NOTICE: Wichita State University will be returning to pre-COVID operations June 1.

Updated April 8, 2021


The following is the work of the Shockers United Curriculum Subcommittee. Send questions to Carolyn Shaw at carolyn.shaw@wichita.edu.


Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Questions about the Classroom and Campus

 

Is there standardized syllabus language or trainings we can share with students to explain the importance of safe behaviors and compliance with campus policies?

Yes. Here is a statement to include in your course syllabus:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a complex, challenging, and fluid situation,which continues to evolve. WSU will follow federal, state, and county public health recommendations and mandates in all decisions related to university operations.

Provide a clear statement of expectations on the first day of class promoting campus health and safety.

Have extra disposable masks available in case someone would like to wear a mask.

Strategic Communications, in coordination with Student Health and Wellness, continues to put out reminders to the campus community about best practices to stay healthy and safe.

What are the classroom capacities for the Summer and Fall?

Regular classroom capacities will be resumed with no more distancing limitations in the classroom. Instructors may choose, however, to divide their classes as they have previously in order to have fewer students in a classroom at a time to maintain distancing. Our hybrid class codes will allow for flexibility in these course designs.

Can instructors change their classes from IIE/IIS to HYB or from HYB to IIE/IIS?

No. Once registration has begun, any course code change requires all students to be dropped from a class and manually re-added after changing the course code. For this reason, we will not be making any course code changes for the summer and fall semesters

Can instructors change the course delivery plan that was already posted to the WSU website?

We have recently re-opened these pages. Instructors who are offering an HYB course should have received a new email link. They can leave the information as-is in the system, or modify what they have already submitted. Instructors teaching IIE and IIS classes will not receive a new link unless they request it. Contact carolyn.shaw@wichita.edufor more information

Can instructors request a new classroom based on changed class capacities?

The Registrar’s Office will proactively review summer and fall classroom assignments to ensure all courses are in rooms that can hold the quota of the course. Changes will be made by April 21. After that date, special requests will be considered if they are needed to allow for additional enrollment, to address medical concerns or to accommodate a specific mode of teaching.  The department chair or department schedule builder can contact schedulebuilding@wichita.edu with these select requests.

Do Instructors have to provide alternative, online content for students without asking if the request is COVID-19-related?

No. But Instructors need to accommodate students who have registered with ODS. Instructors should be flexible as they would be with any student who is ill. Instructors should not request documentation of health conditions.

Are we ending in-person instruction before Thanksgiving Recess?

No. We are planning for a normal end-of-semester with regard to in-person instruction. The last day of instruction is Dec 2 with finals Dec 4-9.

Can Instructors choose to end in-person instruction before Thanksgiving Recess even though we’ve moved back to the standard academic calendar?

Yes. Instructors can choose their course design to meet their instructional needs. It is important to communicate these choices to students so they can make their own plans accordingly.

What happens if we see another wave of increased COVID-19 positivity?

We will continue to follow federal, state and county guidance. If this requires more restrictive measures, Instructors should be prepared to modify their courses accordingly.

May I continue to use Zoom for all office or student hours and not hold in-person office hours?

Yes. Although the university is planning to return to pre-pandemic operations starting on June 1. Instructors are responsible for coordinating schedules with their departmental chairperson and must clearly communicate their availability with students.

Can I choose not to come to the campus for the semester?

Instructors are responsible for ensuring quality delivery of their course content and should confirm their schedule and semester plans for teaching, scholarship and service with their department chairperson.

Make sure students and colleagues know how to get in touch with you remotely.

Can I require in-person attendance?

Yes. Students are expected to meet the stated requirements for their courses. Students should use the wichita.edu/fall2021 webpage to identify courses that work best for their needs. If a student believes they have a condition which requires accommodation where they cannot attend in person, they should contact the Office of Disability Services. Faculty will work with ODS to meet these identified accommodations.

However, instructors are encouraged consider ways other than in-person attendance to assess participation and/or engagement. These alternative approaches can help ensure we do not disincentivize people to stay home or quarantine when sick. Instructors should ask students to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and instruct students who feel ill to not attend in-person meetings.

 

Questions about Health

 

What happens if I get sick and can’t teach?

All instructors should share their classroom continuity plans with their department chair in the event that they get sick. A colleague might help provide coverage of class content, a guest speaker may be willing to present a lecture, instructors might assign a topical video or give a quiz, etc. In addition, adding a backup person into your Bb shell can facilitate communication to your class in an emergency.

If you are quarantined but not sick, remote delivery is always an option.

Always contact your department chairperson in the event sickness keeps you from fulfilling your teaching responsibilities. Employees should follow regular Human Resources guidelines for taking sick leave.

What happens if a student gets sick and cannot attend in-person class sessions? Am I required to create online-only content for them?

