Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty/Staff

General Information

Masks are required in all public settings, classrooms, shared offices and/or departmental areas, in hallways, restrooms, etc. Masks do NOT have to be worn in one’s private office (or in a shared office when no one is present) or in a student’s private residence (dorm room/apartment). Masks should always be worn properly and will be required indoors, as well as outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Quarantine is the term used to refer to what individuals should do who have been exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19. The time frame for quarantine is 10 days from the last exposure to the positive individual. Isolation is the term used to refer to what individuals should do who test positive. Isolation can end after the following:

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving - Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation​
  • A note of release from a healthcare provider (adapted from the Centers for Disease Control)

JSU administrators have carefully considered this question. In the spring, when COVID-19 first impacted our campus, we knew very little. We closed after discussion with administrators from other universities as well as discussions with local and state officials. Since that time, we have learned strategies to better protect ourselves and reduce exposure. 

At this time, decisions are made in response to current situations, and those situations are very difficult to quantify. For instance, if the designated quarantine and isolation spaces are not sufficient, that could be an issue. If significant numbers of personnel were absent, that, too, could be an issue. Many of these situations may occur periodically but may be remedied quickly. Therefore, we are monitoring daily (sometimes hourly) numbers, availability, surge, etc., related to our current situation. 

Should there be directives from the governor or other regulating bodies regarding closure, then we would respond accordingly.

Managing Students In the Classroom

Students who think they have COVID-19 should go to the Student Health Center for testing. The testing is free. Students will have results in 15-minutes; however, this does not mean the entire visit will only be 15 minutes. Students should be prepared for long waits during certain peak times. The Student Health Center is located at the JSU South Complex (1701 Pelham Rd South).

If a student tests positive on campus, the JSU Epi Team (contact tracing) will automatically be informed and will contact the student to give support and instructions. The JSU Epi Team will also tell the student to contact their instructors to let them know they will have to participate in class remotely until they have been cleared to return to campus. No action is required on the part of the faculty member, except of course to be as accommodating as possible in helping the student to continue to participate in the class during the isolation period. 

If a student tests positive at an off-campus health care provider, and informs you of their positive result, please direct the student to submit the COVID self-report form. The JSU Epi Team will provide support and instructions to the student, and the student should let you know the instructions received. 

If the established rules for masks and physical distancing are being followed in the classroom, then the risk of transmission from the positive student is minimal, and it is not necessary to inform the rest of the class that they may have been in the same room as a positive individual. For privacy reasons, the instructor should not announce to the class that a student in the class has tested positive, even anonymously. 

If mask and distancing protocols were for some reason not observed, and there was in fact a chance that other students may have been within six feet of a positive individual for 15+ minutes, the contact tracers on the JSU Epi Team will discover that information in the course of their interview with the positive student. The case managers will then contact the other individuals who may have had close contact with the positive individual. (adapted from Univ. of Alabama)

It is never the faculty member’s responsibility to inform students of possible exposures. It is also not the faculty member’s responsibility to report positive student test results via the self-report form; students should be directed to the form if necessary. (adapted from Univ. of Alabama)

If students or faculty have additional questions concerning this process, they should email covidquestions@jsu.edu with the questions or concerns.

No, the JSU Epi Team does not currently have the resources to provide written excuses for students who have been directed to isolate or quarantine. When students tell you that they’ve been directed into quarantine, please take their word for it and permit them to participate in the class remotely during their quarantine period. 

Students are not required to test negative for COVID prior to being authorized to return to class. The current CDC guidelines recommend a time-based and symptom-based isolation period rather than a test-based process for returning to normal activities. When a student returns to class from isolation, they will have received authorization from their appointed contact tracer to do so.

The university is following CDC guidelines regarding when the student can return to campus for in-person classes and activities. Students should not return to class/campus until these criteria are met. Current guidance states those who have had COVID-19 can be around others after:

  1. Isolating for 10 days, even if you’ve had no symptoms, OR
  2. 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
  3. Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation)
  4. Or a note of release from their health care provider. (from University of Central Oklahoma)

Students who ask about attending class when unwell should be discouraged from attending class. Faculty should be as accommodating as possible in helping the student to continue to participate in the class when absent to protect others. (adapted from University of Alabama) 

The Faculty Handbook has been updated with Information on how to handle these situations. Section 2.8.4.8 provides direction.

