UC Davis will return to primarily in-person instruction for fall 2021.
As we prepare for that return, we do so knowing that some aspects of our teaching environment will be new and 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 modify our answers if public health guidelines change.
As an instructor, you are expected to:
- Monitor your symptoms and stay home if you’re feeling sick. Take the Daily Symptom Survey to access campus facilities.
- Be fully vaccinated before the start of classes or hold an approved exception for religious or medical reasons.
- Wear face coverings indoors and in mass transit. Unvaccinated people must also wear face coverings outdoors in crowded places.
- Teach in-person (with the exception of circumstances covered by the FAQs below) but be prepared to pivot to remote instruction if directed by the Academic Senate.
- Reinforce campus public health policies with your students to the extent possible.
- Test regularly as directed by campus requirements. Testing is available at the ARC Testing Kiosk in Davis and at the Administrative Services Building in Sacramento.
- Assist in the contact tracing process, and report any positive COVID-19 diagnosis, for yourself and/or members of your household. Due to privacy concerns, you should not communicate information about positive cases that could disclose anyone’s personal health information.
- Follow CDC guidance for domestic and international travel, and stay up-to-date on university travel rules.
Students are expected to:
- Monitor your symptoms and stay home if you are feeling sick. Take the Daily Symptom Survey to access campus facilities.
- Be fully vaccinated before the start of classes or hold an approved exception for religious or medical reasons. Additional time is granted to students who will have had no access to a vaccine before arriving on campus.
- Wear face coverings indoors and in mass transit. Unvaccinated students must also wear face coverings outdoors in crowded places.
- Test regularly as directed by campus guidelines. Testing is available at the ARC Testing Kiosk in Davis and at the Administrative Services Building in Sacramento. Students will face disciplinary action if they are out-of-date with testing requirements.
- Eat only in designated areas and never in classrooms. Students may remove their masks very briefly to drink while in class.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions about fall 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.
- *UPDATED: Can I request to see my student’s Daily Symptom Survey results?
Instructors may 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 (new webpage). Only students with approved status are allowed to access university-controlled facilities.
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.
- *UPDATED: What can I do if a student refuses to wear a face covering in my class or lab?
The instructor’s response should be similar in circumstance and consistent in manner to handling other disruptive behaviors during a class. Recommended steps for escalation are as follows:
- Remind the entire class that there is a uniform masking requirement for the duration of class (e.g., “I’ll proceed once all of us have our masks properly in place.”).
- Encourage students to help urge fellow students to keep face coverings properly in place.
- Offer and have available a mask for someone who forgot to bring one. (General assignment classrooms will be stocked with extra face coverings.)
If a student(s) does not comply, ask those that are non-compliant to step into the hall. Begin with explaining responsibility to maintain the safety of the classroom/lab and compliance with policy.
- Inform the student that if there is an accessibility or medical reason that prevents them from wearing a mask, then they should contact the Student Disability Center (SDC) about the accommodation process. If a student has already been granted an accommodation, then the student should inform you of that and have documentation sent by SDC.
- Otherwise, the student can choose to re-enter the classroom/lab and wear a face covering or, if they refuse to comply with policy, leave.
If the student chooses neither option and intends to re-enter class, the instructor will refer the student to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA). Class can, if necessary, be cancelled for the day if the student chooses this route. The student would face potentially serious sanctions for conduct that threatens their own or others' health (refusal to wear a mask) and/or obstruction/disruption of teaching (if the instructor chose to cancel class).
- 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, then consider using the advice above about managing students who refuse to wear a face covering.
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.
- What consideration are we offering students who have no access to the vaccine (e.g., international students, vaccine hesitant parents, etc.)?
- If a student is not able to access an authorized vaccine until they arrive in Davis or on campus, they are expected to receive their first vaccine shot on or before the first day of classes in order to access campus facilities and attend classes. Such students must complete their vaccination series by October 20 (four weeks after the first day of classes) or the compliance disciplinary process will be initiated. While they are completing their vaccination series, students will be required to follow campus guidance for unvaccinated students who have secured exemptions (including sequestration, testing every four days, and wearing face coverings) until two weeks after their vaccination series is complete. Read more about the vaccine program and the vaccines authorized to meet policy requirements.
- *UPDATED: Can an instructor request accommodations to teach classes remotely for the entirety of fall 2021?
Instructors with disabilities or personal health issues that impact performance of their job responsibilities should, as always, contact Disability Management Services (DMS) to assist with determining what accommodations may be available.
Instructors (including graduate students working as Associates in__) seeking an exception from in-person instruction for the entirety of fall 2021 for a COVID-19 related reason must submit the Request for Emergency Remote Fall 2021 Instruction form. The Committee for Adjustments and Alterations of Instruction for Fall 2021 will review requests on a rolling basis through approximately September 10.
