Fall 2021 Classroom Guidelines

Friday, August 6, 2021; 8:25 a.m.

Dear Colleagues,

On Wednesday you received an e-mail from President Tate outlining our general protocols for the fall semester and a link to the Roadmap website. Please see below for guidance on classroom instruction for the fall 2021 semester:

  • Faculty teaching class sections with 100 or more students may opt for a hybrid format where only 50% of students are in the classroom each day during peak infection periods. When infection rates decline significantly for two consecutive weeks, all large classes resume full classroom occupancy.
    • We are currently in a “peak infection period” as determined by the LSU Health and Medical Advisory Committee. As such, faculty should prepare their classes for the start of the fall semester accordingly. Faculty members will be notified via e-mail should this status change.
    • Deans’ offices are tasked with monitoring which sections in their college opt for hybrid format.
    • If a faculty member is teaching more than 100 students and chooses to go hybrid, they should first inform their department chair and dean’s office. Since we expect that we will continue to be in a peak infection period when the semester starts, faculty members should e-mail their students and their department chair as soon as possible to notify them of this decision.
    • If you are teaching more than 100 students and would like to opt-in to the hybrid scenario, you may use the following suggested guidelines:
      • T/Th classes: half of the class is permitted to attend on Tuesday, and the other half of the class is permitted to attend on Thursday. In most cases recording or live-streaming lectures is recommended to provide appropriate access for those students not in the classroom. Select disciplines may have standard disciplinary norms that call for other approaches, and if so, these should be approved by the department chair and dean prior to implementation. 
      • M/W/F classes: half of the class is permitted to attend on Monday, the other half is permitted to attend on Wednesday, and Fridays should rotate between the two groups. Faculty members may also choose another equitable rotation where students have the opportunity to attend at least every other class, but the schedule should be clearly noted on the syllabus. In most cases recording or live-streaming lectures is recommended to provide appropriate access for those students not in the classroom. Select disciplines may have standard disciplinary norms that call for other approaches, and if so, these should be approved by the department chair and dean prior to implementation. 
      • Once-a-week classes: If you are unable to accommodate full class attendance, you may have half of the class attend in-person every other week while the other half of the class attends synchronously online.
  • If a faculty member is teaching a class with 250 students or more, they will receive an e-mail with an opportunity to attend a training on classroom safety.
  • Faculty should continue to follow the guidelines in Policy Statement 22 if a student has a valid reason for absence. This policy applies to students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or in quarantine as determined by the LSU Daily Symptom Checker. Faculty maintain the authority to determine the best method for students to makeup the coursework, whether through class recordings or other means.
  • As mentioned in an e-mail from Faculty Senate President Mandi Lopez, faculty may include a statement on their syllabus regarding vaccines.
  • Masks or face coverings continue to be required indoors at all times, except when individuals are alone in their offices. In addition, we require masks outdoors within 50 feet of entrances to buildings. Faculty may include a reminder on their syllabus that students are expected to adhere to the Presidential Directive on COVID-19 Safety, including the face covering policy. Event management staff will be retained and strategically located to facilitate classroom mask enforcement. A student’s failure to comply with the Presidential Directive would result in them being in violation of the following, which would be addressed via the university’s conduct process:
    • LSU Student Code of Conduct: 10.2.I. Failure to Comply. Defying the order or instruction of a University official, other authorized person on behalf of the University or any University policy, contract, mandate or rule.

I appreciate everyone’s cooperation as we work to deliver a safe classroom experience for our students and faculty. As a reminder, we have the following layers of mitigation in place for our classrooms:

  • The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, at no-cost, on LSU’s campus.
  • A mask/face covering requirement.
  • Entry requirement: all students attending on-campus classes or participating in campus activities will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 5 days prior to arrival on campus. Alternatively, students may provide proof of vaccination or a positive test in the last 90 days to opt-out. Students will receive an e-mail next week with the survey link to report their vaccination status or test results. This communication will be shared with the faculty.
  • Ongoing testing: students who are not vaccinated will be required to get tested periodically throughout the semester. Testing may be required more frequently for students living in Residential Housing.
  • Wastewater testing to monitor the spread of the virus in Residential and Greek housing.
  • Plexiglass available in classrooms.
  • Prohibition of food and drink in the classroom.
  • Optimization of the ventilation in classroom spaces, including adjustments to air handling by the HVAC system coupled with the addition of portable HEPA air filters.
  • Daily symptom checker and the LSU COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard.
  • Restrictions for indoor events – including 50% capacity for events exceeding 100 participants.
  • Continuous monitoring of campus and community conditions by LSU leadership and the Health and Medical Advisory Team.

As a reminder, if you have a condition that is COVID-related for which you are seeking an accommodation, you must complete and return the Request Packet due to COVID. All documentation must be returned to Jennie Stewart, ADA Coordinator in the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX. Please direct questions and concerns to employeeacc@lsu.edu. More information can be found on the website for the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX. 

If you have any questions about teaching for the fall semester, please e-mail my office at academicaffairs@lsu.edu.

LSU is providing a call center to answer any questions about COVID-19 from the LSU community. The call center number is 225-427-1326. Alternatively, you may e-mail covidresponse@lsu.edu.

The health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students remains our highest priority. We will continue to monitor the campus and community conditions, and let you know if any changes are needed to our current protocols. I am grateful for the high level of engagement we have had from the campus community during our preparations for the fall semester. Thank you for all that you do for LSU, and as always….

Geaux Tigers!

 

Matt Lee

Interim Executive Vice President & Provost

Professor of Sociology