Looking for Answers?

Faculty can find answers to their questions about academic issues here. For more information, refer to the university's main Campus Health page. 

Refer to the academic calendar to view the fall semester class and exam schedules. 

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Make use of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you are dealing with problems related to anxiety, depression and other possible concerns. All health plans offered to state employees and their dependents have EAPs. You’ll find more information here: https://www.jmu.edu/humanresources/balanced-dukes/employee-assistance-program.shtml 

Academic Affairs established a Response Team of representatives from each college to address the evolving issues raised in our response to the pandemic. Chaired by Fletcher Linder, the group meets online weekly to discuss student and faculty concerns. Feel free to reach out to any member of the group with questions or suggestions.

 

JMU’s strong faculty governance model has been crucial in incorporating faculty feedback. Each academic unit has a Faculty Senate representative who has the responsibility of sharing with the larger faculty what is happening at JMU. These representatives are asked to go back to the units and update you with the most recent information. Your faculty senate representative serves as the voice of your academic unit and is responsible for sharing your ideas, opinions and concerns.

The provost typically meets monthly with just the deans and most weeks with Academic Council to consider an array of issues. This summer, those meetings have nearly doubled so we can deal with pandemic-related issues as soon as they come Keeping everyone involved was challenging because decisions needed to be made quickly, and this was occurring largely during the summer when most faculty were off-contract. We increased our communication by setting up the COVID website with FAQs and updates and we sent multiple surveys to faculty. Faculty were at the forefront of our planning.

During our response to COVID-19, the president created numerous committees to gather information from everyone at the university, including faculty. It was imperative that faculty served on these committees. As an example, Fletcher Linder chaired the Academic Affairs Infectious Disease Response Team and the Provost worked with the Faculty Senate Chair to make sure there were representatives from Faculty Senate on that committee. The same applied to the Contingency Planning Task Force, which included AA administrators and faculty.

Anyone who feels their voice hasn’t been heard can reach out to their senate representative, their AUH, their dean or Provost Coltman.

Course Information

You must update your syllabus if any of these elements of your class have changed:

  • Goals of the course
  • Nature of the course content
  • Requirements of the course
  • Methods of evaluation

In light of COVID-19, it is recommended that you update your syllabus to include language on addressing disruptive behavior in online classes. For more details, see the syllabus site. Also consider addressing inclement weather for online classes in your syllabus.

If you are under quarantine or isolation (and feel well enough to teach), you may move your classes to virtual delivery for a limited time, after notifying your AUH.

In this case, you must contact students with notice of the change immediately. This message must include:

  • The new modality (i.e., online via Zoom) and access options/instructions.
  • The time frame for the changed modality (i.e., the next two class periods only).

You are not required to explain the reason for the short-term change to the delivery mode to students.

Permanent changes to the mode of delivery are not allowed without AUH and dean approval.

Student Attendance

Policies related to class absences and attendance are determined by the instructor for each course taught. As the faculty member is most knowledgeable of the course content, and presence is tied so closely to their teaching methods and the discipline, the instructor is best positioned to create the requirements for their individual courses. All faculty are required to develop their own policies for their courses and share those policies with their students in the course syllabus.

If students have questions or concerns about class policies, their first action should always be talking with their instructor.

Faculty must not require documentation from University Health Center (UHC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH) or a doctor's office for absences due to COVID.

Faculty must not require students to submit proof of COVID testing, as they constitute personal, confidential medical records. The UHC offers a Self-Care Note, which you can require for your students who must miss class. Students could indicate under “Other” that they have tested positive for COVID-19, or they may decline to disclose symptoms or their COVID-19 diagnosis. 

As a condition of the Honor Code, students are required to tell the truth about their absences or face an Honor Code violation.

We are expecting students and employees to make decisions due to known exposures and/or positive tests, neither of which require outside documentation. In addition, part of the UHC’s role on campus is to educate students on the appropriate use of health care. Most illnesses can be treated with self-care and do not require a medical appointment. The UHC medical team needs to focus on taking care of those who require a medical visit. Providing notes creates a situation where students schedule medical appointments only for a note and not because they need medical care, a misuse of medical resources that takes up appointments from those who really need them.

There are specific circumstances where an entire class may be required to test and prove negative status for a common purpose, such as students traveling for study abroad. If you have questions about your class, speak with your academic unit head.

Students may choose to work with the Dean of Students for extended absences unrelated to COVID. 

The Dean of Students office will not provide documentation to faculty for students who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID for Spring 2022. Notifying you regarding absences is the responsibility of the student.

Students should contact you directly if they are going to be absent, and they may choose to share with you the reason for their absence.  Faculty may not require documentation from UHC, VDH or a doctor’s office, or proof of a postive COVID test, for absences due to COVID. See more information here. We are strongly encouraging everyone to quarantine if exposed and isolate if they are sick. Those students will not have a doctor’s note but are following the guidelines we have established for them.

Students may choose to work with the Dean of Students for extended absences unrelated to COVID.

Faculty and students are expected collaborate to find the best options for class participation if students are unable to be physically present. The method will vary by course.

While some classes are well suited for virtual delivery, some courses may not have great solutions (e.g., a piano workshop, or a course on instrumentation where students need to work with a specialized piece of equipment). In some cases, best option may be an online accommodation, but faculty are not required to provide virtual delivery of classes scheduled in person.

The Dean of Students office will not provide documentation to faculty for students who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID. Notifying you regarding absences is the responsibility of the student.

Students should contact you directly if they are going to be absent, and they may choose to share with you the reason for their absence.  Faculty may not require documentation from UHC, VDH or a doctor’s office, or proof of a postive COVID test, for absences due to COVID. See more information here. We are strongly encouraging everyone to quarantine if exposed and isolate if they are sick. Those students will not have a doctor’s note but are following the guidelines we have established for them.

Students may choose to work with the Dean of Students for extended absences unrelated to COVID.

You can establish in your syllabus that a requirement for “attending” class is having your webcam on, but you must allow students to request exemptions.

Note: There may be exceptions for certain courses that have clinical components during which instructors must observe skills.

 Students may opt out of being recorded, but not out of participation. In a class that is being recorded (not under an ODS accommodation), if students choose not to be recorded, you would need to have an alternative way for them to participate and be evaluated.

Online Delivery

JMU Libraries is the best place to start! From their Teaching, Learning and Research site, you'll find information on everything from adjusting your pedagogy to adapting to technology to renting equipment. 

Be sure to review the  Online Teaching, Scholarship, and Career Planning Resources page created by CFI.

There are also a Teaching Toolkit and Online Teaching Resources for Faculty, full of information compiled by your peers, available from this site.

No, unless you are in quarantine or isolation

The official mode of delivery for your class must match the mode shown in MyMadison. No changes may be made to delivery mode without approval from your AUH and dean. 

You can establish in your syllabus that a requirement for “attending” class is having your webcam on, but you must allow students to request exemptions. 

There may be exceptions for certain courses that have clinical components during which instructors must observe skills.

Students may opt out of being recorded, but not out of participation. In a class that is being recorded (not under an ODS accommodation), if students choose not to be recorded, you would need to have an alternative way for them to participate and be evaluated.

Face-to-Face Delivery

Effective Monday, April 11, 2022, masks optional in most indoor areas. Masks are no longer required in classrooms; however, they are still required:

  • At clinics on campus and in accordance with requirements at external locations, such as clinical placements, student teaching assignments, etc.
  • On public transportation (including buses) following current federal rules.
  • In private offices, when requested.
  • In other instances where specific contractual obligations apply.

There may be other areas of campus where masks will continue to be required. Those will be designated with appropriate signs.

 

If you recently tested positive for COVID-19, you must follow the isolation and quarantine instructions.

