Classroom Protocols

Help Students Do Their Part

You can help ensure your classes stay in-person as much as possible by taking the following steps:

  • Directly ask students to wear masks and wear a mask to lead by example. Explain that this will help maintain in-person sessions through the semester. Though you cannot mandate masks or punish those who refuse to mask, please lead by example and wear a mask yourself when you are less than 6 feet from the nearest class members. 
  • Encourage students to get vaccinated and upload their proof of vaccination at This will help them get released from quarantine quickly by the case containment team if exposed to COVID-19. USU holds regular vaccine clinics with first, second, and booster doses available.
  • Ask students to maintain a 6-foot distance from you in the classroom, office, laboratory, or other teaching space.
  • Tell students to stay home if they are sick or suffering even mild symptoms of illness and to get a free COVID-19 test. Students who are sick should be referred to get tested as soon as possible.

Use the COVID-CARE Dashboard

This dashboard in Canvas helps 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. Please accommodate these students – options include lecture capture or other online instruction.

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.

Use Seating Assignments in Canvas

Use the new “seating chart” tool in Canvas for those classes with more than 10 students. This new link will appear in the left-hand navigation window of your Canvas page after the first week of the semester. 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. This will help your class avoid going into Red status that will require you to move completely to remote teaching via Zoom. 

Screenshot of seating chart tool

Following the first week of the semester (after the unrestricted add/drop period), you should start class by asking your students to open the Canvas app and identify their preferred seat in the class using the new USU tool forthcoming. Emphasize to students that after they select the letter/number for their seat into the course Canvas page, they must sit in that same seat for the remainder of the semester

If the class has a lab, recitation section, or uses a second classroom, students will be able to enter a second seat assigment.

Once a student selects a seat, they cannot change. Effective contact tracing of a positive case in a classroom depends upon knowing where students are located and who they are in close contact with. 

  • 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.
  • The case containment team will be given access to the seat assignments from Canvas administrators if a positive case in a class occurs.
  • Instructors teaching IVC courses for Statewide Campuses, please ensure the seating assignments are completed for each class site with more than 10 students.
  • More than one student in a hybrid face-to-face course may choose the same seat as long as they attend class on different days.

Assigning Seats to Students

Seat recording toolFaculty can record seat assignments for students by going into the Seating Chart Viewer and clicking on the Record Seat Assignment button at the top. You can only record a seating assignment for a student who has not already recorded one. Based on what we learned during fall semester, we recommend you first ask students to record their own seat assignment, and then use this tool to create a seat assignment for those students who did not do their own.

Green-Red-Orange Class Status

In order to keep your classes in person as much as possible, the university has a protocol to help contain cases of COVID-19 and prevent spread. 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).

Classes will cycle from normal, to remote delivery only, to recovery in process, back to normal

Green Status: Normal

When a class is in green status, the instructor and students attend the face-to-face class as scheduled. Accurate seating charts will greatly enhance contact tracing and increase the chances of face-to-face classes remaining in green status.

Classes will not show as green in Canvas until after they have had a change in status, gone through the recovery process, and returned to green.

It is likely that there are students in the course who are unable to attend in person because they are in isolation or quarantine. These students are identified on the COVID-CARE Dashboard for the time they need to be absent. The instructor should accommodate these 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.

During green status, faculty, and students may be asked to submit COVID Questionnaire at any time because of an exposure that has occurred.

Red Status: Remote Delivery Only

A class will be moved to red status when two or more in-class COVID-19 exposures cannot be immediately contained due to incomplete information. When the case containment team identifies this situation in a class, the instructor will be contacted to see if they have additional information to assist with containment.

If the exposure remains uncontained, the director of emergency management, president, and provost will make the decision to move the class to red. The director of emergency management will alert the dean and department head. When the status is changed to red, the students in the class receive an announcement in Canvas.

Unless sick, the instructor conducts class temporarily via Zoom, during the same day/time as originally scheduled, until USU Case Containment has completed the classroom exposure investigation. During the investigative process, Case Containment investigators will contact those exposed.

The class remains in red until the instructor is cleared and notified by the case containment team to teach face-to-face.

Orange Status: Recovery in Process

As soon as case containment clears the instructor to return to class, the course will enter orange status. During this recovery phase, case containment will text/email students to clear them to return to class with masks.

In orange status, the instructor will accommodate students not attending in person with asynchronous teaching (lecture capture, online course material).

Once the exposure has been contained and/or the number of uncontained exposures drops below two, the class will be moved to green status.

Resources and Support

Visit USU Ready for technical support and tips for remote teaching.

If you have questions about these processes, please contact Provost Frank Galey (, Robert Wagner (, or the CIDI team for clarifications or questions.