As we monitor the pandemic and listen to your concerns, the main questions we received this week relate to non-adherence to the mask policy, TCU’s notification system, and options if your classroom is disrupted by isolation and quarantine. I answer these here.
Non-Adherence to TCU’s Mask Policy
Some students are not wearing masks in hallways and open areas in buildings.
- TCU Marketing and Communications and Student Affairs were very successful last year encouraging students to wear masks with a steady drip of campaigns, and they continue the same approach this year. This approach is effective for influencing behavior with a hands-off approach, yet it requires patience.
- A hands-on approach could involve walking through buildings and having conversations, providing incentives, and removing privileges (e.g., building access, food service). Deans are empowered to create an approach that is appropriate for their college or school, if they feel that this would be effective.
- The good news is that I spoke to our advisors from the Mayo Clinic this week and they advised that, if you are vaccinated, wearing a mask, and not within 6 feet of the unmasked people for more than 15 minutes in 24 hours, there is very low risk of you contracting COVID-19 or bringing it home to your unvaccinated children or immunocompromised family members. Double-masking provides even more protection.
TCU’s Tracing and Notification System
The TCU Emergency Operations Center and Campus Life are using the same investigation, tracing and notification system developed last year. It is a complex and effective process. We have confirmed, updated and outlined the process on the Faculty FAQs page under the heading “Notification process when students test positive.” If you have additional questions please confer with your Dean.
I have attached here examples of the notifications you may receive:
- Positive Test Instructor Notification – This is only for instructors, but not every instructor will receive one. Please see the Faculty FAQs for an in-depth explanation.
- Close Contact Notification
- Vaccinated Close Contact
- Unvaccinated Close Contact
- Student Absence Notification
Some instructors asked why you haven’t received an email that states that a specific student has tested positive. Out of privacy, TCU will never send an email that states that a named student has tested positive for COVID-19 or is in isolation.
Another question we received is whether an instructor can notify your class that an unnamed student has tested positive. The short answer is, yes. You can find more information on the Faculty FAQs page under the heading “Can I announce to my class that an unnamed classmate tested positive?”
In-Person and Online Classroom Options
The temporary one-week online option I communicated in last Friday’s email ends today. Your options now are the same as stated at the beginning of the semester and posted on the Faculty FAQs page under the heading “In-person and online classroom options.”
We are aware of the presidential Executive Orders as well as pending guidance from the Department of Labor. Human Resources and the Campus Readiness Task Force are working together on further guidance for the TCU community. I remind you that vaccines are in ample supply at the Health Center.
I encourage all faculty who don’t have scheduled classes at the time to attend Convocation, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 11:00 a.m., in Ed Landreth Auditorium. Please note that, beginning in 2020, classes will no longer be dismissed for any event, including this Fall’s Convocation.
Case Count Graph
Attached is the latest graph from TCU EOC comparing case counts from Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 as of 9/9/21. I will send the updated graph each week. We will continue to monitor the cases and adapt our practices if needed.
Please continue to check the Faculty FAQs on my website at provost.tcu.edu/faq for quick access to answers, and send unanswered questions to your dean (or their designee) as well as to your faculty senators. I will continue to communicate answers to frequently asked questions and other helpful information in a weekly email as needed.
Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs