Guidance for COVID Instruction

COVID-Related Guidance for Classroom Expectations and Management

Currently, masks are required in all indoor spaces. 

A valid Wildcat Pass remains a requirement to be on any campus as part of ensuring that all are complying with the testing protocols that are key to maintaining safe campuses.  Instructors and university officials have the right to ask to see a valid Wildcat Pass of anyone on campus.  Last year, the Student Senate passed a motion encouraging faculty to ask to see the Wildcat Pass in class.  The Motion can be found here.  There is recommended syllabus language below about Wildcat Pass and an example PowerPoint that can be used in the classroom on Resource Hub.  Details about the requirements for a valid Wildcat Pass can be found here.  

Instructors have a special role to play to make sure all students are comfortable in their learning environment, and the example of instructors to ensure that students are welcomed to wear masks even without a mandate is a powerful message.  Any instructor, employee or student also has the right to request that masks be worn by others in an indoor setting with close contacts even if a mask mandate is not in place. [NOTE: Currently there is a mask mandate in effect, so masks are required in all classroom and all indoor spaces.] A best practice is to post signage on an office door or in a classroom requesting that masks be worn inside.  If masks or sanitizer is needed for a classroom, meeting room, or office, please complete a PPE Order form or contact: Ron O’Keefe at ronald.o'keefe@unh.edu.  

Instructors should address obvious violations of or refusal to follow COVID protocols in their classroom (e.g., failure or refusal to properly use masks during a time of mask mandates, not having a valid Wildcat Pass) as they would any serious behavioral situation with appropriate reporting escalations. Some violations of COVID protocols may be less obviously intentional than others, such as missing a test drop off.  For example, a student may have forgotten to drop off a test, resulting in a “Warning” state on their Wildcat Pass.  This warning can be cleared by the student for 24 hours to give them time to submit another test and get a result. In these cases, a refusal to remedy the action and further comply with COVID protocols is a more serious violation than a momentary "slip up."

Students have been made aware of potential consequences for failure to abide by university public health protocols (see updated Student Rights, Rules & Responsibilities). At any time, in or out of class, you can use the anonymous online incident reporting tool (COVID-19 Incident Report) to document and report violations of COVID protocols.  All reports will be investigated and, if you choose, you can follow up on the investigation through the assigned incident number.  Use of the COVID-19 Incident Report tool allows a central collection place of reported violations across all venues, including off campus, thus enabling the COVID response team to manage potential behavioral issues as rapidly and fairly as possible.

Per state law regarding public institutions, no employee of UNH can withhold any service or provide a different service to the vaccinated versus unvaccinated.  The NH Attorney General has specifically approved our testing plan, changing data response plans, and use of Wildcat Pass as communicated.   

Contact tracing will be critical to controlling the spread of COVID and will be especially complicated with young students who have numerous interactions with each other.  We are asking for your cooperation in implementing a way to be able to help the contact tracers identify potential close contacts (CDC definition here) in your educational space (e.g. consistent groupings in labs, seating chart or picture of classroom).

All-campus shifts in modality. The entire UNH community must prepare for changing instructional circumstances, including individual courses or the entire campus pivoting to remote-only instruction, which may require changes to course assignments and assessments. Monitor all course announcements, campus email, UNH Police Twitter, RAVE alerts, Canvas announcements and other announcements to stay up to date. Encourage and guide students in doing the same.

Syllabi should spell out the meaning of modality changes for physical attendance requirements, course policies (e.g., submitting work), and for a course’s assessment format and assigned work.

Changes to an individual student’s ability to continue participation in a course. Accommodation processes are returning to pre-COVID processes.  If a student will be missing class for non-academic reasons and for the short term (typically less than and no more than 2 weeks), the instructor will receive a letter from the Dean of Students (Michael Blackman, Michael.blackman@unh.edu) requesting that the instructor work with the student to enable them to keep up with class expectations or to make up class expectations without penalty.  It is the responsibility and prerogative of the instructor to work with the student on what accommodations make sense for the specific course requirements and circumstances (e.g., outside reading and special assignment, responsibility to get missed class notes from classmate, online learning module, remote access if available).

