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Academic Affairs FAQ

In response to questions from faculty and staff in Academic Affairs, the Provost’s Council met with campus leaders to learn more about the status of planning for campus operations this fall.

Faculty are understandably concerned about the impact of operational changes on the teaching and learning environment and classroom management. There are at least fifteen multi-disciplinary committees examining the effect the ongoing pandemic will have on the fall semester. University leadership has been announcing solutions as they are decided upon.

Resources for Faculty

For consistency across campus, all guidelines, procedures and updates are available in two spaces on the wcu.edu website:

  • Weekly updates from campus leadership and changes to operations or procedures for the Fall 2020 semester are available on the Fall 2020 Operations and Procedures website.
  • Updates and resources in regards to the Coronavirus for Faculty are available at the Faculty and Staff Resource page in the Coronavirus website.

Frequently Asked Questions

PPE and Cleaning

Testing and Quarantine

Community Standards and Guidelines

ADA Accomodation

Schedule Adjustments and Students at High Risk

General Questions

What CDC projections are being used to determine the safety of reopening the campus in the fall? Where do we access this data?

There are 15 task forces working to prepare campus to open this fall. The CDC provides specific guidance for higher education institutions.

Information and Resources

Will there be a dashboard available for review that details campus and regional cases of COVID-19?

The current confirmed cases on-campus are available at info.wcu.edu/covidreporting

Our projections for reopening are following the NC Governor’s phased reopening process and planning as well as data collected by Jackson County Health Department. This is essentially the dashboard to utilize. MAHEC will be creating plans specific to western 17 NC counties. 

Will there be signage to help direct the flow of students and help enforce best practice?

Standardized informational and instructional signage is being installed across campus.  

 

 Personal Protective Equipment and Cleaning Procedures 

What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be available to faculty, staff, and students in the fall?

 

Information about PPE on campus is available info.wcu.edu/cleaning

Will materials be available to allow faculty and students to clean desks and keyboards in classrooms?

WCU has procured bulk tubs of sanitizing wipes to put in each classroom. We are reviewing refill processes; will lessen the need for housekeepers during the day and allows for individuals to self-disinfect personal classroom spaces.

What cleaning precautions will be in place for commonly used and/or shared materials and spaces?

 

Per the Return to Work Safely Guidelines, building occupants are expected to clean any shared-space location or equipment. Units can request sanitizing wipes through the Facilities Management work order system.

Are there restrictions on use of classrooms/facilities by outside groups/organizations?

Latest university guidance addresses expectations for visitors of the university and face coverings is available in the Catamounts Care: Community Standards.

 

 

Testing and Quarantine

Will all students be tested before they return to classes?

There is no plan to test all students coming back to campus, which is just a point in time snapshot; guidance from the NC Dept of Public Health is there may be up to a six-day window between exposure and a positive test. The long-term efficacy and resource demand of across-the-board testing are currently untenable.

The welcome packet for students will include a washable face mask, oral thermometer, wipes and hand sanitizer so students can check their temperature daily.

Our communication will be to self-monitor and if running a temperature to call health services. There will be appointments/phone calls only; walk-ins will not be permitted (to protect patients and staff).

What Does Testing and Contact Tracing look like on-Campus

Information about testing and contract tracing is available at info.wcu.edu/testing

Should my entire class do a mandatory 7-14-day quarantine if a student has been diagnosed?

Jackson County Health Department officials may recommend quarantine steps on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances.

WHO SHOULD Faculty and staff REPORT A POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULT?

The guidance from HR directs employees to notify their supervisor of the need to self-isolate to make work arrangements. Faculty and staff members have the right to privacy as a patient, and as such, medical information will remain private and only will be revealed by contact tracing notifications. Even then, the employee will not be specifically identified.

More information is available at info.wcu.edu/resources in the COVID-19 guidance and protocols for employees and supervisors.

WILL STUDENTS BE REQUIRED TO REPORT THEIR POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS TO WCU?

A student self-reporting tool is available at info.wcu.edu/selfreport. The completed form will be sent to Health Services to include in your medical record and a representative from Health Services will contact you for follow up.

What are the university’s expectations around teaching a student who has been infected with COVID-19?

Each situation will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, students may continue with online participation at the faculty member’s discretion. Once medically cleared, a student may return to face-to-face instruction.

Will a student infected with COVID-19 receive an automatic university withdrawal for medical and/or extenuating circumstances?

Each situation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Decisions will be made consistent with current WCU practices and procedures. 

