CLAS Quick Guide for Instructors- Spring 2022

Summary of instructional changes for Spring 2022 from Fall 2021

Students and instructors are required to fill out the self-report form to report illness or exposure to COVID-19.

The self-report form report will serve as the student excused absence note and instructors may not request additional medical documentation.

Instructors will receive a daily report, by class section, of students who may not be able to attend in-person classes and/or who may be absent from hybrid/online classes.  This information will also be available in their ICON course websites.

Instructors may request to temporarily move a course from F2F to online modality for up to two weeks maximum due to instructor or significant student absences, following CLAS criteria and after approval from the Dean’s Office.

  • This change of modality will not be available for lab or studio courses.
  • Graduate instructors must consult with their course supervisor before making a request to change a section modality.
  • If approval is granted, clear communication must be provided to students about the change of modality.
  • After the temporary change of modality, the course is expected to move back to a F2F modality. CLAS has no plans to change course modalities for the semester.

Quick links:

Student Absences Due to COVID-19

Self-reporting: students testing positive, who have been informed they were in close contact with an individual testing positive, or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are instructed to fill out the COVID-19 self-reporting form.  

Instructors will receive a daily report, by class section, of students who may not be able to attend in-person classes and/or who may be absent from hybrid/online classes. 

The daily report serves as the official notice of their absence for course records.  

The instructor report will include the following reminders:

  • Students have been asked to contact their instructors to discuss specific needs.
  • Please work with the identified students who may need flexible/alternative learning arrangements (e.g., allowing the student to participate remotely, extending deadline dates, etc.).
  • Do not request medical documentation from the student. 
  • Due to privacy concerns, do not notify other students in the class that a student may be absent. If the individual student chooses to notify others, they may do so.

Daily reports will be available to instructors starting Tuesday, January 18 at 8:00 am. The first report will include all students who have self-reported since Thursday, January 13, and then each day after that the report will contain students who have filled out the self-report form during the last 24 hours. Instructors can also access lists in their ICON course websites using the MAUI in ICON feature.

General Guidance around Student Absences

As always, University policy requires that students be permitted to make up exams missed because of illness, religious or military obligations, or emergencies.

Please see the CLAS policies and procedures on student absences that can be found on the following pages:

Documentation related to absences

The daily Instructor Student Absence Report will serve as the excused absence documentation. Please do not ask the student for additional documentation.

Shorter absences are generally easier to navigate with the course instructor and according to the course absence policies and don’t usually require documentation.

For longer absences and absences not necessarily related to COVID-19, students can be asked to use the CLAS absence form to report their absence and turn it into the instructor; this form is also available through ICON.

Supporting student absences

It is critical that the syllabus clearly provide an explanation of attendance policies, including what students should do if they will be absent from class.

Whenever possible, please build in flexibility to attendance and participation policies, assuming that students this semester may have more absences than usual and to protect instructor time with accommodating students.

Instructors should use their professional discretion when deciding how and whether to allow a student to make up missed work that is not an exam.

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 to the entire class as an alternate way to attend, only to students whose absence is reported on the instructor self-report forms or for other emergency reasons.

Instructors should take time during the first week of class (and perhaps again closer to mid-semester), to review all course details in the syllabus, especially around attendance, participation and exam policies (if applicable).

Resources for Testing

The North Campus Test Center (NCTC) is a 48-seat test center administered by Distance and Online Education (DOE) Exam Services that offers proctoring services for UI faculty and students. While some student accommodations (denoted by an asterisk on students’ Letters of Accommodation) can be fulfilled at SDS, many accommodations can be fulfilled at the NCTC.

Faculty can schedule student exams at the North Campus Test Center (NCTC) from the Proctored Exam Portal, available in ICON. Here are step-by-step instructions to add the Proctored Exams Portal to your ICON site and request an individual proctored exam for a student. Please contact doe-exams@uiowa.edu; 319-384-4800 if you have questions about enabling or using the portal.

If concerns arise for undergraduate students, please contact CLAS Undergraduate Programs in 120 Schaeffer Hall (clasps@uiowa.edu or 319-335-2633) between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. 

If concerns arise regarding graduate student absences, please contact the school’s or department’s Director of Graduate Studies or the CLAS Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Outreach and Engagement.

