Communications to Faculty

Reducing COVID-19 Risk in the Classroom

Dear Colleagues:

As we move into fall semester, please know that a number of measures have been developed and refined to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your classroom. I’m providing an overview of these measures below but a more complete description, as well as updates, are provided on the USU COVID 19 Classroom Protocols site.

  • Directly ask students to wear masks and wear a mask to lead by example. Explain that mask wearing will help maintain in-person classes, activities and events through the semester. Note, you cannot mandate masks or punish those who refuse to mask. Best practice is to wear a mask yourself when you are less than 6 feet from the nearest class members. If you must be in closer contact with students such as in laboratories, studios or on field trips, consider using a KN95 mask, which can be obtained from various online vendors. You can also ask your department head about availability.
  • Encourage students to get vaccinated and to upload their proof of vaccination at aggiehealth.usu.edu.  Explain that vaccination will help the student avoid being quarantined if they are exposed to COVID-19, whereas uploading their proof of vaccination will speed up the contract tracing process if they are exposed. USU will hold weekly vaccine clinics throughout September.
  • Ask students to maintain a 6-foot distance from you in the classroom, office, laboratory, etc.
  • Tell students to stay home if they are sick or suffering even mild symptoms of illness and to get a free COVID-19 test
  • Use the COVID-CARE Dashboard in your course Canvas site to help you track students who are out due to COVID-19. A student’s name on the Dashboard means that the CARES team is working with them while they are in quarantine or isolation and they have not been cleared to be in the classroom. Please accommodate these students – options include lecture capture or other online instruction.  If you need on-site help setting up lecture capture (class recordings), please contact the IT Help Desk 435-797-HELP. 
  • Please accommodate students who stay home with any symptoms of an illness to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but encourage them to get tested for COVID-19 right away. For COVID accommodations beyond a few days, have the student fill out the COVID Questionnaire so they can get help from the CARES team and appear on the COVID-CARE Dashboard.

New Classroom Protocols

Our fervent hope is that we have minimal disruption of in-person classes this semester as we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic. USU has a new Green-Red-Orange Status protocol that will help us to contain cases quickly and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within classrooms. This protocol applies to all courses with a face-to-face component (traditional, blended face-to-face, IVC, and hybrid face-to-face).

The Green-Red-Orange Status depends upon the use of a new seating assignment tool in Canvas. It will be critical for USU Case Containment to know where students are sitting in a classroom in order to manage the contact-tracing process and contain exposures and infections. However, you do not need to take attendance or make your own seating charts. Instead, ask your students to use the seating chart tool beginning the second week in class, when the new link appears in the left-hand navigation window of your course Canvas page.

Please learn more about the new Green-Red-Orange Status and the Seating Chart protocols so you and your students know what to expect this semester:

Feel free to reach out to me, Robert Wagner (robert.wagner@usu.edu), or the CIDI team for clarifications or questions.  Thanks for all you do, let’s have a great semester, and Go Aggies!

Dr. Francis D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Reducing Risk in the Classroom

Dear Department Heads:

As we prepare for the fall semester, please be aware of a number of measures to help reduce risk in your classroom.

  • Directly ask students to wear masks and lead by example. Explain that this will help maintain in-person sessions through the semester. Note, you cannot mandate masks or punish those who refuse to mask. Best practice is to wear a mask yourself when you are less than 6 feet from the nearest class members.  If you must be in closer contact with students such as in laboratories or studios, consider using a KN95 mask.
  • Encourage students to get vaccinated and to be sure they have registered their vaccination documents in aggiehealth.usu.edu. This will help them avoid having to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19.

  • Ask students to maintain a 6-foot distance from you in the classroom, office, laboratory, etc.

  • Tell students to stay home if they are sick or suffering even mild symptoms of illness and to get a free COVID-19 test.

  • Upload your COVID-19 vaccination record at aggiehealth.usu.edu. This will speed up the contact tracing process that will be implemented if there are positive cases that may have been in contact with you.

  • Use the COVID-CARE Dashboard in Canvas to help you track students who are out due to COVID-19. A student’s name on the Dashboard means that the CARES team is working with them while they are in quarantine/isolation. Please accommodate these students – options include lecture capture (https://www.usu.edu/teach/help-topics/media/) or other online instruction (https://www.usu.edu/teach/).

  • Avoid providing COVID accommodations to a student who is not on the Dashboard and instead, tell the student to complete the COVID Questionnaire which will result in the CARES team working with the student.

  • It will be critical for the Case Containment Team to know where students are sitting in proximity to other students in order to manage the contact tracing process when a positive case occurs.  Knowing the contact among students in a classroom will help us avoid a Multiple Active Case (MAC) “Red” scenario that will require you to move completely to remote teaching (via Zoom).  A brand-new tool for seat assignments is being developed by USU and will replace the Canvas “Seating Chart” tool sent to faculty a week ago, Friday, August 13. In order to create a seat assignment report, the following steps should be followed:

    • You must first “publish” your Canvas courses, so the new seating tool is available for students (https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-publish-a-course/ta-p/1185
    • AIS will apply stickers with letters (rows) and numbers (seats) on each student seat in Centrally Scheduled classrooms before the first day of the semester. Departments and Statewide Campuses who schedule their own teaching spaces with more than 10 students (labs, studios, conference rooms, classrooms, specialized spaces) should contact  john.mortensen@usu.edu for assistance in labeling seats. If you are teaching in a “special” space with less than 10 students but would like to have a seating chart so as to avoid a move to remote delivery, please contact john.mortensen@usu.edu.
  • Following the first week of the semester (after the unrestricted add/drop period), you should ask your students to open Canvas in class (Canvas app) and identify their preferred seat in the class using the new USU tool (forthcoming).  You can explain to your students that the seating chart will help you keep your class “in-person” throughout the semester.
    • You should­ emphasize to students that after they enter the letter/number into the course Canvas page, they must sit in that same seat for the remainder of the semesterAlso, once a seat is selected, a student cannot change. Effective contact tracing of a positive case in a classroom DEPENDS on knowing where students are located and who they are in close proximity to. 
    • It is likely that students will join the class or are absent after seat selections are made. Therefore, you should remind students of the seating chart assignment during the next 2-3 sessions. Suggestion: extra credit points could be given to students for completing this assignment.
    • The Case Containment Team will be given access to the seat assignments from Canvas administrators if a positive case in a class occurs.

Our fervent hope is that we have minimal disruption of in-person classes this semester as we address people who have COVID. The following “status” procedures will be used for all courses with a face-to-face component (Traditional, Blended Face-to-Face, IVC, and Hybrid Face-to-Face):

Status – Green (Normal)

  • When a class is in “Green” status, the instructor and students attend the face-to-face class as scheduled.
  • It is likely that there are students in the course who are unable to attend in-person because of an exposure or positive situation. These students are identified on the COVID-CARE Dashboard for the time they need to be absent. The instructor should accommodate those students by providing them remote delivery (asynchronously - lecture capture or online course material). Case containment mitigation efforts are ongoing with those students, but with limited impact to the class.
  • Faculty and students may be asked to submit COVID Questionnaire at any time because of an exposure that has occurred.
  • Accurate seating charts will greatly enhance contact tracing and therefore, increase the chances of face-to-face classes remaining in Green status.

