On-Campus Instructors

This page was updated on August 24 with a new Frequently Asked Questions section.

This page provides instructors with information regarding classroom management for all face-to-face classes.  Some aspects of instruction that are also available to online courses, such as excused absence procedures, are referenced on this page, but are discussed in greater detail on the Academics page.

On This Page

Campus Requirements and Procedures

This section describes University policies and procedures that affect classroom operation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All students have been given the opportunity to remain off-campus and take courses remotely.  Those who have chosen to return to campus must abide by our policies and procedures regarding face coverings, social distancing and mandatory COVID-19 training and testing.

They must also cooperate with contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Mandatory COVID-19 training

Every student enrolled for the Fall 2020 semester must complete the Division of Research Safety’s online COVID-19 training before Monday, August 24, the first day of instruction.  Students will not be allowed to enter University classrooms or buildings on or after August 24 if they have not completed this training.

Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

Every student enrolled for the Fall 2020 semester residing on campus or in Champaign, Urbana, or Savoy is required to participate in the university’s on-campus COVID-19 testing program. Students will be tested two times per week. 

More information about the on-campus testing program including requirements and how to receive results can be found on the On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Page.

Building Access

One important way the university is working to maximize the safety of our entire community is by limiting access to on-campus facilities to individuals who are in-compliance with safety requirements. The university will be performing Building Access checks at the entrances to buildings where in-person courses are being held.

Students will not be allowed to enter University buildings where courses are taking place for the Fall 2020 semester if they have tested positive for COVID-19, if they have missed a mandatory test, or if they are currently awaiting a test result after notification of exposure.

All University employees working in campus facilities are also required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing.  Instructors may not enter a building where a class for the Fall 2020 semester is taking place if they have tested positive for COVID-19, missed a mandatory test, or if they are currently awaiting a test result after notification of exposure.

More information about the Building Access process is on the Building Access page.

COVID-19 Exposure Notification

CUPHD is notified of all positive tests; they carry out contact tracing for each case.  An individual identified as having had significant contact with a COVID-positive individual will be referred for testing and potential quarantine. 

If a student in a class tests positive for COVID-19, the instructor will not be notified of the student’s test result. The instructor will have access to verified absence information, including COVID-19 related issues (positive COVID-19 test, or an exposure that requires quarantine or further testing) but will not be provided with a specific reason. Since the instructor will be notified about all students that will be absent for any COVID-related issue (e.g., quarantine, mandatory testing) we are not explicitly or implicitly sharing COVID test results or COVID-positive status. This list therefore does not violate medical privacy rights of any student.

We strongly recommend that verified student absences, including those related to COVID-19 be excused in order to discourage class attendance by those who are ill or might carry the virus. This process will be in effect for all courses, including online.  For all other absences, standard University procedures for absences as described in the Student Code  remain in effect.

Even if some students are absent from class due to COVID-19 reasons, it does not mean that the instructor needs to cancel class.  Experts tell us that social distancing and face coverings greatly limit viral transmission.  Having limited contact with someone who has the virus does NOT mean that other individuals will necessarily become infected.  Further, some students may miss class for other reasons that arise in a typical academic year.

Face Coverings

All students, faculty and staff are required to wear face coverings – and wear them appropriately.  More specifically:

  • All University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students, employees and visitors must wear a face covering in any University building, facility and classroom unless they are physically isolated in a private space or room.
  • Face coverings also must be worn in all public places and settings on campus where social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. This includes outdoor spaces on campus and situations such as traveling to and from classes or events.  

More specific information about Face Coverings and their required usage can be found on the Face Coverings page.

Student Ambassadors will circulate across campus to distribute face coverings to those who do not have them. Classrooms will also have supplies of extra face coverings, hand sanitizer and sterilization wipes.

