COVID-19 Faculty Protocols

Delta State is expected to provide some form of a face-to-face (F2F) experience to students who registered for F2F courses, as long as it is safe to do so. This expectation has been made clear in a resolution from the IHL Board as well as in survey results of current and potential students. Our goal is to provide the best quality education, combining aspects of both online and in-person instruction, in the safest environment possible. All safety or safe health practices adhere to definitions or guidelines of the Center for Disease Control, the Mississippi Department of Health, Executive Orders of the Governor, and/or the IHL Board.

Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty

Course Models/Format

1. Are our courses this Fall online or face-to-face?

Courses already scheduled for online this Fall will continue with online delivery as planned. Courses currently scheduled face-to-face will be hybrid. Delta State is defining a hybrid course as an online course with Strategic F2F Interactions that take into consideration classroom size, course requirements, and applicable guidance from the Federal Government, the Mississippi Department of Health, and any Executive Order of the Governor in effect at that time.

2. Do I need to prepare two versions of each of my Fall courses?

No. Prepare each of your courses to be fully online, but plan to meet with students using one of the hybrid models contained in the document Hybrid Models for 2020.

3. What is meant by Strategic F2F Interactions? If I’m not meeting with my students like a regular F2F course, what am I supposed to do with them?

Prioritize Strategic F2F Interactions by avoiding passive activities such as lecturing. Use the limited time you have with students to engage them with the subject in ways that may not be practical to do in an online only environment.

Examples of Strategic F2F Interactions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • activities or presentations that don’t fit well in an online format
  • skill-development activities (e.g. aviation, nursing, music lessons, art, labs, etc.)
  • use of specialized equipment, software, or other campus resources
  • discussions of complex material
  • demonstrations

4. Can I meet with all my students at the same time?

If your course enrollment is typically 12 or less, there likely will be classrooms that can accommodate you. Meeting regularly with small-enrolled courses is encouraged, as long as all guidelines for physical distancing and face masks are followed.

If your course typically has an enrollment of more than 12, you will need to plan for the Small Group Hybrid option and meet with 50% or 33% of your students at a time in your F2F meetings or with the HyFlex option.

If your course is a larger laboratory, music, or studio course, begin coordinating with your chair to determine whether the physical space, availability of PPE like face shields and gloves, and the physical space warrant larger groups of students in the space. There may be other hybrid options available as well.

5. What is the Small Group hybrid option?

In a Small Group Hybrid course, content is delivered online with the faculty member meeting F2F with half, a third, or some other portion of the class on selected days during the semester. This model reduces the number of students in a room at the same time.

Small-group options include:

  1. Meet F2F with half of the class on one day (e.g. Tuesday), the other half on a second day (e.g. Thursday), with the remaining instruction, assignments, quizzes, etc., being online.
  2. Meet F2F with a third of the class at a time each week, with the remaining activities being online. In other words, the faculty would meet with 1/3 on Monday, 1/3 on Wednesday, and 1/3 on Friday.

6. Am I expected to meet with all my students at the same time?

No. Based on course enrollment and classroom availability, some classes may be able to do so, but meeting with all students at the same time is not required.

7. Do I have specific number of times I need to meet with students F2F each week?

No. You are expected to use a hybrid model, which by definition includes routine F2F meetings. The goal is to schedule routine meetings in safe group sizes, unless and until such time when we can no longer meet with students. There is no maximum number of meeting times. For example, the routine could be meeting with a subset of the entire class once a week as in the example of the Small Group hybrid format. The goal is to be strategic with meetings but also to provide students with a F2F college experience as much as current conditions allow.

8. Can a student complete their courses online if that becomes necessary?

With reasons, yes. Students must be able to complete a hybrid course online if they are ill or have an identified underlying health condition. Students must provide the Student Health Center with evidence of such a condition, in a similar way an employee must provide Human Resources evidence of an underlying health condition in order to work remotely.

There is a small subset of courses that contain High Engagement Requirements (HER) in order to complete the course. These few courses are often linked to specific licensure or accreditation requirements. Examples include, but are not limited to, private flying lessons, select nursing courses, select speech and hearing labs, and field experiences. Students in courses identified as having High Engagement Requirements will not be able to complete the course online. Courses with High Engagement Requirements must be approved by the chair and dean.

9. Given the uncertainties surrounding the spreading of the virus, why are we meeting with any of our students F2F?

Most students enrolling at DSU who elect to take F2F courses want a traditional campus
experience to the extent it can be provided safely. In addition, IHL has directed all state
universities to offer in-person classes to the extent possible. (See the Context section at the beginning of the FAQ)

10. How are we supposed to advise students or keep office hours?

Office hours and advising sessions should all be virtual, preferably using Zoom. Consider creating a single Canvas shell specifically for your advisees in order to facilitate communication.