Status – Red (Remote Delivery Only)

  • A class will be moved to “Red” status because of in-class COVID-19 exposure that cannot be “contained” (i.e. accurate contact tracing is limited). The decision to move the class to “Red” is made by the USU Case Containment Team; the Dean, Department Head, Instructor, and students are notified by the Director of Emergency Management and an alert in Canvas. The class will be required to be temporarily remote (via Zoom) until further notice.
  • What is the trigger to move to “Red”?
    • If Case Containment is unable to contain exposure inside of a classroom in two or more cases, the exposure circle is not complete, so the classroom will move to Red. The number of cases inside of a class is not the focus, rather it is the containment of spread and whether it is determinable or not.
  • Instructor and students must complete the COVID Questionnaire.
  • Unless sick, the instructor conducts class temporarily via Zoom during the same day/time as originally scheduled.
  • The class remains in “Red” until the instructor is cleared (i.e. notified) by USU Containment Case to teach face-to-face.

Status – Orange (Recovery in Process)

  • A class moves to “Orange” status once the instructor is cleared to return to face-to-face teaching by USU Case Containment.
  • Individual students return to the classroom once they are cleared by USU Case Containment.
  • The instructor accommodates students not attending in-person with asynchronous teaching (lecture capture, online course material).
  • USU Case Containment will return the class to “Green” status when the current risk to the class has been addressed and normal operations can resume (as described above).

Faculty will receive this information, with additional details and resources, next week in preparation for the start of fall semester. Feel free to reach out to me, Robert Wagner (robert.wagner@usu.edu), or the CIDI team for clarifications or questions.  Thanks for all you do and Go Aggies!

Dr. Francis D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Fall 2021 Update

Dear Colleagues:

I hope you are having a great summer and that you can reconnect with friends and colleagues during retreat week, held August 16 to 23.

Thanks to all of you who attended the Provost Office’s debriefing sessions focusing on teaching, research and graduate education. These sessions reaffirmed that our faculty members are quite resilient, but also concerned for their colleagues and students.  Additionally, the need to reconnect with each other was clearly expressed, with special attention paid to welcoming the 2020 and 2021 cohorts of new faculty members.  

Students are very eager to experience face-to-face instruction this fall.  In response to that, the state has mandated that a significant percentage of classes at Utah institutions of higher education have an in-person component.  Please know that USU has had several teams working through the summer to implement this state requirement.

Also, recently passed state laws prevent USU from mandating masks (HB1007) or vaccination (HB0308). With those restrictions in mind, we strongly encourage everyone to take measures to mitigate risk as recommended by federal and state public health officials. The recommendations include getting fully vaccinated, wearing face coverings when in a crowd, staying home and avoiding face-to-face encounters when ill, and maintaining good hygiene measures such as frequent hand washing. Those of you who teach in close spatial contact, such as in laboratories or studios, may wish to wear an appropriate KN95 mask. Giving students an option to utilize Zoom during office hours for one-on-one communications is permitted, though students who wish to meet face-to-face should be accommodated. 

Although concerns have been raised about “breakthrough” infections in vaccinated people, recent evidence is clear that the vaccines significantly reduce the chances of contracting the disease. In the rare breakthrough cases, the chance of the most severe forms of the illness is reduced. Utah State University will work with the Bear River Health Department to offer vaccination clinics on the Logan campus for students and employees in early fall.  Additionally, the university will continue to provide COVID-19 testing for students and employees at the Logan East Stadium testing site. Please contact the appropriate Associate Vice President for similar information for Statewide Campuses.

Given that many aspects related to the COVID situation can be fluid, the USU COVID Webpage is the best place to regularly check for updates on the situation and USU’s response. 

Further, AIS will continue to provide support to faculty members to help with isolated or quarantined students. Additional support is outlined below:

  • Prior to the start of Fall Semester, AIS will contact all of you who are teaching this semester to ensure you understand available support and best practices for your course delivery method(s).
  • Classrooms have been updated with the latest technology.  The webpage for Classroom Information  lists available technologies, number of seats, and a picture for every classroom on the Logan campus.
  • The CARES team will monitor and report COVID-related student absences again this fall which will be communicated to you directly and via the dashboard in Canvas.  Recording lectures or providing online course material will be the primary way to accommodate COVID-related student absences in Traditional (fully in-person) classes (rather than simultaneously broadcasting your class live via Zoom).  Best practices for lecture recording or developing more online course materials can be found at https://www.usu.edu/teach/help-topics/media/ or contacting the CIDI instructional design team 435-797-9506.
  • If you are teaching a course with less than fifty students and a face-to-face component, you may want to consider using the Roll Call tool in Canvas to create a seating chart for your class and then students asked to sit in the same seat every time the class meets.  This seating chart can be provided to the USU Case Containment Team (upon request) who will use it to contact students who were in close proximity to a student who has tested positive for COVID.  If you have questions about the Roll Call tool, you can contact CIDI at 797-9506.
  • For those who wish to download it, an optional syllabus statement on COVID-19 Classroom Safety is available on the Syllabus Resources link on the Provost website.

It would be impactful for all of our students, especially those in the 2020 and 2021 incoming classes, to experience a robust “welcome to USU”. For example, students on the Logan campus are encouraged to participate in the Passport Program, which will offer a large array of social events over the semester. Another example is “Day on the Quad” held September 1, 2021, on the Logan campus. Over 400 booths will be there, including a vaccination clinic sponsored by Sigma Phi Epsilon. To welcome the 2021 first-year students, please consider participating in the Connections Luminary held at our residential campuses (Logan, Eastern and Blanding) on Friday, August 27. This event in Logan will be outdoors and you will be asked to line the procession path at socially distanced spaces. Regalia is encouraged (Connections instructors will be wearing theirs). Those of you who choose to join us in Logan are asked to meet at 8:45 p.m. on Friday, August 27, to receive a lantern and instructions. Please contact your Associate Vice President in Blanding and Eastern for more information on how you might participate at those locations.

Thank you for all you do for USU and our students. It is our fervent hope that we return to more “normal” University operations, including course delivery options, in spring 2022.

Dr. Francis D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


June 2021 Updates

Dear Colleagues:

Congratulations to all of you and the staff at USU for successfully completing a difficult academic year. USU will continue to thrive due to everyone’s collective efforts.

We look forward to a more normal experience for the fall 2021 semester. Though COVID-19 will continue to pose a threat for some time, we have powerful tools – vaccines, testing, and experience with containment – to help us persevere and provide our students and colleagues the college experience we all desire.  A few updates follow:

  • In preparing to teach the incoming class, please keep in mind that our students have had the last year and a half of high school seriously disrupted by COVID-19. To help us learn about these students’ experiences, we will conduct a survey of all incoming first-year students and comparing that data to the same survey administered two years ago to identify novel challenges. At your college or department retreat in the fall, you will be provided an executive summary of those findings. We hope it will help you be successful in working with this unique cohort of students.
  • As you know, effective on June 1, masks are no longer required. However, we encourage the use of face coverings in tight, indoor settings, particularly for those individuals who have not been vaccinated.
  • Vaccination cannot be required for employment or for access to class or laboratories in pursuit of education or research according to state law. The university encourages employees and students to be vaccinated, and will work to provide easily accessible vaccination clinics, but vaccinations are voluntary. Thus, faculty and staff should avoid any communication that may be perceived to pressure, force, or coerce any student or employee to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. This could include even asking individuals about their vaccination status.
  • The Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI) is offering you help throughout the summer to prepare your fall course materials. They have made a survey available describing some of their basic services which allows you to specify how best they can help you. Please fill out the survey if you have not already done so.
  • The Empowering Teaching Excellence office will host its annual ETE Conference on teaching virtually on August 18. This event is a terrific way to learn from and share with other instructors. ETE recently published the new open-access volume on Resilient Pedagogy with practical teaching strategies. Additionally, instructors can participate in the ETE10 program to gain recognition for their teaching development efforts.

