Classroom Protocols for Fall 2021

Dear Academic Affairs faculty and staff,

This message (sent August 11, 2021) details safety protocols established in 2020 for classrooms and faculty office hours, now modified for fall 2021 due to the availability of the vaccine. Our goal remains to be on campus and in person, learning and teaching together in the classroom, as much as possible and as safely as possible.

Please refer to the TCU Protect the Purple website and Academic Affairs FAQs for further details and to monitor changes that may evolve as the pandemic evolves.

MASK REQUIREMENT
This week, the Campus Readiness Task Force announced that masks must be worn indoors; therefore, masks are required in classrooms.
• If TCU lifts the mask requirement before the end of Fall 2021, instructors-of-record (instructors) may continue to require masks in their classrooms. Please clearly convey requirements to your students. A mask requirement can be included in your syllabus.
• Students not complying with classroom mask requirements should be referred to Dean of Students Mike Russel.
• Once inside the classroom, instructors are encouraged to remain in the Teaching Zone, the front portion of every classroom that ensures at least six feet of distancing.
• While in the Teaching Zone, instructors may replace a face mask with a face shield.
• Masks are not required when you are alone in your private office space, but are if you have office visitors.
• Visitors to campus must follow TCU’s mask requirement.

NOTE:
The only update to current TCU guidelines is Face masks are required indoors on campus. All else remains the same at this time:

  • Vaccinated: Face masks are required indoors on campus.
  • Unvaccinated: Face masks are required indoors on campus.
  • Distancing: Distancing is not required at this time. Unvaccinated people are expected to try to distance.
  • Classrooms: Enrollment limits provide a minimum of 6 feet around instructors and approximately 3 feet between students.
  • On-campus events and activities: Face masks are required indoors on campus. Since distancing is not required at this time, events can be held without distancing. Unvaccinated people are expected to try to distance
  • Off-campus events and activities: The TCU face mask policy does not apply to off-campus events. The policies of the venue hosting the event apply.
  • Visitors: Visitors to campus are allowed. Face masks are required indoors on campus.

DISTANCING
• Classrooms provide a Teaching Zone with a minimum of 6 feet of distance around the instructor.
• Classroom capacities allow approximately 3 feet of distance between students. Students may distance as much as is possible within the classroom configuration.

NOTIFICATION AND CONTACT TRACING
TCU has demonstrated an efficient and reliable notification process since the beginning of the pandemic.

1. Student tests positive for COVID-19.
• Campus Life will notify the instructor when a student has tested positive and will need to isolate for 10 days.

2. Student is identified as being in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
• The student will be notified by contact tracers and provided an email as quarantine documentation and asked to inform their instructor of quarantine.
• You may request to see the email or contact covidresponse@tcu.edu to verify.
• These same guidelines apply to instructors identified as being in close contact; however, instructors who remain in the Teaching Zone will not be in close contact.

3. Instructor tests positive for COVID-19.
• With or without symptoms, you will need to isolate for 10 days from the time you tested positive.
• You may move your class online temporarily during your isolation and return to in-person classroom instruction when symptoms are gone and isolation is complete.
• If you are too ill to teach, notify your department chair to make sure your class is covered.

ACADEMIC CONTINUITY
Instructors have several options for enabling academic continuity for students who are isolating or quarantining:
• Use the method you established for making up missed classes prior to Zoom.
• Record your lecture and share it with students who are isolating or quarantining.
• Teach your class as a dual in-person/online course, allowing only students isolating or quarantining to be online.
• Teach your in-person class and allow students who are isolating or quarantining to Zoom in to watch, without the ability to interact. This relieves the burden of managing a dual-course and can enhance the experience for students in the classroom.

We encourage you to focus on the in-person experience and not provide access to recordings or Zoom to students who are not in isolation or quarantine. This is in response to the Student Government Association’s plea during fall 2020 for in-person-only courses to incentivize students to attend class, thereby enhancing the experience for all students.

MOVING COURSES ONLINE
TCU is not providing the option for instructors to move courses online during fall 2021. If an instructor is isolating or quarantining, or if a large percentage of students in a class are in isolation or quarantine, the instructor may temporarily move class online, limited to the time of isolation or quarantine, then return to in-person instruction when isolation or quarantine is complete.
• Submit to your department chair the day you are going online and the day you return to the classroom. This will help us understand the extent the pandemic is affecting the classroom and communicate such, as needed, to Horned Frogs and their families.
• We encourage you to teach from your classroom or TCU office while temporarily online unless you are ill or quarantining yourself.

I urge instructors to be judicious with temporarily moving classes online. While the health and safety of everyone is of utmost priority, we must also consider students’ and instructors’ desire for a personal, connected learning community.

OFFICE HOURS
During fall 2021, instructors may maintain office hours either in person, online or both. Masks are required in person as long as the university requires indoor masks and can be required by instructors throughout the fall semester.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Academic Affairs’ FAQs page is updated frequently. For questions not found, email connectedcampus@tcu.edu.
TCU Protect the Purple website is the resource for all Horned Frogs for information on vaccines, testing, contact tracing, requirements, guidance, reporting and support.

Remaining on campus is crucial to our Horned Frogs’ academic experience as well as their mental health and wellness. Thank you for managing this sometimes complex process to maintain academic continuity. I ask you for diligence towards remaining in the classroom and urge you to reach out to your chair, dean, HR or me, if you need support.

I sincerely appreciate you. Together, we can do this!

Best regards,

Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg