Frequently asked questions for Fall semester, Troy Campus faculty
The following represent many of the questions which Troy Campus faculty are asking about their Fall classes. The responses to these questions may change as the University continues to monitor the effects of the COVID-19 virus.
Since these FAQs below address semester (Troy Campus) classes, faculty who are delivering instruction on the Dothan, Montgomery and Phenix City campuses are encouraged to direct those questions to their Program Supervisor, Department Chair or College Dean.
The Dean of Students will send an email letter to all faculty of a student that needs to be out of class due to isolation/quarantine. The email will also denote whether the person is out due to a positive test or simply isolating due to close exposure.
The Dean of Students will contact the faculty member about any student that needs to be out of class whether symptomatic, close contact awaiting test results or a positive case.
Faculty and staff will not be required to test prior to the start of classes. Faculty and staff are reminded of the importance of all Federal, State and University guidelines for safety and wellness during this pandemic: appropriate wearing of face coverings, proper social distancing and hand washing/use of hand sanitizers. Should a faculty or staff member believe they have been exposed to the virus through close contact (less than six feet for more than fifteen minutes without proper use of face coverings) or if the faculty/staff member believes they have developed symptoms of the virus, they may test for free through the University’s Health Center. For additional information, contact the Health Center at (334) 670-3452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty and staff may only use this free University testing for the reasons noted above.
Faculty are encouraged to talk with any students who express concerns or who have questions about attending classes with existing medical conditions. The University has encouraged students with these concerns to consider taking their courses through the TROY Online platform. All students are encouraged to follow the guidelines for masks, social distancing and proper personal hygiene, both on and off the campus. Faculty who believe that a particular student is expressing significant anxieties about their classes should contact the Dean of Students or the Student Counseling Center for advice and follow-up.
The student will provide documentation to the Dean of Students through the Student Services Office. The documentation must be valid and will be checked through the Student Services Office, which is the current protocol for any student who is out for an extended period of time. We would let the faculty members know, and, depending on where we are in the semester and the amount of work the student has completed, a request for an Incomplete may be made; otherwise the students must complete the required work.
The assigning of Incompletes for a student have specific protocols by college, department and program. The Dean of Students would communicate with a faculty member about any student who would be unable to return to classes for an excessive period of time. Based on the Incomplete protocols, the amount of work the student has completed, and any other related issues, a request for an Incomplete could be made. Faculty are encouraged to discuss any Incompletes, based on student illnesses with the virus, with their Chair and Dean.
No. At this time, the University has posted its Academic Calendar with all of the deadlines, including those for drops and withdrawals. These deadlines are similar to the ones used every semester and do not allow drops or withdrawals up to the Final Exam period.
Students should be reminded that all classes and final exams after Thanksgiving will be delivered through Canvas. Troy University will remain open after Thanksgiving and provide numerous locations for students to connect to the Internet. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have all the necessary technology to complete their classes after Thanksgiving. Students who go home and then indicate that they do not have the technology (computers, Internet) will not be allowed to delay, or avoid, their final exams.
Faculty members may not give their final exams early. The College Deans and Department Chairs have been asked to ensure that final exams are delivered in their scheduled time periods after Thanksgiving.
The Deans will work to assign any such classes to another faculty member with appropriate compensation if the original faculty member is unable to return. For short-term absences from a class, it is anticipated that the faculty will continue to deliver instruction, as they are able, using the Canvas technology.
No. The University will not conduct temperature checks in this fashion. All University members—faculty, staff and students—are encouraged to monitor their own conditions and be alert for any symptoms, including a rise in body temperature.
For any student that needs an accommodation for a different type of face covering, the Dean of Students will work to acquire and provide this accommodation. Please direct students who specifically request such an accommodation to the Dean of Students.
The University will provide one free cloth mask to all faculty, staff and students for the Fall classes.
Faculty must be available and responsive to students regardless of whether these meetings are face to face or virtual. Deans and Chairs will provide specific guidance to faculty about their expectations for faculty members’ time on campus during the Fall.
