Texas Tech University

Fall 2022 Start of Term Information

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: Recommended Start-of-Term Messaging

What do I need to communicate to students before the start of classes? Do I need to include specific information about health and safety?

At least a couple of days before the start of classes, e-mail students to highlight expectations. Remember, if you email your students through Blackboard, their email addresses are not visible. If you choose to message your students via email, though, be sure to use the BCC function for all student email addresses to maintain FERPA compliance. 

In your message, introduce yourself, be positive about the upcoming term and the content and objectives of your course, and inform students of required textbooks or other course materials they need to acquire. 

Health and safety concerns can include the following:

  1. Remind students that face coverings, although optional, are recommended and welcome, especially for those who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 or who may have susceptibilities to the virus.
  2. Operations will continue to provide sanitization stations across campus along with enhanced cleaning practices. 
  3. Most buildings on campus have signage stressing current health and safety recommendations as published by the CDC.
  4. Direct students to TTU's COVID-19 site for further information about vaccines, testing and reporting a positive test. https://www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/emergency/coronavirus/

What new information should I provide in my course syllabi?

Include the following (italicized for clarity) information in your syllabus. We recommend you include a link that will take your students to the webpage where this information is housed. Using the link will ensure that the information students read is always current. This is the link (reviewers: note this is in the process of being updated): https://www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/emergency/coronavirus/ 

The University will continue to monitor CDC, State, and TTU System guidelines concerning COVID-19. Any changes affecting class policies or temporary changes to delivery modality will be in accordance with those guidelines and announced as soon as possible. Students will not be required to purchase specialized technology to support a temporary modality change, though students are expected to have access to a computer to access course content and course-specific messaging.

This is where students can find information about COVID testing, vaccinations, isolation, and quarantine. https://www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/emergency/coronavirus/

If you test positive for COVID-19, report your positive test through TTU's reporting system: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/emergency/coronavirus/. Once you report a positive test, the portal will automatically generate a letter that you can distribute to your professors and instructors.

Is there other required language I have to include in my syllabi? 

Yes.  You can find required and recommended syllabi language here. Please include links to this information in your syllabi.  You can also import the language into your syllabi via Blackboard (pop-up instructions are available in your course shells).

FAQs: General Expectations and Guidance for Fall 2022

What about student appointments and meetings?

In most cases, we will resume in-person advising, office hours, and academic support interactions. Face masks will be optional but may be recommended, and social distancing may be applicable where feasible and conducive to interaction. All virtual interactions should only take place via TTU approved and supported online meeting technologies.

What should I tell students who ask if COVID-related absences will be excused?

Please direct students to the test reporting portal to report a positive test result. Doing so will generate a letter that students can provide to professors and instructors. Please allow students with positive test result letters the opportunity to make up missed work. 

What if multiple students in my class report testing positive for COVID-19? Is there a threshold at which I can move my course temporarily online?

Because of the substantial differences in class sizes and types, there is no uniform threshold. For example, a threshold would not be the same for lecture-based class with 150 seated and socially-distanced students as it would for a vocal performance class with 25 students standing shoulder-to-shoulder. 

 

If multiple students in one or more of your courses test positive for COVID-19 and you feel that continuing to hold class in person presents a health risk to you or your students, please notify your department chair, school director or area coordinator.  With your department chair, school director or area coordinator, discuss how a temporary (in most cases, not to exceed two consecutive weeks) modality change may affect your course. Determine how you will message students, what planning or logistical support may be needed for a temporary change, and how you will message a return to in-person activities. Decisions about class modalities should be made with your chair, director or area coordinator in consult with your dean's office. Chairs, directors, and area coordinators are asked to keep a record of all courses approved for temporary modality changes.

FAQs: Guidance for Faculty Concerning Health and Safety

Who do I contact if the sanitation station in my building is running low on supplies?

Please contact your department's/school's/area's building coordinator. If you're not sure who this is, please ask your chair, director or area coordinator. TTU's building coordinators are working directly with Operations on maintenance of sanitation stations.

Who do I contact if I notice an area that needs institutionally-approved health and safety signage?

Operations is responsible for all approved signage. If you think an area would benefit from signage, please contact your building coordinator. They will add signage.

What if I have a health condition that impacts my ability to teach my courses or engage in departmental business face to face? For example: I have an autoimmune disorder that renders me more susceptible to serious illness if I contract COVID-19.

Faculty members who have a physical or   mental health impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as accessing the workplace due to a health-related vulnerability of contracting COVID-19, may make a request for accommodation through the TTU's ADA process. Faculty members who have questions regarding ADA accommodations should contact Human Resources Talent Management. 

To make an ADA accommodation request, do I need to provide TTU with documentation from a medical provider? 

Each request is reviewed on an individual basis and Human Resources may require documentation from a treating healthcare provider or medical certification to verify the disability. A faculty or staff member seeking a disability-related accommodation must, upon request, submit appropriate medical certification to Human Resources from a treating healthcare provider to substantiate the faculty or staff member's disability and/or the need for accommodation. Human Resources will provide this form to employees if needed.  Medical documentation may not be required to substantiate the faculty or staff member's disability and/or the need for accommodation if the faculty or staff member's disability is clear and obvious. (TTUS Regulation 07.11 Access for Individuals with Disabilities).

To make an ADA accommodation request, do I need to provide TTU with documentation from a medical provider? 

Faculty or staff members who need a disability-related accommodation should make the request known to their immediate supervisor. That notification can happen before or after the faculty or staff member submits the request through the ADA process, but faculty or staff members are encouraged to discuss accommodations with their immediate supervisor as soon as possible to better facilitate a discussion with Human Resources.

Upon receiving a request for accommodation from a faculty or staff member, Human Resources will:

  • Review and discuss the request with the employee;
  • Discuss the request with the supervisor;
  • Verify the disability which may require documentation from a treating healthcare provider or medical certification;
  • Review the essential functions of the job;
  • Facilitate discussion between the employee and the supervisor regarding possible accommodations; and
  • Consult with the Office of the Provost, as warranted, regarding faculty accommodations.

Once I go through the ADA process, will my private medical information be shared with my Department Chair, School Director, or Area Coordinator? 

Human Resources will not disclose private medical information to supervisors, department chairs, school directors or area coordinators.  When Human Resources receives a request, that unit follows the process identified above.  

When communicating with supervisors, Human Resources advises that it has received a request for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specific medical information is not included but notices indicate the employee has identified a physical or mental health impairment that impacts their ability to perform their job functions. 

The TTU ADA Coordinator for faculty, staff, and student employees reviews the request, the supervisor's input, and medical information if requested. The faculty member will receive a memo from the ADA Coordinator indicating whether the request has been approved, denied, or if alternate accommodations have been identified.  

The employee's immediate supervisor receives a copy of the memorandum as well. This memo does not contain private medical information. Documents associated with the ADA and private medical information are stored separately from the employee's personnel file.

Office of the Provost