Teaching assistants, readers, graduate student researchers and postdoctoral scholars should contact DMS if they are experiencing a personal medical situation that would affect their ability to perform their responsibilities as an employee. Teaching assistants and readers with COVID-19 related needs impacting their ability to teach in-person this fall should work with their departments to explore other available options. If they encounter difficulties in talking with their supervisors or programs they can contact Graduate Studies for advice and guidance on options that may be available.
For information about temporary remote instruction allowances due to quarantine or isolation, see the section titled "When an Instructor Gets Sick or Tests Positive for COVID-19."
- What are the preferred methods and techniques for classroom instruction (e.g., group work, partnered work, limiting instructor circulation in the room) to best keep us and our students safe?
- There are no restrictions on in-person instructional modalities. We continue to follow state and local public health guidelines closely and meet regularly with the Yolo County Public Health Officer. Currently, the recommended public health mitigations include high vaccination rates, universal face coverings, frequent screening for COVID-19 and maintaining personal hygiene practices, such as keeping hands clean, covering coughs and not touching one’s face.
- *UPDATED: How can instructors support hard-of-hearing students with communication if face coverings are required?
- We recommend using microphones to help those who have difficulty hearing. Options to consider include:
We also recommend sanitizing provided microphones between each speaker.
Learn more on Keep Teaching's webpage
*NEW: Are clear face coverings available to instructors to accommodate hard-of-hearing students?
Yes, Supply Chain Management has identified several acceptable clear-window face coverings that may be purchased. Please contact Strategic Sourcing for purchasing information. At this time, face shields are not an allowable alternative.
- 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. A good practice would be to encourage students to have a back-up plan in the event they can’t attend classes. The Committee on Courses of Instruction has provided some information on allowed instructional accommodations.
- *UPDATED: Should we be lecture capturing 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.
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.
- What will the final exam look like? Can instructors give online midterms and final exams?
- We expect midterm and final exams to run in person at full occupancy, per public health guidelines. Instructors can elect to administer take-home exams, within the requirements of Davis Division Regulation 538.
- *NEW: Will the Testing Center continue to handle 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
- *UPDATED: How is the campus managing its building ventilation and filtration systems in classrooms?
With regard to questions of ventilation and air quality, the campus has evaluated HVAC systems serving all classrooms and is modifying the systems to supply 100% outside air (no recirculation) and upgrade to MERV 13 filtration. Where these upgrades are not yet feasible, facilities is procuring CARB-certified state-of-the-art air purification units using recommendations from our Western Cooling Efficiency Center.
- Can students eat or drink in classrooms if face coverings are required?
- Students may remove their mask briefly during a class to take a drink. They may not eat in a classroom.
- Is there any risk in accepting handwritten work from students?
- There is no public health guidance about avoiding passing paper. That said, UC Davis expects individuals to follow a set of personal protection practices to protect themselves and others, including face coverings, keeping hands clean by washing them regularly, and not touching faces.
- Are there any restrictions on instructors requiring students to sanitize surfaces and/or sanitize hands before and/or after class?
- There are no restrictions, and the university has installed hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe dispensers in buildings across campus. In addition, schools and colleges may purchase supplemental disinfectant supplies for instructional spaces. Supply Chain Management offers these items for purchase through our campus stores in the Aggie Supply section of Aggie Buy.
- Why are we testing vaccinated individuals every 14 days?
- Based on breakthrough data of the Delta variant, and at the recommendation of the University of California Office of the President, we are asking vaccinated people to test at least every 14 days to offer some level of surveillance of this population. Of course, vaccinated individuals may test more frequently if feasible.
- Why did we remove physical distancing from our instructional settings?
- We continue to follow public health guidelines from our Yolo County Public Health Officer, the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which have no density restrictions in instructional settings. We regularly monitor these guidelines and will make changes in our procedures as directed.
- Since my course requires food and/or drink tasting, are there unique face covering provisions to accommodate these types of activities rules?
- Sampling food and/or drink as a function of the curricula of the lab is acceptable. Please consider how to limit the time necessary to remove a face covering to do so. Provide guidance to the lab participants that the goal is to keep the face covering in place at all times when not actively needing to consume food or drink as part of the lab requirements.
- Are there allowable accommodations or adjustments for courses that require a high level of interactivity and interpersonal communication (e.g., meeting outside, physical distancing, etc.)?
- If an instructor is able to conduct their class while consistently maintaining university public health requirements and physical accessibility, the instructor can make reasonable adjustments to the class location.
When a Student Gets Sick or Tests Positive for COVID-19
- How does contact tracing work at UC Davis?
