Guidance for Faculty during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The information on this page is intended as a resource for faculty/instructors during changes in campus operating status due to the COVID-19 crisis. It reflects current planning on our campus based on state and local restrictions, as well as public health and academic best practices. The situation is expected to remain fluid for some time, and new information will be added as it becomes available.
Please contact Executive Director Shasta Delp (email@example.com) with questions or suggestions for information to add.
As of Friday, May 27, the campus indoor masking requirement has been reinstated through June 12, 2022. For more information, please refer to Chancellor Yang's recent announcement.
The default mode of instruction for all courses in Spring Quarter is in person, regardless of class size. This excludes existing courses with Senate approval to be offered fully online (i.e., those with a “W” designation). However, we are aware that continued flexibility may be needed by instructors who are at increased risk if they contract COVID-19, including those with serious ongoing medical conditions, or those who cohabitate with someone who is seriously immunocompromised. Please note that requests by such instructors (including faculty, lecturers, and graduate students), accompanied by the required documentation and/or attestation, can be submitted and assessed at any time. More information on these specific situations is outlined below under Medical Accommodations and Workplace Adjustments.
Individual concerns about minimizing exposure that lack a medical justification (either personally documented for the instructor, as described in the previous paragraph, or based on a campus-wide public health directive) are not a reason to change the mode of instruction.
Current Senate policy requires that online instruction can be offered in an in-person course for up to 50% of the scheduled instruction time) when justified for pedagogical reasons, without need for further Senate approval. This policy is continuing in Spring Quarter. The Senate requires documentation of the practice, namely:
- the instructor of record must have informed the department chair of (1) the amount of online instruction (e.g., one 50-min lecture per week), as well as (2) the pedagogical value of delivering the instruction online, and
- the course must have been disclosed to students as a hybrid course, no later than February 25 (e.g., MW lectures 1-2 pm in Phelps 1203, F discussion section 1-2 pm online).
The instructor of record (faculty member or teaching associate) is responsible for ensuring that online instruction for all course components (lectures, labs, discussion sections, etc.) does not exceed 50 % overall from the perspective of the enrolled student. The Senate asks departments to monitor the amount of online instruction in their programs. If a program offers more than 50% of its courses remotely, it is required by our accreditor to obtain approval.
Medical accommodations. Instructors who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of an underlying medical condition/disability may request reasonable accommodations via the campus Workplace Accommodations Specialist in Human Resources. The Workplace Accommodations team can provide guidance and assistance to identify reasonable accommodations that could reduce COVID-19 related risks. Depending on the circumstances, some examples of workplace accommodations may include: providing additional personal protective equipment (PPE); enhancing physical distancing or modifying the work location; modifying work schedules; modifying non-essential job functions; remote work; or a leave of absence. Instructors who previously received a medical accommodation in winter quarter and who wish to extend it into spring quarter should contact the Workplace Accommodations office for instructions.
Workplace Adjustments are designed to allow for temporary remote teaching for instructors (including teaching associates and teaching assistants) who live with a family member or household member who is moderately to severely immunocompromised, as defined by the CDC’s current recommendations for an additional vaccine shot. At this time, the adjustment will be valid for Spring Quarter 2022 only. The workplace adjustment is offered at the discretion of the Academic Senate, and is different and distinct from workplace accommodations for the instructors themselves, listed above. The Senate delegates to the academic deans of the various Schools, Colleges, and Divisions the authority to grant a workplace adjustment involving remote teaching if the instructor provides the required attestation of cohabitation and physician’s certification.
A completed Workload Adjustment Request Form must be submitted to the Dean of the College, School, or Division. Specific instructions regarding the request process are detailed on p. 4 of the form. Those instructors who previously filed a Workload Adjustment Form for the fall quarter must submit a Workload Adjustment Extension Form to the Dean, which includes a brief attestation of continued cohabitation and immunodeficiency.
Accommodations are approved by quarter, so if you have not been approved to teach remotely for Spring Quarter, please submit a request via HR/Service Now.
Instructors who previously qualified in winter quarter for a remote teaching workplace adjustment by attestation to their Dean due to a serious, on-going medical condition involving a household member will need to submit a “Workload Adjustment Extension Form” to their College, School, or Division. Please see the section above on Medical Accommodations.
Instructors whose medical condition has changed since fall/winter quarter, or for whom the medical condition of a household member has changed, may apply for a new remote teaching workplace accommodation (through Human Resources) or workload adjustment (through the Dean) at any time.
