empty seats in lecture hall

Information for Classroom Instruction

As we continue to navigate the impacts of the pandemic, we know that some aspects of our teaching environment will continue to be challenging. However, many of our time-tested methods for managing classrooms and instructing and mentoring students are still applicable. This page is designed to help you adjust by addressing some of the questions and concerns that many of you have raised. It is by no means a complete list. We will add more information as new questions are posed. We will continue to modify our answers as public health guidelines change.


Instructor Responsibilities

As an instructor, you are expected to:


Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to:


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about instruction that are not answered below, please send them to Campus Ready. If you have specific questions related to a course you are teaching, please contact your department chair or unit head.

Classroom Management

  • *NEW* Can I require a student to wear a mask when meeting with me? Can my department require universal indoor masking?
  • No. Campus policy aligns with both county and state guidelines for a “strong recommendation” to wear a mask indoors. Because there is no public health requirement and because campus policy does not maintain a requirement after March 19, you may not require others to wear a mask.

    Additionally, you may not ask someone to wear a mask. Instead, we are aligning with public health policy and Yolo County Public Health orders which acknowledge the right to an individual choice for when to wear a mask. To the extent an individual has personal circumstances requiring a higher degree of protection, we encourage them to follow the
    Yolo County Public Health recommendations regarding the benefits of one-way masking.
  • Can I request to see my student’s Daily Symptom Survey results?
  • Instructors are strongly encouraged to check Daily Symptom Survey results, when feasible, prior to starting class as a tool to track compliance with testing and vaccine policy. Read more about using the DSS to track compliance. Only students with approved status are allowed to access university-controlled facilities.

    If a student fails the Daily Symptom Survey they may self-schedule a test at the Student Health and Wellness Center via Health-e-Messaging for "symptomatic/close contact testing" as soon as possible to determine if the source of their symptoms are from COVID-19. Students who receive a negative COVID-19 test result and either no longer have symptoms or have not developed any new symptoms will receive an "approved" result when they complete the DSS. With this streamlined COVID rule-out process, faculty should allow any student who has an "approved" result to enter the classroom.

    We understand that checking individual results may not be feasible in all situations. Classrooms are one of several locations where students may be asked to display their results. For example, students will be asked to show their results for entry into dining commons, other Student Affairs spaces and at campus events that require proof of vaccination or recent testing.

  • Am I allowed to ask my student about their specific COVID-19 status?
  • No, asking specific questions about medical conditions, including COVID-19 status, is a violation of a student's privacy and confidentiality. You may continue to encourage students to practice personal protective measures such as keeping hands clean, covering a cough and not touching their face. 
  • Am I allowed to ask my students or teaching assistants if they are fully vaccinated?​
  • No. The central campus administration is responsible for reviewing vaccination status and clearing students, academics and staff to return to campus.
  • How do we manage disagreements among students in the event they have differing viewpoints on all things related to COVID-19?
  • We recommend handling these situations in the same way you manage any disagreements among students. Use your best judgment and try to help students find common ground or learn from their disagreement. If the disagreement cannot be resolved or diffused easily, and has the potential to impact the students’ future academic activities, then consider asking students to meet with a neutral office such as the Ombuds to help determine a way to move forward notwithstanding their differences.


Academic Role in Supporting Compliance with Public Health Policy

  • What is the department chair’s role in supporting compliance with policy?
  • The department chair should remind all employees, staff and academics about policy requirements. If a chair becomes aware of non-compliance, they should report the matter to Academic Affairs to begin the escalation processes.
  • Which policies are relied upon for the escalation process involving policy-covered academics?
  • For Faculty, the policy on conduct is outlined in APM 015 (The Faculty Code of Conduct). For discipline, Senate Faculty are covered by APM 016 (University Policy on Faculty Conduct and the Administration of Discipline.) Corrective action for other academic appointees is covered in APM 150.
  • Who is responsible for tracking compliance for graduate students and teaching assistants?
  • The university is asking deans’ offices to help track and support compliance with the vaccine policy. Compliance with testing is being handled by the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs.


Academic Accommodations

  • What accommodations should I provide to a student who cannot attend class because they are experiencing COVID-like symptoms (e.g., cough, fever, etc.)?
  • Instructors are encouraged to accommodate these students to the greatest extent possible without pressuring students to reveal personal medical information. If possible and appropriate for the course, providing recordings (audio or video) from this quarter or a previous quarter may be helpful. A good practice would be to encourage students to have a backup plan in the event they can’t attend classes. The Committee on Courses of Instruction has provided some information on allowed instructional accommodations.
  • *UPDATED* How can I record my lectures, discussions or lab sessions to share in case students get sick?
  • If you teach in one of the 96 general assignment classrooms equipped to record lectures, you can request this service. These Lecture-Capture-capable rooms can record your audio, computer output, and the document camera; additionally, 35 of these rooms can record video of you and any board work you may do. You may also use AggieVideo to record your own instructional videos to share with your students, either to replace classroom lectures or to provide targeted support for student questions.