Guidance for Faculty

If you are sick with COVID-19, waiting for a test result on COVID-19, or showing symptoms associated with COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath), please stay away from campus, self-isolate, and contact your health care provider for care. You should not teach in a classroom on campus. If you have been exposed or tested positive, but you feel well, you should continue to teach your courses virtually. Please be sure to contact students in a timely manner to cancel any in-person classes. If you have tested positive, whether at the Student Health Center or at an off-campus facility, please submit your positive result to the Epi team. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you should use sick leave, please contact your supervisor or the Department of Human Resources. (adapted from University of Wyoming)

Yes, faculty should hold office hours remotely. Faculty are encouraged to communicate with students about how they can be reached and should be flexible in what tools they use to connect with students. (from University of Northeastern Illinois)

For help with Canvas or Teams during normal business hours, faculty may contact Online@JSU by sending an email to online@jsu.edu with complete details.  Additional resources, including 24/7 and self-help options, are described on the Online@JSU Help web page.

Faculty should not automatically move any classes for spring online, at this time. Guidance for spring planning will be provided soon from the Office of the Provost. Further guidance will come from the university on faculty accommodations.

If a student cannot or will not adhere to health and safety guidelines, they should be asked to leave that class session. Established safety protocols should usually permit the class to continue. However, faculty should use their own discretion to determine whether it is necessary to suspend the remainder of that day’s class meeting. Refer to the Faculty Handbook for further guidance (Section 2.8.4.8).

All faculty teaching in Fall 2020 should develop a course continuity plan, in consultation with their department chair, to be activated in the event the instructor is unable to teach due to illness. Course continuity plans might include pre-recorded lectures, Box directories containing notes and course materials for prospective substitute instructors, etc. Faculty who become ill should contact their department chairs immediately to discuss course continuity.

Based on feedback received from the Student Government Association as well as Student Affairs, students are still interested in many face-to-face classes. There are also students interested in online only. And, there are students interested in a mixture of instructional methods. Given these preferences, it is important that we offer a variety of classes for students to select, as long as safety protocols can be maintained.

Online only options are reserved for faculty who are at high risk and have been approved to teach only online. For other faculty, if possible, the usual method of delivery used should be the preferred instructional method. While some courses must convert to online due to large enrollments, others may be offered in hybrid formats to better promote student learning outcomes while maximizing safety

The university wants to offer an appropriate mixture of courses to meet the variety of student needs while adhering to safety protocols for in-person classes. Some classes may have to convert to online due to the large enrollment usually in those courses. Others may have the option of teaching in a cohort-based approach with some students coming one day while others come another. Some courses may be offered as required synchronous online while others may be offered as virtual lecture but small study groups in-person. These are just a few examples of options when planning. Intentional planning must occur with the department heads and deans to appropriately offer the courses in a format which will maintain safety and promote optimal learning.

Tutors and study space are available for students through ACE (3rd floor TMB) and The Writing Center (230 Stone).  ACE provides in person one on one tutoring, online tutoring and Peer Assisted Study Sessions.  The Writing Center provides writing support through Teams.  See connection information below:

  • ACE – 3rd Floor TMB 
    • ACE will provide limited in person learning support opportunities such as appointment and drop-in tutoring to ensure proper social distancing and safety protocols as defined by the university.  Students can schedule an appointment for tutoring through JSU Navigate.
    • Additionally, online tutoring is available to all students 24/7 through tutor.com 
    • Students can access tutor.com through a link in Canvas:  https://jsu.instructure.com/login/canvas 
    • Peer Assisted Study Sessions will limit participation to social distancing and safety protocols as defined by the university 
    • For more information contact ACE at 256.782.8225 or visit their website http://www.jsu.edu/student-success/index.html 
  • The Writing Center – 230 Stone Center  
  • JSU Student Success Center - Houston Cole Library (Ground Level, Lobby and 2nd Floor) Opening late Fall 2020 

Travel requests from all faculty and staff are being evaluated on an individual basis.