Faculty

FACULTY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Notification Protocols for Students in Isolation and Quarantine 

  • What is the difference between “isolation” and “quarantine”? 
    • Students or others who have tested positive go into isolation for at least 10 days and until 24 hours with no symptoms. Students or others who have been identified through the contact tracers as having come into close contact with someone who tested positive go into quarantine for 14 days.
  • Will I be notified if a student in my class tests positive and needs to go into isolation? 
    • Yes, you will receive an email from the Office of Student Academic Engagement and Success. The process of notification begins with the student either filling out a CCC Form or visiting the Health Center. For positive cases, a team of contact tracers begins their process of interviews immediately, such that anyone who came into close contact with the student would be interviewed within 24-48 hours (and in most cases, closer to within 24 hours). In some but not all cases, students will be able (and want) to continue in class via Zoom).

  • Will I be notified if a student in my class needs to go into quarantine? 
    • In these cases, students are responsible for notifying you directly if they have come into close contact with someone who tested positive. Per the COVID-19 attendance policy, they should continue attending class (via Zoom). Please note that Office of Dean of Students is sending confirmation e-mails to students who are in quarantine so that students have instructions in writing from the contact tracer. In the event that faculty would like to request evidence from a student that they have been placed in quarantine, faculty can request a copy of this email confirmation directly from the student.

 

 

 

Faculty Action Steps for Students Testing Positive or in Quarantine

 

  • What should I do with the information that a student in my class has tested positive? 
    • You should ensure that any students in your course—those who test positive (and are in isolation) and those who came into close contact (and are in quarantine) receive accommodations per the COVID-19 attendance policy to maintain academic continuity.
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  • What do I do if my student says they have to be quarantined but did not go through the SMU process? 
    • You should submit a CCC so that the student will receive appropriate outreach.
  • Do I need to go into quarantine and/or get tested if a student in my class tests positive? 
    • Only people who came into close contact with the student need to quarantine. The contact tracing team will determine, through an intensive interview process, who these individuals are. If this is the case for you or your other students, you would receive a separate, individual notification within 24-48 hours in the event that you need to quarantine. Also, you can always get tested at no cost (see options below). For any other questions, faculty should reach out to their department chair.
  • Can I alert other students or colleagues of the situation? 
    • Per FERPA regulations, you cannot share this privileged information.
  • Are data reported on students who are in quarantine (came into close contact)? 
    • Data are only reported on positive cases of COVID-19.

 

COVID-19 Testing Options for SMU Faculty and Family Members

  • What are the options for SMU community members to get tested?
  • Rapid curbside COVID-19 testing for employees is now available at Expressway Tower. SMU employees and families can receive no-cost, rapid drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at Expressway Tower, 6116 North Central Expressway. The University covers 100% of the cost and no insurance paperwork is needed for those who have SMU health benefits. Telemedicine appointments and drive-thru testing may be scheduled for this location Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We encourage employees in need of testing to use this convenient service so that testing at the Bob Smith Health Center can focus more directly on students.
  • To schedule a test, you can go online for an initial screening via telemedicine at virtualcarefamilies.com/smu
    • The University has contracted with Virtual Care for Families to provide curbside rapid COVID-19 antigen testing at nine clinic locations in the DFW area.
    • The University will cover 100% of the cost and no insurance paperwork is needed for those who have SMU health benefits.

Facial Coverings Inside and Outside of the Classroom

  • Are facial coverings required?
    • SMU is requiring that everyone on the SMU campus wear a face covering over the mouth and nose in all public indoor spaces.
    • Extra masks will be available and provided to faculty for students who forget to bring one to class.
  • What if one of my students comes to class without a mask or is wearing a facial covering that does not offer adequate protection?
    • Faculty can provide students with one of the SMU disposable masks to wear, or the student can take the class via Zoom that session.
  • Can faculty wear a face shield instead of a mask in unique circumstances?
    • Yes, but face shields can only be worn without a mask if faculty are also behind the plexiglass. If they step away from the plexiglass, a mask needs to be put on.