Reflecting on the college debriefs and the recent survey, common themes emerged illustrating how we adapted, innovated, persevered, and how lessons learned will persist into the future. Many of you expressed that you plan to incorporate new methods as you move back to a more normal teaching environment. Traffic in ETE learning circles was up as much as four-fold over the last year as many helped each other learn and adapt. Thanks again to all for your commitment to excellence in the face of so many challenges.  

Congratulations again for a successful academic year. I hope you set aside some time to relax and recharge your batteries as we prepare for fall 2021.  

Dr. Francis D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Follow-up Spring Semester 2021 Updates

Dear Colleagues:

I hope you are all doing well as we continue to successfully navigate Spring 2021! President Cockett has recently reminded us in her latest message that we need to remain diligent as we progress through the end of this semester. A few updates follow:

  • As many of you are aware, we are offering the opportunity of a 1-year extension to the tenure clock for COVID related reasons. If interested, tenure track faculty members should make the request in writing to their department head. The department head will then forward the faculty member’s request plus their recommendation to the appropriate dean, who in turn will send a recommendation to me. This extension due to COVID related reasons is open through the end of this June 30, 2021. Tenure extension requests attributable to COVID after that will be considered only with a detailed explanation of the circumstances, much as for other requests for extension of the tenure timeline. 
  • Vice President Berreau in the Office of Research has indicated that the offer to review requests for COVID related extension of the deadline on use of faculty start-up funds will also sunset on June 30, 2021. Requests made after that time will require extensive justification.
  • Please remember that next Friday, April 9, is a break day for students and faculty. Though no classes will be held that day, Friday classes will instead be held on Thursday, April 8, 2021, allowing for a more even distribution for class times. 
  • As finals week approaches, please keep in mind that April 28 is Interim Day. On this day, classes should not be held, and exams should not be administered.
  • The final exam schedule is located at Spring Semester 2021 Final Examination Schedule - Utah State University - Acalog ACMS™ . If you have questions about your scheduled exam time, please contact the Academic Scheduling office by emailing schedule@usu.edu
  • Faculty are encouraged to consider giving their finals online or utilizing the USU testing centers. If you are teaching a face-to-face class and are planning on giving an in-person final, please ensure that all of your students can be accommodated in your current classroom space. All finals should be completed by 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5. Final grades are due May 11 at 5 p.m.
  • The University will be holding in-person commencements this spring in Logan and on several of our Statewide Campuses. For the Logan Campus ceremonies, each graduate will be allowed to invite up to two guests. Guests will be ticketed to allow for safe distancing and seating. Although faculty are permitted to attend, no faculty member is required to participate. In order to facilitate contact tracing protocols, all faculty in attendance will be assigned to a seat in the faculty seating section. Therefore, faculty who plan to attend should communicate directly with their college graduation representative (found at https://www.usu.edu/commencement/schedule/logan-campus) prior to the graduation ceremony.

I thank you for all you do for our students and USU. Have a great finish to the semester!  

Dr. Francis D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


COVID-19 Vaccine Opportunity

Dear Colleagues:

COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Utah have been focused on specific groups (primarily by age or profession) to this point in the pandemic. While higher education faculty have not been prioritized in these efforts, our colleagues at Bear River Health Department (BRHD) are changing that. This change is coming about in part due to the excellent rapport that we have established with BRHD and our communications about our concern for our faculty. 

BRHD has received approval to invite all USU faculty who work at a USU campus or site within the Bear River Health District to join the alternate vaccination list, regardless of age or preexisting conditions. Any member of USU faculty within this area may elect to be added. 

This alternate list ensures that no vaccines are wasted. At the end of each clinic day, BRHD will contact people on the list based on the number of vaccines left over. This number varies each day, and there is no guarantee there will be leftover vaccines. 

The USU faculty alternate list will be tightly controlled. BRHD has requested that only a small, managed group have access to add people to the list. Due to this, registration will be overseen by my team in emergency management. If you would like to register for a vaccine, please email emergencymanagement@usu.edu with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact phone number (cell phone is preferred)
  • Email address (this is how you will be notified of second dose registration)
  • Physical address

BRHD has also permitted us to include other educators such as non-benefitted instructors, teaching assistants, or adjunct faculty that are in a face-to-face classroom setting. Please share this email with that group. If you meet any of the previous or current vaccine requirements (currently 65+, healthcare worker, first responder, K-12 teacher, and on March 1 any of the health conditions listed on the state COVID website), please visit BRHD.org to register for a regularly schedule vaccine clinic. 

Best wishes,

Ellis Bruch
Director of Emergency Management
Utah State University


Spring Semester 2021 Welcome Back

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome back for Spring Semester 2021! I hope you had an opportunity to rest and recharge over the holiday break. However, as President Cockett reminded us in her latest message, COVID-19 remains a serious concern in Utah. Thus, we all need to remain diligent in the coming weeks and months to protect ourselves and others as the pandemic continues. A few safety reminders:

  • Masking and other safety precautions are still required on all USU campuses, regardless if a person has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past or received the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Testing for COVID-19 is available to all USU Logan employees at the East Stadium test site whether or not you have symptoms. Employee testing is also available on the USU Eastern and USU Blanding campuses or via local health providers for other campuses or centers. To schedule a USU test, go to aggiehealth.usu.edu. If you have flu-like symptoms and/or a positive test result, please complete the COVID-19 Questionnaire .  
  • Logan students who have flu-like symptoms should test at the East Stadium site. However, Entry Testing for students is being done at the Eccles Conference Center on the Logan campus, as well as at USU Eastern, USU Blanding, and USU Brigham City. Students at other USU campuses and centers should contact their campus administration for options on testing. For the Logan campus, dates and times for Entry Testing are January 25 – 28, 2021 from 9 am to 4 pm and January 29, 2021 from 9 am to 1 pm. Please encourage your students to be tested, and remind them that Entry Testing is expected of all students who live on campus and/or taking at least one class with an in-person component. 
  • All USU departments are expected to review and update their COVID-19 Department Operation Plan this spring. This will create an opportunity for supervisors to remind and re-emphasize the importance of protocols to reduce risk of COVID-19 in daily operations. Please review and update your own Teaching Lab Protocols, Classroom Protocols, and Research Protocols where appropriate. Please contact your department head for more discussion about the department’s protocols.  

I enjoyed visiting with many of you during our Faculty Workshops last week. During those sessions, John Louviere for CIDI and Travis Thurston from ETE provided updates on the varied services that can support your teaching through ETE events and workshops. The questions, suggestions and comments provided during the workshops were most helpful and inspiring. Your dean should have a copy of the recorded sessions if you were unable to attend.  

Please remember that our Spring 2021 Academic Calendar was adjusted to help mitigate the risk presented by the pandemic. Spring Break was eliminated and replaced by two additional Fridays with no classes: March 12, 2021 and April 9, 2021. Please note that Friday classes will be eliminated on March 12. However, to provide balance, the Friday, April 9 classes will be held on Thursday, April 8 and the Thursday classes will be eliminated that week.

