Texas Tech University

Faculty/Instructor Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to communicate to students before the start of class and on the first day of class? What COVID-19 related information do I need to include in my syllabus (for either face-to-face or online courses)?

At least a couple of days before the start of classes, e-mail your students highlighting some key points of information about what to expect on the first day. Introduce yourself, be positive about the upcoming semester and the content and objectives of your course, inform them of required textbooks or other course materials they need to acquire, and that you would like to outline a few expectations for everyone to have as they come to the first class period. Some expectations to note:

  • Face coverings are required
  • Entrance and exit procedures
  • Signage
  • Seating assignments

Attach a copy or a link to your class syllabus if it is ready at the time you send this email message. Point to elements you want students to be familiar with on the first day. In addition to the usual elements your syllabus contains, it should also include the statements to be discussed in class on the first day regarding the potential for a change in course modality due to health concerns related to COVID-19, the policy on absences resulting from illness, the policy on statement of a positive test and how to request accommodations as a result of personal health concerns. Instructors should also have information in the syllabus regarding when and where students can go to get tested, should they feel the need or if they begin exhibiting physical symptoms while in class.

On the first day of class, plan to spend a good portion of your opening class period discussing protocols and answering questions about mitigating viral spread. TTU Commitment videos are available for showing in your initial class period. Use the video to segue from University expectations to those for your class. Review the key points you highlighted in the introductory e-mail sent the week before.

  • Face covering requirement
  • Seating assignments
  • State your plan for how class will be dismissed and in what order (e.g., row-by-row starting from the back), stressing the need to keep face coverings on and maintain social distancing.
  • Remind students to pay attention to signage and encourage them to use hand sanitizer or to wash their hands in a restroom as they walk through the building.

How do I learn about plans for the movement of people in and out of classrooms, labs, and classroom buildings?

Instructors are encouraged to develop a plan for how class will be dismissed and in what order (e.g., row-by-row starting from the back), stressing the need to keep face coverings on and maintain social distancing. If available, instruct students to wipe down their desks/table spaces with sanitizing wipes.

Exterior doors to buildings must remain open. Academic units may work with Operations Division concerning routing traffic flow through specific doors, but no exterior doors can be locked without specific permission from Operations, Student Disability Services and the Fire Marshall. Academic units can reach out to Larry Phillippe in Student Disability Services and to the Fire Marshall to set up internal review of expected traffic flow patterns. Exterior doors may not be propped open.

Do I need to create a seating chart for my class? How do I create a seating chart? Should I share the seating chart with any particular office or entity on campus for the purposes of potential contact tracing?

Students are expected to sit at a minimum of six feet apart, where practicable. Instructors should state whether seats in your classroom will be marked as available and unavailable. A required seating chart will be created once everyone is positioned with appropriate social distancing. Operations Division Planning and Administration can assist departments with classroom layouts and seating plans. The TLPDC also has helpful classroom layout information available. Instructors should also plan an orderly procedure, designed to ensure social distancing, for exiting the classroom.

The purpose of assigned seating is to assist in contact tracing, if necessary, and to augment social distancing. In a hybrid course with alternating attendance days, a seating chart will be needed for each group of students meeting face-to-face. For studios, performance venues and laboratories in which students might not have specified seats, a location chart will be needed. Plan to adjust the seating/location chart as enrollment changes. 

Class seating charts are to be retained by the instructor of record and copied to the main office of the respective academic department. 

I've heard there's a reporting/screening platform for students, faculty, and staff. When will that become available, how does it work, and will it automatically inform the appropriate offices when there is a positive case?

The new platform is available and is designed to be used by students, faculty, and staff to report a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 by an off campus medical provider. It also provides a quick assessment tool that can be used for entrance into classrooms and work areas, as well as a full self-screening option that allows the user to perform a comprehensive self-assessment to determine if medical attention or testing is recommended.

This platform will require your eRaider credentials and can be accessed via computer, tablet or phone. Here are some additional details on the features of this new reporting tool:

  • The quick assessment tool allows the user to answer three basic questions that can be used at the discretion of various campus units and or faculty/staff for verification prior to a user entering campus facilities, classrooms, laboratories and other areas. Green, yellow and red indicators will provide users with either clearance or information on how to proceed.
  • The full self-screening tool gives everyone on campus the ability to review symptoms of COVID-19 and undergo a complete and thorough self-screening. This self-screening will provide you with valuable information should you exhibit symptoms of the virus.
  • The platform also gives students, faculty, and staff the ability to report a positive COVID-19 result. It is essential to report a positive diagnosis that was received by an off campus medical provider, so that contact tracers can begin to notify members of our campus community that have known exposure with the individual. Students that test and receive a positive diagnosis through Student Health Services do not need to self-report using this application.

What do I do if a student is ill in my class?

If a student begins to exhibit physical symptoms of COVID-19 while in the classroom, faculty should strongly encourage the student to leave immediately and quarantine while monitoring their symptoms. Faculty should direct the student to Student Health Services for medical guidance and testing. 

A student who tests positive should notify Student Health Services immediately by using the reporting/screening platform. If a student tests positive or has been exposed to the virus they will be contacted by a trained contact tracer. It is important that the student be responsive to these communications.

Where do I send students with health-related questions about COVID-19? Where do I send students with non-health related questions about COVID-19?

Students can find information regarding their health and safety related to COVID-19 at the Texas Tech Commitment website. For health-related questions, students may contact Student Health Services at (806) 743-2848. For non-health related questions, contact (806) 742-5929.

What do I do if I can't teach either online or face-to-face because I or a family member is sick?

