Strategies for Responding to Dean of Students “need for remote instruction” Letter

Due to recent University actions related to COVID-19 cases among students, faculty may receive email notification from the Dean of Students alerting them that students will temporarily need to be given access to course materials remotely during medical quarantine. The information below is in response to questions related to this situation and will continue to be updated as new information is available.

Q: How long will I have to adjust my teaching for students who are in quarantine?
At this point, it is unknown how long students will remain in quarantine. Medical quarantine will be for a minimum of two weeks but could extend longer. During that time, it is also possible that other students will need to be quarantined. Other students could end up requiring isolation which will also necessitate remote learning.

Q: Can I teach live, at the same time, to students in my classroom and the remote students in quarantine?
A: Yes you can. This strategy would require teaching from a room equipped with Classroom Video Conferencing Technology or your ability to use your own laptop/device to connect synchronously with the remote students. CETL provides these guidelines for holding synchronous classes, discussions and office hours. A list of the capabilities of each classroom can be found here.

Q: Instead of teaching synchronously to all students, can I create separate asynchronous activities in place of in person class time for the remote students in quarantine? If so, what do you suggest?
A: Yes, you have the flexibility and autonomy to decide the best method for continuing to teach with any students in quarantine. Effective options might include a combination of the following: 

  • recording your live class and making the video available to remote students to watch on their own time
  • creating alternative lecture videos for remote students to watch on their own time
  • using HuskyCT to create online activities (discussion forums, activities, journal and blog entries) for remote and in person students so they can continue to interact and collaborate during the period of quarantine

Q: Is it fair for me to make exceptions for students in quarantine or do I have to be rigid with my application of syllabi policy, guidelines and expectations?
The University administration has encouraged faculty to recognize the unique nature of teaching during a pandemic and provide fair but flexible policies for all students who are impacted by COVID-19 related disruptions. As faculty of record, you are able to make revisions to the syllabi to address changes in the semester. You are also able to make accommodations for students who have valid and documented medical reasons for requiring these accommodations. The Center for Students with Disabilities will communicate with faculty if and when additional accommodations are required. Directly related to students identified in the letter from the Dean of Students, faculty have the autonomy to adjust their teaching, the classroom setting, assessment strategies, and any other element of the syllabus and classroom environment as necessary to accommodate the students identified.

Q: How can I adjust my in class assessment methods for remote students in quarantine?
A: A variety of technology options and pedagogical approaches are available to provide alternative methods and access to assessments. CETL’s Keep Teaching brief section specifically about Assessment options during teaching disruptions as well as an entire page dedicated to rethinking your assessment strategies for the online environment.

Q:How can I make sure students know of available campus resources?
Students who need to miss class due to COVID-19 or illness will be encouraged to reach out to their faculty in advance indicating they will be unable to attend classes. Additionally, faculty who believe a student may be in need of assistance should email  and provide the students full name and reason for the referral. The Dean of Students Office staff will reach out directly to the student to check in and offer support as appropriate. Concerns related to regional campus students should emailed to the Student Services staff at their home campus to request support.

Q: How can I get support with questions of pedagogy, technology, and implementation of the new methods available to me?
A: View the options available from ITS and CETL at the “Need Support?” section of the Keep Teaching website.