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Academic Continuity (Faculty Guidance)
What Will the Spring 2022 Semester Look Like?
We will continue to update this FAQ and encourage you to submit questions to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management.
1. What immediate changes are taking effect for spring 2022 that impact academic activities?
Effective March 7, 2022, masks are optional in all UAA facilities at all UAA campuses. This means that anyone may continue to wear a mask, but no one is required to do so, even if meeting with a UAA student or employee in an office setting.
2. As a faculty member, I want to require masks in my classroom or lab. May I do so?
No, so long as Chancellor Parnell’s decision to remain mask-optional is in place, faculty may not require students or others to wear masks. However, if a faculty member believes that circumstances unique to a particular course might require masking, they should work through their dean or campus director to seek an exception.
- 3. Are students and faculty still expected to maintain social distancing in classes
Where reasonably possible, yes.
- 4. Do I still need to report to Environmental Health and Safety (EHRS) if I or one
of my students is exposed to or tests positive for COVID?
No. EHRS will not require reporting after March 7. Cases are no longer an institutional metric but individuals will still need to follow CDC guidance on Quarantine & Isolation in the event of exposure or testing positive. If you have a student who tells you they’ve been exposed to or tested positive for COVID and need to self-quarantine, please work with the student on a plan to meet course learning outcomes remotely if the course is a face-to-face course. Refer to the guidance document developed by EHRS for additional institutional information.
5. Do I still need to provide flexibility for students who are exposed to COVID or
test positive for COVID and have to isolate or quarantine?
Yes. Students may not be academically penalized for COVID-19 related circumstances, including the need to isolate or quarantine. Students in isolation or quarantine should work directly with their instructor(s) to complete any missed assignments. If you have a student who tells you they’ve been exposed or tested positive and need to self-quarantine, please work with the student on a plan to meet course learning outcomes remotely if the course is a face-to-face course.
6. My class is taught in-person. Now that masks are optional, what do I do if a student
refuses to attend because everyone is no longer masked?
Faculty should follow their regular policies around attendance, but may wish to provide exceptions or make allowances for students with such concerns. Faculty should never ask students to provide them with evidence or documentation of health issues, however, as this poses potential HIPAA concerns. If students raise health concerns they should seek accommodation through the Office of Disability Support Services.
7. My class is taught in-person. What do I do if a student appears to be displaying
symptoms of illness? What if another student shares that a classmate appears to be
displaying symptoms of illness?
Students who appear to be ill should be reminded that current campus policy is to stay home when ill, and, if possible, to test for COVID and follow the guidance above if they test positive.
8. My class is taught in-person. I feel more comfortable continuing to wear my mask:
what should I do if students complain?
Students should be reminded that the new policy allows everyone to choose whether or not to mask. If you are concerned that the mask will reduce clarity, work with your dean or campus director’s office to use a classroom with voicelift technology or acquire a microphone for amplification that is suited to the technology available in your classroom.
9. My class is scheduled to be taught in-person, but I’m not comfortable doing so
now that masking is optional. What options do I have for shifting to remote instruction?
You should not permanently shift the mode of instruction unless granted approval to do so by your dean or campus director. Some reasons for this include the need for students in certain circumstances (such as VA-funded students) to be attending an in-person class, the negative impact that remote instruction has on some students’ ability to learn, and potential confusion should an emergency arise where the university believes a class is still meeting in-person.
If you have a medical condition that you believe warrants accommodation, please immediately reach out to UA HR’s ADA Accessibilty Team. You may temporarily shift to remote instruction while you await guidance from HR. Please immediately notify your dean or campus director’s office if you are availing yourself of this option.