The following FAQs and guidance is available for faculty and instructors to help answer questions about COVID and academic or classroom impacts.
These FAQs were prepared by CSU’s Teaching Continuity and Recovery Team on behalf of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.
FAQs for general public health questions
Public health requirements
Masks are not required on university grounds or in vehicles used for university-related travel. Exceptions are made for medical facilities and some laboratory settings where masks are required PPE due to research activities not related to COVID.
Individuals, departments, units, offices, etc., cannot institute their own mask requirements, but individuals may choose to wear a mask. N95 masks offer some protection to the wearer and are available for departmental purchase at the PPE store.
Academics and workspace public health
How will I know if students in my classes, labs or studios are vaccinated?
Faculty are not permitted to ask students about their vaccine status. Vaccine information is an individual’s private medical information.
The University is asking students, faculty and staff to either provide documentation of their vaccine status or declare an exemption and screen. This information will be kept private and shared only with very few individuals on only a need-to-know basis, generally only related to contact tracing if there is an exposure.
Faculty Remote Teaching and Teleworking Requests
Temporary vs. Semester-Long
Some instructors might request either temporary (a few days) or semester-long teleworking or remote teaching assignments for various reasons including:
- medical need
- temporary illness or exposure
Please keep in mind faculty and staff do not have to disclose to their supervisors or show proof that they tested COVID positive. Instructors simply may inform their supervisors of a need to miss work or class for a few days due to personal or health reasons.
What if an instructor requests a temporary remote teaching option because they have tested positive for COVID-19 (but feel their symptoms are mild enough they can continue to work remotely) or are caring for a child or other family member who is in isolation at home?
- Some faculty who are positive but present with mild or no symptoms might ask to record lectures or temporarily move their class to remote instruction.
- Shifts in teaching modality should first be discussed and coordinated with the department chair or head, including strategies for multiple communications with students (e.g., CSU email, Canvas, etc.) in advance of announcing to students.
- We recommend instructors take their class lists (via ARIESweb or ARIESwebLite) and email their students the plan (including details of how to access any synchronous remote lectures or engagements) in case the class temporarily shifts teaching modality.
What if the instructor does not feel well enough to teach remotely and needs other options for having their classes covered temporarily as they recover?
- Department chairs and heads will assist instructors who are too ill to teach in-person or remotely in finding solutions such as a temporary substitute, out-of-class assignments or additional options to minimize disruption of instruction, or other backup strategies.
- It is important to have flexibility and fairness in providing support and options for COVID-impacted faculty in their efforts to isolate and get well or comply with isolation requirements for themselves or family members for whom they provide direct care.
- Faculty should remind students to check communications regularly in case there is a sudden need to shift teaching modality so they do not show up to an empty classroom. They should inform students of how they will communicate (e.g., CSU email, Canvas, other).
- We recommend instructors take their class list” (via ARIESweb or ARIESwebLite) and email their students the plan (including details of how to access any synchronous remote lectures or engagements) in case the class temporarily shifts teaching modality.
What are the options for instructors who request teleworking or a remote teaching assignment for the entire semester based on a medical need (e.g., immunocompromised)?
- If an employee has a qualifying medical exception (their own – not related to a family member), they should apply for an accommodation through Office of Equal Opportunity process under Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Public Health Emergency Leave is a possibility for a COVID-related need for an employee or an immediate family member, if the employee qualifies for this leave. This leave is provided under a governmental executive order declaring the pandemic; it will not be available indefinitely and it will run out. However, it can be used as intermittent leave or a block of leave to address COVID-related needs. This one-time allotment of leave allows up to 80 hours and is prorated. (Note: check with CSU Human Resources for the latest availability of this option; this leave may expire by dates set by state executive order.)
- The Family and Medical Leave Act may be an option for those who qualify (e.g., an employee’s own health or a family member’s). This federal leave also has a limit for a year, up to 12 weeks, and is not paid. An employee’s accrued sick or annual leave may be applied, however.
