It is reasonable to assume that the pandemic might again force the University into remote instruction, so instructors should inform students in the syllabus the alternatives planned to adapt the course for remote instruction. Here we provide language that should be included in the syllabus. This is meant to reinforce the communication on syllabus language that has already been sent by the Council of Undergraduate Education Deans (CUED).
The following should be included in syllabus materials and clearly communicated to students to ensure expectations are consistent:
Face coverings must be worn by everyone (including all faculty, staff, students, vendors, and visitors) indoors and outdoors while on property owned or governed by MSU and while participating in MSU-related or MSU-sponsored activities. If you have a medical condition that may prevent you from safely wearing a face covering, you should contact MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to begin the accommodation process.
Face coverings should (a) be non-medical grade to maintain supplies for health care use, (b) fit snugly against the side of your face, (c) cover your nose and mouth, (d) be secured with ties or ear loops, and (e) allow for breathing without restriction. Cloth face coverings should only be worn for one day at a time, and they must be properly hand washed or laundered before subsequent use. Face coverings may vary (for example, disposable non-medical face coverings or neck gaiters are acceptable).
Failure to wear a face covering for those without an accommodation will result in the following: (1) A reminder of the requirement, the reason for it (to minimize spread), and a request to comply. (2) A request to leave the classroom if no compliance. (3) If no face covering compliance and the student refuses to leave the classroom, class will be dismissed. (4) Should an emergency develop that you feel cannot be resolved by classroom dismissal, consider calling 911 for assistance. Note: Calling the police should be a last resort for genuine emergencies and not used as a way to handle non-emergency conduct issues.
Recommendations for Attendance: Attendance policies and the repercussions for non-attendance are the purview of the class instructor. MSU suggests the following guidance related to COVID-related absences:
Clearly state the class expectations for attendance and consequences for non-attendance in the syllabus, including your policy for illness
Consider how you will accommodate students who might need to be absent for two or more weeks
Instructors are encouraged to give students the benefit of the doubt and not require medical evidence and make accommodations as best as possible.
Clearly state the class policies related to missing quizzes and submitting late work and the consequences for missing or late work.
Suggest to students that they reach out to their advisors, College Student Affairs offices, and instructors if they will need to miss class due to COVID.
Provide information about the grief absence process and consider being generous if students report they have experienced a loss; consider putting in links to CAPS and other support services listed on the Keep Learning Website.
Instructors with questions can consult with the Office of the University Ombudsperson or Dr. Jim Lucas (firstname.lastname@example.org) as needed.
If there is an incident related to face coverings in class, instructors should immediately file a report with the appropriate academic unit leader (e.g., department head, director of academic affairs, or director) and, as soon as possible, produce a written record of the facts. For students who initially violated the requirement, but who chose to comply when addressed, consider an email or other communication to remind the student of the requirement for future classes and to engage the student in a conversation about the situation. It will be helpful to allow the student to explain their actions in a way that might help in the future. Important information on the compact compliance can be found here. More detail on University directives, including processes for sanctions can be found here. Addressing issues of academic misconduct for faculty and staff can be found here.
Similarly, supervisors will use the regular processes outlined by Human Resources for any situation involving an employee. Academic Human Resources should be contacted for situations involving faculty and academic staff.
For more information on how to engage with students to support behaviors that help reduce exposure to COVID-19 and how to best disseminate and communicate updates, please reference this presentation.