CLAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is working hard to help faculty and staff stay informed on University guidance and the changes in operations. We will post updates to this page on a regular basis.

The latest official guidance and updates on UConn’s response to COVID-19 and its impact on the university community can be accessed at the link below.

 

View the University's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates Page

View the Academic Services Center's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates for CLAS Undergraduate Students


Frequently Asked Questions for CLAS Faculty and Staff

Last updated: May 20, 2020

General Questions

Where should I send my questions?

The Dean’s Office staff will be available on campus or remotely as is feasible through the duration of this change in operations and will respond as soon as possible to your concerns.

Please send questions to the following addresses, where they will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

The CLAS senior staff (dean, associate deans, and service unit directors) meet regularly to discuss and make decisions about the many questions from faculty and staff. In most cases, questions will be answered in regular updates from the College via email and on this webpage.

Where do I report known or suspected cases of COVID-19 in UConn employees or students?

Human Resources has developed an initial set of questions and answers for employees, managers, and colleagues upon the presumption or confirmation of a case of COVID-19.

If faculty/staff have questions related to a potential student exposure, they can call either the Advice Nurse at (860) 486-4700 or the UConn Student Health and Wellness – Medical Care phone line at (860) 486-8987.

Departmental Activities

Should staff telecommute or come to campus?

All CLAS staff should continue to telecommute if they are able to work remotely as determined by their supervisor and/or department head. Supervisors should continue to operate on a plan with each supervisee that details their location and who is responsible at what times for critical office functions. In all cases, we recommend erring on the side of flexibility, responsiveness, and understanding of individuals’ specific needs.

Staff and faculty are permitted to come to campus infrequently to collect items or to do a project that will take no longer then one day. All employees must wear a face mask and maintain six feet of social distancing.

 

Are we expected to keep normal business hours when we are working remotely?

To the extent that remote meetings and business calls will continue to occur, employees should expect to be available during their normal working hours. Supervisors and department heads should, however, be flexible when possible about extenuating circumstances such as childcare, elder care, and other issues surrounding this public health crisis. If an employee needs to adjust their hours, they should inform their supervisor and determine a mutually agreeable plan.

What should we do about undergraduate student employees?

If student workers can work remotely, they should. They should record hours and submit timecards as usual. Supervisors and students should work out a mutually agreeable work schedule while the student is away from campus. In the event that students cannot perform their usual work remotely, faculty and staff should work to find reasonable alternative work that is agreeable to the student.

Technology

What technology should I use to work from home?

Staff and faculty with University-issued laptops should take them home and use these devices on their home wifi network.

Staff and faculty who do not have access to laptops may work on University matters from their personal computers. We strongly advise setting up remote access into each individual’s work computer to minimize risks to personal information. All University email business should be conducted using your UConn email address.

  • Borrowing Equipment: CLAS has a limited number of computers to loan to staff and faculty. Unit leaders can request computers for faculty or staff members by contacting clasit@uconn.edu. The CLAS Dean’s Office is prioritizing these loans based on critical college functions.
  • Virtual meetings: All faculty, students, and staff with a NetID have their own Personal WebEx Room. Additionally, CLAS IT has created several “Virtual Rooms” that can be used for interviews and committee meetings.
  • WebEx Rooms - You can find detailed information about WebEx at the ITS Knowledge Base (WebEx). To get started with hosting a meeting using your Personal Room, please see the ITS Knowledge Base instructions for hosting a WebEx meeting.
  • CLAS Virtual Rooms - To schedule a meeting in the CLAS Virtual Rooms for job candidate interviews or remote participants, please email clasit@uconn.edu and CLAS IT will coordinate with you, including scheduling a time to test the system with your candidate or remote participant.
  • Connecting to your work computer remotely: Using the University’s remote desktop capability might be an ideal solution for connecting to your desktop computer while working from home. Please contact clasit@uconn.edu if you need assistance setting this up.

Additional training videos from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Research and Graduate Students

When can I return to my on-campus research?

The Office of the Vice President for Research began a phased reopening of UConn and UConn Health research programs on May 20 (Phase 2 in the posted “Ramp-Up: Phased Process for Reopening Research at UConn and UConn Health”). It includes guiding principles and processes for a transparent, phased approach to reopening research while addressing state and federal directives and guidelines. To view the full document and Phases 0 through 4 of the reopening process, visit the OVPR's COVID-19 Resource page.

All labs WILL NOT be able to reopen and resume research activities on May 20, 2020. The reactivation of labs will occur in phases beginning with those projects/labs previously submitted for pilot/limited research approval. Requests for resuming on-campus laboratory and field research will be reviewed and approved contingent upon meeting conditions described below. Additional guidance for human subjects research and non-laboratory based research and scholarship will be available by May 22, 2020.

Researchers who already had approval under the Pilot Data/Limited Activity phase do not need to resubmit new materials. They should email cri@uconn.edu to confirm they will continue to use their approved COVID-19 Safety Plan for the reopening of research. Researchers who were approved under the Critical Research Infrastructure phase need to resubmit the above forms to resume research activity.