Students who require an accommodation for a face covering will follow the Disability Resources & Education Services (DRES) process for student accommodations and should present you with a letter outlining the accommodation. DRES will work with students to provide an accommodation that utilizes an alternative face covering.  No student will be permitted to go without a required face covering.

The Wellness Support Associate checking building access status at the building entrance will not admit an individual if they are not wearing a face covering.  Once inside the classroom, enforcement of the face covering policy falls to the instructor (see below for additional details.)

Social Distancing

All students, faculty and staff are required to obey social distancing guidelines (6 foot separation to the degree possible) at all times.

Cleaning

Classrooms will be equipped with alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer.  Instructors and students should wipe down their area upon entry into the classroom. 

Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned nightly with disinfectant delivered by electrostatic sprayer.  Some specialized spaces will be cleaned more frequently. Additional information can be found here

If you notice that a classroom has not been cleaned, or there are not material such as wipes or sanitizer to wipe down surfaces, please contact the office or staff member assigned to provide oversight of classroom facilities in the building to inform them about the issue. This is likely to be someone from your department or college.

Classroom Microphones

As part of the campus COVID-19 response plan for classrooms, Technology Services ordered microphones for distribution to individual instructors to use in general assignment classrooms. The vendor has informed us that the shipment will be delayed. Currently, the contingency plan is to use a shared microphone with the foam windscreen removed. We ask that all instructors wipe the microphone, cord and transmitter belt pack with a sanitizing wipe before use. Sanitizing the microphone components is in line with manufacturer recommendations and what our peer institutions are doing. 

As soon as we have information about when the individual microphones will arrive, we will provide an update. While cleaning the components is effective, we wish to provide another protection layer with a personal microphone as soon as possible. Please direct any questions to the Tech Services Help Desk by calling 217-244-7000 or emailing consult@illinois.edu.

Instructor Responsibilities for Classroom Management

Students entering the classroom have had their testing status checked and are wearing face coverings. Once the student enters the classroom, enforcement and management is the responsibility of the instructor. This section describes those responsibilities.

Syllabus

As in any semester, be sure to outline all class policies in the course syllabus, including any expectations about safety behavior. Recommended syllabus language is included below.

Responding to non-compliance

If a student does not comply with campus policies – for example, the student removes their face covering inside the classroom or refuses to respect social distancing – that student is in violation of the Student Code and subject to discipline. The instructor should take the following action:

  1. Ask the student to comply with the behavior. For example, say, “Please put on a face-covering for the safety of those around you.” 
  2. If the student refuses to comply, ask the student to leave the classroom. Say, ”If you are unwilling to comply, I have to ask you to leave the class.”  
  3. If the student refuses to leave the class, dismiss the class. “Unfortunately, not everyone in the class is willing to engage in safe behavior. Therefore, class is dismissed.” 
  4. After the class, report the student to the Office for Student Conflict Resolution, using this link, for further discipline. If the class was dismissed, notify the departmental executive officer (head, chair).

The University believes that wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing are imperative for public and personal safety. Presence on campus and participation in face-to-face instruction requires compliance with the requirements for face covering, social distancing and COVID-19 testing.  We therefore fully support decisions by instructors to dismiss any student from the classroom for failure to comply.  There will be no penalty to instructors who are forced to dismiss class due to a student’s failure to comply with safety behaviors.

Absences

The Student Code continues to be the guiding document with respect to excused absences.  Determination of excused absences are made by the instructor.  We strongly recommend that faculty count verified absences as “excused” to reduce the incentives for students who may be ill to attend class. As stated above, instructors will have access to information about students that miss class due to COVID-related issues. A student who is absent for an extended period is encouraged to contact the instructor and obtain a letter from the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students.

Seating

All classrooms will have reduced capacities to allow for social distancing between students and instructors. Classroom, lab, and studio layouts have been reviewed by Facilities and Services Design Services team in conjunction with facility managers. Seating will be denoted to indicate usable seats or furniture location. Students should look for markings such as a Block I or a Sit Here sign to indicate the usable seats.

