Faculty FAQs - Fall 2020
Communicating Health and Safety Protocols, Practices and Concerns
How will students be educated on UTA’s health and safety expectations and protocols?
UTA is communicating health and safety protocols and expectations to incoming students through orientation and will continue to communicate with all students regularly throughout the semester. This is a shared responsibility for all of us to remind our community to follow the procedures. UTA’s mandatory COVID19 Return to Campus Training for faculty and staff is online at uta.edu/enews/email/2020/06-30-repopulation-training.html
Is there a training or checklist faculty can use to ensure proper adherence to UTA’s health and safety protocols?
All UTA faculty and staff are required to complete the COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Training in Canvas before the start date of the repopulation phase that includes their department. To enroll in the course, go to uta.catalog.instructure.com/courses/covidtraining
Is there an updated syllabus template for Fall 2020?
Yes. Faculty can use the template in their Canvas course which now includes language on mandatory face coverings, technology requirements for courses, and asks faculty to address attendance policies for hybrid courses. The new template is also available for upload to Canvas through the Course & Curricular Resources & Policies page.
Is there a statement faculty can read or video to show at the start of the semester so students are aware of UTA’s health and safety protocols?
If I feel sick (e.g. fever, coughing), can my class be cancelled without a doctor's note?
All faculty, staff and students are expected to conduct daily symptom monitoring, If you experience any of the following symptoms that are new, worsening, or occurring in a way that is not normal for any chronic conditions, you should not come to campus.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Feverishness, or a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
If an employee experiences any symptoms, they should take immediate precautions to avoid possible virus transmission to others and contact their immediate supervisor.
I’m a UTA employee, where can I get tested?
On-campus testing will be focused on students showing COVID-19 symptoms and will be based on testing strategies implemented in accordance with public health and medical guidance.
Employees seeking testing should contact their health care provider or local health department.
Why is testing for faculty members not offered on UTA’s campus?
UTA is not associated with a medical school and cannot offer testing services to faculty and staff. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their health provider to report symptoms or request testing. Faculty and staff may also contact the Tarrant County Public Health hotline at 817-321-5939 (or dial 211 for resources in other areas).
How should faculty and staff who need to work from home make arrangements to do so?
If you do not feel safe returning to campus, you should discuss this further with your supervisor who may also consult with Human Resources.
What will the notification and tracing procedures be if a UTA faculty, staff or student contracts the virus?
The University will coordinate contact tracing with local health authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Contact tracing for those who test positive for COVID-19 will be led as instructed by local public health officials. In the event state and local public health officials are unable to provide timely contact tracing, the University will work to identify and facilitate quarantine of campus contacts of infected campus community members.
What are the number of known active cases of COVID-19 at UTA (faculty, staff and students) currently?
Updated information on confirmed COVID-19 cases at UTA can be found online at uta.edu/announcements/coronavirus/confirmed-cases
Are there criteria or a threshold that will require many of UTA courses to move online?
As we continue to learn from and adapt to the pandemic, we will remain nimble and adjust as necessary. The decision to move more courses online may occur if:
- Local, state, or federal public health authority declares a public health emergency for a second or third wave;
- Texas’ Governor issues a stay-at-home executive order; or
- University’s COVID-19 positive cases are at a level that threaten the public health and safety of the University and the community. This decision will be made in collaboration with local public health officials and UT System.
UTA has a task force in place that is developing plans to respond to a variety of scenarios, including the possibility of transitioning to a largely online teaching and learning environment if necessary.
Course Planning and Organization
I am an instructor. I am not seeing my course on Canvas. What should I do?
Check with your department administrative assistant to ensure you are listed as the instructor of record for the course in MyMav.
There appear to be 3 different models. Do we, as instructors, select the one we want or will it be assigned? And what are the pros and cons of each modality?
The faculty in consultation with their departments and/or colleges can set the mode of instruction. Faculty with their departments may need to consider disciplinary and pedagogical requirements, and whether the course enrolls first-time in college students that may require modalities that support student success.
How often does the course need to be offered if face to face?
The frequency of the course is determined by the faculty member. Faculty need to ensure that the instructional hours for the course are fulfilled through in class or take-home assignments.
How can we schedule the exams to be in-class, with 60 students enrolled and still practice social distancing?
The Classroom Allocation subgroup is working to find and allocate space based on the data submitted by colleges on June 15. Faculty with larger classes are asked to consider fully online courses, or if needing some face-to-face activities hybrid courses. Hybrid courses can be organized so that students rotate through the course-for example, in a class of 60 that meets twice per week, 30 students attend on Tuesday face to face, and the other 30 can watch online or complete other assignments off campus. On Thursday, the other 30 students attend face to face class, and the remaining complete the online assignment. Faculty can determine the type of modality to use in collaboration with their department chair.