When a faculty member or a faculty member's at-home family member is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately quarantine and inform their immediate supervisor as well as seek guidance from their health care provider. Faculty should return home immediately if on campus or remain at home if not already on campus. If a faculty member tests positive for COVID-19, they should immediately self-isolate and complete the TTU COVID-19 Reporting Form.

Faculty may work remotely during the self-isolation period, dependent upon the nature of their work, supervisor guidance and ability to work due to their health. A faculty member who is too ill to work should take the appropriate sick leave and not work while on sick leave. Those unable to work remotely should contact Human Resources. Academic units should have plans in place to provide substitute instructors or remote course work options for classes whose instructors are too ill to teach. 

Faculty who tested positive for or had COVID-19 symptoms may return to work, including face-to-face instruction, after at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset, at least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms have improved. Faculty should contact their immediate supervisor and discuss their return to work prior to returning.

What if students are congregating inappropriately outside my classroom?

Operations Division and Student Disability Services have worked with each department to roll out the signage plan for masks, hand washing and wellness stations. Students should be strongly encouraged not to queue for classes until at least 10 minutes before start time. Once in line, social distancing and use of face coverings should be observed.

Units can request signage and walk-throughs by creating a work order through Operations Division. Grounds Use is developing guidelines for approved outdoor events – these will be provided to any group whose request for outdoor space reservation is approved. Operations will develop signage for known common congregation areas and will address new needs as they arise.

What do I do if a student won't wear a mask in my class?

On the first day of class, discuss in detail the expectations for wearing a mask while in class. If a student shows up to class without a face mask, encourage them to go outside the class and obtain a mask, sanitize their hands and then re-enter the classroom. If they still refuse, ask the student to leave, then follow the outlined procedures and policy from the class syllabus.

Unless the student has an exemption from wearing a face mask specifically outlined in the university's Policy and Exemptions guidelines, refusal to comply with this facial covering policy may lead to disciplinary action. 

Any student choosing not to wear a mask/facial covering during class will be directed to leave the class and will be responsible to make up any missed class content or work. 

If a student disrupts a class to the point instruction may not proceed or a student has been asked to comply two or more times by the same person(s) and the student is demonstrating a blatant disregard for the use of a mask/face covering, the student may then be reported to the Office of Student Conduct for non-compliance with the mask/face covering requirement.

What if a student is observed not wearing a face mask indoors or in public spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained?

Ask if student is aware of the university face covering mandate. Bystanders are encouraged to have an educational discussion and remind students that wearing of face coverings is considered an additional public health measure to help reduce community transmission of respiratory diseases and COVID-19. If student does not have a face covering, direct them to the nearest location to obtain one.  If student indicates a medical issue with wearing a face covering, advise them to contact Student Disability Services.

What if a student is observed not adhering to social distancing protocols?

Remind student of social distancing protocols of at least six feet distance between themselves and others.

What if a student fails to comply with directive to wear face covering or maintain social distance in areas where face coverings or social distancing are required?

Advise student that noncompliance with the face covering mandate may result in report to University, to be reviewed by the Office of Student Conduct.

Who is responsible for cleaning surfaces in classrooms between classes? Where do those cleaning materials come from?

Texas Tech Operations Division has supplied each building with cleaning materials for use by faculty and students before, during and after class. Faculty and students are encouraged to wipe down their lecterns and spaces before and after each use. Faculty can obtain supplies through their college and students can access the Red Raider Wellness Stations in each building for wipes and hand sanitizer.

How do I report problems in my classroom such as shortages of hand sanitizer, cleanliness concerns or furniture configuration concerns?

Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc. can be requested by calling 742-4OPS or via email through the work control page. 

For room configuration concerns, if it is a Raider Room, email your request, concern or question to Operations Division staff. The Operations Division Events and Instructional Space Management site can be found here. If the room is not a Raider Room but instead is managed by a department, you will need to visit with the department.

How do I reserve an outdoor classroom?

Departments wishing to use an outdoor classroom are required to submit a request to Grounds Use and can do so at this website. All requests to use outdoor spaces for formal class instruction, organizational meetings, and/or any other event should follow the requirements and procedures specified in OP 61.02. Before submitting a request to schedule use of an outdoor space, individuals should review the Grounds Use webpage, which includes a calendar of scheduled events. The intent of Grounds Use will be to schedule areas, so multiple classes do not try to use the same space. We will also turn the sprinklers off. Grounds Use is developing guidelines for approved outdoor events – these will be provided to any group whose request for outdoor space reservation is approved.

Who should I contact if it is necessary to temporarily change the modality of my class due to my own or students' testing positive for COVID-19?

Confer with your department chair, school director, or area coordinator, Dean's office, and the Office of the Provost. It is anticipated the modality change would be temporary. If the modality change appears to be for the duration of the course, notify the Registrar's Office scheduling section.

What conditions will determine returning to fully remote delivery of courses at some point in the Fall semester? 

At this time there is not a specified set of parameters that will indicate a pivot to fully remote delivery. Conditions on campus as well as guidance or mandates from local and state officials would be key determinants. It's possible that some on-campus classes would go fully remote based on isolated cases, but return to face-to-face or hybrid instruction after the appropriate isolation and quarantine periods. Academic departments and faculty have been advised to have courses ready for that potentiality. 

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 after the drive-through testing closes on Aug. 24?

Once the drive-thru clinic closes on August 24, student testing will be coordinated by Student Health Services, and faculty and staff should contact the Faculty/Staff Clinic on campus, or their primary care provider, or contact (806) 743-2911 to speak to a nurse to assist with information for COVID-19 testing.