Spring 2022 Instruction

Instructional Support

Looking for instructional support? Connect with the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring! Current support opportunities include:

Staff members at the center can also help you connect with local support in your school or college.

Campus Masking Policy

All students, employees and visitors to campus, regardless of COVID19 vaccination status, continue to be required to wear an acceptable face covering that is properly fitted to cover the wearer’s nose and mouth, at all times when present in UW–Madison indoor public spaces, including while riding a campus bus or when two or more people are present in a university vehicle. Read the latest announcement.

For spring 2022, the university has purchased a large quantity of high-efficiency and surgical grade masks to provide at no cost to employees and students who wish to use these types of masks. Instructors and students will receive more information about how to obtain these masks prior to the start of the semester. For all other employees, departments and centers will receive information about how to order through ShopUW+.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Can an instructor or any employee wear a clear face shield instead of a mask?

No. Current campus guidance states that “all students, employees and visitors to campus are required to wear either a reusable, well-fitting cloth mask or a single-use disposable mask when inside campus buildings.” Students, employees and visitors may choose to wear a face shield in addition to – but not as a replacement for – a reusable or cloth mask. Instructors concerned about speaking in the classroom while wearing a mask can find information about classroom microphones below.

Employees who have a medical condition or disability that affects their ability to wear a face covering may request an accommodation; contact your Divisional Disability Representative.

How should I respond if I see someone (a student, another employee, visitor, etc.) not wearing a face mask where one is required?

Remind

Remind them about the face covering requirement. Using language such as, “I notice you aren’t wearing a mask” is a good place to start. Remember that not everyone is able to wear a face covering, and it is not your responsibility to evaluate their accommodation needs. Students with documented accommodations work with the McBurney Center and are expected to share their accommodation with you at the start of the semester. As appropriate, remind the class that not everyone is able to wear a face covering.

Offer

Offer them a face covering if you have extras and if they need one. Speak with your supervisor if you have questions about where to find extra supplies.

Respond

Respond using your best judgment. If you are dealing with a visitor to your space who refuses to put on a face covering, you may ask them to leave. If they continue to refuse to comply, do what you can to de-escalate the situation, including walking away. You are not expected to jeopardize your personal health and safety to enforce the campus health protocols.

Students who repeatedly fail to comply may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and may be subject to disciplinary action under the non-academic misconduct policy. Submit an incident using this incident report form.

Please note that only supervisors, managers, and HR representatives can direct employees to leave the workplace.

Download a PDF of this guidance.

What should an instructor do if a student refuses to wear a face mask while in the classroom?

Those who can wear a face covering but refuse to do so will be asked to leave the building. Any student absence from class due to refusal to wear a mask should be treated as an unexcused absence. Such unexcused absences should be treated in accord with each course’s particular unexcused absence policy, which should be clearly stated on the course syllabus.

Students who repeatedly fail to comply will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and may be subject to disciplinary action under the non-academic misconduct policy. Submit an incident using this incident report form.

Students who have a medical condition or disability that affects their ability to wear a face covering should request a reasonable accommodation.

Course Modality

Instructors are expected to teach course sections, including lectures, discussions and labs, in the modality indicated in the schedule of classes (as reflected in Course Search and Enroll and Faculty Center). Modality decisions and modality changes must be approved at the department and school/college level and are subject to review. Individual instructors may not unilaterally change the modality of any course section.

Please see the campus definitions for the three types of modalities: in-person (P), hybrid (WC), and online (WO).  Note that an in-person (P) course may have occasional and rare online meetings. Such occasional and rare meetings should be used only in cases of unavoidable instructor absence and after other possibilities, including colleague coverage, have been explored.

COVID-19-Related Absences

Student Absences

Individual students unable to attend in-person class meetings for COVID-19-related reasons (or for any reason) should contact their instructor to discuss options for access to course materials and activities. Instructors are encouraged to be flexible and supportive of all students in such circumstances. Students who must miss multiple class sessions should talk with their instructor and with their academic advisor about the best course of action.

If multiple students in a course section must miss in-person class meetings for COVID-19-related reasons, every effort should be made to avoid a disruption of in-person instruction. Instructors should work with their department, school and college to explore ways to provide students who cannot attend in-person sessions access to course materials and activities. Any interruption of in-person instruction should be temporary and brief.

Instructor Absences & Coverage of Teaching Duties

Instructors of in-person courses who are unable to teach in-person for COVID-19-related reasons should contact their supervisor or department leadership to discuss and coordinate arrangements that will minimize disruption to their in-person courses. As in analogous, non-COVID-19-related circumstances, colleague coverage is a first option to consider. Any interruption of in-person instruction should be temporary and brief.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Will I be notified if a student in my class is required to be tested for COVID-19, has failed to test for COVID-19, or tests positive for COVID-19?

No, no testing information about students will be shared with instructors.

Students who are required to test for COVID-19 are receiving frequent messages from campus about this requirement and those who fail to comply are being held accountable.

What should I do if a student in my class tells me that they have tested positive for COVID-19? Should I inform the other students? Should I cancel class?

While we want to give other students information intended to protect themselves and others, it’s important to respect the medical privacy of those who become sick. Informing your class that someone has tested positive may reveal the identity of the student who is sick. Instructors should not do this. If a student wishes to inform the class, they may do so, though they are not required. You should not cancel class.

Instead, please regularly remind your students of the following:

  • They should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms daily. This is true regardless of whether someone in the class has tested positive since exposure can happen in many different settings, on and off campus.
  • If they develop symptoms of COVID-19, they should isolate themselves immediately and make an appointment to get tested.
  • They may hear from a campus contact tracer if they are deemed a close contact of someone who has tested positive. However, while campus has a team conducting robust contact tracing, it will not always be possible to identify all close contacts of someone who has tested positive.
  • If they learn they are a close contact of someone who tested positive, whether from a contact tracer or from the individual, they should follow instructions for quarantine and/or testing.
  • Risk of exposure in classrooms is low given that more than 90 percent of on-campus students and employees are vaccinated and everyone is required to wear masks. Most people in our community are strongly protected from infection. There is no need to cancel class because a student has tested positive.

Additionally, instructors should be flexible with and supportive of students who cannot attend class in-person due to illness or quarantine but every effort should be made to avoid a disruption of in-person instruction. If you have questions about your individual classroom situation, contact your supervisor or department leadership.

Are instructors required to provide students remote or online access to in-person courses?

In general, instructors are not required to provide remote or online access to courses scheduled for in-person instruction. Students who enroll for courses scheduled for in-person instruction are expected to attend in-person course sessions.

Students with a documented accommodation need related to in-person instruction should contact the McBurney Center. The McBurney Center will work with the student and instructor to explore the possibility of reasonable accommodations.

See general guidance above for how to address instances where individual or multiple students need to miss class.