A photo showing how seating will work in classrooms with fixed seatings. Several rows of seats are taped off and one seat is not taped, marked with a Block I.

Student stations are to be a six foot radius from other students and the instructor.

It is important that movable furniture is not re-positioned within the room and that additional seats are not borrowed from other rooms. Room layouts and maximum occupancy signs are posted in each room.

Max Capacity / Distributed Attendance

It is essential to know your room capacity. Each instructional location will have a maximum capacity sign and room layout posted. If your total enrollment exceeds the capacity of the space, you need to request a new room or have a distributed attendance plan. In the latter situation, students will need to be informed of the dates they are to attend in person instruction. Since available seats are limited, students should be warned that they may be denied entrance if they attend on the incorrect date. Social distancing capacities for instructional spaces can be found here.

Passing Periods

After consultation with health and safety experts, it was determined that the reduced density of classrooms meant it was not necessary to modify passing periods between classes. Though you do not need to let students out earlier or accommodate late comers as a general course of action, you are encouraged to try to accommodate any students who express concerns about being late or needing to leave early because they are having difficulty making it from one class to the next or because of their own health concerns.

Guest Speakers in Class

We distinguish guest speakers from within the University community (e.g., another University employee) to those that are outside of the University community (e.g., non-employee that does not undergo mandatory on-campus COVID-19 testing.)  Guest speakers from within the campus community should be treated like any other instructor and are subject to the requirements outlined in this document.

Guest speakers from outside the campus community must address the class remotely.  We do not have the mechanism to provide a COVID-19 test for guests at this time. 

General Advice for Instructors

This advice for in-person instructors will be updated over time.

Safety / Behavior

  • We recommend that all students, faculty and staff utilize the Safer Illinois app for COVID-19 testing, notification and status.  Note: the app does not track location, nor does it share private information with any outside party.  The app display screen that shows “status” does not show testing results.  A “Denied” status does NOT necessarily indicate a positive test, it might mean the individual should be in quarantine, is awaiting a test result or is not compliant with testing.
  • It is important that instructors model behavior for students.  Properly wear a face covering and maintain physical distance at all times in the classroom.
  • The instructor should review classroom requirements during the first few sessions in order to establish clear requirements and expectations.  Please remind students to maintain social distancing at all times, including entering and exiting the classroom.  We also suggest that instructors help students understand the motivation for all of our health requirements related to COVID-19.
  • At the beginning of the semester, some students might not be used to the face covering requirement.  Please begin with reminders to help with compliance.
  • At the beginning of the semester, as students are getting used to the new process, it is possible that COVID-19 testing status checking might delay the start of class by a few minutes.  We expect this delay to disappear as students learn the process.
  • Instructors should forbid eating or drinking in class so that face coverings can be worn at all times.
  • The Student Code does not support the use of grading penalties for lack of compliance (e.g., failure to wear face coverings.)  Instructors should follow the process outlined above and report noncompliant students to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution.
  • Please adhere to local building guidance on doors and windows.  Do not open classroom windows without explicit building manager permission. 
  • Outdoor class sessions are permitted, provided that students and instructors adhere to all of the health and safety criteria outlined in this document.  If an instructor wishes to hold class outdoors, please be cognizant of issues that students with disabilities might face.

Absences

  • In addition to students that are ill, you might have students who have been asked to quarantine or isolate.  Because instructors will not know the reason for an absence, we strongly recommend that all verified absences be excused.
  • Since absences might be more frequent and prolonged, consider grading mechanisms that permit flexibility for students.  For example, students might be provided with the opportunity to utilize late due dates for some number of assignments.

Office Hours

We recommend that office hours be held remotely. Students reported in the Spring that they did not like office hours “by appointment” and would prefer open office hours.

