Spring 2022 Classroom Protocols

Dear Academic Affairs faculty and staff,

I hope you had a refreshing holiday break with family and friends and are looking forward to welcoming our students as they return to campus this weekend to begin classes.

As we navigate the start of our fourth semester in the midst of the pandemic, I am reassured that we can, indeed, protect the purple, as we have proven to date. Since spring 2020, the Campus Readiness Task Force has made tough decisions – none lightly – and successfully navigated the start of three semesters. We have balanced data, forecasts, wellness, mental health, vaccination status and COVID cases with our duty to our students to maintain their academic progression as safely as possible. There has been no evidence of classroom transmission at TCU throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

I write today to re-familiarize you with safety protocols for classrooms and faculty office hours, which have been modified slightly for spring 2022 in light of the Omicron variant. That makes this a lengthy yet important message.


The semester will start as scheduled on Monday, January 10, in person. For the first week of classes only, instructors have the option to offer lectures either in person, in hybrid mode, or online. This option is limited to January 10-15 only, and protocols listed in the STUDENT EQUITY section below must be followed.


If a class is disrupted by quarantine and isolation and the instructor determines that they cannot ensure a good classroom experience, or if the instructor is in isolation or quarantine, there are several options for academic continuity for the duration of isolation/quarantine:

  1. Go online temporarily for the duration of isolation/quarantine, and follow protocols listed in the STUDENT EQUITY section below. TCU is not providing the option for instructors to move entire courses online during Spring 2022.
  2. Record your class and make it available to isolated or quarantined students until they are able to return to class.
  3. Teach in person and allow isolating/quarantining students to watch via zoom but not interact until they are able to return to class, and follow protocols listed in the STUDENT EQUITY section below.
  4. Teach a hybrid (dual in-person/online interactive) class for the duration of isolation or quarantine, and follow protocols listed in the STUDENT EQUITY section below.
  5. Make up missed classes using the method you established prior to Zoom.

I remind you of the fall 2020 Student Government Association request for in-person-only courses to incentivize students to attend class, thereby enhancing the experience for all students.


TCU continues to require that masks be worn indoors; therefore, masks are required in classrooms.

  • Instructors are encouraged to double-mask or wear N-95 or KN-95 masks. Information about TCU providing these masks for employees is forthcoming.
  • If TCU lifts the mask requirement before the end of Spring 2022, 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 deanofstudents@tcu.edu.
  • 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.


  • All classrooms provide a Teaching Zone with a minimum of 6 feet of distance around the instructor.
  • Most classrooms’ capacities allow approximately 3 feet of distance between students. Students may distance as much as possible within the classroom configuration.
  • Instructors teaching in the few classrooms that do not allow 3 feet of distance (SWR LH1, LH2, LH3, LH4 and MOUN 141) will receive separate communications.


TCU has demonstrated an efficient and reliable notification process since the beginning of the pandemic.

  1. Student tests positive for COVID-19
    • Dean of Students will notify the instructor of verified absence for the length of time detailed in message.
  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, provided an email as quarantine documentation, and encouraged to inform their instructor of quarantine.
    • Instructors may request to see the email or contactcovidresponse@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
    • You will need toisolate according to the new CDC Requirements. Tarrant County Public Health just modified its quarantine/isolation guidelines to match the recently released CDC guidance.  Updates will be made to the Protect the Purple site as quickly as possible.
    • You may move your class onlinetemporarily during your isolation, and follow protocols listed in the STUDENT EQUITY section below. 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.


Instructors may offer online lectures only for the situations outlined above. In these situations, please do the following:

  • Ensure that every student enrolled in the course has the appropriate technology. If needed, contact the IT Coordinator in your college (or your dean) to see if loaner technology is available. Note that the integrated circuit chip shortage continues to limit TCU’s supply of loaner laptops.
  • Submit to your department chair the day you are going temporarily 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 to Horned Frogs and their families.  


Instructors may maintain office hours 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 semester.



TCU has gone to great lengths to assure that we protect our community and remain on campus. TCU’s indoor mask mandate remains in effect. The Health Center provides free vaccines and boosters. We have no reported cases of classroom transmission. We have amply demonstrated that we can trace and notify close contacts, and care for those who are ill without being a burden on local health care agencies. TCU continues to offer FMLA, sick days, vacation days, and EAPs to help our colleagues take care of themselves and their families.

As much as we prepare, we also know that things can change. We will continue to monitor conditions and make adjustments as needed. Thank you for managing this complex process to maintain academic continuity. Please continue to check the Faculty Frequently Asked Questions at provost.tcu.edu/faq and contact your faculty senate representative, employee representative, dean, manager, TCU HR or me to make your concerns heard.

NOTE: This message on 1/6/22 focuses on classroom protocols. All employees will receive upcoming emails from the Campus Readiness Task Force regarding new CDC guidance, staff flexibility during week one, and the OSHA vaccine mandate. As always, refer to the TCU Protect the Purple website and Faculty FAQs for details and to monitor changes as the pandemic evolves.

With regards,

Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg

Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs