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Classroom Teaching Guide for Fall 2021

September 01, 2021
​As we return to largely in-person learning this fall, students and faculty members are asked to be aware of the following rules and guidelines that will be in effect in all Whitworth University classrooms. Thank you for protecting the crew!

Face Coverings
  • Everyone, including students and faculty, must wear face coverings in classrooms regardless of vaccination status. Faculty members may remove their masks to speak if behind the Plexiglas screen.
  • Students who come to class without a mask will be asked to leave and return with one. Face coverings are primarily to prevent a person who is positive from spreading the virus. Both the nose and mouth must be covered. Students who violate this requirement will face disciplinary action which may include not being allowed on campus. Faculty members may report repeat offenders through the Early Alert system.
  • If the mask mandate is lifted, faculty members will have the discretion to request that all students wear face coverings while in their class. This discretion will also extend to spaces such as offices. Faculty members may report noncompliant students through the Early Alert system.
Classroom furniture
  • Desks, chairs and tables have been returned to most classrooms. The basic guideline is that there be 3 feet from nose-to-nose. Instructors teaching in classrooms with tables may need to remind students to maintain as much distance as possible; however, the significant variable for prevention is the wearing of masks.
Classroom cleaning
  • A bin of supplies will continue to be maintained in each classroom for use by faculty and students.
  • Instructors are asked to keep attendance; this will assist greatly if contact tracing is needed for a class.
First days of class
  • Instructors should remind students of prevention strategies and the importance of following university guidelines for wearing face coverings and keeping distance. Reviewing these in the first few weeks of class will be important for setting classroom expectations.​
  • Students and employees are no longer required to complete the daily health attestation. However, all students and employees are asked to download the LiveSafe app so they may report symptoms or COVID-19 concerns.
Classroom accommodations and student absences
  • Accommodations for absences will look similar to the strategies and guidelines that faculty and student support staff used prior to the pandemic. For instance, when students are injured (including with concussions) or under doctors' instructions not to go to class due to illness, faculty members typically accommodate these absences according to the policies that they and their departments have developed. A student who has to quarantine because of possible exposure to COVID-19 or who is ill with COVID-19 should receive similar accommodation. In many pre-pandemic cases (such as a planned surgery and recovery period), students were able to keep pace with course activities and demonstrate their learning while not being physically present in class for a period of time. In these cases, the instructor did not penalize the student for their absences; the same approach could apply to a student in quarantine or isolation this school year.   
  • If a faculty member needs assistance in determining whether to accommodate an absence, they can ask the student to contact the associate provost, Brooke Kiener, to provide documentation of their need for temporary accommodation. 
  • Recording equipment will still be available in most classrooms. Recording class sessions or allowing a student to temporarily attend remotely may be a good option for students who have to quarantine or miss class for medical reasons. However, faculty members are not expected to reteach course materials or provide recordings of class presentations. The decision to record lectures or allow students to temporarily attend via Zoom or Teams is just one strategy that might be used to overcome attendance issues, and faculty should use their best discretion in determining possible accommodations for any student who is absent because of medical necessity (including COVID, concussions, surgery, etc.). If specific temporary accommodations are required, faculty will be notified and supported by the associate provost.
  • A general rule that Whitworth often uses with concussed students is to tell them that we can usually accommodate up to two weeks of absences, but after that, they will likely need to explore options for dropping a class or two, taking an incomplete, or taking a hardship hiatus. The same principle can be used for students whose COVID-related absences take them out of the classroom for longer than two weeks.