11. I’ve heard my chair or dean talk about “face time” or “seat time.” How does a hybrid course meet the minimum number of minutes required by the Department of Education and SACSCOC?

The standard rule of 750 minutes of seat time per one credit hour does not apply to hybrid courses. The university credit hour depends on the activities and amount of work required in the course to achieve the learning outcomes. One hour of classroom or faculty instruction online and a minimum of two hours out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks are required for awarding one credit hour.

12. How do I take attendance in a hybrid course?

You must track who is attending your F2F meetings in addition to using the policy for
participation/attendance in an online course. (See the Class Attendance Policy for attendance in an online course.)

13. If I don’t think my course will fit with a hybrid format, what can I do?

Faculty should look for models within their discipline at other schools and consult with their colleagues, academic chair, dean, OIT, and FCTL. If consensus points to special considerations, then faculty should ask their chair and dean to discuss options with the provost.

14. What if I don’t want to meet with my students F2F but instead want to teach only online?

Delta State is expected to provide some form of a F2F experience to students who registered for F2F courses, as long as it is safe to do so. This expectation has been made clear in a resolution from the IHL Board.

15. What if I or someone I live with or care for has an underlying health condition, but I’m scheduled to teach a F2F course in the Fall?

Faculty or staff with a documented underlying health condition may request to teach remotely. Requests for accommodations for changes in teaching modality will be based on CDC guidelines (risk categories) or health concerns verified by a health care professional to Human Resources. Faculty must notify their chair of their intent to make this request and following the process outlined in the Faculty Request to Teach Remotely form available from the department chair or Human Resources. Living with someone with an underlying health condition, is not a category currently identified for special accommodation by the CDC. Contact Human Resources if you have additional questions.

16. How do I find out if there is an eTexbook available for my course?

Call the DSU Bookstore at (662) 846-4640 and they can give you that information.

Health Concerns/Illness

17. What happens if a faculty member becomes ill?

If a faculty member becomes ill for whatever reason, the course should shift to completely online delivery. Designing the course as online from this start should make this transition seamless. If the faculty member is too ill to teach remotely, an adjunct will be hired to complete the course.

18. What happens if a student becomes ill?

As per our revised class attendance policy, a student may complete their course(s) online, with exceptions in select skill-development courses with High Engagement Requirements. (See Q. 8) Check with your chair before addressing exceptions, but options include giving the student an “I” grade or allowing the students to withdraw from the course.

19. If a student in my class is not following established safety guidelines (e.g. refuses to wear a face mask), do I have the authority to ask them to leave?

Yes. Students who refuse to comply are not allowed in classrooms and must complete the course online or withdraw if the course requires hands-on activity not possible in online delivery (See Q 8).

Resources

20. What resources are available to assist faculty in putting their courses online or teaching online?

The Ford Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) and the Office of Instructional Technology (OIT) offer workshops and other resources to assist faculty regardless of their experience with online teaching. The FCTL website lists trainings and resources for both online teaching and hybrid courses. For more information, email Dr. Gray Kane at gkane@deltastate.edu.

21. If I’ve participated in a hybrid workshop before, do I have to complete the hybrid training?

Yes. The DSU Hybrid Training provides information that is relevant to the specific context of Fall 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, if you have not completed the Expedited Online Course Review Training, you must complete the training this summer.

22. Will every Fall course go through the Expedited Online Course Review Process?

No. All faculty will have to undergo the Expedited Online Course Review Training, but not the review itself, and only faculty who teach hybrids will have to complete the Hybrid Training. For each faculty member who has not undergone external review since August 2018 or an internal review since May 2020, one of their exclusively online courses will undergo Expedited Online Course Review. All courses are subject to chair evaluation.

23. What is the deadline for Fall course preparation?

August 5. The basic online course shell, with a minimum of 6 modules, must be complete by the deadline.

General

25. Will students have access to the library, the Writing Center, and the Student Success Center in the Fall semester?

Yes, all three units will provide some F2F interaction as well as remote services. Details will be available in August. In addition, thanks to a grant from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, all students will have access to professional tutors, available online 24/7.

26. Will students be allowed to use the public study spaces in academic buildings?

Yes, dependent on availability. Study areas will outline requirements with appropriate signage.

Questions? Call (662) 588-6713 or email Robin Douglas at rdouglas@deltastate.edu