Unless you are teaching in a clinical space or in one of the exceptions noted here, you cannot require that students wear masks. Masks are optional in all other indoor spaces.

You can request others wear a mask in your private office. You may offer another option, such as meeting virtually or in a place that allows for social distancing, for office hours for students.

If a student reports a positive COVID-19 result to a faculty member, the faculty member should:

VDH will not be conducting contact tracing, so faculty members should strongly encourage students to contact anyone they have been in close contact with for the health of the entire JMU community.

As with other illness, faculty members are not responsible for notifying the class when someone tests positive for COVID-19. Every member of the JMU community is expected to wear masks, get tested if they experience symptoms and follow appropriate quarantine and isolation guidelines.

Entire classes do not need to quarantine if a student tests positive.

To protect student privacy, you should not tell the entire class of possible exposure or positive test results.

Seating charts aren’t required. 

In general, do not open the windows in any classrooms or offices. The HVAC systems and window units have been calibrated for the optimum mixture of inside and outside airflow. If windows are opened for ventilation humidity will be uncontrolled and may create conditions that would lead to other issues including the inability to maintain temperature within a comfortable zone and microbial growth because of excessive humidity.

Mandatory mask usage coupled with continual disinfection within the classrooms and common areas will dramatically reduce the amount of infectious material that could potentially be released.  These actions along with our ongoing disinfections of classrooms and reduced occupancy rates should create a safer working environment than many will encounter elsewhere in their daily travels.

More details on HVAC systems and ventilation are available on the Academic Space Health and Safety page.

When students have ODS-authorized accommodations, instructors should work with ODS and those students to determine a reasonable accommodation that enables the student to proceed in the course. This may include a virtual option, but that is not a requirement.

Instructors should work with students that are in quarantine and isolation to determine a reasonable arrangement that enables the student to proceed in the course. The best option may be an online arrangemement, but virtual delivery is not required.

Classroom Behavior

Students who demonstrate disruptive behavior in the classroom, whether in person or virtually, are subject to policy Academic Affairs Policy #12, Disruption of Class. Disruptive behavior includes any inappropriate student behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interfering with the ability of instructors to teach and students to learn.

You have the authority to maintain order in the classroom, the lab or any other learning environment
where instruction takes place so that all students may participate in the learning process. This includes the authority to impose sanctions on students who engage in behavior disruptive of the learning process.

Sanctions will vary depending on the student's behavior and may include referral to the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices (OSARP). Note that OSARP cannot have students permanently removed from a class; that decision must be made by the academic unit head at the request of the instructor.

If students test positive for COVID, they should:

VDH will not be conducting contact tracing, so we strongly encourage students to contact anyone they have been in close contact with to help protect the health of the entire JMU community.

Unless all students in the class were in close contact, students do not need to notify their entire class of a positive test. Close contact is defined by the CDC as being fewer than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes count as a close contact.

Recording Courses and Student Privacy

There are no changes to existing policies and procedures that currently allow a student to record courses pursuant to an Office of Disability Services accommodation. Requirements in the Academic Affairs Class Session Recordings and Distribution policy are addressed by the ODS accomodation.

As stated in Policy #15 Class Session Recordings and Distribution, "Recording of class sessions and the use, dissemination, and storage of that recording pursuant to and in accordance with a reasonable accommodation Access Plan as determined by the Office of Disability Services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is not a violation of this policy."

Instructors may record their classes for later playback by students enrolled in that class.

There are several steps you must take before recording a class, including:

  • Notify the class in advance that the class will be recorded. You can do this through email, Canvas or your syllabus (sample syllabus language is available). Multiple notifications are encouraged.
  • Provide students with a way to opt out of being recorded.
  • Tell students how the recording will be stored.
  • Communicate your policies related to recorded classes to students.

If your recording has information or context (visually, audibly or otherwise) that could potentially identify a student such that it is an educational record, it must be stored on a university-supported, password-protected site to avoid violating FERPA regulations.

