Classroom Protocols, Processes and FAQs for Faculty

 

2022 COVID-19 Faculty FAQs

 

Q: What is the academic and course plan if the COVID-19 rates increase?
A: The University will continue to monitor regional and local COVID-19 data and consult with health officials to guide our plans.

Q: Am I required to get tested for COVID-19?
A: There are currently not testing requirements for faculty, staff and students. Testing is available on-campus though, see more information here.

Q: How will my classes be covered if I (instructor) test positive for COVID-19 and cannot come to campus? 
A: Individuals personally diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to report to the University by filling out the Personal Diagnosis form and are expected to self-isolate. Faculty who test positive should work with their chair to determine the best course of action. This may include temporarily moving the course online or finding a substitute instructor.

Q: What should I do when a student from my class notifies me they tested positive for COVID-19? [updated 1/26/2022]
A: If a student notifies you directly that they have a positive COVID-19 test result or has been in close contact with someone who is confirmed COVID-19 positive, guide them to the information on the Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring webpage.

Please work with students who need to isolate or quarantine due to virus infection or close contact; these students will need accommodations so they can continue to learn remotely as they are able while away from campus. See additional information in the following question/answer.

Q: What processes take place when a student tests COVID-19 positive? [updated 1/26/2022]

A: Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 should complete the appropriate form linked on Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring webpage and follow the quarantine and isolation guidelines on that page.

Instructors may ask students who voluntarily approach them requesting accommodations due to a positive COVID-19 test result for verification. The instructor should not keep the verification record (either view the record and do not obtain a copy or delete email/electronic versions). For quarantining due to close contact (per UTA’s guidelines), there unfortunately is no verification a student may provide. In these cases, instructors should make reasonable accommodations as requested by the student. Note the UTA Health Services will not be providing accommodation letters and return-to-campus letters for all students who need to quarantine/isolate due to COVID-19 infection or close contact. 

UTA Health Services monitors positive cases for evidence of classroom transmission as their workload permits. If any classroom transmission is found, the dean will be contacted to determine appropriate actions to prevent any further spread. UTA Health Services also assesses if additional disinfecting is required in the areas the individual visited while infectious and notifies the Office of Facilities Management of said areas. The Office of Facilities Management completes the disinfecting process the same day or night they receive notification. Because of the actions above, courses do not need to pivot online due to positive cases (unless directed otherwise).

Q: What can I do to prevent the virus from spreading in my classroom? 
A: Faculty may take many measures in the classroom to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some possible measures are:
  • Bring masks to classes and offer them to students (masks cannot be required, but they can be encouraged). To request additional masks, departments may complete the Face Mask Request form.
  • When there’s space in the classroom, leave the first two rows empty and/or have students spread out.
  • Consider using plexiglass to separate yourself from students. Plexiglass can be ordered via this form.
  • Use a classroom seating chart that may assist with contact tracing, if needed.
Q: What if a student tells me they have symptoms of COVID-19? What if I have symptoms?
A: All students, staff and faculty must measure their temperature daily before coming to campus. Prior to coming to campus or while on campus if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms that are new, worsening or occurring in a way that is not normal for any chronic conditions you may have, please remain or return home. Employees should notify their supervisor.
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The UTA mobile app provides a convenient, confidential tool to assist with conducting the daily self-assessment, or you can download the daily self-monitoring checklist for easy access. More information is available on UTA’s Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring page.

Q: How is “close contact” defined? What if a student tells me they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19? [updated 1/26/2022]
A: Close contact is defined as being within six feet of an individual that is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Students, staff and faculty who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 are to follow the different protocols based on vaccination status. Instructors should provide appropriate accommodations for students who are self-quarantining due to close contact. More information is available on UTA’s Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring page.

Q: What is the contract tracing policy and process?  [updated 1/26/2022]
A: When UTA is notified of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within the campus community through the submission of a Personal Diagnosis form, a University team begins contact tracing efforts as their case load permits.  When possible, the contact tracing team determines if the COVID-positive individual has been in contact with others while infected and if those individuals need to be contacted to self-isolate or get tested. More information is available on UTA’s Reporting and Daily Self-Monitoring page.

Q: Is the University tracking COVID-19 cases?
A: An updated list of confirmed cases and accompanying dashboard is available on the Confirmed Cases and COVID-19 Dashboard page.

Q: Why can the university require proof of meningitis vaccination but not COVID-19 vaccination?
A: UTA is a “governmental entity” and is thus prohibited under Gov. Abbott’s Executive Order GA-39 signed July 29, 2021 from requiring vaccination against COVID-19 at this time.

UTA does strongly encourage all faculty, staff and students to get vaccinated and the booster shot if they are able. Vaccinations and booster shots are readily available to students, faculty, staff and the community; more information is available on UTA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Information and Resources page.

Q: Will UTA incentivize COVID-19 vaccination?
A: UTA believes vaccines are our best defense against COVID-19 and is committed to providing easy, free access to the vaccine for its community. All Mavericks are encouraged to get the vaccine if they’re able. The Maverick Motivator Program has been established to encourage students  to Mav Up and Sleeve Up.

Q: May I require a student to wear a mask or face covering when they meet with me in my office?
A: The university cannot require students, staff or faculty to wear a mask or face covering. Faculty members may choose to move the meeting to a different location for health and safety purposes, including online.