To reiterate, research programs cannot return to campus until they obtain written OVPR approval. Please follow the instructions an requests forms available on the OVPR website to request a return to campus. 

Can I submit grants during this time?

Yes. All CLAS grant management services should be available, although there may be some additional response time needed if personnel are unavailable due to illness or quarantines.

I am currently on sabbatical or have one planned for next year. What should I do?

You may postpone a sabbatical that is planned for fall 2020 and/or spring 2021. There are two types of modification reasons:

  1. faculty member request, or
  2. administrative postponement.

If an approved sabbatical leave is administratively postponed, the faculty member will be eligible for his/her next sabbatical in the period it would have fallen if there had been no such postponement. Administrative postponements will be considered on a case by case basis depending on the degree of impact COVID-19 has on the faculty member’s research or scholarship plans. Approval for prior administrative appointments will not affect this process; the determination will be made based on the degree to which COVID-19 affects the plans for research/scholarship.

Teaching and Undergraduates

How do I teach my class?  

Teaching for Summer Session 2020 must take place online at remote locations.

With prior approval from the Provost’s Office, there is certain limited and carefully monitored use of on-campus classrooms. To ensure that we do not create situations that inadvertently bring people together into a single space, and to limit the access only to those cases where it’s really necessary, the Provost’s Office has established a process for instructors to submit their requests directly to CETL, where they will be reviewed and assessed before making arrangements to provide appropriate access.

Instructors who feel they require this special accommodation should complete the Limited Classroom Access Request form, which asks for details about the specific needs of the instructor and other important details.

Not all requests will be honored, only those that cannot be addressed in another fashion. Second, there is not a guarantee that instructors will be able use the specific room in which they would have been teaching under ordinary circumstances, but only a room that provides the technology they need.

There are many other UConn resources for teaching online, including:

Here is a partial list of resources relevant to CLAS faculty and staff for online instruction.

General online instruction resources

UConn CETL guides for navigating HuskyCT

Assignments

    Quizzes and exams

        Online laboratory courses

        Below are four options for moving lab classes online, created by a working group at Michigan State University (shared with their permission). Possible differences in outcomes are described in the final column.

        Traditional form Modified form Main Differences
        Option 1:
        simulation
        Students are developing an understanding of the nature of science and science practices. Specific content or skills are not required. Find a set of digital activities that help students to hone science practices although they may not address specific topics or themes, the digital experiences may still sharpen student science practices (e.g. PhET models or MERLOT or Netlogo)

        Provide a question for testing these simulations, scaffold as needed to focus on desired aspect of experimental process, and have students design an experiment.

        Students obtain an understanding of science practices, but the experience may be more disjointed and not aligned with the specific discipline or case studies.
        Option 2:
        analysis & communication
        Students collect data from various practices they have carried out and they then analyze the data and develop communication materials. Students use the data that they have already collected or that can be supplied to them, and then continue on with the analysis and communication strategies.  This work might take advantage of Excel, R programming, or Powerpoint to have students manipulate data and communicate interpretation. Students may not collect all of the data that they normally would, but they go through the majority of skills and knowledge.
        Option 3:
        demonstration
        Students explore broadly within a discipline and do demonstration-like labs. The faculty member creates a video demo of the experience and students do readings and quizzes to make sure they understand the concepts.  If physical models or examples are able to be done with everyday items, students could also perform the experiments at home. Students do not get the physical muscle memory capabilities of doing the experiments, but gain the basic understanding of how the demonstrations tie into their learning.
        Option 4:
        independent study
        Students develop their own question to ask, similar to an independent study. Students find applicable locations and resources to ask their questions.  For example, in an ecology course, they find a natural site to run experiments, for chemistry courses can they answer with common products and kitchen.  Alternatively, in small classes, they could dictate the tests to be run, course staff run the experiments and give them data. Students can go through the scientific practices but lack the ability to ask specific questions and gain specific skills using equipment.  The alternative above would allow them to ask any questions but not have the equipment experience.

        More laboratory resources (collected by Michigan State University working group)

        Additional resources on instructional design from Arizona State University

        Travel

        I have travel questions. Where should I go?

        At this time, travel questions are difficult to answer. Please email your questions to clas@uconn.edu. We will find out as much as we can and share information when we have it. Many conferences that have been canceled are offering reimbursements of registration fees. If you cannot get reimbursed by your airline, conference, or hotel directly, CLAS will look into the possibility of reimbursement.

        My graduate students have travel questions. Where should they go?

        Please direct all graduate student travel questions to the Graduate School at gradschool@uconn.edu.

        Can I charge grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 to an external research grant?

        For NIH-funded projects, non-refundable costs associated with grant-related travel that has been cancelled due to COVID-19 may be charged to the award if they would have otherwise been allowable. Visit the NIH Grants Policy Statement website for detailed information on the allowability of travel expenses. If you have questions about funding for other cancelled travel, please send your question to clas@uconn.edu