Instructors are also at risk of non-academic reasons for being unable to teach in the classroom.  During the COVID time where that likelihood is greater than during normal times, it is recommended that the instructor initiate a conversation with the class on what expectations are for students if they get a letter from the Dean of Students for missing class, and what the students can expect if the instructor must unexpectedly miss a class.

If the student needs more that 2 weeks of an accommodation for non-academic reasons, then the student must follow the UNH Student Accessibility Services (SAS) processes.  Instructors are strongly urged not to make informal accommodations to students, as that can lead to unintended inequities.

When a student works through SAS, SAS staff will first determine the student’s eligibility for accommodations.  If the student is eligible for accommodations, then the SAS staff will work with the instructor to determine collaboratively what can or cannot be done to enable the student to continue in the course.  More information about how SAS operates can be found on the Resource Hub here.

Faculty, TAs, and course instructors are critical partners in promoting our #unhtogether COVID response culture. We all have a responsibility during this COVID-19 pandemic to protect our own health and the health of friends and fellow community members. Violations of the COVID protocols by even a single individual can cause significant disruptions or discontinuation of in-person academic activities. Any student creating such disruptions undermines the opportunity for others to learn and engage with the UNH community, and as such, is in serious violation of the UNH Student Rights, Rules, & Responsibilities.

In alignment with our #unhtogether commitment to the ongoing health and safety of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several changes in classroom expectations.

All students are required to wear masks in class and in any other indoor spaces where people will be close to one another for more than a few minutes unless a medical exception is made through an accommodation process. It is your responsibility to obtain a mask before coming to class. For information on proper use of masks, acceptable mask types, and other PPE and social distancing guidelines visit (https://www.unh.edu/coronavirus). Students wishing to request a medical accommodation should contact the Student Accessibility Services (link). Failure to comply with PPE or any other UNH COVID protocols is a violation of the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities. If you refuse to comply, you will be asked to leave class immediately and you may also be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students and your associate dean.

 

  1. Your instructor or TA may be wearing a face shield without a mask during instruction and only while maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from any student.
  2. Each classroom entrance is equipped with hand sanitizer and surface wipes.
    1. Use hand sanitizer as you deem appropriate.
    2. Wipe down your personal space prior to class and throw the used wipes away on the way out of class or take them with you.
  3. Contact tracing is an important part of containing any COVID spread. The following practices will facilitate effective contact tracing implementation should the need arise.
      1. Students should sit in the same seat for each class period to minimize potential contacts.
      2. We ask students to know the names of each of the people sitting closest to them, their nearest neighbors.

OR

We will be filling out a seating chart as part of each class.

OR

A picture will be taken of where you are sitting for each class. 

  1. UNH has developed “Wildcat Pass,” a web and mobile app to help each of us keep track of the requirements for compliance with necessary testing, isolation, and quarantine rules that will help to keep our community healthy.
    1. Log into your Wildcat Pass each day before coming to campus or leaving your residence hall.
    2. Be prepared to show your mobile device or a computer printout of your daily Wildcat Pass if asked by a university representative.

Changes to campus mode of operation and instructional modality.

  1. (Applicable to face-to-face or hybrid classes) This class is beginning the semester operating in face-to-face operations with a mask requirement in place.  If your health and safety require shifting to additional precautions such as social distancing, the modality and schedule of this course may change.
  2. (Applicable to online or hybrid classes) Your classroom is equipped with technology that will provide remote access to class instruction. Because of the need to accommodate potential isolation and quarantine due to the COVID pandemic, lectures or other class meetings for this course may be recorded by the university using UNH media platforms. Such recordings may be available for educational use (including both for instruction and as a review tool) by students enrolled in the class, the course instructor(s), and other university officials who support course instruction. Your voice or image may be captured on the recordings, and by enrolling in this course you are consenting to such recording for these purposes. The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UNH Zoom accounts. You may not share recordings outside of this course. Doing so may result in disciplinary action.
  3. (Applicable to online or hybrid classes) Students must learn how to access this course in all possible formats.
    1. Ensure that you have all necessary technology to participate in this course remotely.
    2. Consult with the instructor and/or with UNH IT for Students https://www.unh.edu/it/students with questions.

