Guidance for Spring 2022 Courses and Instruction
Dr. Gene Bourgeois, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs | January 14, 2022
As Texas State enters the first few weeks of 2022, we continue to learn how to live with the pandemic while navigating personal, educational, and professional goals and activities. While we hoped for a different start to spring 2022, we are cognizant of maintaining healthy and safe conditions, impact on members of our university community, disruptions to the university and academic environment, especially absenteeism, and our students’ expectations for a rich academic experience. The university will begin spring 2022 with two weeks of temporary online/remote classes (January 18 – January 30, 2022). In-person instruction will begin on January 31, 2022.
President’s Cabinet meets frequently with Dr. Emilio Carranco, our Chief Medical Officer, to review the latest data on COVID-19 case counts and public health indicators, to assess the effectiveness of current protocols, and to make adjustments. As the situation evolves, we will communicate via university emails and the university’s Roadmap. The Spring 2022 COVID-19 Resources webpage provides information specific to the division of Academic Affairs, including frequently asked questions about instruction, research, and academic activities.
The following sections includes recent university statements and guidance on spring 2022 classes and instruction, including measures for health and safety, office hours, instruction modes, student absences, Bobcat Cares grants for students, and other areas. This message also shares information about the university’s mission and shared values, emergency management, and the reporting responsibility of faculty and staff who learn of sexual misconduct. Please pass this message along to new faculty and teaching assistants, as new hire transactions occur daily.
I greatly appreciate your deep dedication to the mission, vision, and goals of Texas State University and look forward to a successful spring 2022 semester. Together, we can reduce the risk and transmission of COVID-19 and live out our shared commitment to an exceptional student experience, a vibrant academic community, in-person teaching, learning, services, and activities, and innovation in all facets of university life.
I. University Statements
Review University Statements regularly
II. Spring 2022 Courses
Extensive information on course syllabi and classroom procedures is found in AA/PPS 02.03.01, Conduct and Planning of Courses.
Online/Remote through January 30, 2022
To make spring 2022 courses at Texas State as accessible as possible while ensuring the continued safety of our university community, we will temporarily move class sections and class activities to online/remote delivery beginning Tuesday, January 18, 2022 through Sunday, January 30, 2022. Face-to-face instruction for all Texas State class sections coded as face-to-face will resume on Monday, January 31, 2022. For courses coded as online, hybrid, or other instructional method, faculty will implement the first two weeks remotely/online, then transition to the planned instructional method and course delivery schedule on January 31, 2022.
The first two weeks of online/remote delivery will not count against the face-to-face contact hours required for certain course instructional methods per the University Registrar’s Schedule of Classes documentation.
Exceptions to Online/Remote Delivery
Deans, department chairs/school directors, and faculty will consult on and communicate with students about courses that may need to remain face-to-face during this two-week period due to licensure requirements or specific academic imperatives. While most classes will be taught online/remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, students are urged to check their university email accounts and Canvas course sites for updates on any exceptions to the online/remote delivery provision.
Class Instruction Modes
Beginning January 31, 2022, classes will be fully implemented in the instruction mode that appears on the spring 2022 Schedule of Classes in Catsweb.
Faculty members may consider alternatives to face-to face office hours, such as video conferencing in Teams or Zoom, telephone calls, emails, and other means that ensure students have regular access to faculty.
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) provides reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. Faculty are responsible for implementing accommodations based on the office’s process, assessment, and formal recommendations per UPPS 07.11.01, Disability Services for Students. Please note that although students with ODS accommodations may discuss alternatives with instructors if they are unable to attend a face-to-face class, a faculty member is not required to accommodate a request that represents a fundamental alteration to the delivery methods of a course or program.
In all courses, faculty members provide regular and substantive interaction with students. This interaction is instructor-driven, frequent, and consistent throughout the semester.
Syllabus Content Reminders (see section 13 of AA/PPS 02.03.01 for all syllabus requirements)
· Required class materials, access to materials, use of Canvas, and/orinstructional strategies.
· Technology or software are needed for the class, including getting support from ITAC.
· Exams, assignments, grading rubrics, assessment and testing, and due dates.
· How office hours will be handled (i.e., Zoom, Teams, email, etc.).
· Attendance policy and record-keeping procedures.
· Assigned seating and required seating charts for face-to-face and hybrid class sections.
· Health, wellness, and safety reminders (5 points below)
· Monitor university email account and university’s Roadmap for any updates.
Bobcat Cares (Student Grants)
On Thursday, January 13, 2022, President Trauth announced additional federally funded emergency grants available to students this spring to help ease the financial strain caused by the pandemic. Texas State will distribute over $6.5 million in emergency assistance for the spring 2022 semester. Applications will be open online from January 18, 2022 to February 1, 2022. Enrolled full- and part-time students are eligible to receive funds to offset expenses related to any component of the cost of attendance as well as emergency costs due to the coronavirus. More information about the emergency grants, eligibility requirements, and how to apply is found on the Bobcat Cares webpage. To date, the university has awarded more than $73 million in emergency grants to students through Bobcat Cares.
III. Health, Wellness, and Safety
Follow the university’s Health and Safety Guidelines. To protect the health and safety of our living, learning, and working environments, the university’s Health and Safety Guidelines form the foundation of our COVID-19 mitigation strategy, including wearing masks, getting vaccinated, practicing social distancing, knowing COVID symptoms, and getting tested.