Instructors should be responsive to students who are sick, just as they were before the emergence of COVID-19, by helping students make up work and stay on track in class.

What you should do if a student tells you they have tested positive for COVID-19, has been instructed to isolate because of symptoms and/or testing, or is in quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19?

If a faculty or staff member learns directly from a student that the student has tested positive, is being tested, has COVID symptoms, or is in quarantine or isolation, the faculty or staff member should encourage the student to self-report via the Maxient portal. Student Health will receive this information and will reach out to the student to determine what the student's current status is, and what, if any, services from the university the student may require.

Per Kansas HB 2016, faculty and staff SHOULD NOT:

  1. ask the student any questions about where the student has been or who the student has been around, or
  2. report the positive case to the class members.

Given the restrictions of HB 2016, which was enacted to protect the privacy and confidentiality of information collected through contact tracing, all "contact tracing” is conducted through the state and local county health departments. Accordingly, the University is unable to conduct contact tracing and cannot and will not (by law) mandate contact tracing for any person.

The Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD), in conjunction with KDHE, "will investigate COVID-19-positive people (cases) tested through the Health Department, cases from reported clusters and potential clusters, cases reported from schools, cases in school-aged children not reported from schools, and other cases as resources allow.” SCHD has provided web information on the COVID-19 modified quarantine process.

If an instructor has health and safety concerns and does not want to teach in person, can they continue to teach remotely?

Yes. Instructors need to work with their department chair when establishing their course plans and doing schedule building for the next semester. However, please note that any course that is fully online (synchronous or asynchronous) must be coded as IIS or IIE.

Can instructors be compelled to take their mask off to teach?

No. This is a personal choice. If students have trouble with hearing or comprehension, a microphone might be advisable or use of a face shield instead of a mask. If an accommodation need exists, the instructor needs to consult with ODS.

Can an instructor require masks in the classroom or when students visit their office?

No. We are following county guidelines. There is no longer a mask mandate. We can encourage COVID-healthy behaviors, including masking and distancing as space allows. It is fine to let your students know that you prefer that they wear a mask, but we cannot enforce it.

You may choose to meet students in a larger conference room if that is more comfortable than a smaller office; or arrange for a virtual meeting instead.

If an instructor has students who want to socially distance and students who don’t, can they designate part of their classroom for distancing?

Instructors can manage seating in their classroom as they choose. We encourage instructors to spread students out in the classroom to the best extent possible.

Can instructors ask students if they have been vaccinated?

No. We cannot ask questions that violate people’s health privacy.

Can instructors require students to be vaccinated if they want to be in-person?

No. We can encourage people to take advantage of getting a vaccine but cannot require it.

Will classrooms still be sanitized next semester?

All classrooms will be cleaned as they have been. We will also continue to have sanitizing spray and paper towels for anyone who wants to disinfect their area in the classroom. See additional Health and Safety information

 
 
How can instructors manage a situation where a student doesn’t feel safe to attend in-person classes?

Instructors have been asked to provide information in advance regarding their in-person expectations for classes next semester in order for students to make informed decisions about enrolling. Students can be encouraged to visit with their advisor to see if an online option is available for them. Instructors may consider replicating in-person learning experiences in a remote or online format when their program provides only one section of a course.

The emotional, financial and social disruptions caused by COVID-19 uncertainty have created serious challenges for many of our students. It is important that instructors refer students who might need assistance to the WSU CARE Team to learn options for addressing mental health and wellness during COVID-19.

If a student believes they have a condition which requires accommodation where they cannot attend in person, they should contact the Office of Disability Services. Instructors will work with ODS to meet these identified accommodations.

There may be some classroom management options that will help a student feel more comfortable. For example, suggest that they arrive early and leave last so they do not have to get too close to others as they enter the room.

Is a condition that makes someone high-risk for COVID-19 complications something that gets legal accommodation protections?

If a student claims a disability related to COVID-19, you should refer the student to the Office of Disability Service (ODS) by calling (316) 978-3309 or sending email to disability.services@wichita.edu to advise ODS of the name of the student so they can reach out to the student. There are certain disabilities that could make a person at higher risk for Covid-19 complication. ODS will determine if the student can receive legal accommodation protections.

 

Questions about Technology

 

Is there Information Technology (IT) support for personal devices for students who are learning remotely?

The help desk provides support for MyWSU ID Password, school Email, school software downloads, and assistance with phishing emails. They can be reached at 978-4357. We also have 24/7 support for our learning management system, Blackboard (Bb) at 1-855-978-1787.

Are loaner laptops still available for students?

The university will continue to make Chromebooks and Mi-Fi hotspots available to students for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students should contact the WSU Help Desk at 316-978-HELP, Option 1 or use the form to request a Chromebook.