    In addition, the Student-Assisted Course Recording service, formerly called Lecture Capture Student Assistants, will be offered again for spring with some minor modifications. This service is intended to assist instructors of record who are not already in Lecture-Capture-enabled classrooms with the recording of their lectures, discussions, and/or lab sessions so that recordings can be shared with students who miss class due to personal or family illness. 

    Learn more on Keep Teaching's webpage
  • May office hours be conducted virtually or do we need to offer these in-person?
  • Office hours may be conducted virtually. Instructors should provide the schedule and format of their office hours to students during the first week of classes.
  • Will the Testing Center continue to handle academic testing of students with accommodations?
  • The Student Disability Center assumed responsibility for Accommodated Exam Services and will be operating similarly to the former Testing Center located in Hunt Hall. SDC will reach out to instructors of large course sections to offer support and anticipates being able to serve substantially more students than before with a much larger space in the Cowell Building. Any student with an accommodation that indicates the SDC will proctor exams and any student who has been extended an accommodation of Remote Attendance can test with the SDC.


Public Health Mitigations for Instructional Settings


When a Student Gets Sick or Tests Positive for COVID-19

  • What if a student has COVID-19?
  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 must report it to the university within Health-e-Messaging, unless they received their positive result through university testing. They will then receive an automated email with further instruction, which include notifying their instructors they cannot access campus facilities.

    As a general rule, to return to class, students with COVID-19 must complete an isolation period and testing requirements, as well as pass the Daily Symptom Survey.

  • What if a student is a close contact?
  • A "close contact" is someone who was within 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19, for at least 15 minutes cumulative over a 24-hour period, within the past ten days. Anyone notified they are a close contact must report it to the university within Health-e-Messaging. They will then receive an automated email with further instruction. Depending on a person's vaccination status, close contacts may need to quarantine and the instructions will include notifying their instructors if they cannot access campus facilities.

  • If a student tests positive, will they be offered resources to support their isolation?
  • Students living both on-campus and off-campus have access to resources to support their quarantine period. Students who test positive will be provided with instructions on how to access those services.
  • If one of my students tells me privately they tested positive, may I tell the rest of the class?
  • No, this is a violation of a student’s privacy and confidentiality. Students are instructed to notify close contacts themselves. You may continue to encourage students to practice personal protective measures such as wearing face coverings, keeping hands clean and not touching their face.
  • Will instructors and students be notified when a student, positive for COVID-19, was in class?
  • Everyone who completes a Daily Symptom Survey within the last two weeks will receive a daily report of potential exposure from Campus Ready via email. The individual diagnosed with COVID-19 is advised to notify their close contacts, as defined by the CDC that an exposure has occurred.
  • Who in the class must quarantine if another student tests positive for COVID-19?
  • Quarantine is only required for students who are unvaccinated or booster-eligible, but unboosted. Please review this quarantine matrix to understand testing requirements for close contacts and who must quarantine. All other close contacts should test immediately and closely monitor for symptoms.


When an Instructor Gets Sick or Tests Positive for COVID-19

  • What happens if an instructor gets sick, tests positive for COVID-19, or is required to isolate or quarantine and cannot be in class?
  • If you’re feeling sick, please don’t come to campus. Instructors are encouraged to have a backup plan in place when the quarter starts in the event they feel sick and are unable to teach (e.g., invite a guest lecturer, provide asynchronous materials, etc.). Instructors should contact their department chairs for assistance with instructional planning.

    Instructors (including graduate students working as Associates in___) who are required to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 or are required to quarantine after Close Contact to COVID-19 may elect to teach their course remotely for the duration of the required isolation or quarantine. Instructors must notify their department chairs of this decision. This duration is, now, at minimum a full five calendar days, but instructors should follow the advice of their physician or public health official. Public health guidelines are maintained on the Campus Ready page for quarantine and isolation protocols. Since an instructor who has COVID-19 may be too sick to teach remotely, additional back-up plans should be in place.

    For information about longer-term remote teaching accommodations, see the section titled “Academic Accommodations.”

  • What happens if a Teaching Assistant (TA) gets sick, tests positive for COVID-19, or is required to isolate quarantine and cannot be in class?
  • Departments should develop a plan for dealing with incidents of a TA’s illness or absence. TAs should speak with the instructor of record or their department.

