.
  • Door signage will be placed in classrooms to designate separate entrances and exits (for classrooms with more than one door).
  • Signs will be placed in classrooms regarding public health expectations and disinfecting protocols.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes will be placed in or near classrooms for you and your students.

As we move forward together, please send me topics you would like to see addressed in these “Preparing for Fall” emails. My goal is to keep you informed with regular communications without overwhelming you as you prepare for your classes. 

Please know that I look forward to getting to know as many of you as I can over this semester, and I am so very proud to now call myself a CSU Ram.

Best to you,



Mary Pedersen
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President