CLAS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
The University of Connecticut is dedicated to working together with public health experts and our state to maintain a quality UConn educational experience while keeping our community healthy. Please see the UConn Reopening website below for detailed information for students, faculty, and staff.
Frequently Asked Questions for CLAS Faculty and Staff
Last updated: November 19, 2020
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.
- Questions about COVID-19 operations and procedures on campus: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about CLAS academics and operations: email@example.com
- Questions about information technology: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about business operations: email@example.com
- Questions about grants: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about academic services and advising: email@example.com
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 cases of COVID-19?
If you test positive for COVID-19, immediately contact your manager and inform them of the date you first began to have symptoms of COVID-19, when you last were physically at work, and anyone at work with whom you had direct contact.
Please also call the UConn COVID-19 Call Center at 860-679-3199 to report your case.
What is the UConn operating procedure for Spring 2021?
Course modalities for Spring 2021 will follow a similar hybrid model to that of Fall 2020. Please see the summary of Spring 2021 academic operations procedures on the Provost’s website, and read the Provost’s guidance on course modalities.
Staff who are not deemed essential to University operations should continue to work remotely when possible during Spring 2021.
Campus Access and Approvals
Can staff and faculty return to their campus offices?
Any staff or faculty member who hasn’t been deemed essential by their supervisor or applied and been approved to resume research activities on campus through OVPR should continue to telecommute.
If a faculty or staff member believes that it has now become essential that they come to campus, permission may be granted for periodic visits only to perform specific tasks that can be performed nowhere else. Individuals will be required to log in and out of campus buildings. (See "How should I check in on campus?" below.)
Each unit is responsible for submitting a CLAS Campus Access Safety Plan before employees will be allowed to work in their offices.
The employee should fill out the Request for Campus Access form. Their supervisor will then receive an email to review the form, add justification that the work on campus is essential at this time, and certify that the unit has a dedicated safety plan in place. Please contact the Dean’s Office if you have questions about this process. If a faculty or staff member’s presence would be useful, but not essential, to University operations, then permission to work on campus should not be granted. If you are unsure of whether your duties or those of someone who reports to you are essential, please contact the Dean’s Office. If you have concerns that safety protocols are not being followed or that someone is inappropriately being asked to work on campus, please also notify the Dean’s Office.
If an individual has been asked to return to campus but has concerns, they should first discuss the plan with their supervisor. If a mutually agreeable arrangement is not created, they should contact the Dean’s Office.
Who should be allowed and approved to return to campus?
Employees should refer to the HR guidance on who meets the criteria to come to campus for part- or full-time work in Spring 2021, and discuss with their supervisor whether they meet these criteria.
Where do I access COVID-19 trainings?
Faculty and staff must all complete a COVID-19 safety training before returning to campus; learn more on the Environmental Health and Safety website.
How should I check in on campus?
Employees must track their presence on campus. Faculty, staff, and graduate may use the online UConn Location Log application to check in and check out of campus buildings and room numbers. This application feeds directly into the University’s contact tracing database and will not be used for time reporting. All users can download a complete record of their location data from the app at any time.
Units, offices, and individuals may use the app to print a QR code for their frequently accessed spaces. These codes can be posted in offices, laboratories, or studio spaces, but not outside buildings or in public spaces.
Departments should continue to make available virtual or paper sign-in sheets for anyone not using the app.
What are the protocols for COVID-19 Testing?
Please refer to HR’s most recent UConn Employee COVID Testing protocols and FAQ about faculty and staff testing for Spring 2021. Storrs- based employee testing has moved from the Depot Campus to the Hawley Armory at the Storrs Campus.
Environmental Health and Safety
How should I acquire hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes?
Facilities Operations have made hand sanitizer dispensers available at entrances for all buildings, classrooms, and dining halls. To request these items for your unit, please work through your unit’s traditional supply ordering methods.
How do I get a face covering?
Face coverings (masks) have been distributed to all CLAS units by the Provost’s Office. Please see your unit head to access face coverings.
I have questions about disinfectant, face coverings, hand sanitizer, plexiglass, signage, or other facilities operations that are not answered here.
Here is a list of commonly-requested COVID-19 information and resources from Facilities Operations, including obtaining face coverings, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, plexiglass installations, and signage.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance setting this up.
- General help: For general help with technology or for assistance with an issue not listed above, please submit a request through the CLAS IT Portal or email email@example.com.
For more information and resources related to working from home, visit the UConn ITS Remote Work website.
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.
Can faculty extend their tenure clock?
Faculty holding tenure-track appointments are offered a one-year extension to the tenure clock. This extension shall apply to tenure-track faculty members who were employed by the University on March 1, 2020, and whose tenure case is scheduled to be reviewed in the 2020-2021 academic year or later. Faculty members shall receive only one tenure clock extension between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, regardless of the reason(s) for which a faculty member may qualify for an extension. More information can be found on the Provost’s Office FAQ document on tenure clock extensions.
Faculty have until January 15, 2021 to apply to extend their tenure clock. Information about tenure clocks for faculty who started working at UConn after March 2020 is forthcoming and will be posted here when it is available.
Research and Graduate Students
How does COVID-19 impact my research program?
The Office of the Vice President for Research COVID-19 page gives comprehensive information on changes in operations, personal protective equipment, student work, and other aspects of research.
How does COVID-19 impact graduate study?
Find out about changes in operations for graduate students at UConn on the UConn Graduate School COVID-19 FAQ web page.
What are the modalities of teaching for Spring 2021?
Teaching and learning will take many different forms in Spring 2021. Learn about these modalities on the Provost’s website.
Where can I find remote and online teaching support?
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) has collected an array of resources to help you get started teaching online. For more information about their services, please visit the CETL Keep Teaching page. We also recommend that instructors also take full advantage of the tools for online instruction included in HuskyCT. Please refer to the Technology section on this page to learn about virtual WebEx rooms.
Here is a partial list of resources relevant to CLAS faculty and staff for online instruction:
General online instruction resources
- ECampus, CETL’s general guide to online teaching
- Introduction to online instruction during the COVID-19 crisis
- Homer Babbidge Library advice about alternates to research papers and integrating the library into your HuskyCT course
- Creating audio voiceovers in Powerpoint
UConn CETL guides for navigating HuskyCT
- Creating assignments
- How to ignore, clear, or give extra assignment attempts
- Using the assignment grading dashboard
- Grading assignments
- Downloading assignments
- Bulk downloading assignments
Quizzes and exams
- Setting test options
- Summary of recommended test options
- Instructor guide to Respondus lockdown Browser
- Student guide to Respondus lockdown Browser
- Downloading and installing the Respondus lockdown browser
- Respondus – handling multiple-choice and true/false questions
- Respondus – handling other question types
- Deploying exams
- Accommodating extra time on tests
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|
|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. 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.|
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.|
|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.|
|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)
What is status of undergraduates coming to research laboratories and studios?
Please see the Office of Undergraduate Research website for guidance on undergraduate research assistants and their modes of operation.