Maintaining a Healthy Campus

  • Will I be provided with masks, cleaning supplies, and markers?
    • All faculty can obtain face shields and a supply kit (including classroom materials such as markers) from the office of their college/school dean. Facilities will regularly stock each classroom with cleaning supplies and masks. They will be stocking classrooms to provide a set of cleaning supplies for every 15 students.
  • What if there are no cleaning supplies or masks when I arrive to class?
    • Call the Facilities Support Center at 214-768-7000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Someone will replenish the supplies when you call.

    Taking Care of Mental Health

     

  • In what ways can faculty receive support to manage the challenges and stresses of the semester, particularly when these can be amplified in the midst of a pandemic?
    • For faculty and staff, SMU has an Employee Assistance Program for all full-time faculty and staff and their dependents that offers assistance and resources. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • For students, the Caring Community Connections (CCC) Program provides support to students who are experiencing challenges by identifying and linking them to appropriate resources. Faculty, staff, students and parents are encouraged to submit a note of concern if they believe the student might use help.
    • If reporting a student concern about COVID-19, be sure to check the “COVID-19 concern” box in the form’s “Medical Issues” section.

     

    Childcare Concerns and Supports

     

  • What supports are in place for faculty with concerns about child care?
    • A Childcare Working Group was developed to meet regularly and provide ideas and suggestions for faculty and administration to help parents navigate COVID-related challenges to managing childcare at a time when schools are delaying re-opening and/or moving to online-only instruction for the early fall semester.
    • The Childcare Working Group created a Facebook group, “SMU Childcare Connection,” to help connect SMU community members with one another and to expand the network of options available for interested parents.
    • Based on results from a faculty survey sent in early August, we developed suggestions for department chairs and deans that offered flexible options for faculty to help manage the changing conditions of school re-opening plans.
    • To increase flexibility around the tenure clock, for all tenure-line faculty (with or without childcare issues), an automatic extension of one year has been added to the tenure clock. Note: faculty who prefer to go up on the regular timeline can do so without concerns that it will be considered an early case.

     

    Solutions for Students with Unique Circumstances during COVID-19

     

  • What additional ways can I support students who require disability accommodations?
  • How will I know my students require accommodations?
    • DASS uses an online portal to receive students’ requests and share letters of accommodation with professors securely and electronically. You can log in to the DASS Link to view your students’ letters.
  • What if I need help with virtual proctoring?
    • DASS is available for limited virtual proctoring, if you have explored all options (technology, departmental support) to virtually monitor the student with testing accommodations. Instructions for using the DASS Link can be found here. For more assistance, you can call the office directly at 214-768-1470 or join a Zoom faculty drop-in session on September 9 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. with DASS staff.

     

    Support for International Students

     

  • What can I do to support my international students who are living in different time zones?
    • OIT has created anFAQto help answer many of the questions related to international students living abroad.
    • The recommendation to build in 33% of virtual courses in synchronous mode was offered to help ensure that students can have real-time contact. This recommendation was made with the understanding that, in the unique context of the fall 2020 semester, some international students would need additional accommodations.
    • Accommodations do not mean that you have to change your class. However, you can consider these supports: invite international students to watch the synchronous recordings, then offer embedded Panopto questions or ask them to answer questions about what was discussed; and make yourself available to international students by encouraging office hours in ways that accommodate their time zones.
  • How will A-LEC support international students?
    • Encourage your international students to visitA-LECfor support, as they offer virtual tutoring until10:00 p.m. CST(Sun-Thurs).

     

    Keep Teaching: We’ve Got This!

     

  • Where can I get more support for my teaching this fall?
    • The Center for Teaching Excellence, the Office of Information Technology, and SMU Libraries have teamed up to create a host of resources at the Keep Teaching website.
    • If you need technical help with keeping your class running, contact your local Academic Technology Service Directors (ATSD) or your area's support representative. If you need teaching or pedagogical help, contact your local ATSD.
    • As always, if you have any questions regarding any of the University's IT services or technologies, give the IT Help Desk a call at 214-768-HELP (4357) or send a message to help@smu.edu
  • What do I need to know and do to support online exams and tests?
    • There are many different types of assessment options (e.g., research papers, team projects, lab reports) that can be delivered remotely with students and submitted through SMU Canvas, and may need little or no modification.  You can find a helpful starter guide here: Online Testing Tools and Options. You can also reach out to your ATSD for support.