What percentage of f2f vs online does hybrid require?
There is no specific formula. For hybrid courses, faculty can determine the amount of time that is on-campus versus the amount of time the course meets online, view recorded lecture material, or in which students complete online assignments.
What to do if your lab space doesn't have Echo 360 or other video recording devices?
Echo 360 offers an app that faculty can use through their laptops; or faculty can use Teams to live stream or tape the lecture, use a whiteboard, or record a demonstration. Both online and face to face trainings on Teams are available to faculty and GTAs.
How do I manage student expectations, and what modifications do I need to make to the syllabus?
Faculty are encouraged to post their initial syllabus sharing the type of modality for the course, days of the week it will meet if using a hybrid modality, and technology expectations (webcam, if using Teams, Canvas Studio, etc.) as soon as possible. Syllabi must be posted on Canvas for students to access and can be updated before the start of fall classes for migration to Digital Measures.
Can lectures be in person, but the exams and quizzes online to save time for students who are usually off-campus?
Yes, faculty have flexibility in designing the modality of their courses as long as they use the original day/time of class as posted in MyMav and adhere to the posted final exam schedule for Fall 2020. After November 24, all exams, quizzes or other course assignments must be administered online.
Do students have an option to attend classes through a completely online manner or just partial offline manner?
Students that have health concerns or are not comfortable returning for in-person classes in Fall, do have the option of enrolling in all online classes. Faculty are encouraged to live-stream or record their lectures or other course materials to accommodate these students. Students are being reminded that not all classes will be available in an online format, so they will need to assess how their choices impact their path to graduation. We encourage students to discuss any such plans with their advisor.
Will faculty have the discretion to switch course modalities (e.g. from face-to-face to online) before the fall semester has started? Or after?
If there is a critical need to change modalities from the updated listing in MyMav, faculty need to discuss the situation with their chair or immediate supervisor.
Will faculty workload policies be changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Workload for faculty is set in discussion with their chair or program director. This is a discussion that needs to happen with the faculty member and the chair or program director. For staff, it is a discussion with their supervisor.
Support for Teaching
I want to continue to improve my online course and online teaching; what can I do?
UTA’s CRTLE is offering a series of workshops focused on online pedagogy and essentials that faculty can incorporate into their courses. Beginning July 6 and ongoing through the summer and fall, faculty can register for self-paced effective online and hybrid design courses with discussion sessions. Descriptions and sign-ups are on UTA’s CRTLE page at utacrtle.org
I have concerns about the best way to administer online exams and assessments; how can I learn about best practices?
UTA’s Center for Research, Teaching and Learning Excellence is leading workshops on assessment which are advertised on their webpage https://utacrtle.org. Faculty also have options for online proctoring tools and should contact email@example.com for more information.
Where can I find faculty workshops on teaching with Canvas and Teams?
Beginning July 6 and ongoing through the summer and fall, faculty can register for self-paced effective online and hybrid design courses with discussion sessions. Descriptions and sign-ups are on UTA’s CRTLE page at utacrtle.org
What should faculty who do not have necessary technology (hardware, software, connectivity) to teach online do?
Faculty should discuss with their chair or immediate supervisor any concerns regarding their ability to teach or work online.
When will faculty know if their face-to-face or hybrid classes have been accommodated with a larger room to allow for appropriate social distancing?
The Registrar is currently running the space allocation process. We anticipate being able to assign rooms and update courses with this information in MyMav by the middle of July.
What additional cleaning and sanitation steps are being taken in UTA buildings and classrooms?
To ensure the University community is safe, the following are just a few of the measures implemented for your safety and well-being:
- The Office of Facilities Management will increase cleaning frequencies, and modify cleaning schedules to meet the needs of the campus community;
- Campus departments are encouraged to clean common touchpoints (copiers, printers, coffee makers) within their office/work area throughout each day;
- All drinking fountains and refilling stations will be turned off and faculty, staff and students are encouraged to bring their own water to further reduce the spread of the virus;
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at many entrances, common areas, and offices across campus, and cleaning supplies in classrooms for students' use;
- Certain student seats/desks and rows will not be used in lecture halls and classrooms to ensure social distancing guidelines are met;
- Continue virtual meetings instead of face-to-face meetings;
- Minimize the use of other workers' phones, devices, tools and equipment; disinfect before and after each use;
- Building air systems programmed for 100% outside air (no recirculated air);
- Signage installed throughout campus as reminders for social distancing, wearing mask/face covering, and proper hygiene, and
- Plexi-glass screen/partitions installed to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading.