    If a TA is required to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 or is required to quarantine after Close Contact to COVID-19, then the instructor of record may allow a TA to perform teaching responsibilities remotely for the duration of the isolation or quarantine (the instructor may also find alternative non-remote means of covering the TA’s responsibilities).

    Instructors must notify their department chairs if a TA will perform teaching responsibilities remotely. This duration is, now, at a minimum a full five calendar days, but TAs should follow the advice of their physician or public health official. Public health guidelines are maintained on the Campus Ready page for quarantine and isolation protocols. Since a TA who has COVID-19 may be too sick to teach remotely, additional back-up plans should be in place.

    For information about longer-term remote teaching accommodations, see the section titled “Academic Accommodations.”​​

  • What options exist for instructors and TAs who must stay home to care for a sick or quarantined family member?
  • Instructors (including graduate students working as Associates in___) who need to care for a family member due to COVID-19 infection or exposure may elect to teach their course remotely for the duration of the family member’s required isolation/quarantine/care. Instructors must notify their department chairs of this decision. This duration is, now, typically five calendar days, but instructors should follow the advice of their physician or public health official. Public health guidelines are maintained on the Campus Ready page for quarantine and isolation protocols.

    When a TA needs to care for a family member due to COVID-19 infection or exposure, the instructor of record may allow a TA to perform teaching responsibilities remotely for the duration of the family member’s required isolation/quarantine/care (the instructor may also find alternative non-remote means of covering the TA’s responsibilities). Instructors must notify their department chairs if a TA will perform teaching responsibilities remotely. This duration is, now, typically five calendar days, but TAs should follow the advice of their physician or public health official. Public health guidelines are maintained on the Campus Ready page for quarantine and isolation protocols.

    As there may be circumstances that will prevent instructors/TAs from teaching remotely while caring for their family members, instructors/TAs are encouraged to have a back-up plan in place when the quarter starts in the event they are unable to teach (e.g., invite a guest lecturer or substitute TA, provide asynchronous materials, etc.).

    For information about longer-term remote teaching accommodations, see the section titled “Academic Accommodations.”

  • Are instructors required to quarantine if their child, or another member of their household, tests positive?
  • If the instructor is current on their vaccine status (including a booster shot for those eligible), then as long as they remain asymptomatic and do not test positive for COVID-19, they can continue to access university facilities as usual. If an unvaccinated individual or someone booster eligible but hasn't received the booster shot is a close contact to the person with COVID-19, they will need to follow quarantine and testing requirements. All employees and students are required to report if they test positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact through the Health-e-Messaging portal.


Sanitization of Instructional Spaces

  • Will students and instructors have access to sanitization supplies?
  • Yes, Custodial Services teams will be stocking general assignment classrooms with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and extra face coverings. Locations will vary depending on the classroom. Hand sanitization supplies will primarily be located in building lobbies whereas masks and wipes will be located in each classroom. If you are not able to find them or need additional supplies, please email custodial@ucdavis.edu with your room location and specific inventory needs.
  • How often are instructional spaces being cleaned and disinfected?
  • In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to wash hands regularly or use hand sanitizer. For these reasons our classrooms’, teaching laboratories’ and lecture halls’ tables, chairs and associated equipment will continue to be cleaned per our regular classroom cleaning schedule, but not sanitized between use. Instead, our Custodial Services team will provide and re-stock hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes in these areas, in addition to cleaning adjacent restrooms, lobbies, stairwells and elevators multiple times a day. Read more about custodial services during COVID-19.
  • If a student tests positive in my classroom, will it be closed and disinfected?
  • Classrooms will not be closed, but custodial staff will clean areas in which a person with COVID-19 has been present. This level of cleaning includes specific disinfectant recommendations effective against coronavirus. For laboratory locations, researchers will be performing disinfection of equipment and other research-specific items.


Disciplinary Process for Students Not Following Policy

  • If a student has received at least one dose in a vaccine series, but is not fully vaccinated by the start of classes, will they be disciplined?
  • As long as the student is making an effort to become fully vaccinated, get their booster shot or secure an approved exception request, then they will be given the time necessary to do so.
  • What happens if a student is not following the UC vaccine policy?
  • Students who are not compliant with the UC Vaccine Policy will first have a registration hold placed on their account. If they do not take any action to become compliant after the hold has been placed, they will be flagged by the Office of the University Registrar to enter an escalation process that will result in class registration cancellation for continued inaction. Students living in residence halls and university-managed apartments will also be unable to move in.
  • What happens when a student is not testing as required?
  • The university will pursue progressive discipline leading up to and including disenrollment.