In the early stages of the pandemic, age was a significant risk factor for COVID. In the wake of the current Omicron phase, all adults who are fully vaccinated and boosted, with no medical conditions that would qualify for a medical accommodation or workplace adjustment as described above, are at significantly reduced risk. For those over age 65, the absolute risk of serious illness (i.e., hospitalization) is half that of Delta, the variant that was present when everyone was teaching in person in the fall. There were no outbreaks of cases on campus during the winter quarter. The relative risk for those over 65, compared to those under 65, has also decreased with Omicron. Therefore, instructors over 65 who taught in-person in fall quarter are not considered to be more at risk in spring quarter.
Our campus medical experts affirm that, in absolute terms, serious illness from COVID in children remains very uncommon. Furthermore, for children under age 5, first time SARS-CoV-2 infections associated with the Omicron variant are associated with significantly fewer severe outcomes (half to one-third) compared to similar age children infected with the Delta variant that was prevalent in the Fall. Therefore, instructors with children under 5 who taught in-person in fall quarter are not considered to be more at risk in spring quarter.
The authorization for remote teaching by instructors with children under the age of 5 was valid for Winter Quarter only, due to widespread childcare center closures and long quarantine requirements for exposed children. Since February, the campus Childcare Center has been operating normally, and the guidelines for quarantine in these settings have eased. Therefore the remote teaching authorization is not being extended to spring quarter.
The policies regarding remote teaching workplace accommodations and workplace adjustments described in this section are equally applicable and available to teaching associates and teaching assistants.
Instructors who are required to quarantine or isolate themselves due to COVID-19 exposure or infection may teach remotely on a temporary basis if they are well enough to do so. Such instructors should promptly inform their department chair and their students of the temporary change in the mode of instruction.
Instructors with caregiving responsibilities for young children who are required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 exposure or infection, or who are needed at home due to closure of a school or daycare facility, may teach remotely on a temporary basis. Such instructors should promptly inform their department chair and their students of the temporary change in the mode of instruction.
The policies regarding temporary remote teaching described in this section are equally applicable and available to all instructors, including teaching associates and teaching assistants.
Note: “Hybrid” refers to instruction that is offered in person for some course components, and remotely for other course components. “Dual mode” refers to instruction that is offered in person and remotely for each course component.
The deadline to notify students about hybrid course modality in the Schedule of Classes was February 25, 2022. No further spring quarter courses will be approved as hybrid offerings.
This refers to an in-person course taught with a fully remote alternative—for example, by live-streaming or classroom recording—and it is not allowed in Spring Quarter. We realize that during the Winter 2022 Quarter, many instructors attempted to offer dual-mode instruction temporarily to provide greater flexibility for students dealing with the logistics of the Omicron surge. However, dual-mode instruction could result in some students receiving fully online instruction, for which our programs are not accredited. In addition, given the current technological capabilities of most classrooms, offering both in-person and remote instruction in the same class on a regular basis might result in an unduly burdensome workload for many instructors. Therefore, now that emergency conditions no longer apply, students cannot expect instructors to provide dual-mode instruction. Instructors may, at their discretion, record their lectures and make them available for subsequent review by students as study aids. These classroom recordings must supplement rather than replace in-person instruction.
Instructors should provide reasonable alternatives to students who miss class for a brief temporary period for a documented medical reason, including a positive COVID test or required isolation or quarantine. The form of these alternatives is entirely the instructor’s prerogative, and may or may not include the recording of lectures or class content. Instructors should state their policy clearly at the beginning of the course.
Students with documented medical situations, such as serious immuno-compromised conditions that preclude their participation in classroom instruction, may be approved for a remote learning accommodation. These accommodations are approved and administered by the Disabled Students Program (DSP), in consultation with instructors. DSP is required to discuss with the instructor how to provide reasonable access to the student without materially altering the nature of the class or unduly burdening the instructor’s workload. If the DSP office facilitates an accommodation by sending an Access Ambassador to the classroom to live stream the lecture, the lecture is not recorded; nor is it made available to other students in the class.
Faculty and students can access a comprehensive list of services for students via the Student Wellbeing site. The site includes information on basic needs, health and wellness, emotional support, and other vital resources.
Office of the President Coronavirus Information
Office of the Chancellor
Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor
UCSB COVID-19 Response Information
Keep Teaching UCSB