Don't forget about your own personal devices (cell phones). Avoid touching them after you have touched common surfaces, and clean often.
Whom should I contact to report a classroom or building space that needs additional cleaning or attention?
Please report any campus areas that need additional cleaning or attention to the Office of Facilities Management by calling (817) 272-2000 or completing an Online Service Request at uta.edu/fixit
How will UTA help students maintain 6-foot distance when entering and exiting classrooms or gathering in the hallways before class begins?
Students should be encouraged to not come to campus until class begins. UTA will place signs in buildings to discourage congregating. Some social spaces that cannot be social distanced may be closed or furniture removed to maintain appropriate distancing protocols.
Faculty have been told that all instruction moves online after Thanksgiving. How should we administer final exams for classes that were scheduled face-to-face or hybrid?
All instruction and coursework after Thanksgiving will take place fully online. Any assessments or exams will be conducted online. CRTLE can help with questions about best practices in offering online assessments and exams.
Can my department request hand sanitizers for inside our office or within the department?
Hand sanitizing stations will not be placed within office spaces or office suites. Hand sanitizing stations are placed strategically throughout buildings in common areas.
Can employees request disinfectant wipes for their departments?
At this time, due to the high demand, disinfectant wipes will only be utilized in classroom settings. Employees can request disinfectant spray and paper towel supplies for their department by submitting an online request form or call 817-272-2000.
Why are the water fountains shut down?
Shutting down water fountains is a recommendation of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Protocols for Institutions of Higher Education to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Will the custodial staff clean my department and office suites?
Custodial staff will clean all common areas frequently and throughout the day with a disinfecting team member assigned throughout each building on campus. The Office of Facilities Management is asking each department to assist with cleaning individual offices, conference rooms, kitchens/breakrooms, copy rooms, etc. (Custodial staff will not clean individual desks.)
Can I request supplies for my department?
Yes. Employees can request supplies for their department by submitting an online request form or call 817-272-2000. Upon approval, you will be contacted to schedule a pick-up time at the Facilities Management, Central Supply Store located at 445 Spaniolo Dr.
Can I get a desk shield?
On campus, the use of plexiglass screens will be reserved for transactional locations, where the potential of having visitors from outside the department exists, only. If your work area falls under the transactional location description, you may request a desk shield by submitting an online request form or call 817-272-2000. Upon approval, you will be contacted to schedule a pick-up time at the Facilities Management, Central Supply Store located at 445 Spaniolo Dr. Larger desk shields or multiple requests per department will be scheduled for delivery. Review the varieties of desk shields and sizes.
For general workplace environments, where staff and faculty work adjacent to each other, the Office of Facilities Management encourages employees to follow CDC recommended social distancing, face coverings and hand washing. In some cases, social distancing will require each department to implement its own operational solutions including staggering office hours, working from home or re-assigning work locations.
Will classrooms be sanitized between classes?
Classrooms will be equipped with disinfectant wipes for students and instructors to wipe down their seating areas prior to each class. Classrooms will be sterilized during the night-time cleaning.
Will the Office of Facilities Management install directional signage for my department? If not, how can I get signage for my department?
How will the Office of Facilities Management address concerns of airborne germs within the HVAC system?
UTA is following guidelines recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to help address concerns related to COVID-19. Those include:
- Increasing the use of outdoor air in ventilation systems wherever possible. This proportionally reduces the amount of recirculated air.
- Ensuring that ventilation systems in labs use 100% outside air and do not recirculate air to other spaces.
- Using the highest compatible Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value filters in existing ventilation units.
- Keeping ventilation systems running longer to remove contaminants in the air.
Learn more about the building ventilation.
Is the Office of Facilities Management supplying facial coverings/masks?
No. However, the Office of Environmental Health & Safety will be supplying facial coverings/masks for individuals on campus. These can be picked up at the Central Library and University Center Information Booth. You can also order face coverings for your department or research lab.
Requiring Face Coverings
Where can I find UTA’s policy requiring face coverings in buildings?
UTA implemented a face-covering protocol that went into effect June 10, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. The face-covering protocol is posted online at uta.edu/announcements/coronavirus/campus-updates/face-covering-protocol
How will wearing face coverings be enforced within the buildings and classrooms?
We all have a shared responsibility to remind others of UTA’s health and safety protocols. If someone is not in compliance, you can politely remind them of UTA policy to wear face coverings when inside campus buildings and maintain social distancing. Faculty or staff who refuse to comply will be reported to Human Resources. Students who refuse to comply will be reported to the Office of Community Standards.