How has CSU typically approached faculty requests for teleworking or remote teaching assignment for the entire semester based on personal reasons not covered by illness or medical accommodations?
CSU offers a world-class residential experience through in-person instruction in classrooms, labs and studios. Options to teach remotely for faculty during a full semester are very limited and tied to institutional mission, the needs of students and programs. Any instructor who is approved for resident instruction remote teaching in a semester should keep in mind that such an approval is for the current semester only and not a guarantee for future semester assignments.
- Department chairs or heads have prioritized assignments and requests based on availability of remote sections, program type, and student need.
- Chairs or heads should consult with their deans to ensure an equitable process for consideration of applications is in place, and that all faculty requests are responded to with an email or letter to explain why the request was granted or not granted.
Student Remote Learning Requests, Course Absenteeism
Students do not have to disclose to their instructors or show proof that they tested COVID positive.
Students simply may inform their instructors of a need to miss class for a few days due to personal or health reasons.
Faculty will need to rely upon the honor system and communicate that to students and encourage them to stay home if they test positive or are caring for a child or family member with COVID.
What if a student requests a temporary remote learning option for a fully in-person class because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic?
- Faculty are not expected to extend teaching of their class to multiple modalities in a course, but please extend flexibility and compassion in supporting students’ learning when feasible.
- Some faculty will find it easy to record their lectures for students or invite them to join the class remotely, and we encourage you to extend such flexibility, if possible.
- Please make allowances for students to turn in assignments late, make up missed work and exams to support their efforts to isolate, recover from illness.
What if a student requests remote learning for an in-person course for either a disability or personal preference?
- If a student has a documented disability (as federally recognized and mandated) and wants to inquire about online accommodations, please refer the student to the guidance offered at the Student Disability Center website.
- If a student expresses a general preference for virtual or remote coursework, please instruct them to consult with their academic advisor or departmental representative who might be able to assist them with alternatives. Options might include an online version of the course or an alternate online course offered through CSU, if these options exist within their major.
- We continue to encourage faculty compassion and flexibility with students who are working with Student Disability Center.
- Faculty are not required to accommodate individual student requests outside of a documented disability managed through the Student Disability Center, but we encourage great compassion and flexibility to support students who face adversity. For example, especially during the first few weeks of the semester, some students might have loved ones at home for whom they are caring who are in isolation.
Suggested syllabus language to guide students on COVID reporting
All students are directed to report any COVID-19 symptoms to the university immediately, as well as exposures or positive test results from a medical provider or home test.
- If you suspect you have symptoms, or if you know you have been exposed to a positive person or have tested positive for COVID (even with a home test), you are directed to fill out the COVID Reporter.
- If you know or believe you have been exposed, including living with someone known to be COVID positive, or are symptomatic, it is important for the health of yourself and others that you complete the online COVID Reporter. Do not ask your instructor to report for you.
- If you do not have internet access to fill out the online COVID-19 Reporter, please call (970) 491-4600.
- You may also report concerns in your academic or living spaces regarding COVID exposures through the COVID Reporter. You will not be penalized in any way for reporting.
- When you complete the COVID Reporter for any reason, the CSU Public Health Office is notified. Students who report symptoms or a positive antigen test through the COVID Reporter may be directed to get a PCR test through the CSU Health Network’s medical services for students.
For the latest information about the university’s COVID resources and information, please visit the CSU COVID-19 site.
Additional Faculty Resources
- Faculty and staff mental health resources
- Resources for all teaching modes (includes tips for working with students in isolation)
- Resources and policies you may wish to share with your students
- COVID-19 Reporter
Teaching and Professional Development
- Colorado Department of Higher Education Equity Toolkit
- The Teaching Effectiveness Framework, which includes extensive resources for Developing and Evaluating Teaching
- Resources for Promoting Academic Integrity in your courses
- A new Teaching Effectiveness Initiative designed to recognize instructors who invest in growing teaching effectiveness
- Professional development offerings, including our Best Practices in Teaching courses