Troy University will not be able to provide faculty members with new technology or additional IT support (such as VPN, new software, support for specific kinds of virtual technology, etc). For a complete list of University resources, including IT support, for using virtual technology, please see https://it.troy.edu/remote/.
This use of outdoor classes, via tents, could be an option for some classes. These tents require a rental cost and Alabama’s excessive heat in the early Fall are considerations as well. Faculty members should direct these requests to the Chair and Dean.
The Dean of Students, along with the Director of Physical Plant, are working to provide some supplies to assist with the cleaning of an individual’s physical space at the start of each class period. The Dean and Director are also working to provide a similar cleaning solution to the faculty member to wipe the hard contact surfaces such as the podium, any tables, computer keyboards, mouse, etc.
It is not possible to deep clean each classroom between each class session. There is not enough time or human resources to accomplish this. As such, faculty and students are strongly encouraged to practice self-sanitizing activities (such as use of hand sanitizer) to reduce the overall risk of contaminated surfaces.
All University locations, including bathrooms, classrooms and similar spaces, will be cleaned each evening, using established guidelines for combating the spread of the virus.
Information about cleaning computer technology is available from IT at: https://it.troy.edu/clean/
Students will be asked to avoid congregating in the hallways and lobbies. Extended student exchanges and conversations should be moved outside. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to begin and end their classes on time to avoid crowds of students waiting to enter a classroom. Based on CDC guidelines, as long as people continue to move and do not congregate, these high traffic areas should not result in 15 minutes or more of close contact. Additionally, the College Deans and the Dean of Students are working on signage for the hallways to encourage traffic flow and to discourage gatherings in halls. By assigning students to specific day-of-the-week pods for larger classes, the traffic flow should be reduced considerably.
The strong hope, and desire, of the University is that we can complete the Fall semester as planned. This includes finishing the post-Thanksgiving period through the use of Canvas.
We believe that this completion can be accomplished if all members of the University—faculty, staff and students—take seriously and practice faithfully the guidelines for safety and wellness, both on campus and off.
The University’s leadership is monitoring the virus and its impact every day. The Coronavirus Task Force has been operating continuously since late January. Additional teams are being created in order to focus on specific virus-related issues for the Fall.
Should it become necessary for the University to make any changes in the planned Fall schedule, those decisions will be made with a full awareness of the potential impact they might have on our faculty, staff and students. Any changes will be broadly communicated.
The University has a team in place which is developing these guidelines for when it might be necessary to take steps to move classes into online-only formats and close the physical campus. These guidelines will be communicated as they are finalized.
While it’s true that many schools have made an “online only” decision, the University leadership, after much discussion and consultation, determined that returning students to the campus was the best choice. This decision was based on all available information at the time it was made. Respecting the virus, but not fearing it, is an important step in moving forward with the University’s mission of teaching students.
All of the University’s discussions and decisions about the Fall started with one question: “Can this be done safely for our faculty, staff and students?” This concern for safety and wellness for the Trojan Family was always the top priority.
Any requests for an altered schedule, for this reason or any others, have to be made to the faculty member’s Chair and Dean, initially. The Chair, Dean and the Office of Human Resources will provide guidance.
Face coverings and social distancing are not optional for faculty, staff, or students in classrooms and buildings. Accommodations will be made for those with medical needs and these should be worked out with the department chair. Troy faculty will be supported by the chairs, deans, and administration in enforcing social distancing and face-covering compliance in the classrooms and academic buildings where people tend to gather (hallways, common areas, etc.). Students will be expected to abide by the student code of conduct.
Note: Statewide requirements are likely to be in place when classes start, likewise city-based requirements in Montgomery.
Faculty should include the following in their syllabi:
Troy University is committed to the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. To work towards this goal, TROY is requiring the wearing of face coverings in class and for students to adhere to social distancing parameters in classrooms. Non-compliance will result in removal from the classroom and the student may be referred to the academic Dean as well as the Dean of Students for University adjudication.
The Trojan Way calls students to be responsible and kind and following appropriate public health guidelines demonstrates not only personal responsibility, but also kindness to others.
