Proactively communicating and working with students regarding campus expectations for COVID-19:
Whether you’re a faculty member, a staff member, a supervisor to student employees, or are any member of our campus community it will be important to proactively communicate with students about expectations related to the space you work with them in. Consider communicating with your students via email, eLearning, and/or other venues prior to the first day of classes or their first day of work.
In your message include information that prepares them for their first day with you/your office:
- How might the physical environment look or feel different?
- How might your classroom activities or interactions look or feel different? What should they be prepared to expect?
- Be honest in your advanced communication about requirements for items they can bring to the office/classroom, social distancing, and face coverings.
- Use language that encourages building a team or community given the circumstances.
Humanize this experience.
- As appropriate, use your space as an opportunity for students to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted them and as your comfortable share how it has impacted you.
- Are you wearing a face covering for yourself? For a loved one who is immunocompromised? For the UNI community?
Outline how a student should be prepared to communicate with you if they believe they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Should they be prepared to virtually participate in course work if they are feeling up to it?
- Who should they email to notify of their absence from your space?
- What responsibility do they have, if any, for finding coverage for work?
Talk about accountability for our campus safety measures and be prepared to enforce those measures equally.
- How will you address anyone who enters your space not wearing a face covering?
- How will you kindly remind them?
- Where is signage posted in your classroom, office suite, or individual office?
- Will you direct individuals to leave the space, get a face covering, and then return?
- What will happen to individuals who do not comply with the reasonable request to put on a face covering?
It will be important for our entire campus community to recognize that supporting our safety measures can not be the responsibility of a few individuals. We will all have to recognize the safety measures in place are different than what we've experienced before and address individuals with kindness and compassion.
Here are some suggestions for addressing individuals who are not wearing a face covering, are not engaging in social distancing, or are not adhering to other campus safety measures:
- Start with a kind question or statement. Remember, people make mistakes and may forget their face covering or our requirements around social distancing. Examples include, "Can you please put your face covering on?," "In this space, for everyone's safety, we ask that you maintain six feet of social distancing. Could you please take a step back?" or "There are disposable face coverings available (insert location), please go get one so you can participate in this space."
- Check on how you're feeling at that moment. Are you upset? Frustrated? Concerned for your own health? Take a deep breath. Work to be able to address the concern from a place of patience. Consider your options. Can you ask someone else to address the issue? What simple statement can you make that addresses the concern?
- Recognize the power dynamics at play. Are you an authority figure either by title or perception? What identities do you hold and what identities does the person you're addressing hold? Be cognizant of apparent and non-apparent identities.
- Recognize these are likely different circumstances than our students have experienced before.
- Returning students will not be used to being in UNI classrooms with face coverings and engaging in social distancing.
- New students may not know anything different for our campus, but this is also likely not what they experienced in high school or a community college setting prior to coming to UNI.
- Wearing a face covering may not be what a student has experienced in the greater Cedar Valley (i.e. private establishments may not require people to wear a face covering), or it may not align with what they've experienced at home over the summer. We have to teach the new norm for our Panther community.
To support these suggestions being easily shared, a downloadable PDF version is available.
Case Scenarios for Confronting with Care was developed as an additional tool for offices, departments, student organizations and/or individuals to think through ways in which they may approach addressing an individual who is not complying with university expectations related to COVID-19.
Students who fail to respond to the reasonable requests of faculty, staff, or peers to wear a face covering, responsibly engage in social distancing, follow isolation or quarantine requirements; and/or, uphold the Student Commitment and Acknowledgement of Risk may be referred to the student conduct process for an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code, within 24 hours of the incident.
Concerns with UNI staff failing to adhere to campus COVID-19 related expectations can be referred to Toni Babcock, Employee Relations Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org). Concerns with UNI faculty failing to adhere to campus COVID-19 expectations can be referred to John Vallentine, Associate Provost for Faculty (email@example.com).