Also keep in mind that recordings of class sessions:

  • and their use, dissemination and storage may not violate copyright or other intellectual property rights, laws or policies.
  • may only be for educational use and purposes.
  • may not be used in any way that denigrates and/or decontextualizes an instructor, student, or guest.

These criteria are required if the course is not being recorded pursuant to an ODS accommodation.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

Instructors may give students permission to record their classes. Students may not record classes without permission from their instructors, and instructors may revoke permission for a student to record at any time. Instructors may limit which portions of class may be recorded. 

Recordings may only be shared with students enrolled in the class.

There are several steps you must take before a student records a class, including:

  • Notify the class in advance that the class will be recorded. You can do this through email, Canvas or your syllabus (sample syllabus language is available). Multiple notifications are encouraged.
  • Provide students with a way to opt out of being recorded.
  • Tell students how the recording will be stored.
  • Communicate your policies related to recorded classes to students.

You should encourage students to bring their concerns about recording to you privately.

Also keep in mind that recordings of class sessions:

  • and their use, dissemination and storage may not violate copyright or other intellectual property rights, laws or policies.
  • may only be for educational use and purposes.
  • may not be used in any way that denigrates and/or decontextualizes an instructor, student, or guest.

If the recording has information or context (visually, audibly or otherwise) that could potentially identify a student such that it is an educational record, the recording must be stored on a university-supported, password-protected site, such as e.g., OneDrive for Business, TechSmith Knowmia, Canvas, etc.

Students must provide a copy of the recording to the course instructor upon instructor request.

These criteria are required if the course is not being recorded pursuant to an ODS accommodation.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

Students can share recordings only with students enrolled in the same class this semester. Students must always provide a copy of the recording to the course instructor upon instructor request.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

Circumstances surrounding the pandemic have changed the ways in which faculty may need to engage with their students. Instructors have a responsibility to provide access to educational material for students and providing class recordings to students enrolled in a class may be one option to meet this need.  

Students - along with all JMU community members - are expected to follow the CDC guidelines on quarantine and isolation, which will result in more student absences than usual. Students who miss class because they are following our university policy should not be penalized by missing course content when this can be avoided or mitigated.  

Yes. Faculty must clearly communicate when and how recording, streaming and photography are permitted in their courses.

It is recommended that you include a statement in your course syllabus as well as tell your class prior to recording that they or a student in the class will be recording that session and provide a way to opt out of the recording.

Students may opt out of being recorded, but not out of participation in class activities. In a class that is being recorded (not under an ODS accommodation), if students choose not to be recorded, you must have an alternative way for them to participate and be evaluated.

Regardless of the individual course policy, recorded classes may not be used in any way that denigrates and/or decontextualizes the instructor or any student whose class remarks are recorded.

These criteria are required if the course is not being recorded pursuant to an ODS accommodation.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

Yes. If the course is not being recorded pursuant to an ODS accommodation, it is recommended that instructors clearly state in their syllabus that classes will or may be recorded. You should also communicate at the start of class that a class session will be recorded. 

Instructors should also tell their class prior to beginning recording that they or a student in the class will be recording that session and provide an option to opt out of the recording.

Students may opt out of being recorded, but not out of participation in class activities. In a class that is being recorded (not pursuant to an ODS accommodation), if students choose not to be recorded, you would need to have an alternative way for them to participate and be evaluated.

You should encourage students to bring their concerns about recording to you privately.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

You can record only yourself, e.g., a lecture recorded in advance with no students present, with no restrictions on use. The recording is not limited to that class and term.

Recordings of classes, to the extent they capture student images, become part of the students’ educational records and must be treated the same way as other student records in protection of FERPA. This includes protected storage on university-supported sources.

These criteria are required if the course is not being recorded pursuant to an ODS accommodation.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

You can establish in your syllabus that a requirement for “attending” class is having your webcam on, but you must allow students to request exemptions. 

