What is required to teach Hybrid or Distance Learning (Online) class at UW Tacoma?
To offer a hybrid or online course at the University of Washington Tacoma, the faculty member must be an iTech Fellow certified by the Office of Digital Learning. The policy established by faculty makes this requirement and defines campus, hybrid, and distance learning courses as follows:
Campus Course - up to 39% of scheduled in-person class time may be replaced with online learning tools and content.
Hybrid Course - between 40-99% of scheduled in-person class time is replaced with asynchronous online learning tools. At least one in-person class meeting is required.
Distance Learning (Online) Course - 100% online where in-person interaction is entirely replaced with asynchronous online learning tools. Cannot require a synchronous online presence of all students.
The term remote was used by UW during the 2020-21 academic year to designate emergency teaching conditions. UW is now using remote as the designation for courses where a faculty member has an approved Disabilities Support Office (DSO) accommodation that allows them to teach 100% remotely.
Faculty who have completed the Technology Teaching Fellow certification at UW Seattle are probably well-prepared to also be certified as iTech Fellows, and can submit their courses to the Office of Digital Learning for review.
Do faculty have to offer multiple modalities for students to participate in class?
Decisions about flexible classroom modalities are the purview of the UW Tacoma faculty. While hyflex and other flexible classroom modalities are not prohibited, we do not expect or require instructors to teach the same course section in multiple instructional modes. This is effective spring quarter 2022, and in effect through academic year 2022-2023.
Can I require students to mask in my classroom?
Beginning March 28, 2022, UW policy is that masks are optional in all campus spaces. Individual offices or faculty cannot set their own policies on masking. You can make a polite request that your students wear masks in your classroom, but you cannot make it a requirement or in any way penalize students who do not honor that request.
Does my school, division, or program, have additional restrictions or expectations on how courses should be taught?
Faculty are responsible collectively for decisions about the best ways to deliver the curriculum based on students’ needs, accreditation requirements, etc. Please check with your administrative lead (dean, associate dean, program director, division chair) regarding any additional requirements, as these decisions are made within your school or program.
What has UW Tacoma done to reduce risk in our classrooms?
The recommended filter level for COVID-19 conditions is 13 or higher (the maximum level for these filters is 16). Our facilities team has installed MERV 13 filters in the HVAC systems throughout campus. They have also increased the air intake to 45%, meaning indoor air is exchanged 8-9 times per hour with fresh outside air.
What about social distancing in classrooms?
There is no requirement for social distancing in the classroom. The science suggests that vaccination and high-quality air filtration systems (in place at UW Tacoma) provide substantial protection from virus transmission.
Is the air quality safe in our UW Tacoma classrooms?
Our facilities team (via a contractor) is currently testing the air quality in a sample of classrooms that represents the various HVAC conditions at UW Tacoma. If they find that we are not up to public health standards set by UW, they will install and maintain air purifiers in those classrooms.
Working with students
If a student tests positive, do I need to report that? If they go into quarantine, how can they continue in the class?
If a student lets you know they have tested positive, ask the student not to come to campus, and inform Dr. Bernard Anderson in Student Life.
For students in quarantine or sick, the situation is the same as prior to COVID when a student had a serious illness that required missing class. Faculty are to provide alternative resources that allow students to achieve the learning objectives of the course. Depending on the course, the faculty member and student may want to discuss whether taking an incomplete for the class would be appropriate.
What happens when a student tests positive for COVID-19?
The tri-campus EH&S team has been supporting the UW Tacoma campus throughout the pandemic with risk assessment, notification, and contact tracing. for anyone in our community including students in our classes. At UW Tacoma, please notify Dr. Bernard Anderson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life, at email@example.com if you learn that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. Please remember that medical information is protected information and you should not share it with anyone other than Dr. Anderson, who will report it to UW Environmental Health and Safety.
If a student in your course has to quarantine or becomes sick, you should manage this the way you managed such situations before COVID-19. You are not required to create multiple versions of your course or teach it in multiple modalities. It is possible that a student may receive a DRS medical accommodation in such a situation. Please see above regarding DRS accommodations.
Should faculty ask students who miss remote class or course work to provide documentation or a physician's note?
"Instructors are strongly discouraged from requiring medical or legal documentation from a student for any absences. Requiring such documentation places burdens on all parties involved," according to the Faculty Council on Academic Standards Syllabus Guidelines. The syllabus guidelines recommend that instructors offer students accommodations, such as makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work. The UW Center for Teaching and Learning offers updated information and resources for technology and pedagogical best practices that can help you and your students in the event of any missed class time.
What happens if a student is showing symptoms in class?
Please encourage students experiencing symptoms to stay home. Just because a student coughs or has a runny nose doesn’t mean they have COVID, but testing will be available to students on campus and faculty should let students know of these resources.
Telework, personal health and HR issues
What flexibility is available for teleworking for staff?
UW has three types of telework plans:
Occasional telework arrangements are infrequent and not regularly scheduled. Occasional telework does not require a formal agreement, however, supervisor approval must be documented through email.
Hybrid telework allows an employee to work remotely up to two days (16 hours) per week. A formal telework agreement is required and must be approved the employee's supervisor.
100% Remote telework (or any plan with more than two days per week of telework) requires Vice Chancellor and Chancellor approval.
Any plan beyond occasional telework must be documented in a formal agreement.
Supervisors are empowered to develop temporary arrangements during these times when all of us will experience emergent situations (e.g. temporary daycare or school disruptions, COVID symptoms or illness, or quarantine). That flexibility isn’t intended to allow for 100% telework for the whole quarter, but temporary arrangements in order to accommodate those emergency situations that arise.
If there is a longer-term request to accommodate a medical condition, we must follow the UW accommodation process to ensure we are supporting the medical need.
What are the expectations around office hours?
Because most students are back on campus for in-person instruction, we expect offices will be open and accessible for students, faculty and staff.
Ideally, that means an in-person, staffed office open Monday - Friday, 9AM - 5PM. But for some smaller offices, temporary staffing issues may not allow for that. In those cases, keep these things in mind:
Communicate clearly how students (or faculty/staff) can access your services.
Be accessible – if you are teleworking, let students know how they can contact you.
Be responsive – timeliness matters for students (and all of us).
Be creative – work with your peers to share ideas on how to best keep things going.
I have been instructed by my physician to self-isolate due to unprotected and direct COVID-19 exposure.
At the University of Washington, faculty do not formally track paid time off for reasons other than sick time off under the Faculty Sick Leave Policy. Faculty sick leave (i.e., paid sick time) covers: a) your own serious health condition as certified by your health care provider; b) temporary disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or recovery therefrom; or c) care for a family member with a serious health condition.
If you have been directed to self-isolate, you should continue to follow your unit’s procedure for short-term absences. For example, this might involve informing your supervisor (chair/director/dean), who can help you arrange for remote work or with reassignment of responsibilities. And for specific suggestions related to research activities, see the updates from the Office of Research.
If your absence occurs during a time in which you are otherwise entitled to receive a salary from the University, you will continue to receive your salary. If your condition changes and you have a serious health concern, you may be entitled to use up to 90 days of faculty sick leave, using the process outlined by Academic HR.
Will COVID-19 affect promotion/tenure review schedules?
Using President Cauce’s declaration of “extraordinary circumstances” under Executive Order 27, the Office of Academic Personnel is implementing a provision for automatic eligibility to waive the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year from the mandatory promotion clock. This is similar to the automatic eligibility to have a year waived from the promotion/tenure clock in the case of the birth or adoption of a child. Automatic eligibility means that the faculty members must request a clock waiver, but upon request it will be automatically approved.