Guidance for Returning to In-Person Classes

To Faculty and Others Teaching CWRU Students:

I first want to express my appreciation to all of you for adapting to remote teaching this month—and also to those who have complied with our booster policy. Our high vaccination rates are among the reasons we can return to in-person teaching this Monday, Jan. 24.

We will provide additional details regarding COVID-19 prevention measures in an email later this week. Even with 100% compliance, however, we know that some people still may become infected. Some of you already developed contingency plans for potential COVID-19 impacts on classes last semester; please review them to determine whether any updates may be needed.

If you have not yet written a plan, I urge you to prepare one before Monday. Even if you do not have to use it the entire semester, your students will appreciate having information now.

Among the points you should consider:

  • What happens if a faculty member or other person involved in teaching contracts COVID-19 and does not feel well enough to teach?
    In some instances, a colleague may be able to cover a class session or two; in others, planned class activities might need to be re-ordered, or consolidated into a future session. Regardless of how you choose to approach the question, please consider it now—and decide what you will do.
  • What if a faculty member or other person involved in teaching must care for a family member (for example, a young child) who has contracted COVID-19?
    The guidance for this kind of development is the same for the question above; the most important factor is to plan ahead for different scenarios.
  • What happens if a faculty member or other person involved in teaching contracts COVID-19 but feels well enough to continue to teach?
    You may move your class to remote status during your isolation. The class should return to in-person status as soon as your isolation period ends.
  • What happens if students contract COVID-19 and cannot attend class in person?
    Please consider some of the pandemic’s lessons regarding continued learning. Options include using Echo 360 or Zoom Record so that students at least can listen to the class later. As you know, many of our students can become anxious about missing material while in isolation. Please do what you can to help them keep up when they cannot attend.
  • What happens if so many of my students are absent because of COVID-19 that the class as a whole would have a better learning experience if the course temporarily went remote?
    While we hope such situations are rare, instructors or faculty members who believe such a shift is merited should request approval from the appropriate academic leader (e.g., dean, department chair, program director or dean’s designee). These leaders will do their best to respond promptly, and also will notify the school’s dean’s office of the temporary change.

Finally, please be sure to share your contingency plans with students next week. Let them know whom to contact if they will have to miss multiple class sessions, as well as ways to access information covered in those sessions. Similarly, let them know your plans if you must miss multiple classes. 

Nearly two years after COVID-19 first arrived, it’s exceptionally frustrating that so much time still must be spent to prepare for potential pandemic developments. Thank you for your ongoing dedication, patience, and commitment to our students.

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President