Thank you for sharing your feedback and concerns over the past few days, particularly in the Faculty Senate meeting. We heard you, and we understand there is anxiety based on local levels of pandemic spread and cases on campus. We are closely monitoring the COVID case count and trend lines, in addition to our frequent communication with Tarrant County.
This is a long email that I break into three parts.
As expected, we’ve seen a rise in cases these first two weeks of the semester as we return to campus. This rise is similar to that experienced with the start of Fall 2020, though much smaller in magnitude. If this year’s trend continues to follow last year’s pattern, the rise will take a downward trend soon.
To help ensure that our case counts trend downward, and in light of the upcoming holiday weekend, between now and Sept. 10, if you receive a letter from the TCU Emergency Operations Center (EOC) informing you that a student in your class has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you feel unsafe for yourself or your students, you may choose to temporarily move your class online for one week (unless your dean has determined that your course can only be taught in person). For example, if you receive a letter on Sept. 7, you could move your class online from Sept 7-14. If you receive a letter on Sept. 10, you may move your class online for the week of Sept. 10-17. Please continue to document the days that your classes are online.
As you consider this option for taking your class online, please keep the following in mind:
- There is no evidence of spread in the classroom.
- Our testing and tracing process is well planned. Please have confidence in your colleagues as they manage this complex and time-consuming process.
- Some of your students may not have access to laptops and sufficient internet service to support remote learning.
- Going online for a prolonged time could have impact on budgeting and operational decisions.
I ask that you continually think about those members of our community that do not have the ability to choose their modality as they perform their non-teaching duties—those who provide direct student services, those who keep our spaces safe and clean, and those who maintain living spaces for our students.
Beyond Next Week
As suggested last night, I’ve called on leaders of the Faculty Senate, Staff Assembly, Student Government Association and Graduate Student Senate to reconvene the collaborative meetings that these four governance groups began last year under prior leadership. They agreed to work together to recommend solutions that account for individual wants, desires and concerns regarding health, safety, quality-of-experience, personal freedom, and community responsibility during the pandemic.
I also met today with available deans and associate deans asking for their help in identifying problems within their colleges and identifying solutions to those problems.
We will continue to monitor local conditions and communicate near the end of next week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many of the questions I received this week concern the notification process to faculty members when a student tests positive for COVID-19 or a student or instructor is determined to be in close contact.
Please refer to the boldface headings below at FAQs for Faculty to find full answers to these questions:
- Options if your classroom is disrupted by isolation or quarantine. You can go online temporarily, record your lectures, allow students to zoom in to watch, provide a dual in-person and online option, or apply the method you used before the pandemic.
- What is TCU’s notification process when students test positive or are in close contact? The notification process is managed and maintained by TCU Emergency Management and Campus Life to keep all of us as safe as possible.
The most-asked question this week: Do I need to tell my class when I receive notification that an anonymous classmate has tested positive? No, you are not required to do so. Please continue to use established contact tracing procedures outlined in the FAQ mention at the second bullet point above.
If a student tells you they tested positive or have symptoms
Direct them to report the positive test at tcu.edu/protect-the-purple. If they haven’t been tested, direct them to get tested via TCU. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org so Campus Life can contact them to begin the tracing and notification process. At your discretion, you can make official notification from TCU a requirement for access to Zoom or recordings.
Please refer to the heading Who are the members of TCU’s Campus Readiness Task Force at TCU FAQs to find out. The Task Force was appointed in 2020 by Chancellor Boschini and is chaired by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull, Director of Emergency Management Sean Taylor, and AVC for Facilities and Campus Planning Todd Waldvogel.
Thank you, and best wishes for refresh this weekend.
Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Texas Christian University