A limited number of cellular hotspot devices (MiFis) from Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are available from Information Technology Services. Submit a MiFi request.

 

Questions about Teaching Online

 

What online test proctoring options are available?
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser + Respondus Monitor
    • Provided by WSU as a free tool
    • Customized browser that “locks down” the testing environment within Blackboard
    • Options include recorded video of the student taking the exam reviewable by instructor for evidence of cheating
    • Limits what students can do on their computer while testing
    • Limited to exams delivered through Blackboard
  • ProctorU Review+
    • Tests are recorded then reviewed by trained professional proctors
    • Suspicious behavior is forwarded to instructor
    • Fees are paid by the department ($10 per exam), billed by Online Learning
  • ProctorU Live
    • Tests are proctored live by trained proctors with screen sharing, webcam, audio, and environment monitoring
    • Requires advances scheduling by instructor and student
    • Exam fees are passed on to students (between $18.50-$25 for the first hour) and must be disclosed in the course syllabus

Learn more about Computer-Based Proctoring

How do I maintain test integrity in online courses?

There are a variety of tools -- beyond the proctoring methods listed above -- to handle exam security. For example, in the case of multiple-choice exams, we recommend using randomized pools of questions and randomizing the order of potential responses, so students get exam questions in a unique format.

Authentic assessments are exams or activities that asks students to demonstrate mastery of material in more authentic ways using projects, essays, simulations, and other activities. For ideas about how to incorporate authentic assessments into your class, email your request to WSU IDA.

Promote adherence to an “Honor Code” -- a statement students are required to read and ‘sign’ before access to their exam is available. Honor codes can be added to any Blackboard assessment. IDA can provide a file for instructors to upload to their course or IDA can add and deploy it in your course as a zero-point quiz.

What fees will be associated with different modes of delivery?

In June, the Kansas Board of Regents will be considering a proposal from WSU that will modify the online fee structure so students can choose the best delivery method for their class without taking cost into consideration.

What accessibility issues do I need to consider in my online course design?

Content developed for one-time delivery in remote formats that is NOT planned for reuse is not required to meet the same accessibility standards that IIE (fully online) courses must meet, but they must meet the accommodation needs (as determined by the Office of Disability Services) of all students who are enrolled in the class at the time of delivery.

Content developed for fully online courses are required to meet WSU accessibility standards -- to learn more about these standards, follow this link to information about accessibility for online instruction at WSU. Basic accessibility standards include:

  • All course texts available in an accessible format (screen reader accessible PDFs, ePub, etc.)
  • All video is captioned, or a transcript is provided
  • All audio has a transcript or other text equivalent provided
  • Any required software is accessible to students with visual or fine motor disabilities

Instructors are encouraged to consider long-term intent when designing remotely delivered content and create accessible materials if they potentially will be reused (including documents, recorded video, live video, additional software, etc.). For information about Accessibility in the new teaching environment, go to the Accessibility and Covid-19 page

 

Questions about Hybrid Teaching

 

Who decides what in-person contact is required for my class?

Faculty determine the design of their courses, but must follow the public health mandates established by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

Can I charge my students for test kits, proctored exams, etc.?

We try to keep costs of instruction as low as possible for students but recognize that some additional costs may be necessary for class. These costs should be clearly communicated to students in the course syllabus. No additional costs should be passed on to students mid-semester. Note: instructors are encouraged to consider Open Alternative Textbooks (OAT) to reduce costs for students.

Learn more about OAT course design

 

Questions about Communication

 

How will WSU communicate with students and their families about COVID-19-related campus changes?

The WSU COVID-19 News website is regularly updated by WSU Strategic Communications.

Students should stay connected to the university by regularly checking emails and announcements in Shocker Blast.

How will students know if my class has required in-person meetings?

Instructors have submitted information to the wichita.edu/fall2021 webpage for students to make informed decisions about their fall courses prior to registration. All course requirements, including attendance expectations, should be communicated to students in the syllabus, which should be posted in the course Bb shell. Once classes are underway, it is the responsibility of the instructor to communicate any changes to course delivery to their students. Faculty should be aware that some students have not returned to Wichita because their faculty indicated they were teaching completely online. Any change that would require students to meet in-person would need to provide an alternative for these students.

 

Questions about Accessibility

For information about Accessibility in the new teaching environment, go to the Accessibility and Covid-19 page.

 

General Questions

 

What will the Spring 2022 calendar look like and will there be a spring break?

AY 21-22 calendar is set based on our regular schedule. There will be a spring break.

AY 22-23 is under discussion based on requests to explore whether a regular 4-week January session might be adopted.

Will we be using HYB course codes for Spring 2022?

We will continue to use IIE, IIS, HYB, HYO. We will also return to using TCI (traditional class instruction) for fully in-person classes in Spring 2022.