Non-COVID-Related Guidance

Please be aware of the Faculty Senate approved academic calendar.  University policy prohibits the administration of examinations (i.e. no tests, or exams) during the last week of classes (December 7th – December 13th). Outside of classes, only formal lab practicals may be scheduled during this week. Homework, labs and written reports can be due during the last week of classes.  Classes are held on Election Day. However, no examinations may be scheduled, faculty are asked to provide opportunities to make up and scheduled activities on that day as appropriate.  Please be sensitive to students who request flexibility due to religious obligations:  The Day of Ashura begins at sundown on August 18th through sundown on August 19th.  Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on September 6th and ends the evening of September 8th. Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 15th and ends the evening of September 16th.  Milad un Nabi is October 19th.  Milad un Nabi (Shia) is October 23rd.  Hanukkah begins at sundown on November 28th.

Many colleagues are making note on their syllabi of the importance of the University Academic Honesty Policy. Given the vigilance of the University in rooting out dishonesty, we strongly encourage this practice, as well as one that clearly explains your standard penalty as allowed per the University Academic Honesty Policy.  Many colleagues also include in their syllabi the link for the tutorial on plagiarism as well.

Should you require it, you will be notified via letter from the Dean of Students in cases where a student is experiencing an aggravated and compelling non-academic circumstance beyond their control and for which the Dean of Students has documentation. Please do not ask students for documentation yourself. Rather refer the student to the Dean of Students. Once you receive a dean’s letter, it is within your authority to determine what remedy or accommodation is appropriate (see the Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities Academic Policies, 04-Attendence and Class Requirements).

Sample Statement on Disabilities

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (as amended, 2008), each student with a disability has the right to request services from UNH to accommodate his/her/their disability. If you are a student with a documented disability or believe you may have a disability that requires accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 201 Smith Hall. Accommodation letters are created by SAS with the student. Please follow-up with your instructor as soon as possible to ensure timely implementation of the identified accommodations in the letter. Faculty have an obligation to respond once they receive official notice of accommodations from SAS but are under no obligation to provide retroactive accommodations. We advise you not to provide accommodations to students who are not registered with SAS. For more information refer to https://www.unh.edu/studentaccessibility or contact SAS at 603.862.2607, 711 (Relay NH) or sas.office@unh.edu.

Sample statement on emotional or mental health distress

Your academic success and overall mental health are very important. If, during the semester, you find you are experiencing emotional or mental health issues, please contact the University’s (PACS(3rd floor, Smith Hall; 603-862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1) which provides counseling appointments and other mental health services. If urgent, students may call PACS M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and schedule an Urgent Same-Day Appointment.

Sample statement to address the needs of students of all faiths

In the event that a student needs accommodation for a religious or cultural holiday/observance, that student is encouraged to make that request as early in the semester as possible.

Center for Academic Resources (CFAR) is dedicated to student academic success by teaching students to study smarter. CFAR staff coach students on study strategies like notetaking and reading skills, tips for remote learning, time management, organization, preparing for exams, problem-solving, and utilizing online and campus resources. Peer academic mentors represent a variety of majors and use the students’ course materials to demonstrate best practices. Make peer mentor appointments on the CFAR calendar at https://unh.mywconline.com. If you prefer to talk with a CFAR professional educational counselor, email us at cfar.sss@unh.edu; use Chat Live on our website at https://www.unh.edu/cfar; or stop by Smith Hall Second floor, Monday-Friday from 8:00-4:30. Our CFAR website also has a large selection of study tips and tools and STEM videos.

Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) provides free and confidential advocacy and direct services to survivors (https://www.unh.edu/sharpp/).

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPRis a training program in mental health matters, specifically suicide prevention, offered by PACS colleagues. Please contact PACS via the training request form here should your department or program want to arrange a training session.

Behavior Intervention Team (BIT) provides assistance to the UNH community when a student's behavior suggests harm to self or others, makes referrals to appropriate resources and recommends appropriate actions to the Dean of Students when needed (https://www.unh.edu/student-life/behavioral-intervention-team-bit). More information can be provided by calling The Office of the Dean of Students at 603-862-2053. The Office of the Dean of Students will provide you with guidance in the event that you have concerns about the health, safety, and well-being of a student.

Please know that the associate dean of a student’s college is also a helpful resource. We work as close partners in troublesome student cases.