USU is pleased to join the Aspire Alliance IChange Network, an NSF-Includes project, hosted by the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities. The IChange Network helps to facilitate institutional change, focused on faculty, in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the STEM disciplines. USU efforts with the IChange Network will include areas for potential growth for DEI campus-wide for all disciplines. The effort will include creation of a data-informed, people-oriented action plan, and elaboration of a multi-year implementation and scaling plan. You can learn more about the Aspire Alliance IChange Network on their website. USU’s participation in the IChange Network provides professional development opportunities for faculty interested in DEI issues. If you wish to learn more about these opportunities, as well as to receive updates and learn of opportunities for input on the USU initiative, you may opt-in to the IChange Network Listserv via the USU institutional IChange Network website.

Thank you for all you do for our students and USU. Have a great Spring Semester 2021 and I look forward to the opportunity to visit with you as the semester progresses.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Francis D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Information on Testing, Supporting Students, and Classroom Delivery Methods 

Sent on Nov. 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

Many thanks for your great work in providing a productive and safe learning environment for yourselves and students this semester. Your success is evident in the preliminary results of our student survey (results forthcoming) in which a majority reported satisfaction with their experience this fall. Your commitment to safety is evident in the fact that transmission of COVID-19 in the classroom and teaching laboratories has not occurred. 

State of Emergency and Student Testing Mandate

On Sunday, Nov. 8, Governor Herbert announced a new approach to this pandemic crisis in a State of Emergency declaration. In his Executive Order, he authorized Utah higher education institutions to continue to offer curricular (classes and labs) and co-curricular activities in face-to-face modes as we have been doing. He also asked these institutions to provide weekly testing no later than Jan. 1 for all students who live in on-campus housing and those students who are taking at least one class with an in-person component. In response to this, USU organized a separate student testing site in the TSC Ballroom on the Logan campus to test students for COVID -19 before the Thanksgiving holiday. These test results will help us identify asymptomatic individuals so we can better contain cases and prevent spread.

In the coming weeks, USU will create plans for weekly testing for students at USU Eastern and statewide campuses.

Testing for Faculty and Staff

Also, please know that free COVID-19 testing is available to all employees at the East Stadium Testing Site on the Logan campus. To schedule an appointment, go to aggiehealth.usu.edu. You will typically receive the test results within 24-48 hours. Results are sent via text that evening if you test in the morning and the following evening if you test in the afternoon. Note that this turn-around for test results is often quicker than other testing available in the community.

Supporting Students

Your flexibility in working with students in isolation and quarantine has been remarkable. To help you manage this group of students, we offer the following:

  • A Canvas dashboard that informs faculty who have classrooms with in-person components about their students’ isolation/quarantine status.
  • Data sent to department heads who can assist these faculty.
  • Staffing (usually student help) and technical resources for teachers who have found themselves unexpectedly in a hybrid setup. 

Changing Classroom Delivery Methods

I’m pleased to say that we have largely honored our commitment to students that their courses will be delivered in fall 2020 semester as originally scheduled. However, there is a process for faculty to adjust their class delivery mode when justified. For those faculty interested in changing their class delivery mode, you should first meet with your department head to explore options for additional classroom support. If warranted, you and your department head should develop a justification for changing the delivery mode and send the justification to your dean for approval. Your dean’s approval will be sent to me for final approval. 

If the course in question is at the graduate level, approval will be given if the pedagogical reasoning is sound. For undergraduate courses, consideration involves an iterative process to explore alternatives to changing the delivery method such as providing for some accommodations to help you in the classroom. Polling your students to determine support for a change in modality may help lend support to your request. Several classes this semester have been approved for change in class delivery mode while others have resulted in a variety of accommodations that have allowed the class to continue as originally scheduled. 

Going Remote and Testing

We are almost through with in-person components of the fall 2020 semester. USU will pivot to remote instruction after classes end on Friday, Nov. 20.  Please note that “remote instruction” for the remainder of fall 2020 semester can include live instruction via Zoom (synchronous), as well as traditional online (asynchronous) components. If you need help making this transition, the CIDI team is ready to assist you with your technology and pedagogical needs. 

Students should not be expected or required to attend any classroom or lab in-person after Nov. 20. If in-person proctoring is necessary for final exams, there are multiple options. Remote virtual proctoring can also be done through Canvas and Proctorio. CIDI or the Logan Academic Testing Center can assist you.

Again, please accept a heartfelt, thank you for a job well done to all of you. Please have a safe holiday!

Sincerely,

Frank Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


COVID-19 Related Student Accommodations

Email sent Monday, October 5, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

This email provides faculty with information on how USU is responding to students who may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to another person who has COVID-19. Our hope is to alleviate confusion and concerns with “process” so you can focus your time on actual teaching.

Notifications to Faculty for Providing Accommodations

When a student is asked to self-isolate or quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with someone who tested positive, the faculty who teach their in-person classes are automatically notified of this by the COVID CARE Team. This notification is for the purpose of providing academic accommodations, not for the purpose of case investigations.

Accommodations for Students in Isolation or Quarantine

In accordance with USU’s Attendance and Excused Absence policy and extenuating efforts to address COVID-19’s impact on teaching and learning, a communications protocol and FAQ list has been developed to help guide you in managing students whose education is being interrupted by COVID-19. 

Because a student who is in self-isolation or quarantine must limit direct contact with others, they are not able to attend a class in person. Therefore, the student will need access to materials and lectures that are delivered “in person” during the self-isolation or quarantine period. 

Instructors who have in-person classes should implement at least one of the following methods for delivering in-person materials and/or lectures to students who are in self-isolation or quarantine:  A) provide materials and detailed course lecture notes through Canvas; B) provide access to the in-person lectures through Zoom; C) capture the lecture through Kaltura using a classroom or computer camera and then upload the captured lectures into Canvas. If faculty need assistance capturing notes written on a white/chalk board, please contact the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI).  

Given the high probability that every course will have at least one student in self-isolation or quarantine at some point in fall or spring semester, instructors with in-campus materials or lectures are encouraged to implement, or at least develop, an alternative as soon as possible.

CIDI is ready to help instructors with these and other options. For more information, email CIDI.

Basic COVID-19 Definitions

Confirmed positive COVID-19 case:  A person who has a positive COVID test. The test result is reported to USU through the COVID questionnaire or through a state health department based on lab results.

Potential COVID-19 case:  A person who reports COVID-like symptoms through the COVID questionnaire but has not yet been tested. Anyone waiting for test results must stay home and limit contact with others until they receive a negative test result and have recovered.

Self-isolation:  Requires limited direct contact with other people.  A person who has a positive COVID test must self-isolate for 10 days from the day symptoms began.

Quarantine:  Requires limited direct contact with other people. A person is asked to quarantine when they have had close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The quarantine period is 14 days from the last time of close contact, regardless of a negative test result.

Exposure:  A person who has been in close contact with a confirmed positive or potential COVID-19 case less than six feet for more than 15 minutes, even if all individuals wore face coverings.   

University COVID-19 Information

You can find more information about how USU is addressing COVID-19 below:

Thank you again for your patience and cooperation as our university works to address COVID-19 cases in our university community and reduce the risk of infection. If you have questions about how USU responds, please email covid-19@usu.edu.

