CLAS Quick Guide for Instructors—Fall 2021

Classroom Policies on Mask-Wearing and Discussion of Mask-Wearing and Vaccinations

The University of Iowa strongly encourages the use of face masks in all classroom settings and during in-person office hours and encourages the use of face masks on campus. See the university classroom policies at this link: Frequently Asked Questions for Instructors.

CLAS Course Modalities during Fall 2021

The University of Iowa has planned for and is committed to a residential in-person experience for Fall 2021.  At this time, there are no plans to move any in-person courses in CLAS to an online modality. Any requests from instructors for ADA accommodations that may lead to a course modality change will be handled through Faculty and Staff Disability Services and the CLAS Dean’s Office.

Instructor Absences

During Fall 2021, we are using our regular policies on instructor absences. These include the following:

  • DEO should always be informed of any absence affecting teaching ASAP.
    • In the case of travel, instructors should be reminded to submit the travel form for approval before the travel is arranged.
    • Additionally, DEOs should encourage faculty to designate a colleague who is willing to assume their teaching responsibilities in an emergency or absence.
  • If instructors test positive for COVID-19, they should follow university guidelines for employees.
  • Instructors should arrange for coverage of teaching and office hours obligations during a brief illness or when a short absence from the classroom needs to occur.
    • Additional ideas for handling these emergency absences include the following: utilizing a guest instructor to lecture; leading discussion or small group work; utilizing a guest speaker; or having the instructor lecture via Zoom with a TA or colleague present.
    • While the pandemic taught us there are new ways to cover a course when the instructor needs to be away (i.e., using Zoom), an instructional modality change from in-person to online for more than one or two class periods is not permitted.
    • DEOs will work on strategies for managing instructor absences within your departments. The CLAS Dean’s Office is also a resource to help departments with more complex situations.

Things to Consider Related to Instructor Absences and Course Modalities

  • As the university is committed to a residential in-person experience, it is critical that instructors help support students with the routine of coming to our classrooms in person. Many students lost their routines during the last several semesters because of shifting course modalities.
  • An instructor (either the course instructor or designated back-up person) must be present in a classroom while students are present, in case an emergency situation arises.
  • Keep in mind that teaching a course in person and online simultaneously is not recommended. This “HyFlex” modality requires significant effort and can have an impact on the course environment. Instructors may want to think very carefully about limiting online access to a course to students only with documented illness or other emergency circumstances. Providing a standing Zoom link to all students in an in-person course as an option for attendance may result in student complaints and is discouraged.

(Also see this reminder:

Instructor Office Hours

  • Instructors may hold their office hours either in person or virtually.
  • Many instructors are now calling office hours “drop-in” hours and/or giving students an opportunity to sign up for time slots within the available times.
  • Instructors who are teaching in-person courses are encouraged to offer some of their office hours in person so that students have an option to meet with them in person.
  • Virtual office hours are flexible and some instructors may choose to offer some drop-in times during the early evening when students are often working on their assignments.

Fall 2021 TALA and Other Student Concerns

  • The Temporary Alternative Learning Arrangement (TALA) has been phased out. If students have needs for ADA accommodations, they should contact Student Disability Services ( Graduate assistants and fellows should contact Faculty and Staff Disability Services for assistance.
  • Students are also encouraged to contact their academic advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies for their major or program for support with course changes or options for a different course schedule.
  • For additional support, undergraduate students in CLAS can also contact the CLAS Office of Academic Programs and Student Development in SH 120 (open daily from 8 – 4:30) by phone at 319-335-2633 or by email at
  • Graduate students can contact their school’s or department’s Director of Graduate Studies or the CLAS Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Outreach and Engagement.
  • If students have other concerns related to their health and well-being, they may contact Student Care and Assistance (
  • Instructors are not required to offer their in-person classes in an online modality to selected students who request online access for various reasons. As above, please keep in mind that teaching a course in person and online simultaneously is not recommended.

Student Absences

  • As always, university policy requires that students be permitted to make up examinations missed because of illness, religious or military obligations, or emergencies.
  • Here are the CLAS Student Handbook policies on attendance and absences.
  • Instructors should use their professional discretion when deciding whether or not to allow a student to make up missed work that is not an exam.
    • Shorter absences are generally easier to navigate and don’t usually require documentation.
  • For longer absences (that might include COVID-19 exposure, illness, or quarantine):
  • Instructors are not expected to record videos of in-person lectures or discussions for students who are absent, but may certainly do this if they wish. It is also not expected or encouraged for instructors to offer Zoom access for in-person classes. See above guidance on “HyFlex” modalities.

Guidelines for Ill Students and Instructors

Specific guidance for what students and instructors should do if they are sick, test positive for COVID-19, or may have been exposed to COVID-19, is available on the “What to do if you’re sick” UI coronavirus website. This website provides guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are instructed to follow public health recommendations. Johnson County Public Health will continue to implement contact tracing and will contact those who may have been in close contact with an infected individual to discuss next steps. 

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to complete the COVID-19 self-reporting form. The self-reporting form will not go to instructors, so students will need to be reminded and encouraged to let their instructors know right away if they are ill and unable to attend class in person.

Responding to Iowa House File (HF) 802 

As an educational and research institution, the University of Iowa is fully committed to free inquiry and vigorous debate. Free expression, academic freedom, and diversity of perspectives are all crucial to the fulfillment of our core mission. The robust exchange of diverse ideas is the essence of a public research university. For more background information, please see the Free Speech at Iowa website:

Also, please see the UI’s website on HF 802.

  • In early June, House File (HF) 802 was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Reynolds. As a university, we have worked to proactively educate our students, faculty, and staff regarding its impact on our university.
  • HF 802 applies to mandatory DEI training on campus.
  • HF 802 does not prohibit the voluntary training or discussions of DEI topics in the following areas:
    • Teaching or discussion of DEI topics and theories in the classroom.
    • Voluntary training (i.e., BUILD program or implicit bias faculty/staff training).

Resources for Instructors to Support Difficult Dialogues in the Classroom

UI Center For Teaching resources:

Want tailored expert support? The Center for Teaching’s educational developers are happy to meet for consultations or to facilitate interactive group workshops by request. Please contact the Center for Teaching at or complete the center’s request a consultation form.

DEI informs all Center for Teaching events; see this page for upcoming campus-wide workshops.

Supporting Students Who are Navigating an Inequitable Experience in a Course

And, as always, you can consult the General Quick Guide for Helping Students, which includes campus contacts and resources for helping students dealing with various types of crises.

Experiential Learning Guidance

Guidelines for students and colleges considering internships, externships, field experiences, research activities, clinical programs, practicums, and other hands-on learning experiences (that in this context are located off-campus) can be found at the bottom of this web page.

It is a student’s responsibility to be aware of the host organization’s policies on COVID-19 vaccination, quarantine, and isolation. While the university does not require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, many organizations are requiring vaccination for all employees and individuals at those organizations. Please understand that if you cannot provide proof of vaccination for those organizations, you may not be allowed to participate in their programs.

UI Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The university also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to university facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316, 319-335-0705 (voice), 319-335-0697 (TDD), (email).