Faculty Classroom Safety Recommendations, Guidance and Information
Dear Doane Faculty,
With onground classes set to begin in a little over three weeks, the following are classroom safety recommendations, guidelines, and information developed from various working groups within our Fall Planning Task Force:
Two policies are being added to the online syllabus addendum which is included in all Doane course syllabi. These are new for the Fall 2020 semester.
- Face Coverings Policy: Face coverings, which cover the nose and mouth, must be worn in the classrooms at all times. Types of face coverings include reusable masks, disposable masks, and face shields. Reusable masks should be laundered or sanitized daily. Face shields should also be sanitized daily. Disposable masks should be stored in a brown paper bag when not being worn and safely discarded after one day of use. Exceptions to the policy require approval by Doane’s Office of Disability Services. Students not in compliance with this requirement will be subject to Doane's Student Conduct Code. Additional information about the Code can be accessed via this link.
- Instructor Recordings of Class Sessions Policy: The instructor may record portions of this class for educational purposes. The recordings will be shared only with students enrolled in the course and will be deleted at the conclusion of the course. Students may not reproduce, post, or distribute any recordings provided by the instructor.
A group has been working on acquiring microphones and other audio technology for use in classrooms. The plan is to have faculty use individual devices that can be carried to classrooms. A few audio options have been ordered for testing this week. After the testing, Deans will send a request form to faculty with descriptions of the technology and scenarios. Faculty will be asked to select the device that fits their instructional needs. IT will then order the devices and training will be offered. Technology beyond audio devices should be addressed with your Dean.
Classroom Safety Guidelines for Faculty
As mentioned above, face coverings, covering the mouth and nose, are required in all Doane classrooms, and should be worn by all students during class time. The only exceptions to this rule are students who have received an appropriate accommodation from Student Support Services. Students wishing to acquire such accommodations should reach out to Anita Harkins, director of the Student Success Services, and ADA Coordinator.
- If a student forgets to bring a mask with them to class, they should be asked to either return to their residence hall or vehicle to retrieve one. If this is not a feasible option, some disposable masks will be available to students to hand out.
- If a student refuses to wear a mask in class, the faculty member can ask the student to leave. If they refuse to leave the faculty member can use their own judgement and potentially should dismiss the entire class and report the incident to judicial affairs (Crete campus) or to the campus director for follow-up.
- Each student will receive two washable, cloth face coverings from Doane.
- The faculty member must wear a face covering while teaching to limit potential spread to and from the student population.
- All faculty members will receive one washable, cloth face covering from Doane with additional available upon request. All faculty members teaching an on ground, in person class will receive a reusable face shield. Wearing a face shield is not required by faculty, but provided as an option if they would prefer to wear one. Face shields will be made available to increase accessibility for students who may have difficulty hearing or need to read lips, and help to foster an inclusive classroom. Faculty members using a face shield should wipe down both sides of the face shield with disinfectant daily.
- Students should be asked to refrain from eating/drinking often in the classroom space, as this would require them to remove their face coverings. Of course, drinking is allowed and encouraged to stay hydrated. Remind students of good respiratory etiquette, and ask them to please cover their cough/sneeze with a tissue or the inside of their elbow, and to wash or sanitize their hands after a cough or sneeze.
Physical Distancing Guidance
Maintaining physical distance in classrooms should be a top priority. Ensure students are seated only in designated seats (spaced apart). Classrooms will be utilized at no more than 50% of capacity -- in most cases, this represents 6 feet of space between students and instructors.
- Do not rearrange classroom furniture. Classrooms will be set up to appropriately accommodate spacing.
- Maintain assigned seating throughout the semester -- this limits the number of students who sit at a given seat each day. It is ok to have students select seats on the first day, but ask them to remain in that seat for the semester. If students need to change seats at some point during the semester, make sure to keep an accurate and up-to-date seating chart in the event contact tracers need to know who might have been in close contact with an infected student.
- Faculty members should also maintain 6 feet of distance from students. This may mean limited movement within the classroom.
- Advise students to enter and exit the classroom in an orderly fashion, maintaining distance between students to avoid congestion in the doorways in and out of class.