Sincerely,

Frank Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


COVID-19 Communications with Students

Email sent Wednesday, September 9, 2020 

Dear Faculty:

You may receive communication directly from your students who request adjustments or other accommodations due to COVID-19 complications. Below is an example email that you can send to the student(s), asking them to complete the COVID-19 Questionnaire so that you (the instructor) will be officially notified of the student’s request. The questionnaire will also activate the COVID CARE Team which can provide you and the student(s) resources.  

Important: Please be aware that sharing any information on students or others who have been tested for COVID-19 could be a potential violation of FERPA and HIPAA.  Do not identify publicly a person as testing either positive or negative for COVID-19.   

Dear _____________________ (student):

Thank you for your recent email informing me of your situation.  In order to ensure that you receive the appropriate accommodation for COVID-19 related challenges, the University requires you to fill out the COVID-19 Questionnaire.  Upon doing so, the University COVID CARE Team will contact you to determine your needs and how to support you during this difficult time.  The CARE Team will also contact your instructors and provide important direction on how best to accommodate your needs. 

USU cares about your well-being, and I hope you will complete the COVID-19 Questionnaire as soon as possible so you can receive support and continue your semester.

Sincerely,

__________________________ (instructor)

Best regards,

Frank Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Fall Semester Checklist: Email to Department Heads

Sent on August 28, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

Fall semester is around the corner. Please use the following checklist to ensure your faculty members are ready on Monday, August 31.  

  • Share your approved COVID-19 department operation plan with all department faculty and staff. We encourage you to share this via email and to discuss it during staff and department meetings.   
  • Discuss USU’s four principles of prevention with all department staff. A Power Point training is available to guide this discussion. 
  • Ensure PIs and lab directors have shared their COVID-19 specific standard operating procedures for their research environment with all personnel, especially students and support staff.  
  • Students and employees should complete the COVID-19 questionnaire if they have COVID-19 symptoms, are waiting for a COVID-19 test result, have received a positive result and/or been asked to quarantine because they have been exposed to a positive person.  The questionnaire is very important for USU to monitor infections and adjust operations as needed, as well as direct resources to those who need it. 
  • Reinforce the message with classroom instructors that they must wear a face covering (not a face shield) when in the classroom, including when they are teaching and/or presenting.   
  • Inform instructors there will be a de-escalation training video available soon for handling potential conflicts, including students not wearing masks in classrooms and labs.  
  • Be aware of how to report a health and safety violation to the Office of Student Conduct. Students who need a remote-learning accommodation should reach out to the Disability Resource Center.
  • Confirm that instructors have communicated with students in their courses prior to Monday, August 31. Instructors who are teaching in classrooms where their enrollment exceeds the social distancing cap for the room must coordinate student attendance to ensure compliance with the social distancing policy. 
  • Check in with instructors and discuss their preparedness to pivot to online course delivery (i.e. having a Canvas page built) for one class period, for a period of 10-12 days, and possibly for the rest of the semester if that becomes necessary. As part of USU’s case containment strategy, the university may pivot to remote delivery at any time and for varying periods of duration.   
  • Ensure department offices and teaching spaces have COVID-19 prevention signage, including social distancing and floor decals appropriate for the teaching, lab, or office space.  
  • Determine occupancy for all shared conference rooms and study spaces and post signage outside the space indicating the occupancy limit. Where possible, incorporate these occupancy limits into scheduling processes. 
  • Remind all staff to visit the COVID-19 website for up-to-date information. The university will communicate important changes to course delivery and other university operations via “usu.edu” email. Encourage faculty and staff to open emails from the President and Provost. Faculty should also review all USU Ready emails that were sent this summer.   

I know we all want to preserve in-person learning opportunities for fall semester. Thank you for being USU Ready and doing everything within your control to help us minimize the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.  

Sincerely,  

Noelle E. Cockett 
President 


Faculty Information for Start of Fall Classes

Sent on August 25, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Our students are starting to arrive on campus, beginning with Connections this week and the first day of classes next Monday. We hope the following updates will be of use as we prepare to open amid USU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit usu.edu/covid-19.  

Preparing Classes: Be “USU Ready”

  • Canvas pages opened to faculty to publish courses beginning Monday, August 24. We encourage you to publish your courses as soon as possible and begin communicating with students about course expectations and logistics. Students have been told to expect communication from their instructors no later than the first day of the semester, Monday August 31.
  • You should not change the instructional method of your course(s), or postpone/delay instruction without permission from your department head, your dean and the Provost’s Office. If you become sick, please work with your department to ensure the continuity of your instruction.
  • Every course, regardless of the instructional method, should have a corresponding Canvas page published by the start of the semester. This will:
    • Prepare your course for the final three weeks of the semester, when all classes will move to “remote” after November 20;
    • Ensure you can communicate with students who need accommodations due to being asked to quarantine or isolate. You can use your Canvas course tools to facilitate communication. Please be as flexible as possible to encourage students who are ill or asked to quarantine/isolate to stay away from campus for the recommended time;
    • Ensure continuity in case your instructional method must change.
  • Due to COVID-19 protocols, the USU Libraries will be unable to provide access to textbooks via their Course Reserve system. If your class requires textbooks and/or other teaching materials, please ensure that students know they are responsible to acquire these materials on their own.
  • Please use instructional technology supported by the university. For questions related to instructional technology and support, contact the CIDI team.
  • If you have a student who is unable to participate in your course due to COVID-19, and they have filled out the university’s COVID-19 questionnaire, you will be contacted by the University’s COVID CARE Team to discuss appropriate accommodations.
  • If you have students who have questions about the technology and/or support, please ask them to contact the USU IT Help Desk: 435-797-HELP.
  • Consider discussing classroom requirements for facial coverings and social distancing in your first class period. A statement for your syllabus is available as a reference.
  • We are developing a training video to help you approach and de-escalate potential face-covering issues should they arise with students (and others), and you’ll receive a link as soon as it is ready.  The video will provide you with techniques for engaging with non-compliant students in a non-confrontational way. If a conversation with a non-compliant student becomes unproductive, and this student will not leave the classroom, then in order to protect the health of other students and in keeping with University Policy you should suspend class with the understanding that the class period’s information will be made available to students later. That will allow you to address the situation with the non-compliant student outside class, following steps outlined in the Student Conduct

Update on Testing Masks

As USU prepares for lectures during the coronavirus pandemic, we have sought advice for the best face covering for lecturing. We obtained five masks locally to test for comfort and fit, including two from USU (USU loop mask and USU fan mask), two from local vendors (Old Navy and +MD from “All About Socks”), and one generic disposable medical mask. As one might expect, the results were not uniform and depended on face size, need for glasses, facial hair and shape of the face for fit and comfort. Generally, any mask you find that fits the nose, cheeks, and chin well will do as long as it meets CDC recommendations. Masks with wires over the nose tend to slip the least and fog glasses a little less. Those with adjustable ear loops or ties also were easier to fit. There are many sources for face coverings, including many homemade designs. Happy mask hunting to you all!   

Information to Assist Your Students

Following remote learning in the spring, faculty and student surveys identified where students need academic support. This year, with the challenges of navigating various course modalities and other COVID-related issues, our students need this support more than ever. As faculty, you are uniquely positioned to help identify academic struggles and to point students in the direction of support and resources that can help. As a result, we created a tiered approach to support:   

  1. Students needing self-help support: USU-Ready: Student Academic Support. 
  2. Students needing additional support: Habits of Mind courses, which are one-credit classes offered during the second half of the semester.  
  3. Students needing significant academic support: USU 1730 Strategies for Academic Success. Students who display significant problems with academic performance and academic persistence: Academic Early Alert. This form is used by faculty and advisors for students who have not resolved their issues through other means of support. Questions can be referred tokesler@usu.edu
  4. Additional academic support for students, including tutoring: usu.edu/academic-support/additional_academic_resources.