Get tested. Test for COVID-19 within 72 hours (3 days) prior to returning to our campuses, during the semester after high-risk activities, when selected for the university’s random testing program, and whenever symptoms develop. For testing information, visit TXST Testing, Curative Testing, or TX Testing Sites.
Stay home and get tested if you develop cold-like or other COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status. While infection with the recent Omicron variant can lead to severe illness and hospitalization, those who are vaccinated tend to have mild illness. The most common symptoms of Omicron infection include cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, fatigue, and headache. Persons with these symptoms should test for COVID-19.
Promptly Report to Bobcat Trace if you test positive for COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who received a positive test result. Reporting information can be found on the Texas State’s COVID-19 Testing, Reporting, and Response Steps webpage.
Follow the advice of Bobcat Trace staff and emails and send the Bobcat Trace email to instructors and supervisors to discuss arrangements during isolation or quarantine as well as the date of return to campus.
New Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
With new data on Omicron’s period of contagiousness and the effectiveness of vaccinations in preventing severe illness, the university is modifying its approach to COVID-19. The CDC’s new guidelines shorten isolation/quarantine periods to 5 days (period of highest infectiousness) and rely heavily on masking for another 5 days to prevent the spread of infection by persons who may still have low levels of contagiousness. The new guidelines attempt to balance the importance of preventing the spread of infection with the need to minimize disruption in essential services, business, and education. The university will follow the CDC COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines.
Bobcat Trace Practices
Our Chief Medical Officer, is reviewing Bobcat Trace practices with public health officials, especially with respect to case counts within specific class sections. More information is forthcoming. Faculty are asked to maintain seating charts and attendance records to facilitate the identification of close contacts.
Face Covering and Vaccination Protocol
Per standing guidance from Governor Abbott’s executive orders and confirmed by The Texas State University System’s Office of the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, the university is not able to require face coverings or vaccinations. Every member of the university community is urged to get vaccinated, including the booster, and wear a face mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
As in the past, faculty have discretion in managing student absences, including those due to illness. Students who must isolate or quarantine should report to Bobcat Trace and contact their instructors to make appropriate arrangements for completing assignments. Students should notify instructors directly or, in the cases of hospitalization or other extenuating circumstances, use Dean of Students’ absence notifications form. Faculty members determine appropriate arrangements for students who miss class. Students employed on campus should notify their supervisors of the Bobcat Trace information, as well.
If there are a large number of absences in a face-to-face class and the instructor finds difficulty in managing make-up assignments and course delivery, remote learning and alternative strategies are at the instructor’s discretion. For example, the instructor may choose to use Zoom so absent students are able to observe lectures and class activities. Or, an instructor may record and distribute lectures, add discussion boards in Canvas, create substitute assignments, or implement some other plan.
Faculty and Staff Absences
Faculty who are absent from class coordinate with their department chairs/school directors to ensure continuity of instruction. In some cases, a faculty member teaching face-to-face may transition to remote learning for a brief period by using Zoom, Teams, Canvas, or other tools. For extended absences, another faculty member may be asked to assume responsibility for the class. Deans and chairs/directors may contact the Office of the Provost for support or guidance.
All employees who must isolate or quarantine should report to Bobcat Trace and visit with their supervisor about leave options. Employees in isolation or quarantine may work remotely only if requested and approved through their Department Head. Remote Work Guidance is available from the Office of Human Resources.
IV. Our Mission and Shared Values
Faculty who wish to include information about the university’s mission and shared values statements in a syllabus for spring 2022 courses should use the following statements from the 2017-2023 Texas State University Plan:
Texas State University is a doctoral-granting, student-centered institution dedicated to excellence and innovation in teaching, research, including creative expression, and service. The university strives to create new knowledge, to embrace a diversity of people and ideas, to foster cultural and economic development, and to prepare its graduates to participate fully and freely as citizens of Texas, the nation, and the world.
In pursuing our mission, we, the faculty, staff, and students of Texas State University, are guided by a shared collection of values:
· Teaching and learning based on research, student involvement, and the free exchange of ideas in a supportive environment;
· Research and creative activities that encompass the full range of academic disciplines—research with relevance, from the sciences to the arts, from the theoretical to the applied;
· The cultivation of character, integrity, honesty, civility, compassion, fairness, respect, and ethical behavior in all members of our university community;
· A diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community as essential conditions for campus life;
· A commitment to service and leadership for the public good;
· Responsible stewardship of our resources and environment; and
· Continued reflection and evaluation to ensure that our strengths as a community always benefit those we serve.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
VI. Emergency Management
In the event of an emergency, faculty, students, and staff should monitor the Safety and Emergency Communications web page. This page will be updated with the latest information available to the university, in addition to providing links to information concerning safety resources and emergency procedures. Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to sign up for the TXState Alert system.
VII. Sexual Misconduct Reporting (SB 212)
Effective January 2, 2020, state law (SB 212) requires all university employees, acting in the course and scope of employment, who witness or receive information concerning an incident of sexual misconduct involving an enrolled student or employee to report all relevant information known about the incident to the university's Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX coordinator. According to SB 212, employees who knowingly fail to report or knowingly file a false report shall be terminated in accordance with university policy and The Texas State University System Rules and Regulations.