If a faculty member is teaching face-to-face and that individual is diagnosed with COVID-19, will the class be canceled?

Human Resources, the faculty member’s department head and dean, and the Provost’s Office will confer. Actions taken will also depend on where we are in the semester.

 

 

ADA Accommodations

For students with a disability and seeking reasonable accommodation, see the OAR Registration form and Documentation Guidelines at accessibilty.wcu.edu.

 

 

Students at High Risk

AS A FACULTY MEMBER, WILL I BE INFORMED ABOUT STUDENTS WHO HAVE REQUESTED A SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENT DUE TO THEIR HIGH RISK FOR COVID-19?

When a student requests a schedule adjustment or an alternative schedule from the Office of the Provost or the provost’s designee, this information is confidential. Faculty will be informed if assistance is granted and requires faculty action.

FOR STUDENTS WHO DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THE INSTRUCTIONAL SPACE, WILL THE PROFESSOR HAVE TO OFFER THE COURSE IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT THAN THE ORIGINAL WAY THE COURSE IS SCHEDULED?

Most responses to student requests will take the form of an alternative course schedule rather than a change in specific course format. This will be coordinated by the Office of the Provost and the Undergraduate Advising Center. If a specific case requires a change in course format, the Office of the Provost will work with the instructor, department head, and dean to develop an appropriate solution.

WILL FACULTY MEMBERS HAVE TO PROVIDE A COURSE IN A DIFFERENT INSTRUCTIONAL FORMAT THAN THE WAY THE COURSE IS SCHEDULED FOR A SINGLE COVID-19 HIGH RISK STUDENT?

Most responses to student requests will take the form of an alternative course schedule rather than a change in specific course format. This will be coordinated by the Office of the Provost and the Undergraduate Advising Center. If a specific case requires a change in course format, the Office of the Provost will work with the instructor, department head, and dean to develop an appropriate solution.

AS A FACULTY MEMBER, WILL I BE INFORMED ABOUT STUDENTS WHO MAY BE AT HIGH RISK FOR COVID-19?

Students will continue to have a right to privacy for their medical information. Generally, WCU will not identify high risk students to faculty or staff members. Students may choose to self-identify as high-risk, but this does not necessitate adjustment on the part of instructors. To receive schedule adjustments related to COVID-19 risk, students must provide appropriate documentation to the Office to the Provost at OfficeoftheProvost@email.wcu.edu.

AS A FACULTY MEMBER, WILL I BE INFORMED ABOUT STUDENTS WHO MAY BE AT HIGH RISK FOR COVID-19 AND ASSIGNED A PRIVATE ROOM IN THE RESIDENCE HALLS?

Students will continue to have a right to privacy of their medical information. Generally, WCU will not identify high risk students to faculty or staff members. Students may have private room assignments for many reasons, including their personal preference.  Faculty or staff members will not be provided with a reason that a student may have a private room. Students may choose to self-identify as high-risk, but this does not necessitate adjustment on the part of instructors. To receive schedule adjustments related to COVID-19 risk, students must provide appropriate documentation to the Office to the Provost.

 


Community Standards, Guidelines and Policies

What are the community standards for Faculty, Staff and Students?

Catamounts Care

Shared community standards remind us that we each have personal responsibility for actions that may affect our own health and the health of our friends, colleagues, and the broader campus community. Our collective acceptance of this shared responsibility will be the most effective strategy we will have at our disposal in the challenging months ahead.

We know that Catamounts Care and we have developed the following set of standards to encourage everyone to put the well-being of themselves and others top of mind.

Learn more about our community standards at info.wcu.edu/catamountscare

Where can I find information about reopening of services on campus?

Guidelines on use of on-campus facilities are following CDC and NCDHHS guidance. The campus is following the CDC rules and recommendations for Institutes of Higher Education, Health Care facilities, Congregate living facilities and other business recommendations. As guidance is developed the information will be published at the Fall 2020 Operations and Procedures website, available at info.wcu.edu/fall2020.

Some available information on the following topics:

How is the university going to enforce social distancing and masks campus wide?

We fully expect everyone on campus to follow the community standards. Our first and preferred approach to assure compliance will be through public health education and communication. The face covering requirements for students is an expectation of the Code of Student Conduct and violations are subject to code of conduct proceedings and disciplinary action. Faculty and staff can communicate wit the Department of Student Community Ethics using Maxient, WCU's student alert system, regarding students who do not honor the face covering requirement.

Additional information is available at info.wcu.edu/catamountcares

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