Will face coverings be made available to faculty, staff and students? Is there a place on campus students can pick up face coverings if they do not have one?
Through UTA’s Environmental Health and Safety Department, reusable, washable fabric face masks are available for UTA departments and disposable, three-ply, pleated, ear-loop face masks are available for research groups. Research groups can request disposable face masks from EH&S using the Face Mask Request Form linked at uta.edu/announcements/coronavirus/campus-updates/face-covering-protocol
If faculty, staff, students or visitors do not have or forgot to bring their face covering to campus, reusable, washable fabric face masks for individuals are available at Central Library and the information desk at the University Center.
If a student in my face-to-face or hybrid course has a medical issue that prevents them from wearing a face covering, can I require them to inform me in advance?
It is expected that all comply with this policy. Students who have a condition that precludes the wearing of a face covering should follow the procedures for obtaining an accommodation by working with the Office of Students with Disabilities. Faculty and staff who have a condition that precludes wearing a face covering should work with their immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources for an accommodation.
What should I do if a student in my course refuses to wear a face covering? What if this happens during an exam?
Faculty should politely remind the student of UTA’s face covering policy. If the student refuses to comply, they should be asked to leave the class. If they refuse, faculty have the option to cancel class and report the student to the Office of Community Standards. Faculty should also report the incident to their department chair or immediate supervisor.
How do I report someone who refuses to wear a face covering while inside a UTA building?
Members of our campus community are empowered to respectfully inform others about the policy in an ongoing effort to enhance awareness and encourage a culture of compliance. An individual who feels that there has been a violation of this procedure may invoke the following actions:
- The individual should attempt to resolve the problem informally by respectfully requesting that the individual comply with the procedure.
- If direct appeal fails the individual may be asked to leave the building, office, classroom, or event immediately.
- If the behavior persists, the individual should be reported to their immediate supervisor first. If the supervisor is not available or unable to assist, faculty should be referred to Faculty Affairs and staff to the Office of Human Resources. Students should be referred to the Office of Community Standards.
- Members of our campus community should not contact the University Police Department as UTA PD will not be responsible for the enforcement of the mask/face covering policy.
- Repeat offenses by the same person shall be handled through already established administrative/disciplinary policies and procedures. Violations may result in disciplinary action.
Student Access to Technology
How should faculty address situations when domestic and international students in online classes do not have the proper hardware, software or access to engage in the class or take exams with virtual proctoring software?
UTA has purchased additional laptops and Surface-Pro devices for students to use. Students can contact the Central Library to check out a laptop or hotspot. Students who are unable to come to campus to check out technology will need to identify resources local to their area.
Can I require specific hardware (e.g. webcam) or software as part of my course in order to dissuade academic dishonesty?
Faculty can list the course technology requirements in the class syllabus and can include hardware and online proctoring tools. UTA uses Respondus Lockdown and Unicheck to support academic integrity. Both tools are available through Canvas.
The Office of Community Standards has prepared the Faculty Academic Integrity Guide for Online Learning to support instructors. Find more information on faculty resources for academic integrity, as well as information on how to report an alleged violation.
Should faculty plan to hold face-to-face office hours in Fall 2020?
Faculty can determine the modality for offering office hours in consultation with their department chair and/or dean. Departments may choose to designate a conference room or other larger space that can be reserved by faculty or others to have one-on-one meetings, such as office hours.
Will UTA libraries be open this summer or fall?
UTA Libraries plans to begin curbside/front desk pick-up of the circulating print collection starting July 6th. Faculty and students will be able to request materials via the Hold system in the library catalog. They expect to rollout a campus-wide announcement about this once they finalize details.
Will computer labs and examination centers be open and operating this fall? How should I arrange to use these for my courses?
OIT operates several computer labs which have instituted cleaning and social distancing protocols. Faculty can reserve space by going to oit.uta.edu/utaremote. Plans are also underway to reserve large spaces for face-to-face exams before the Thanksgiving break. Departments may need to provide their own proctors and staff to ensure that UTA cleaning and social distancing protocols are followed.
Research and Labs
For faculty that work with student researchers, should we transition research activities online if possible?
Faculty and student researchers should continue to work remotely to the extent possible for activities such as literature reviews, data analysis and writing and continue to meet remotely (e.g., using Teams) even for meetings with only two (2) people. When on-campus research activity is necessary, refer to the UTA Research Coronavirus Updates page for further direction and guidance on operating laboratories within social distancing guidelines.
How should labs and offices request or purchase cleaning supplies?
Faculty and staff should work with their department or lab administrative staff to order cleaning supplies.