Updates on COVID-19 for Faculty

Date: March 3, 2020

To: Faculty

From: Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

The campus has been taking a number of actions related to the growing spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States. While we are addressing the questions faculty have presented through a FAQ within the SJSU Newsroom, I think there is value in disseminating more detailed “next steps” here. For most up-to-date information, of course, please continue to go to the SJSU Newsroom COVID-19 update and advisory page.

Keeping Our Campus Clean

There is an ongoing effort to sanitize as many public spaces as possible, including classrooms, keyboards, mouse, monitors, etc. to minimize spread of COVID-19 as well as other diseases, such as the flu. This is, of course, difficult to do given the size, breadth, and scope of this cleaning effort. Faculty are therefore encouraged to remind students about best practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including handwashing, covering when sneezing or coughing, or, in worst case scenarios, the use of self-quarantine and testing should they suspect they have been exposed.

If a Student Reports Potential Exposure to COVID-19

If a student does self-report potential exposure (via email, for example), please contact your chair and dean immediately. Supervisors should be advancing this information to our office so that we can inform the Cabinet and our Emergency Operations Council (EOC). We are developing a number of different approaches to managing a case on campus, if one should happen. Please support those students by providing them a flexible way to access course content and assessments should they need to stay away from campus.

If There is a Need to Move Face-To-Face Classes Online

Faculty should also be aware that there are options to teach their entire class remotely for a period of time to reduce exposure if that is warranted by changing conditions in the region and on the campus. Faculty should contact their department chairs - and garner approval - before making any wholesale change in course modality.

eCampus Resources

eCampus has a page describing how to deploy remote strategies within your classes. This includes several online training sessions in the next month: 

Tuesday, March 3

3 p.m - Remote Teaching Series: Canvas 20 Minute Workshop

Friday, March 6

9:30 a.m - Remote Teaching Series: Zoom 20 Minute Workshop

Noon - Remote Teaching Series: Create a Lecture Video for Canvas!

Wednesday, March 11

11 a.m - Remote Teaching Series: Create a Lecture Video for Canvas!
3:30 p.m. - Remote Teaching Series: Zoom 20 Minute Workshop

Thursday, March 12

9:30 a.m. - Remote Teaching Series: Canvas 20 Minute Workshop

If Faculty Cannot Attend Classes for Extended Period of Time

If a faculty member contracts COVID-19, we may need to assign or hire other faculty to support their classes. All faculty are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to upload all grades, syllabi and assignments to Canvas for easy access to course materials for students and others. At a minimum, preparing clear guidelines and all course materials in advance (even in analog form) will help a colleague who may have to fill a class in your absence. Also, if there are video presentations that can be filmed in advance, those should be uploaded (or archived in accessible place) as well. University Personnel (408-924-2450) can assist with any medical leave related questions. 

If Faculty Have Health Concerns About Higher Risk

For faculty with autoimmune or other underlying conditions that might increase risk to contract COVID-19, we encourage those faculty to contact their health care providers for recommendations. Should you require accommodation or leave, please contact the Employee Accommodation Resource Center at 408-924-6000 or University Personnel at 408-924-2250. 

Impact on the Student Experience in Clinical Placements and Internships

There may be an impact on student clinical placements and internships as well. Given that this may impact the success of a student in a program, faculty are encouraged to work with their dean’s office as well as the Office of Undergraduate Studies and/or the College of Graduate Studies on how to manage those programmatic changes.

Reducing Travel—International or Domestic

There are already a number of countries that are banned from travel by the CSU system. We will ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date on those places. With that said, reducing all international travel is strongly recommended given the current global climate related to COVID-19. We request that any international travel, therefore, be absolutely essential and approved on a case-by-case basis. Things are changing very quickly, so faculty might end up returning from a country that now has a travel ban (leading to the need to self-quarantine). Please include the justification in FTS as part of the campus approval process. 

We make the same request for nonessential domestic travel – be thoughtful in how you travel and where. Certain parts of the country are starting to report more cases than others. Please continue to monitor your travel (and the required travel of your students) and ask your dean’s office if uncertain.