Fall Guidelines for Students

As you know, student life will look different at Utah State University this fall. To help students negotiate these changes, Student Affairs is communicating guidelines, resources, and services for new and returning students.  

Students, like faculty and staff, are expected to follow USU guidelines for COVID-19: 

  • Mask up. Wearing a face covering is required in all USU buildings and vehicles, including the Aggie Shuttle, and outside when people are close together.  
  • Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people.  
  • Practice prevention hygiene. Wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and keep your surroundings clean.    
  • Stay home when you’re sick regardless of symptoms.

More details on guidelines, resources, and services for student life including involvement, health and wellness, and academics can be found at studentaffairs.usu.edu/wellbeing.  

We are asking students to take the USU Protection Pledge which focuses on keeping our community healthy. Please let students in your classes know about the pledge, and we invite you to take it yourself! 

If you have questions about student issues, please contact the Division of Student Affairs at (435) 797-1712 or studentaffairs@usu.edu

Fall Semester 2020

We hope you have a great fall semester. Please remember that our goal is to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 in our campus community while providing the best education possible for our students and fulfilling our land-grant mission of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and extension and engagement. Though no one can guarantee complete safety, USU is committed to reducing risk for our faculty, staff, and students.  

No matter whether we are teaching in new modes of delivery or need to move to fully remote modes later in the semester, USU is among the very top of the nation’s universities in providing outstanding remote experiences for our students, thanks to all of you. USU is an outstanding land-grant institution and I consistently see examples of faculty members, students, and staff finding new topics and great new ways to serve Utah and the world. Remember, you can find the most recent university news and updates about COVID-19 at usu.edu/covid-19.   

Take care,

Frank D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Fall Semester Updates for Faculty

Sent on July 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

We have a few updates for you as we prepare for fall semester amid USU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, an up-to-date source for information about how USU is responding to the current pandemic is at usu.edu/covid-19.  

Safe Classrooms for Fall 2020 

Protocols have been developed to increase the safety in our learning environments. They are designed to clearly communicate to students the requirements for social distancing, staying home when sick, use of face coverings, and proper disinfection and hygiene practices.     

  • An SOP for classroom safety has been developed to help guide faculty, staff, and students in face-to-face classroom environments to help maximize safety. These include protocols for allowable seating, classroom cleaning, and tools to support a successful teaching and learning environment. 
  • Likewise, an SOP for teaching laboratories, studios, and field classes has been developed to guide safe operations in those environments. 
  • An updated syllabus resource on the Provost’s website contains a section for COVID-19 Classroom Protocols that can be added to your syllabus to help students understand how to conduct themselves safely.   
  • A masking policy is in place that mandates the wearing of face coverings by all faculty, students, and staff inside all USU buildings regardless of location. Those with medical conditions that prohibit the wearing of facial coverings will have options that can be addressed with supervisors (staff), the Disability Resource Center (students), and the ADA Coordinator in Human Resources (faculty and staff).   

Suggestions  

  • Office hours should be held remotely to maximize safety for faculty and students unless proper masking and social distancing guidelines can be strictly followed. 
  • Course content, as well as testing/assessments, should be provided digitally rather than by paper.  
  • If you are teaching in the face-to-face environment, you must ask all students to follow the protocols for face coverings, traffic flow, and hygiene. In the event of non-compliance, you are not required to police the situations unless you are so inclined. Approaches for achieving compliance include: 
    • Include the COVID-19 syllabus resource section in the syllabus. 
    • Remind the full class about face coverings and not attending class in-person while sick. 
    • Hand out a free face covering (if available) to a student who comes to class without a face covering. 
    • Ask a student who comes to class without a face covering to leave and obtain one. De-escalate where possible using empathy, supportive comments, and kindness. 
    • Cancel the class session if a student continues to come to class without a face covering, although this should be considered a “last resort” action. 
    • Report non-compliant students to the Office of Student Conduct.   
  • Students have been advised about the learning environment and some of the related safety measures being implemented in a recent communication.  

Reminders 

  • All courses will transition to remote delivery methods after November 20, 2020. Fall Break (previously scheduled for October 16, 2020) has been eliminated with an interim day added to the last day of no-test week. Please plan to administer final examinations by remote means. Details of the Fall calendar changes and adapting to changing situations were outlined in the June 12, 2020 faculty communication
  • Changes during Fall are very likely depending on infection rates across our campuses and communities, or if you or students in class become ill. To address the potential need to pivot quickly, it is highly recommended to have your course on a Canvas platform so that instruction can continue if a student in the class or you become sick. Further, departments should develop back-up plans for all classes in case an instructor becomes sick as well. 
  • Communicate with your students at least one week prior to the start of classes about your teaching procedures, plans for classroom management, and technology that will be used.    
  • The class format (web broadcast, hybrid face-to-face, IVC, online, or face-to-face) is listed in Banner and should not be changed. Clear instructions for student attendance should be articulated. However, based on the COVID-19 situation on campus, classroom availability, or if you become ill yourself, you will need to pivot to one of the remote delivery methods.  
  • Because students are asked to stay home with any symptoms of illness, even mild symptoms, absenteeism will likely increase. You should work with these students, preferably through Canvas, and provide flexibility and tolerance when warranted.   
  • There are a number of USU resources that have been designed to assist you in developing your Fall 2020 course(s). You should review these resources for best practices for the various delivery methods.    
  • Your regular course fee may be used to support new pedagogical needs related to COVID-19, as long as the support continues to directly benefit the students in that class. Prior approval is not required if the fee level does not change. Justification will be required during the regular three-year review. Requests to temporarily reduce your course fee will be expedited. Requests to increase course fees must be submitted for full review. 
  • Departments have been asked by the Academic Scheduling Office to no longer make changes to course instructional delivery methods after Friday, July 30th. This will give students and you an opportunity to plan for their various course delivery types. Unless the Scheduling Office requests changes by departments, we ask that all course delivery methods remain consistent through August as we prepare for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Our success, and that of our students, will depend on everyone’s flexibility and patience as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for all you are doing so that our students, staff, and faculty have the ability and opportunity to have a successful Fall semester.    

Sincerely, 

Frank D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Email to Faculty About the Fall Schedule

Sent June 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

We have a few updates for you regarding USU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, a good source for information about how USU is responding to the current pandemic is at usu.edu/covid-19. 

Calendar Changes for Fall 2020 

As we look to fall semester, we have concerns about the safety of faculty, staff, and students due to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Bringing thousands of people together after this significant travel will make it more difficult to keep the entire campus community healthy for spring semester. 

To reduce this risk, the university will make the following changes to the fall schedule on all USU campuses: (1) cancel the “fall break” day that was previously scheduled for October 16 (eliminating a 3-day travel opportunity), and (2) move all course and teaching laboratories to remote delivery after November 20, 2020. This will encourage students to stay at their permanent home through the end of the semester, as well as reduce the opportunity for spread of the coronavirus in the classroom after Thanksgiving. However, we ask that you continue your courses through the regular end of the semester to avoid creating an undue burden on students trying to keep up with their semester loads. Final examinations will occur during finals week as previously scheduled (Monday, December 14, 2020, through Friday, December 18, 2020) by remote delivery.   