The Oracle Code also notes “any classroom behavior that interferes with the instructor’s ability to conduct class or the ability of other students to learn” is not appropriate and so it is important to adhere to the public health policies of the University.
Faculty will have the right to ask non-compliant students to leave class, and to report the incident to the Chair and Dean.
When necessary (based on enrollment and classroom seating) to maintain social distancing, Face-to-Face (F2F) classes will be broken into “pods” so as to alternate groups of students who attend class with additional instruction being delivered via Canvas in a flipped format. Faculty should work closely with their department chair/dean regarding the utilization for class “pods.” This will be based on the space allowed for social distancing within the classroom assigned. When using “pod” instruction, faculty members will communicate this to the students via the course syllabus prior to the start of the semester and monitor who is in the class each day in order to ensure social distancing requirements are met. Students are not allowed to switch days they attend face-to-face. If a classroom can accommodate enrollees and still maintain social distancing, breaking down into pods will not be necessary.
Faculty should clearly explain the policies and procedures concerning face coverings, social distancing, and expected student behavior for the semester/term to the students. Faculty should take full advantage of the first day of class to cover specific instructional and behavioral expectations of the course, it is recommended that faculty spend time talking about the challenges and expectations of the semester in order to head off problems before they arise.
As much as possible, first day information MUST to be pre-loaded into Canvas. Students will need to be contacted in advance to avoid full classrooms on day one. Indeed, as much as is practicable, first day actions should be done in Canvas, including providing students with information on pods.
Note: Keep track of late adds.
Faculty members will have a Canvas shell for each class. It is expected that Canvas will be utilized, in particular when pod instruction is in place. A robust Canvas shell will be necessary for flipped classes with pods and as a potential offramp to full online instruction should an instructor be quarantined (e.g., waiting for test results) or if a course has to be shifted to online-only instruction. We have to be mindful, also, that individual students may have to self-isolate for varies reason throughout the semester.
Faculty must be prepared for classes to be moved online during the semester. While we do not anticipate that at this point, all faculty should have a plan in place for the transition to online if needed. The syllabus should reflect this possibility.
There is a high probability that a number of students will have to quarantine/isolate due to waiting on test results and will need to be able to continue class online. As a result, it is essential that faculty have a robust Canvas shell for the course.
In order to prevent students from crowding together in the hallways, it is incumbent on faculty to end their classes on time, if not a few minutes early. This will provide time for students to clear the classrooms and exit the building quickly. Conversely, it is important to begin classes on time.
Faculty need to take into consideration the potential for students to be quarantined or ill. It is recommended that faculty be flexible due to student absences.
Be mindful when scheduling assignments during the semester that assignments should not all be towards the end of the term/semester, but rather spread out throughout the term/semester so that students can keep up should they have to miss days due to illness or quarantine.
Students on all campuses will not attend F2F classes after the Thanksgiving holidays, and all instruction and final exams being conducted via Canvas. For the Troy Campus, the posted final exam schedule should be adhered to in terms of scheduling finals and due dates for final assessments. Finals will be due no later than their originally assigned time.
Due to the heavy reliance on proctors, and the anticipated limited availability of open testing centers, it is recommended that non-proctored final assessments be used in Fall and T2.
Deadlines, such as add/drop and withdrawal, will not be altered this Fall as they were in the Spring. Please make students aware of this in both the syllabi and in your first class meeting (see below for dates).
Faculty office hours and faculty presence on campus will be determined by the department/college. However, all individual meetings are to be conducted virtually in order to ensure adequate distancing. Faculty should conduct individual meetings with students online using Microsoft Teams whenever possible to maintain social distancing. Zoom is not supported by Troy IT.
Advising will be conducted virtually.
Given the emphasis on social distancing and virtual office hours/advising, faculty are expected to be extra vigilant in holding office hours, answering emails, and responding to students.
Faculty who have been exposed to Covid-19 or who become ill should notify their department chair immediately to determine next steps.
Students who do not have access to technology should be referred to the Troy Campus Library regarding the availability of Chrome Books and computer labs.