Modifications to Three COVID-19 Procedures for Instructors and Tenure-track Faculty

 

Date:           January 26, 2022

To:                Iowa State University Faculty

From:           Jonathan Wickert                                         

                     Senior Vice President and Provost

Subject:       Modifications to Three COVID-19 Procedures for Instructors and Tenure-track Faculty

 

I am writing with information about modifications to three existing COVID-19 policies and procedures for instructors and tenure-track faculty.

#1 Instructors who test positive for COVID-19

With the prevalence of omicron, the increased availability of at-home rapid test kits, and updated guidelines from the CDC regarding isolation, the following streamlined process supersedes guidance provided on September 1, 2021.

Faculty are no longer required to communicate a positive test result to HR Delivery. An instructor who tests positive for COVID-19 should instead provide documentation of the positive test to their department chair. Examples of documentation include an email from a health care or testing provider, a screen shot from a computer or phone, or photograph taken of a rapid test. IMPORTANT NOTE: If the documentation additionally includes date of birth, or other personal or medical information apart from the test result, the instructor is to redact that information before providing documentation to the chair.

Upon receiving documentation, the chair will discuss with the instructor options for maintaining academic continuity for students in the instructor’s course(s). If the instructor feels well enough to do so, at their discretion, the instructor may temporarily move their courses to an online format for the duration of their isolation to minimize disruption of student learning. The university follows the most-current isolation guidelines as developed by the CDC.

On the other hand, if an instructor, at their discretion, does not feel well enough to teach online during the isolation period, they should follow standard university policy and use either BOR COVID-19 sick time off or sick leave, depending on eligibility, until they are well.  The department is to arrange course coverage through its standard approach, with the preference being for in-person instruction.  In the case that an instructor continues to be ill beyond the isolation period and needs to remain out, they should communicate with their department chair about next steps. 

Chairs will maintain a record of the positive test and decision made regarding academic continuity, and notify the appropriate college associate dean. The department chair will also notify students in the affected course(s) using the template message below.

Course modality change:

The delivery mode of a course in which you are enrolled is being temporarily changed with university approval. (COURSE/SECTION NUMBER) will change to an online synchronous section, effective immediately, for a temporary period of time. You will be notified as soon as possible when in-person instruction of this course will resume.

Please accept our apologies for this disruption. Our goal is to provide a healthy, safe, and productive learning environment for both students and instructors throughout the fall semester.

Please contact (DEPARTMENT CHAIR OR ASSOCIATE CHAIR) with any questions. 

 

With best wishes for a successful semester,

(NAME)

Chair, (DEPARTMENT)

Instructor change:

The instructor of a course in which you are enrolled is being temporarily changed with university approval. (COURSE/SECTION NUMBER) will change to (NEW INSTRUCTOR NAME), effective immediately, for a temporary period.

Please accept our apologies for this disruption. Our goal is to provide a healthy, safe, and productive learning environment for both students and instructors throughout the fall semester.

Please contact (DEPARTMENT CHAIR OR ASSOCIATE CHAIR) with any questions. 

 

With best wishes for a successful semester,

(NAME)

Chair, (DEPARTMENT)

 

#2 COVID-19 pass-through requirements

As communicated on October 25, 2021, Iowa State collaborates with many external organizations to provide experiential educational opportunities for our students. These organizations may have “pass-through” mask, testing, and/or vaccine requirements in place for individuals to access their facilities. These requirements are similar to non-COVID-19 external requirements that have been required of our students and employees, such as wearing safety glasses or hard hats, and signing non-disclosure agreements.

Effective immediately, each college dean’s office will manage pass-through requirements for students participating in experiential educational opportunities, events, and programs as authorized by the college.  Faculty who need to coordinate or verify vaccination status in such cases should contact their college’s associate dean for academic programs.

#3 Extension of the tenure clock

The pandemic continues to impact the scholarly activities of pre-tenure faculty.  The university previously communicated an option (FAQ) for any pre-tenure faculty member to request a one-year COVID-19 extension of the tenure clock, in addition to other extensions that may have been made on other grounds, consistent with policy outlined in the Faculty Handbook.  The time window to utilize this policy is continued for an additional year. Faculty are encouraged to discuss their need for an extension with their department chair. A faculty member may request an extension via Workday using the Create Request task and “COVID-19” reason. Step-by-step instructions are found here: https://iastate.box.com/v/tenureclockext. Requests should be made via this process by April 1, 2023.

As with previous communications, I ask that department chairs share this memo with graduate student instructors, teaching assistants, and academic advisors and staff engaged in instruction and student success.