Note: There may be exceptions for certain courses that have clinical components during which instructors must observe skills.

The Registrar’s website has comprehensive information on FERPA and student privacy. Faculty can also find specifics related to their responsibilities online. You’ll also find guidance in the Privacy Considerations section of the Libraries’ Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching.

The Department of Education has also provided information on FERPA during COVID-19.

The full policy on recording, storing and distributing class recordings is online.

Student Support
The Libraries have excellent resources for students participating in online and hybrid learning. They can also get Online Learning Strategies from fellow students.

If you are concerned about a student in distress, you can speak with a Counseling Center clinician by calling the Counseling Center at (540) 568-6552, Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. The clinician will help you develop a plan to respond to the situation and connect you with the appropriate resources. You may also find it helpful to review the section of the Counseling Center’s website that was specifically designed to assist faculty in your efforts to support students of concern.

If you are concerned about a student, please consider sending a Madison Cares referral. Madison Cares is a centralized program for departments, students, parents, and community members to refer or consult about students of concern. We operate as an extended arm to students experiencing varying levels of social, emotional, academic, or mental-health stressors.

Students, university personnel, community members, or family members can submit a referral online about a student they are concerned about through the Madison Cares program. We will respond and address any concerns by providing care outreach, university resources, and direct support.

The Office of Disability Services is the best resource for students needing any type of accommodation, related to COVID-19 or not.

Stability and consistency are provided through the ongoing delivery of student support services (e.g., Learning Centers, Help Desk and Library services); continuing to provide access to on-campus spaces (e.g., labs, creative spaces, UREC, Libraries, dining), and continuing to enable student relationships with faculty, advisers, staff and fellow students.

COVID in the Classroom

If you are exposed to COVID-19, follow these procedures

Instructional faculty should immediately talk with their AUH regarding course delivery.

Instruct the student to follow CDC isolation guidelines

Students who are up-to-date with vaccines can continue to attend class in keeping with the CDC guidelines.

If someone in your class tests positive for COVID:

 

Follow the CDC guidelines for quarantine.

If you are up-to-date with your vaccines, you can continue to attend class in keeping with CDC guidelines. Get tested if you develop symptoms.

If a student reports a positive COVID-19 result to a faculty member, the faculty member should:

VDH will not be conducting contact tracing, so faculty members should strongly encourage students to contact anyone they have been in close contact with for the health of the entire JMU community.

As with other illness, faculty are not responsible for notifying their class when someone tests positive for COVID-19. Every member of the JMU community is expected to wear masks, get tested if they experience symptoms and follow appropriate quarantine and isolation guidelines.

If any students in your class are sick, you should:

Due to privacy issues related to HIPAA and FERPA, you will not be notified by the university if a student in your class tests positive for COVID-19.

If you are a close contact of the student, they should contact you directly.

Masks and PPE

Effective Monday, April 11, 2022, masks are no longer required in classrooms; however, they are still required:

  • At clinics on campus and in accordance with requirements at external locations, such as clinical placements, student teaching assignments, etc.
  • On public transportation (including buses) following current federal rules.
  • In private offices, when requested.
  • In other instances where specific contractual obligations apply.

There may be other areas of campus where masks will continue to be required. Those will be designated with appropriate signs.

Unless you are teaching in a clinical space or in one of the exceptions noted here, you cannot require that students wear masks. Masks are optional in all other indoor spaces.

You can request others wear a mask in your private office

Faculty may customize their syllabus as they choose. See this site for some suggestions on adapting your syllabus for COVID.

Effective Monday, April 11, 2022, masks are no longer required in classrooms; however, they are still required:

  • At clinics on campus and in accordance with requirements at external locations, such as clinical placements, student teaching assignments, etc.
  • On public transportation (including buses) following current federal rules.
  • In private offices, when requested.
  • In other instances where specific contractual obligations apply.

There may be other areas of campus where masks will continue to be required. Those will be designated with appropriate signs.

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