A case investigator with UC Davis first reaches out to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 on campus to:
- alert them to their positive diagnosis
- provide direction and support for isolation
- provide consultation and appointments for ongoing medical care
- gather information about recent close contacts and social activities
As a next step, university contact tracers will reach out to on-campus individuals identified as "close contacts" to provide guidance on quarantine, testing and care per public health guidance. The confidentiality of individuals with positive results will be protected, and their name and COVID-19 status will not be shared with close contacts. Employees and students are required to cooperate with the contact tracing process in a timely fashion.
A "close contact" is someone who was within 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, over a 24-hour period. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. Depending on the circumstances, close contacts may need to quarantine to prevent secondary spread of the virus. Find out more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more about how contact tracing works at UC Davis.
- If a student tests positive, will they be offered resources to support their isolation?
- Students living both on-campus and off-campus will be offered housing designated for quarantine or isolation, if their primary residence does not allow for effective separation. When it comes to off-campus activities and close contacts, the team will work closely with public health authorities for contact tracing beyond campus.
- 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. You must wait for the contact tracing process, rely on the university’s daily potential exposure notification process, and 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. Close contacts, as defined by the CDC and identified by the individual diagnosed with COVID-19, will be contacted by the case investigators.
- Who in the class must quarantine if another student tests positive for COVID-19?
- Quarantine is only required if you have been identified as a close contact in the contact tracing process AND have been directed to isolate by the UC Davis contact tracing team. Otherwise, everyone in the class is instructed to closely monitor for symptoms and test if feasible. Read more about the contact tracing process at UC Davis.
- If a critical number of students tests positive, will the class automatically go remote or the classroom closed?
- We continue to follow public health guidelines from our Yolo County Public Health Officer, the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We regularly monitor these guidelines, and will make changes in our procedures as directed. If an outbreak, as defined by CDC, is detected, then the university will take appropriate action.
When an Instructor Gets Sick or Tests Positive for COVID-19
- *UPDATED: What happens if an instructor gets sick, tests positive for COVID-19, or is required to quarantine and cannot be in class?
If you’re feeling sick, please don’t come to campus. Instructors are encouraged to have a back-up 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 contracting 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 typically 10 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.”
- *UPDATED: What happens if a Teaching Assistant (TA) gets sick, tests positive for COVID-19, or is required to 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 contracting 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 typically 10 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.”
- *UPDATED: 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 typically 10 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 typically 10 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 vaccinated, then as long as they remain asymptomatic they can continue to access university facilities as usual. An unvaccinated individual will need to follow quarantine rules as directed by a contact tracer. All employees and students are required to report their positive case through the Health-e-Messaging portal. The case will be investigated per CDC guidance.
Sanitization of Instructional Spaces
- *NEW: 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 email@example.com with your room location and specific inventory needs.
- *UPDATED: 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, or to secure an approved exception request, then they will be given the time necessary to do so. If a student receives a vaccine requiring two shots, they will have until October 20 (four weeks from the first day of classes) to complete their vaccination series or the compliance disciplinary process will be initiated. Once they have completed sequestration upon arrival to Davis, then they will be able to move freely around university-controlled facilities. They will be required to adhere to four-day testing and face covering requirements, and will continue to receive notices until they are fully vaccinated.
- *UPDATED: What happens if a student is not following the UC vaccine policy?
- Students who are not compliant with the UC Vaccine Policy by September 8 will have a registration hold placed on their account on September 9. In addition to the registration hold on September 9, they will be flagged by the Office of the University Registrar to enter an escalation process that will result in class registration cancellation on September 20 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.
Sample Language for Syllabus
Public Health Expectations and Best Practices
Keeping our campus healthy takes all of us. You are expected to follow university public health requirements and pursue personal protection practices to protect yourself and the others around you. These include:
- Participate in the university’s daily screening process.
Everyone must complete a Daily Symptom Survey to access a university controlled facility.
- Participate in the university's testing program.
All students are required to participate in the COVID-19 Testing program as required by their vaccination status – every four days for unvaccinated students and every 14 days for vaccinated students. You may test more frequently.
- Wear a well-fitted face covering that covers your nose and mouth at all times.
Everyone is required to wear face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status. If you see someone not wearing a face covering or wearing it incorrectly, then kindly ask them to mask up.
- Monitor the daily potential exposure report.
Every day the university will update the potential exposure report with building and some classroom information and the dates of exposure.
- Assist in the contact tracing process.
If you’re contacted by a case investigator, it means you have been identified as a close contact, please respond promptly. You must assist with identifying other individuals who might have some degree of risk due to close contact with individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Sample Language for Lecture Slide
Let’s face this together, Aggies!
- No eating in class. Only brief drinks allowed.
- Everyone must properly wear face coverings.
- Stay current with your COVID-19 testing.
- Monitor your symptoms, stay home if you’re sick and report positive cases.
- Keep your hands clean, cover your cough and don’t touch your face.