Instructor Absences

During Spring 2022, we are using our regular policies on instructor absences. These include the following and they apply to graduate student course instructors as well:

  • 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.
  • The DEO and course supervisor (where appropriate) 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.
  • Instructors should always arrange for coverage of teaching and office hours obligations during a brief illness or when a short absence from the classroom needs to occur.
  • 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 in the classroom; or having the instructor or guest speaker lecture via Zoom with a TA or colleague present.
  • While we have learned that 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 unless the criteria for moving a course temporarily online are met (see below for details). A short term move to online (1-2 class periods) does not need to use the workflow form but the department should be made aware.
  • 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.

Instructor Absences due to COVID-19

Instructors testing positive, who have been informed they were in close contact with an individual testing positive, or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are instructed to fill out the COVID-19 self-reporting form.  

Instructors should also follow University guidelines for employees.

Depending on their symptoms and overall level of illness, instructors should work with their departments and/or programs to determine a plan for delivering their courses.

  • Note that the University is following the guidance from the CDC regarding exposure, quarantine and isolation practices related to COVID-19.

CLAS Course Modalities During Spring 2022

The University of Iowa has planned for and is committed to a residential in-person experience for Spring 2022. Courses should be delivered in the modality that is published in MyUI for Spring 2022. 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.

Short-term Course Modality Changes: CLAS Policies

Requests to change teaching modality temporarily from F2F to online must be submitted approved using the Instructor Modality Change form: https://apps.its.uiowa.edu/forms/course-move

Requests must meet the following CLAS criteria and be approved by CLAS in workflow:

  • Course must have a lecture or discussion format. Labs, studio courses and other courses with required equipment or materials are not eligible to be moved to an online modality.  Additionally, one of the next two criteria must be met:
    • 50% of enrolled students are listed on the Instructor Student Absence Report.  
    • OR
    • The course instructor is positive for COVID-19 and well enough to teach and needs to isolate or quarantine following the CDC guidelines. (If the course instructor is not well enough to teach, please see guidance on instructor absence).

Review and Approval

  • Graduate student instructors must coordinate with their course supervisor or departments on changes of course modality. If applicable, instructors must have approval from course supervisor.
  • All requests must be reviewed and approved by the DEO in workflow.
  • All requests must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate Associate Dean
    • Associate Dean Christine Getz and for graduate courses (5000+)
    • Associate Dean Cornelia Lang for undergraduate courses (1000-4999)
  • Any request to keep a course modality online more two weeks must be discussed with the CLAS Dean’s Office (appropriate Associate Deans).
  • Instructors will need to resubmit the form to provide notification of their course returning to the original teaching modality. 

Communication about course modality changes

  • Instructors must be communicating with their course supervisors, departments and/or programs about any requests for modality changes. 
  • Any changes in course modality need to be clearly communicated to students through ICON and/or direct email.
  • If approved, these short-term and temporary changes in the course delivery modality will not be shown on MyUI.

Exams during a course modality change

  • If course exams are scheduled during the period of temporary modality change, please consider options very carefully and clearly communicate to students in the course how the exams will be delivered.
  • The use of online video proctoring (using Respondus Monitor or Proctorio) is not currently supported as an option for all students in CLAS courses where F2F exams are planned. The use of these tools is limited to courses pre-approved for these licenses.
  • Instead, for smaller classes, instructors can consider using zoom proctoring or a take home exam format.
  • For larger enrollment courses that have evening or out of class exams, it may be possible to request larger classroom spaces so that students can spread out. Please keep in mind that this additional space, however, may require TA or staff proctoring support that should be planned ahead. Please contact Associate Dean Cornelia Lang to work on requesting additional space for exams in these situations.

Considerations: Instructor Absences and Course Modalities

As the University continues to be 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.

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. Instructors should limit online access to a course only to students who appear on the daily Instructor Student Absence Report  or for other emergency circumstances.

Instructors may choose, but are not required, and if feasible, to make recorded lectures available online to support student learning or to enable students to catch-up on material they may have missed.

Providing a standing Zoom link to all students in an in-person course as an option for attendance is discouraged.

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

The University of Iowa continues to strongly encourage members of the campus community to be vaccinated and boosted, to protect their own health and to reduce risk on campus.  Vaccines continue to be available at no cost to students and employees and are easily accessible.  Encouraging vaccines is in accordance with the Board of Regents State of Iowa guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.  However, it is important to recognize that vaccination is a personal health decision.

