Provost's Email to Faculty (July 30)

Dear Colleagues,

The Office of the Provost wants to make you aware of the new required syllabus statement for the wearing of face coverings and expectations for how we will operate in classrooms as the fall semester begins. We realize that one size does not fit all in terms of classroom and lab protocols, but we will be operating differently this fall and appreciate your attention to the following expectations. Faculty should address each of these items in their syllabus.

Syllabi Require a Statement on Face Covering

Each college has developed an approach to help assure that students arrive in class wearing a mask. These specific steps on how to handle this process will be provided to everyone teaching a seated class by Deans and/or Department heads in the colleges. Common to each college level approach is the expectation to begin class by going over the new syllabus statement on face coverings. We want students to know that their health and wellbeing are the paramount reasons for these measures and all of us are taking these steps to keep everyone safe. College plans provide specific steps and outline supports should students either not have a mask when they arrive to class or refuse to wear one. The following link takes you to the syllabi policy statements on the Provost website that should be used in conjunction with college policies. (Syllabi Policy Statements).

Note: As a last step in addressing failure to comply with the mask policy, the existing classroom disruption policy will be utilized. (Op3.04-11 Class Disruption)

Syllabi Require Contingency Plans

During the last week of the spring 2020 semester, you received from the Office of the Provost a set of prompts developed by FCTL to help you develop a contingency plan should there be a need to move instruction into an alternative delivery approach. There is no expectation on format, but the contingencies should allow for situations where one or more students in a class must self-quarantine for two weeks and how you intend to keep the student(s) engaged to the extent possible. Department Heads have been asked to review the required contingency plans included in the syllabus submitted to the departmental office prior to the beginning of the fall semester (see provost website for syllabi templates including relevant policies for seated and online classes). Likewise, changing the mode of a delivery of an entire class during the semester is done only in consultation with your academic leadership. For example, if due to the number of students with illness in a class, you believe that the class needs to move to a virtual format for a period of time, this decision must be approved by the Department Head in consultation with the Dean (Syllabi Policy Statements). This approval process also includes plans to convert a seated class to a blended or hybrid format prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Syllabi Require New Title IX Statement

Due to changes in US Department of Education regulations, the policy for Title IX has changed. Please see Provost website for syllabus statement. (Syllabi Policy Statements)

Taking Attendance is Vital

As before, please take careful attendance in 100-200 level courses. Careful tracking of attendance will support contact tracing, if and when, a case of COVID-19 occurs.

For support on tools to track attendance, talk to your department head or the FCTL for templates and online methods. Any of the following are appropriate.

  • Seating chart
  • Attendance sign-in sheet
  • Clickers
  • Last access date in Blackboard gradebook
  • Assignments not turned in
  • Missed synchronous meetings

Some faculty may use attendance as part of the course’s overall grade. That’s okay. If you do not use attendance as part of the course grade, that’s okay too (4.5.1.6. Class Records). The goal here is that we can support students who may be struggling. Helping students early and often is important. You are the first and most important connection. The Center for Academic Success and Transition will follow-up with these students to ensure they return to class and follow up with you.

What We are Looking for in Student Attendance?

Students who are taking 100-200 level courses and who miss class for two consecutive days in a seated course and one week in online courses. We really need your help in identifying these students who miss class early in the semester and who do not contact you about their absence so we can provide support to them.

How do I report students who are not attending class?

For many years, those teaching 100 and 200-level course have submitted the Non-Attendance Reporting form in the Teaching and Advising Tab of the My Missouri State portal. Continue to use this. If you have any questions, contact the Office of the Registrar.

How do I support students who are struggling with coursework?

If students’ academic performance is a concern for you, you can submit an Academic Care Team Referral form at this link: Academic Referral Form. Once submitted you will receive an email from the academic coach assigned to that student.

Questions?

Contact Dr. Kelly Wood, Associate Provost for Student Success, KellyWood@MissouriState.edu or 417-836-8343.

Safe Classroom Protocols for the Prevention of Infectious Disease

Safe classroom and/or lab protocols must focus on wearing masks, social distancing, hygiene, and cleaning and sanitization. Specific practices will be unique to the classroom or lab setting, but must include the following when applicable: COVID-19 Masking Policy

  • Face masks must be worn. Faculty will also be wearing a mask or a face shield while lecturing. A face shield may be worn in place of a mask if the instructor maintains six feet distance from students.
  • A mask must be worn at all times during class or in labs unless otherwise approved by the provost, the goal also is to keep as much space between students as possible in each classroom situation.
  • No consumption of any food or drink will be allowed in class.
  • If desks/furniture are rearranged for group activities, do so allowing for increased personal space.
  • Seating arrangements: Have students continue to sit in the same desk after the first day of class. Doing so will limit exposure if someone does get sick and allow the university to do contact tracing.
  • If students are feeling ill or have any COVID 19 symptoms, they should not come to class but contact the instructor. Instructors should keep their department head informed of these occurrences and also contact the COVID-19 Response Team for further direction at COVID19@MissouriState.edu.
  • No sharing of electronic devices, books, pens, and other learning aids.
  • Limited access to white boards to avoid multiple people sharing this space and board markers.
  • Small group activities and labs: These activities have been modified to assist us in maintaining distance and avoiding the need to share objects and workspace.
  • Classrooms are being routinely cleaned and hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the buildings. Please practice frequent handwashing, using hand sanitizer, and keeping our classrooms as clean as possible so we can all stay healthy.

Blackboard

It is an expectation that all faculty utilize blackboard as an integral communication strategy with students. Blackboard shells will automatically be pushed out one-week before the start of fall classes.

Professional Development

We appreciate the extensive professional development efforts that all of you have made to be prepared for teaching in various types of alternative delivery modes should that be necessary. Your response to taking advantage of FCTL boot camps, workshops, and self-help modules and other opportunities such as courses of the Gardner Institute has been tremendous. These professional development efforts demonstrate your dedication to the success of our students.

Should you have questions with what has been presented in this communication please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Wood at 417-836-8343, FCTL at 417-836-8396, or the Provost Office at 417-836-4589.