Please note that remote methods for the end of fall 2020 can include both synchronous and asynchronous deliveries. If you need support in preparing your course for remote delivery, you can request help from CIDI through the fall semester. 

Support for Safe Classrooms 

A number of measures may be taken to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in teaching and learning on campus this fall amid changing circumstances.  

  • A paragraph regarding appropriate, safe classroom conduct is available in the syllabus resources on the Provost’s website that you can download into your syllabus.
  • Protocols are being developed to help you communicate to students the requirements for social distancing, staying home when sick, use of face masks, and proper disinfection and hygiene practices.   
  • Protocols are also being developed for safe practices applied to teaching laboratories and field experiences.

Preparing for Changing COVID-19 Situations 

While we are doing all we can to mitigate the need for converting our courses to remote teaching before November 20, that may be necessary with relatively short notice depending upon how the pandemic unfolds this fall. There are some measures that you can take now to prepare for that possibility.

  • Be ready with clearly outlined teaching procedures, plans for student management, use of technology, and a transition plan to remote teaching.
  • Attend a CIDI summer workshop or take advantage of online resources to help you prepare for web broadcast, hybrid face-to-face, IVC, or an online course delivery method.
  • Build a Canvas course using a template designed to support any one of the USU-supported course delivery methods.
  • Based on faculty feedback, USU has developed an agreement that will make Zoom the primary synchronous web broadcast format for teaching and other remote events effective August 1, 2020.

Once again, thank you for your adaptability and patience as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing all we can so that our students and faculty have the ability and opportunity to create great educational experiences this fall and beyond.   

Sincerely, 

Frank D. Galey
Executive Vice President and Provost


Email to Faculty Members on April 6, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We have prepared some updates for you about USU’s response to the COVID-19 situation. Thank you again for your hard work and innovation as we navigate these unusual waters. For more information about how USU is responding to the current pandemic, please visit usu.edu/covid-19.

IDEA Evaluations for Teaching

The Faculty Senate (FS), under the leadership of FS President Patrick Belmont, has recommended that IDEA surveys be conducted for Spring Semester 2020, managed by the Office of the Provost. However, given the rapid transition of in-person classes to remote teaching, the Spring 2020 IDEA evaluation results will ONLY be shared with the individual faculty members.

These evaluation results will not be included in the institutional record nor will the results be required for any promotion/tenure dossier or annual review material. However, faculty members who decide to include their data in their dossiers or record may do so, but will need to insert that material themselves. The data generated by the surveys will be examined by USU at the aggregate level so we can assess how the transition went. 

Pass/Fail Policy

Students now have the option of converting letter grades to pass/fail (P, D+, D, F) for any semester-long and second-block courses taken during Spring Semester 2020. The new deadline is May 19, which allows the student to time to review the final letter grade (posted by the instructor no later than May 5) before deciding on pass/fail.

Departments have agreed that Spring 2020 Semester classes with a pass grade will fulfill most (but not all) major requirements and prerequisites at USU. Though many accreditation and licensure requirements have agreed to pass/fail for this time period, some exceptions exist. Students applying for post-baccalaureate programs at other universities are encouraged to check if a pass grade instead of a letter grade will be accepted. Because of these various exceptions, students have been instructed through email and online that they must first consult with their academic advisor (undergraduate student) or major advisor (graduate student) before finalizing the change to pass/fail.

Final Examinations

Please review dates for completing the semester and tips for administrating a final exam in a remote environment.

Schedule

  • No-test week:  April 15-21. During this time, no major examinations, including final examinations, should be administered to allow students to concentrate on preparation for finals. For further information and exceptions, please see the USU Academic Calendar.
  • Last day of classes: April 21.
  • Interim day: April 22. Faculty are not to schedule any required course activities or any assignments/activities that contribute to students’ grades (including extra credit) on the interim day. 
  • Final exams: April 23-29.

Administrating final exams for remote classes

  • Spring Semester 2020 courses have been adapted to provide flexibility for student participation and completion under COVID-19 restrictions. Final exams should be administered in the same spirit of asynchronous delivery. As such, it is recommended that final exams are administered to students during finals week while also following best practices for secure online testing.  
  • Faculty should consider opening access to an exam for a minimum of 24 hrs. By administering final exams asynchronously, students will be able to make appropriate arrangements, such as internet access and a quiet testing location, for completing multiple final exams in their remote location.
  • Faculty originally scheduled to administer final exams on Thursday, April 23 or Friday, April 24 should consider opening access for their exams for at least 24 hours during this 48-hour period.
  • Faculty originally scheduled to administer final exams on Monday, April 27, Tuesday, April 28, or Wednesday, April 29 should consider opening access for their exams for at least 24 hours during this 72-hour period.
  • If an exam must be delivered synchronously (highly discouraged), the faculty should follow the published exam schedule.
  • USU Testing Center staff will be available during the week of final exams to provide live chat and phone support for students between the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 23 to 29.
  • Faculty should direct questions about developing and administering remote final exams to the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI).

Updated Resources for Faculty Teaching Remotely

The Empowering Teaching Excellence (ETE) program and CIDI have recently expanded the portfolio of faculty resources for remote instruction. The Center for Student Analytics has also partnered with ETE to release a series of short webinars about best practices in remote teaching and learning grounded in analytics.

Thank you all again for your hard work during Spring Semester 2020. 

Sincerely,

Frank Galey
Provost


Email to Faculty Members on March 23, 2020

Dear Colleagues: 

First, thank you so much for your hard work and dedication in helping USU do our best to meet the challenges of fulfilling our mission in this unprecedented situation.  The feedback I am getting is truly inspiring, and I am very proud to be part of this great team! 

We have several updates for you today regarding this fluid situation.

Note to Our Pre-tenure Colleagues:

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will consider COVID-19 to be a legitimate reason for requesting an extension to the pre-tenure probationary period for faculty, following approval of the department head, dean or Vice President for Extension.  It is understood that this health emergency may impact or slow research, teaching and/or extension activities that support the candidate’s dossier.  Per USU Policy 405.1.4 (4), a faculty member may request the extension through the department head, who subsequently routes it to the dean or, where appropriate, the Vice President for Extension, for their approval.  Requests approved by the department head, dean (or Vice President for Extension) will be forwarded to the Provost for final approval. 

Our Native American Students:

Late Friday night, the Navajo Nation issued a “shelter in place” order stemming from a public health emergency declaration for the entirety of the Navajo Nation.  You can read more about it on their Facebook page.  USU students who were on the Navajo Nation at the time of the order will not be allowed to travel back to USU’s campuses.  Students under the order on the Navajo Nation may have technological difficulty or limited WIFI access for completing remote classes.  We ask that you be understanding of these students.  My office will soon provide specific information to instructors about how we can help those students complete this semester.

Pass-Fail Option:

USU has extended the deadline to April 15, 2020 for students to designate Pass/Fall (P/F) for Spring 2020 Semester courses.  A ServiceNow form will soon be available for students to make the P/F request. The form will route to the appropriate advisor who will then contact the student and inform them of the impact to their program of study.  Regardless of the student’s choice, faculty are to enter the actual grade the student earns.  This provides a record of the original grade, but Banner will automatically switch it to P or F depending on the grade entered. 

Students will withdraw through Banner just like normal, although that deadline is also extended to April 15, 2020.  We will reach out to all students who withdraw so we can inform them of the financial implications (Financial Aid, tuition plateau, etc.). We will retroactively change it back if the student decides the impact is too negative.  Deadlines for students and other updates on this topic are available online at https://www.usu.edu/registrar/covid/.

