Instructors

This page provides instructors with information regarding classroom management.

Procedures for instructors

This section describes University policies and procedures that affect classroom operation.

Students who test positive for COVID-19

If a student discloses to you that they have tested positive for COVID-19, you should not share or distribute this information as this is the student’s private health information.

If a student in a class tests positive for COVID-19, the instructor will not be notified of the student’s test result.

Even if some students are absent from class due to COVID-19 reasons, it does not mean the instructor needs to cancel class. Further, some students may miss class for other reasons that arise in a typical academic year.

Absences

Please be as accommodating as possible for students who indicate that they must miss class for COVID-19 and other health-related reasons. We encourage instructors to handle student absences as they normally would to allow for students’ continued progress in the course (e.g., providing alternative assignments, access to recorded sessions, access to notes, etc.). 

Instructors may check verified student absences in Banner Self-Service through the three “Class Roster Data” pages. All students with verified absences recorded during the semester will have a Y in the Verified Absences column. The Verified Absences column might not be populated for students if a verified absence has not yet been recorded to the system. If a student who misses classes or assignments does not have a Verified Absences indicator, please refer that student to the Student Assistance Center process regarding Absence Letters. Pursuant to the Student Code, the ultimate decision as to whether an absence is excused rests with the instructor. Find more information about Verified Absences.

Asking about vaccination status or building access status

You should not ask someone if they are vaccinated. You are also not allowed to require students to disclose or prove their vaccination status, in accordance with laws protecting private health information.

Building Access Status will no longer be active in the Illinois app or the Boarding Pass.

Additional instructor information & resources

Classroom modalities

Due to serious health reasons, some instructors may be unable to teach in-person. If you have a medical reason for teaching remotely, please seek a medical accommodation through the Office for Access and Equity.  

The university also recognizes the need for short-term flexibility around unexpected personal circumstances. If an instructor is unable to teach an in-person class session or two for health-related reasons, that instructor may make arrangements such as teaching remotely or providing alternative assignments, etc. The instructor should notify the unit of these short-term changes, to enable the unit to respond to student inquiries. 

If the alternative arrangements need to be extended beyond one week in duration, the instructor must notify their department executive officer and work with the unit on a plan for continuation of instruction. Any shift in the modality of the course for the remainder of the course requires the approval of the unit executive officer and the dean. Such shifts will be approved only in exceptional circumstances. 

Face coverings

Face coverings are strongly recommended in classrooms during in-person class time.

Guest speakers in class

Guest speakers from within the campus community should be treated like any other instructor. Guest speakers from outside the campus community should be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 if they are able to do so. If guest speakers are unvaccinated, the expectation is that they have received a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Instructors who invite guest speakers are responsible for communicating these expectations to them. However, instructors should not be collecting any vaccination information or documentation.

Suggested syllabus language

If you feel ill or are unable to come to class or complete class assignments due to issues related to COVID-19, including but not limited to testing positive yourself, feeling ill, caring for a family member with COVID-19, or having unexpected child-care obligations, you should contact your instructor immediately, and you are encouraged to copy your academic advisor. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A student in my class told me they tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do?

If a student discloses to you that they have tested positive for COVID-19, you should not share or distribute this information as this is the student’s private health information.

If a student in a class tests positive for COVID-19, the instructor will not be notified of the student’s test result.

If a student says they are sick with COVID-19, how will I know if it is legitimate?

We are asking all instructors to trust students if they say they are sick. We want to ensure anyone who is not feeling well (and potentially symptomatic) does not feel pressure to attend classes. Students should communicate with instructors if they feel ill.

Pursuant to the Student Code, the ultimate decision as to whether an absence is excused rests with the instructor. 

How will I know which of my students is vaccinated?

To protect their private health information, you will not know which students are vaccinated.

The main way the university has monitored COVID-19 vaccine and testing compliance is through digital mechanisms. All individuals required to test are monitored and those not meeting the requirements are subject to student or employee discipline.

Can I ask about a student’s vaccination status?

No. Faculty and staff members should not ask about a student’s vaccination status.

What if I have a medical condition or disability that may lead to increased risk when teaching in-person?

If an employee or graduate student believes that they have a medical condition or disability that may increase the need to take additional precautions while teaching in person, they are encouraged to reach out to the Office for Access and Equity to learn more about the reasonable accommodations process and the accommodations that may be available while teaching in a classroom. Employees (including faculty, staff, and undergraduate or graduate student employees) can seek reasonable accommodations guidance by completing the request form at go.illinois.edu/ADARequest. A case manager in the Accessibility and Accommodations Division will contact you to discuss your individual needs further. All accommodation requests are evaluated on an individual case-by-case basis. Employees or supervisors should direct any related questions or requests to accessandequity@illinois.edu.

I am worried about how to give quizzes to students in the face-to-face and online formats. How can I make sure that exams and quizzes are equitable?
Can I change the modality of my course?

We understand that due to serious health reasons, some instructors may be unable to teach in-person. If you have a medical reason for teaching remotely, please seek a medical accommodation through the Office for Access and Equity.  

The university also recognizes the need for short-term flexibility around unexpected personal circumstances. If an instructor is unable to teach an in-person class session or two for health-related reasons, that instructor may make arrangements such as teaching remotely or providing alternative assignments, etc. The instructor should notify the unit of these short-term changes, to enable the unit to respond to student inquiries. 

If the alternative arrangements need to be extended beyond one week in duration, the instructor must notify their department executive officer and work with the unit on a plan for continuation of instruction. Any shift in the modality of the course for the remainder of the course requires the approval of the unit executive officer and the dean. Such shifts will be approved only in exceptional circumstances. 

What happens if I get sick—who takes over my class? What can I do to prepare for that kind of emergency?

As in any semester when an instructor is unable to perform duties for a time, the unit, in consultation with the instructor, will be responsible for determining how to handle the situation.

Am I liable if a student gets infected with COVID-19 while in my class?

No, the instructor is not liable if a student becomes ill.