The university also continues to encourage the use of face masks on campus, and strongly encourages the use of face masks in all classroom settings and during in-person office hours.  However, face mask usage is not required except on CAMBUS and in specified research and healthcare settings.  These protocols apply to visitors as well as to faculty, staff, and students, and are in accordance with the Board of Regents State of Iowa guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

  • Communication to students: You are encouraged to use the statement below in communications to your students, on your ICON course site, and/or in your syllabus.  Please note that any published statement may need to be updated as new guidance is released. 

    “The University of Iowa strongly encourages students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.  The university also encourages students, faculty, and staff to wear a face mask while on campus, and strongly encourages the use of face masks in all classroom settings and during in-person office hours.  However, face mask usage is not required except on CAMBUS and in specified research and healthcare settings.”

    To encourage students to wear face masks, you may wear a face mask yourself if you are comfortable doing so.  You are encouraged to post university signage in your office and you may encourage students individually and in group settings to wear a face mask.  You may also have discussions or make statements regarding mask usage as long as all sides have a voice in the conversation.  This should not be the classroom focus and should align with the policy in the Operations Manual (OM III-15.6) and the Board of Regents State of Iowa policy on Freedom of Expression.

    Instructors should be especially mindful to avoid discussing a student’s vaccination status.  Additionally, you may not:  1) penalize or criticize students for not wearing face masks; 2) provide tangible incentives, such as extra credit or a higher grade, to students who wear face masks; or 3) direct students to sit in different areas of the classroom based on whether they are wearing face masks.

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 (sds-info@uiowa.edu). 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 CLAS Undergraduate Programs in SH 120 (open daily from 8 – 4:30) by phone at 319-335-2633 or by email at clasps@uiowa.edu.

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 (dos-assistance@uiowa.edu).

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.

Other Instruction-Related Information 

Graduate student exams: All graduate student exams, such as comprehensive and final exams, may be held using in-person, virtual, or hybrid modality.

Instructor office hours: Instructor office hours may be held either in-person or virtually.  Some students may request virtual meetings, and others may be more comfortable and better served meeting in-person.  If you are not comfortable meeting in the smaller space of your office, you may choose to meet virtually or investigate options for other spaces that allow for greater distancing while still providing confidentiality.  You are always welcome to wear a mask and to avail yourself of clear protective screens.  Please talk with your departmental executive officer if you need assistance with space or obtaining clear protective screens for your office.

Student Care and Assistance: If students have concerns related to their health and well-being, encourage them to contact Student Care and Assistance (dos-assistance@uiowa.edu).

Faculty and Staff Disability Services: If you have medical or other concerns and have a need for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please initiate the process through Faculty and Staff Disability Services.

Spring semester resources from the Office of Teaching and Learning Technology:
The Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT) has curated resources on evidence-based teaching strategies, offered assistance with implementing teaching technologies, and collected other useful information to help instructors prepare for a successful spring semester: https://teach.its.uiowa.edu/spring-new-semester-otlt

Experiential Learning: 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. See this page for updates: https://coronavirus.uiowa.edu/learning-online

Instructional Space 

Cleaning Procedures: The university will continue to follow CDC-recommended cleaning procedures in classrooms.  Employees are responsible for keeping their own personal work areas clean.  Students, faculty, and staff will be responsible for practicing recommended hand hygiene before using items that might be shared by others, as well as cleaning items after use.

Clear Protective Screens: Screens have been retained in university classrooms.  If a screen has been removed from your classroom, please contact classroom scheduling at classrooms@uiowa.edu to have it reinstalled.  Additionally, clear protective screens can be utilized in other spaces such as offices, reception areas, and other common areas.  Please talk with your departmental executive officer if you need assistance with obtaining clear protective screens for areas outside of the classroom.

Health Stations and Classroom Supplies: Health stations that include hand sanitizer and medical-grade and KN95 masks will be positioned in buildings throughout campus, and the Building Attendance Program is still in place.  Classrooms will be equipped with hand sanitizer, wet wipe buckets and disposable masks (currently both medical grade and KN95).

Signage: University signage and flyers encouraging individuals to wear a mask and providing other health tips continue to be available to post in university buildings.  Facilities Management and Classroom Scheduling has provided signage in campus buildings and classrooms.  You may post signage from this site in your office or other locations in your building.

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 Institutional Equity, the University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316, 319-335-0705, oie-ui@uiowa.edu.