USU policy allows courses with P grades to transfer both in and out of the university.  However, departments are strongly advised to review their graduation and prerequisite requirements and allow P grades in Spring 2020 Semester to fulfill departmental requirements. 

Status of Research:

Please consult  https://research.usu.edu/covid19/ for latest updates regarding USU research.

Update to LARC Status:  The LARC status has been upgraded to Level Blue.  Please review the LARC Pandemic Response Plan to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact research using laboratory animals maintained in the LARC:

https://research.usu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/USU-LARC-Epidmeic-Response-Plan_Color-Coded-3-23-20.pdf 

Summer 2020 Semester:

USU will be moving forward with Summer 2020 registration beginning on April 1, 2020.  Courses offered during the Summer semester will be those that can be delivered remotely as we assume the university will not be back to regular operation by May 4.

Fall 2020 Semester:

Registration for Fall 2020 Semester will begin on April 6, 2020. At this time, the University is planning on a full fall schedule of courses as anticipated prior to the COVID-19 protocols.  However, due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, fall semester plans may change over time and faculty should check with their departments for updated information.

Update on Commencement 2020:

Several exciting events are planned for students in the 2020 graduating class.  Please see https://www.usu.edu/commencement/ for more details.

Potential University Closure:

We will not move to a university closure unless there is a wide-spread infection on campus or there is a government issued order, as outlined under Level 1 of our Infectious Disease Plan on the USU COVID-19 website https://dps.usu.edu/emergency/COVID-19/.  For now, the university is open and thriving, in a large part because of the hard work all of you are doing.

Sincerely,

Frank Galey
Provost


Email to Faculty Members on March 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues: 

Thank you all again for your hard work as we move to providing remote education for our students.   Further, we are asking that we track the additional time we devote to this matter for Federal reporting.

1. Closure of USU Testing Centers

USU’s Testing Centers at all campuses (Logan, Statewide, and Eastern) will close effective Wednesday, March 18. These closures will remain in effect as long as all USU classes are delivered remotely. This will ensure equity and safety for testing among students wherever their location. AIS (CIDI) teams are coordinating live emergency response staffing along with online tutorials to support faculty with remote quizzing and examinations.  Faculty should direct questions to:

Testing Support Chat (M-F, 7am-10pm), 

Phone: (855) 834-2370 (M-F, 8am-5pm)

Online Tutorials: http://cidi.usu.edu/topics/Remote_Quizzes_and_Exams

2. Reimbursable COVID-19 Hours and Materials

Based on guidance from the State of Utah and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in order to be reimbursed, USU must track all labor costs and materials consumed in the University’s preparation for and mitigation of COVID-19. This will allow USU and the State of Utah the ability to seek some reimbursement for costs related to this emergency.  

Please track your COVID-19 related hours and materials dating back to March 9, 2020 and going forward.

Using the COVID-19 Tracking System in Service Now, employees should report hours worked and materials consumed in response to COVID-19.  We recommend employees record labor hours on a daily basis and material consumption at least weekly.

Report COVID-19 Labor Hours Here

Record COVID-19 Materials Here

Thank you for taking time to enter data into the COVID-19 Tracking Systems which will help recover costs for Utah State University brought on by COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Frank Galey
Provost


Email to Faculty Members on March 14, 2020

Dear USU Faculty:

 Thank you for your extraordinary efforts to provide alternate methods for delivering education to your students in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.  An important component of our efforts will be that students must know, definitively and rapidly, the status of their courses and how they are going to be able to remotely complete the Spring 2020 semester course.  To this end, students recently received notice that faculty will communicate with them concerning their courses.  Given the important need for accurate and timely information, you are asked to articulate the plan directly to your students for how your course will proceed remotely by Monday, March 16th at 5:00 pm

 During this unprecedented transition, the need for clarity is imperative.  In an effort to simplify and standardize communications between faculty and students, please use the following guidelines:

In your Canvascourse page (all USU CRNs have a Canvas course shell: https://usu.instructure.com/ ) use the Announcement function to message your students. This will allow students to receive course information though texts and/or emails. To learn how to use the Announcement tool in Canvas, see: https://cidi.usu.edu/topics/Communicate_with_Students_Using_Canvas_Announcements for instructions, or for a tutorial video: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/f466f.

If you are already communicating with your students via another mechanism, and are assured that the method is reaching all your students effectively, you may continue to use that method.

If you have any questions about communicating with your students, please call the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI): 435-797-9506 or the IT HelpDesk: 435-797-4357.

The plan you communicate to students regarding your course should include: 1) how you will provide the remote experience (in Canvas with video lectures, office hours, discussion forums, etc.); 2) an estimated date of when you will begin (preferably March 18); 3) any major changes to the syllabus; and 4) any other essential information that will assist students in progressing through the course. 

Following this initial communication, I encourage you to follow up regularly with your students and be accessible to their questions.

I recognize the amazing work you are doing on behalf of your students.  Thank you for your efforts during this unprecedented time.

Frank Galey
Provost


Email to USU Faculty Members on March 12, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware, USU is working to respond to the COVID 19 outbreak. The single best source and most up-to-date information about how USU is addressing this public health situation is available at www.usu.edu/covid-19. This website is continually updated with new information.  Please visit https://dps.usu.edu/emergency/covid-19/faculty-faqs for frequently asked questions specifically for faculty members.  

Move Courses Online

Utah State University will cancel classes Friday, March 13, 2020 through Tuesday, March 17, 2020 to allow faculty members time to move classes into the online learning environment.  USU will begin to offer online classes beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020. 

This transition to online course delivery is part of USU’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the campus community. 

  • In preparing to move courses to an asynchronous online format, CIDI has prepared materials to help you get started: http://cidi.usu.edu/topics/Keep_Teaching_During_Emergency. These materials will help you transition your course to assure for the best possible standard of teaching, learning, and assessment for the balance of the semester.  Also, CIDI will assign a person to each department to coordinate and work with you during this transition. 
  • If you have special needs or extenuating circumstances, you should contact Paul Barr in the Provost’s office (paul.barr@usu.edu).

Thank you for your attention and hard work related to this matter and, as a reminder, please regularly visit the USU website on COVID-19 at www.usu.edu/covid-19 for updates.

Sincerely,

Frank Galey


Email to Faculty Members on March 6, 2020

Colleagues,

Due to the recent concerns with the spread of the coronavirus abroad and new cases in other states, USU will be requesting that high-risk students self-isolate for up to 14 days, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Later today, the university will be sending a notice with more information regarding who will be asked to self-isolate. In order to minimize the impact to their academic progress, we are requesting that you provide accommodations where possible. As approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, AIS (the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction – CIDI) will work with you to help facilitate these accommodations. Therefore, if a student who has been requested to self-isolate is in one of your courses, you will be notified through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and a member of the CIDI team will contact you to provide the resources that best fit your pedagogy. If you have one of the students impacted by a USU request, you may contact a member of the CIDI team at 435-797-9506 (dial line #1) to proactively request their services. 

In the event that a student requests teaching accommodations due to coronavirus health related issues and you have not been contacted by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, please refer the student to Jarrod Larsen (435-797-1844) or jarrod.larsen@usu.edu.

We appreciate your support during this dynamic time.    

Frank Galey
Provost