Faculty FAQs - Fall 2020

Communicating Health and Safety Protocols, Practices and Concerns

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

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

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.

Faculty may choose to point students to and read the updated syllabus language describing UTA’s Mandatory Face Covering Policy and show the Coronavirus and Fall 2020 Semester video.

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.

Symptom Checklist

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • 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.

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.

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).

If you do not feel safe returning to campus, you should discuss this further with your supervisor who may also consult with Human Resources.

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.

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

Check with your department administrative assistant to ensure you are listed as the instructor of record for the course in MyMav.

  • If you are listed as the instructor of record, please submit a ticket to UTA ServiceNow or to ithelp@uta.edu for further assistance.
  • If you are not listed as the instructor of record, please contact your Department Chair for assistance.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 cdesupport@uta.edu for more information.

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

Faculty should discuss with their chair or immediate supervisor any concerns regarding their ability to teach or work online.

On-Campus Teaching

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Campus Facilities

Hand sanitizing stations will not be placed within office spaces or office suites. Hand sanitizing stations are placed strategically throughout buildings in common areas.

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.

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.

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.)

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.  

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. 

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.

The Office of Facilities Management has COVID-19 signage approved by the University. You may request specific signage for your department by submitting an online request form or call 817-272-2000 or access approved signage to print on your own.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

  1. The individual should attempt to resolve the problem informally by respectfully requesting that the individual comply with the procedure.
  2. If direct appeal fails the individual may be asked to leave the building, office, classroom, or event immediately.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

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.

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.

Academic Support

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.

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.

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

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.

Faculty and staff should work with their department or lab administrative staff to order cleaning supplies.