Spring 2022 Message for Instructors

January 19, 2022


Dear Department Chairs,


As we begin the spring semester, I want to share a few resources that will support your work, including information on class attendance and absences, current guidance related to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines, course presence in Canvas, and resources for students.


Class Attendance

The attendance policy outlined in the Faculty Handbook continues to be in force. Faculty set their own standards for attendance with one caveat: at a minimum, for spring 2022, faculty are expected to treat a positive COVID test result as appropriate documentation for a university excused absence. The excused absence must extend to the full length of the isolation period under current CDC and university guidance.


Faculty may ask students to provide proof of a positive COVID test as they work with students who are seeking accommodations to make up exams, assignments, and other missed coursework. Proof of a positive test may include documentation from the Thielen Student Health Center, Test Iowa, or other provider, or a photo of the results from an at-home test kit.


Beyond positive COVID testing, instructors are encouraged to be flexible in their expectations as conditions continue to evolve, particularly over the first few weeks of the semester. Encouraging students to stay home when sick and to follow the Cyclones Care recommendation will help keep campus safe. While this resource from CELT is framed as advice regarding flexibility in online courses, many of the ideas discussed can be useful for any type of course.


Required Course Presence in Canvas

As a reminder, all Iowa State courses are required to have a presence in Canvas. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has a number of resources available on the Canvas@ISU website, including a Quick Start Guide and the updated recommended syllabus statements. The website also includes a helpful section if you are planning to use the Online Testing Center to administer exams this semester.


Resources for Students

Iowa State’s Dean of Students portfolio consists of a variety of departments with resources to assist your students, including Student Accessibility Services, Multicultural Student Affairs, the Academic Success Center, the Writing and Media Center, and the Office of Student Assistance. Other services such as Student Counseling are available through the Thielen Student Health Center.  Many college Student Services Offices also provide support options for students who may be struggling.


Best wishes for a successful spring semester.


Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Associate Provost for Academic Programs


The AY21-22 Academic Continuity Working Group