Q: May I give students who do not wear a mask in the classroom the option to attend class online?
A: No. Students may not be treated differently based on their decision to wear a mask. Any restrictions or expectations communicated by faculty to students must be consistently applied to all students regardless of their decision to wear a mask.

Q: May I assign unmasked students to sit in one area of the classroom, separate from masked students?
A: No. Students may not be treated differently based on their decision to wear a mask. Any restrictions or expectations communicated by faculty to students must be consistently applied to all students regardless of their decision to wear a mask.

Q: Why are some ISDs allowed to have mask mandates but UTA is not?
A: Independent School Districts (ISDs) fall under a different governance structure than the public universities and public university systems in the state of Texas. The mask and face-covering mandates some ISDs have in place are allowed while their cases are moving through the judicial process. UTA does not have any exceptions from the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting mask mandates.

Q: Can IRB-approved research require students, researchers, research teams and others to wear masks?
A: In the context of specific human subjects research protocols, the Institutional Review Board may require masks—similar to any other safety measures or procedures that the IRB could require for the protection of human subjects.

Individuals who did not want to wear masks are able to withdraw from participating in the research study; UTA personnel conducting the study may also have an accommodation to be assigned other duties if they withdraw. Unlike a classroom situation, research participation as a subject is voluntary, and withdrawing from the study will usually incur no cost or harm. Participation as an employee is also voluntary and without cost if there is an alternative work assignment.

Q: Where can I find information on resources for teaching remotely?
A: 
Resources to support remote teaching have been collected and posted in the Division of Faculty Affairs’ List of Resources for Teaching Remotely.

Q: Do I need to utilize assigned seating or a seating chart for my classes?
A: Faculty have the option to assign on-campus classroom seating or maintain seating charts; this is not a requirement.

Q: May I require social/physical distancing in the classroom?
A: If classrooms spaces allow, faculty may ask students to maintain social distancing while in the classroom. This can include requesting that students do not sit in the front row(s) and maintain distance when asking questions before or after class.

Q: I wear a mask when I teach in the classroom. Is there a way to amplify my voice so students sitting in the back can hear me?
A: Depending on the classroom size, existing technology, and instructor’s ability to project their voice, an additional microphone and speaker may be helpful to allow students in the on-campus classroom to hear the instructor. If you need access to a classroom microphone and speaker, contact your department to ask about availability.

Q: Is personal protective equipment available from UTA?
A: The University will provide disinfecting wipes in all the classrooms. Face masks are available to individuals, departments and groups; more information and the form to request masks is available on UTA’s Face Covering Guidance page. Departments can also request plexiglass screens for transactional areas by submitting an online request form or calling 817-272-2000.

Q: What technology is available for teaching in the classroom and online? Will I be able to livestream or record my lecture?
A: All classrooms will have Microsoft Teams and Echo 360 (either the full version or the desktop Universal Capture version) installed on the classroom computer.

Most classroom computers are also equipped with webcams and microphones for video and audio capture. If you are using Microsoft Teams for lecture capture, you may choose to bring a Bluetooth headset for better audio quality and to hear real-time online student interaction if you are livestreaming. If you do not have access to a headset, contact your department to ask about availability. If the classroom computer does not have a webcam installed, contact your department to ask about availability.

Not all classrooms are equipped to capture information and images shared via a classroom’s white board, smart board, or document projector. Faculty are encouraged to use alternate ways to share the same information with students participating remotely (e.g. upload slides or accessible PDFs, use Wacom tablet).

Depending on the classroom size, existing technology, and instructor’s ability to project their voice, an additional microphone and speaker may be helpful to allow students in the on-campus classroom to hear the instructor. If you need access to a classroom microphone and speaker, contact your department to ask about availability.

Q: How should faculty submit requests for accommodations?
A: UTA’s Office of Human Resources oversees ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) and ADAAA (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008) accommodations requests. More information and instructions on how to apply for an ADA and ADAAA accommodation are available on the Office of Human Resources ADA/ADAAA

Q: If a faculty member is approved by Human Resources for accommodation that includes a fully remote work situation, will the modality of the classes they are teaching need to change?
A: If an accommodation is approved that includes moving an existing course to online modality, the assigned course modality will need to be updated. In this case, faculty should work with department chairs to submit course modality change requests to the Registrar’s Office for HR-approved accommodations. Other arrangements may be possible to meet the accommodation.

Q: Can I change the modality of my class to be online? Or can I offer a fully online section of the class?
A: Academic programs need to maintain compliance with THECB and SACSCOC guidelines that limit the number of courses offered online unless the program is approved for blended/hybrid or online delivery. Modality changes may also affect student billing and/or financial aid. Offering a fully online section of a class in addition to the on-campus section may be an option in a limited number of cases.

Q: If a student asks if they can take my on-campus course fully online, am I expected to do so?  [updated 1/26/2022]
A: Faculty should teach their class in the modality assigned in MyMav and offer flexibility as they are able. Faculty should accommodate students with needs, including those required to quarantine or isolation due to virus infection or close contact and those with accommodation letters issued by UTA Health Services or the Student Access and Resource Center. Given ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and the University’s requirement that anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 not come to campus, flexibility is critical.

Continue to monitor UTA's official COVID-19 webpage for important campus updates.