- Use of outdoor spaces for classroom activities is being discussed.
Sharing Classroom Objects and Materials
- Whenever possible, use a personal set of objects in the classroom, rather than shared objects. For example -- bring your own set of whiteboard markers and slide progressor to the class every day, rather than using a common set in the classroom.
- If you do use a shared classroom item, sanitize it with the available disinfecting spray before and after using the item to protect yourself and the next instructor.
- Limit shared object contact by students in the classroom (whiteboard markers, slide progressors, pipettes, art supplies, etc.), especially if they are difficult to disinfect. Identify strategies for your class that prevent multiple students from handling the same object, and ask students to sterilize any handout objects before recollecting them. Be clear about these expectations to your students.
- Remind students not to share pens, pencils, books, electronic devices, etc. (This is a good reminder both in and out of the classroom!)
- Limit handouts/hand-ins and use digital resources when possible. If something must be handed out physically, consider placing the items on desks before class, and do not have students pass items. If there are assignments that must be handed in physically, consider having students do this one-by-one to a designated location in the classroom.
Classroom Disinfecting and Sanitation
- There will be a spray bottle of disinfectant and paper towels in each classroom. Similar to the “gym model” of wiping down the equipment you use, it will be expected of faculty to sanitize areas you will have touched. Students should be asked to sanitize areas they have touched.
- Ask students to participate in good hand hygiene -- ideally asking them to wash their hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap or use hand sanitizer (There will be hand sanitizer stations located throughout the campuses and at the entrance to buildings.) before entering the classroom. Remind students to refrain from touching their face.
Strongly discourage students who are feeling ill, or those reporting a known COVID-19 exposure, from coming to class. Students should be monitoring their symptoms daily and will be entering symptom information each morning on a screening app Doane is currently working on implementing. Under no circumstance should a student who has a fever attend class. Students who report symptoms of COVID-19 or a known exposure should be asked to do the following:
- Crete campus - Students living on campus should be advised to remain in their room with a mask on and not attend class. Students living off campus should be asked not to report to campus at all. All students should self-isolate and immediately contact Kelly Jirovec, campus nurse, for further guidance. The Health Services Office will not accept walk-in appointments.
- Lincoln or Omaha campus - All students should be advised not to report to campus. They should self-isolate and contact their medical provider for further guidance or until they get tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test result.
Student Absences & Participation with/without COVID-19
- If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student will be asked to quarantine in their home or in Doane’s quarantine space (Colonial Hall) for a period of at least two weeks. Be flexible with these students, as the severity of disease may range from mild to severe. Be prepared to deliver content to them virtually in some form, should they be able to keep up with class material adequately. In matters other than COVID-19, the course syllabus will guide student absences and/or lack of participation.
The Role of Faculty in Contact Tracing
If a student on the Crete campus tests positive for COVID-19, faculty who have that student in class will be notified that a positive case has occurred among a student in their class. Student Health Services will work closely with the local health department to conduct contact tracing to quickly identify potential significant exposures. For faculty teaching on the nonresidential campuses, students testing positive for COVID-19 should notify their faculty member, who will then notify the appropriate campus director. Confidentiality should be honored.
If contact tracers reach out to you about your classroom, it is essential that you provide as much good information to them as possible, especially if some safety guidelines, such as enforcing classroom mask and physical distancing, were not followed. It is important to be truthful in this case, so we can actively track spread and notify necessary parties.This is also where having an assigned seating chart will play a helpful role in keeping our community safe.
Other Helpful Safety Tips
- Strongly consider conducting office hours virtually. Ask students, when possible, to schedule an appointment, and keep a record of these in some way, by date, in the event you or a student tests positive, and contact tracing must be performed.
- Be prepared to move quickly to a virtual semester/term in the event of a severe outbreak on campuses.
- When possible, please complete tasks at home to lessen the need for you to be on a Doane campus and reduce your chance of exposure.
Thank you for your collective efforts to help have students return to our campus locations.
Co-chairs of the Academic Operations/Support Working Group