Grading and Assessment

  • Avoid grading elements that reward attendance, as it incentivizes students that are ill to come to class.  For example, do not award points for iClicker usage or in-class activities.
  • Try to create course assignments that can be delivered to students remotely, so that students who need to quarantine or isolate are able to keep up with the course. For example, if possible, replace synchronous classroom exams with online or take-home exams.
  • We recommend all exams be offered remotely.  Space for face-to-face instruction time is limited and precious, and we suggest that it not be used for exams.
  • Instructors must adhere to the final exam schedule.

Recommended Syllabus Language

Following University policy, all students are required to engage in appropriate behavior to protect the health and safety of the community, including wearing a facial covering properly, maintaining social distance (at least 6 feet from others at all times), disinfecting the immediate seating area, and using hand sanitizer. Students are also required to follow the campus COVID-19 testing protocol. 

Students who feel ill must not come to class.  In addition, students who test positive for COVID-19 or have had an exposure that requires testing and/or quarantine must not attend class.  The University will provide information to the instructor, in a manner that complies with privacy laws, about students in these latter categories. These students are judged to have excused absences for the class period and should contact the instructor via email about making up the work.     

Students who fail to abide by these rules will first be asked to comply; if they refuse, they will be required to leave the classroom immediately.  If a student is asked to leave the classroom, the non-compliant student will be judged to have an unexcused absence and reported to the Office for Student Conflict Resolution for disciplinary action. Accumulation of non-compliance complaints against a student may result in dismissal from the University.


Frequently Asked Questions

If I’m teaching in person, do I also need to offer online versions of my classes?

No, you are not required to do so. Students who need an online version of the course should work with their academic advisor and/or your departmental scheduler to enroll in either an online version of the same course or to look at alternative course options that meet the same requirements/goals toward degree progress.

If my class starts out face-to-face but I encounter problems, can I switch to an online format?

Yes, faculty may choose to move to an online modality after the beginning of the class. The faculty member needs to discuss the decision with the unit executive officer.

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?

Information and advice on assessments can be found here.

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.

If two or more students in my class live together, would it be okay for them to sit closer together (>6 feet) in the classroom, as long as they are sitting in a cluster and 6 feet away from the other students?

To minimize risk and discourage the practice of students requesting to sit closer to each other, it is best practice to model safe social distancing in the classroom. This means all students, regardless of living situation, should be seated six feet apart.

My class has a small enrollment, is it possible for me to move our class meeting time if all the students are available and willing to the change in schedule?

This change needs to be coordinated through Facility Management and Scheduling in the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar will help ascertain if adequate space is available at the proposed meeting time and can ensure the Class Schedule and Self-Service can be updated to accurately reflect course information.

Even though my class is listed as meeting twice a week, can I re-arrange it so we only meet once a week? Who should I inform if I make these changes?

This needs to be coordinated through Facility Management and Scheduling in the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar will help ascertain if adequate space is available at the proposed meeting time and can ensure the Class Schedule and Self-Service can be updated to accurately reflect course information. Also, any time changes need to ensure you are still meeting the University’s credit hour definition.

Since students will not be returning to campus after Fall Break, can I adjust my course content and class schedule so we can end class (including exams) before Thanksgiving?

No. The Synopsis of Policies Governing the Academic Calendar outlines the requirements about minimal days and weeks of instruction. Ending at fall break would not meet these minimums. (Source: https://senate.illinois.edu/ep0529.asp).

How should I handle “outside” speakers and other guests for my class? Am I (and/or my students) allowed to bring children to class if their schools and/or care providers suddenly become unavailable?

The university recommends that speakers, guest lecturers, or guests of any other kind from outside of the university not be brought into the classroom. Classroom assignments were made based on specific metrics that allowed space for the number of students and for the instructor and any TAs. Additionally, bringing in guests poses a risk of additional exposure to the guests and to the students. If it is absolutely necessary to bring in a guest, you will need to work with your unit to receive permission.

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.

Additional Resources

On-Campus Instructors updates