November 2, 2021

The following message is being sent by the Academic Senate Chair and Executive Vice Chancellor to all Deans, Department Chairs, Academic Assistant Deans, and Academic Department Managers. (Click here to view description of distribution groups.)

Winter Quarter 2022 Instruction

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to provide you with an update on Winter Quarter 2022 instructional plans. The Fall Quarter was intended to be a period of transition, in which the campus gradually returned to largely in-person operations and most instruction began in person.  The first half of Fall Quarter has followed the expected trajectory, in that the high vaccination rate and compliance with COVID-19 mitigation protocols have helped to ensure a low COVID-19 case rate on our campus.  The current downward trend in case rates locally and statewide is expected to continue, providing the basis to start planning campus operations in winter. 

The default mode of instruction for all courses in winter quarter will be in person, regardless of class size.  This excludes existing courses with Senate approval to be offered fully online (i.e., those with a “W” designation). However, we are aware that continued flexibility may be needed for instructors who are at increased risk if they contract COVID-19, including those with serious ongoing medical conditions, or those who cohabitate with someone who is seriously immunocompromised. More information on these specific situations is outlined below. 

Medical accommodations.  Remote instruction will continue to be available in winter quarter as a possible medical accommodation for an instructor whose presence on campus poses an unacceptable medical risk due to COVID-19.  Requests for medical accommodations must be reviewed by the Workplace Accommodations team in Human Resources.  If a determination is made that a medical accommodation is necessary, HR will facilitate discussions to assess what a “reasonable accommodation” would be, and whether other workplace accommodations are feasible. Instructors who previously received a medical accommodation in fall quarter and who wish to extend it into winter quarter should contact the Workplace Accommodations office for instructions. 

Workplace adjustments for instructors who live with immuno-compromised family members.  Remote instruction will continue to be available in winter quarter as a workplace adjustment for instructors whose cohabitation with a seriously immunocompromised person poses an unacceptable medical risk due to COVID-19.  A completed Workload Adjustment Request Form must be submitted to the Dean of the College, School, or Division. Those instructors who previously filed a Workload Adjustment Form for the fall quarter must submit a Workload Adjustment Extension Form to the Dean, which includes a brief attestation of continued cohabitation and immunodeficiency.   

The Academic Senate will also continue to allow temporary remote instruction for brief periods during a COVID-19 quarantine/isolation by an instructor or a child for whom the instructor has care-giving responsibility.  For more information, please refer to the “Guidelines for Temporary Remote Instruction” on the Senate’s Guidance for Faculty during the COVID-19 Pandemic page.

Please note that the term “instructor” in all of the aforementioned situations includes all faculty and graduate student teaching associates/assistants associated with a course. Teaching Assistants should consult with the instructor of record supervising the course; other instructors should consult with their Chair. 

Hybrid courses.  Current Senate policy allows a component of online instruction (up to 50% of the scheduled instruction time) in an in-person course for pedagogical reasons, without need for further Senate approval. This policy will continue in Winter Quarter. However, given the widely expanded use of hybrid instruction in Fall Quarter, the Senate will require more documentation of the practice going forward, namely:

  1. the instructor of record must inform the department chair of the amount of online instruction (e.g., one 50-min lecture per week) and the pedagogical value of delivering the instruction online, and
  2. no later than December 12, the course must be disclosed to students in the Schedule of Classes as a hybrid course (e.g., MW lectures 1-2 pm in Phelps 1203, F discussion section 1-2 pm online).

The instructor of record (faculty member or teaching associate) is responsible for ensuring that online instruction for all course components (lectures, labs, discussion sections, etc.) does not exceed 50% overall from the perspective of the enrolled student.  The Senate asks departments to monitor the amount of online instruction in their programs. If a program offers more than 50% of its courses remotely, it is required by our accreditor to obtain approval.

Attendance policies. We remind faculty to be flexible with their attendance policies since our COVID protocols require students to stay home if they have COVID-like symptoms, isolation, or quarantine. This is especially important as we enter flu season in late fall and winter.  

We are pleased that students appear to be observing COVID mitigation protocols for the most part. If there are problems enforcing mask requirements in discussion sections or labs, faculty should help their Teaching Assistants deal with the situation. Instructors may ask to see students’ clearance badges, but they should not ask questions about vaccine status or medical conditions.

Contingency planning.  As is the case for fall quarter, our instructional plans are contingent upon public health conditions and UC guidelines.  Should conditions change significantly enough to warrant a pivot in our instructional plans, such as a public health order requiring a suspension of in-person class meetings, the campus will immediately notify all instructors.

This information will be conveyed to all instructors soon via a separate message. Thank you for your cooperation as we manage a successful return to campus and classroom instruction.

Susannah Scott, Divisional Chair, Academic Senate

David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor