Keep Teaching

Academic Updates

Academic Updates

August 18, 2022 (sent via email by John Holcomb)

Dear Faculty,

Another semester is upon us, but alas, COVID is still with us.  Below are updates of classroom COVID-related policies for this Fall.  I truly hope you have a great semester this Fall.  If you have questions, please contact your Chair or Director. 

COVID-19 Guidance for Faculty Fall 2022


  • Masking is optional on campus.
  • Faculty cannot require masking in classes, but they may request that their students wear masks. 
  • Faculty who may need to request to teach remotely because of health concerns due to this change in our masking policy, should contact their respective HR Business Partner or the general HR email box at (with “Faculty Accommodation request”  in the subject line) as soon as possible so that HR can determine if their medical condition warrants an accommodation under the ADA “American Disabilities Act”. 

Faculty Exposure and Infection

  • If a faculty member has been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive, they should contact their chair/director. 
  • Please follow the current CDC guidelines regarding the need to quarantine and isolate here

Instruction by Faculty in Quarantine or Isolation

  • Faculty in quarantine or isolation can teach remotely if their health and stamina permit them to do so.
  • If they cannot, they should report sick time and work with their chair/director to develop a plan for substitute instruction.

Student Exposure and Infection

  • If a student reports exposure or infection by COVID-19, the faculty member should refer them to the CDC website on the need to quarantine or isolate.  Refer the student to CARE ( if the student reports severe symptoms.  The university is not engaging in contact tracing.
  • Please provide opportunities for students to make up their work if they cannot attend class because of COVID. 

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccinations on Campus

  • Call 216-687-3649 to schedule appointments for testing, vaccination and boosters at CSU Health and Wellness Services at the Center for Innovation in Medical Professions, Suite 205 (2112 Euclid Avenue).

Instructional and Technological Support for Remote Learning Accommodations

Faculty providing remote instruction to students with ODS accommodations can find support from the following experts:

Optional Syllabus Statement

Given the effectiveness and widespread availability of vaccines and boosters, and based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), masks are optional on campus.  We recognize and appreciate that some members of the community will choose to continue wearing a mask. Free masks are available at the information desk in the Student Center.  Please remember that vaccination plus booster shots offer the absolute best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. We continue to provide free vaccinations and boosters for students, faculty and staff at CSU Health and Wellness Services by appointment at the Center for Innovation in Medical Professions, Suite 205 (2112 Euclid Avenue). For other area locations offering free vaccines and booster shots, visit  People who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, should stay home. Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms begin. Please notify me if you have tested positive for COVID.  If you experience severe symptoms from COVID, please contact the CARE Team at for additional support.  

November 19, 2021 (sent via email by John Holcomb)

As we sprint into the final stretch of the semester, I want you to know how thankful I am for all the amazing work you are doing this term.  I say it each term, but this term truly feels like the most challenging ever.  I do hope each of you can find time for a bit of rest over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know the thought of sleeping in and apple pie are keeping me going for the next week!

I write with just a few clarifications and updates that have bubbled up to the Provost’s Office.

1. Quarantine – The CDC guidelines can be a bit confusing, so I want to make sure that faculty understand the following.  If an unvaccinated student had a close-contact exposure with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID, the unvaccinated student should quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they test negative or not.  (Vaccinated people with a close-contact exposure, and no symptoms, do not need to quarantine, but should get tested 5-7 days after exposure.)  Even with a negative test, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated exposed people quarantine the full 14-day period.  I realize this causes an extra burden on faculty (and students) who might be healthy to miss class and miss assessments, but that is the CDC and university policy.  As cases begin to climb again, the Pandemic Response Team is keeping this policy in place. 

 2. Isolated or Quarantined Students – If students indicate to you that they have tested positive for COVID or that they need to isolate, please treat this like you would for any student who came down with an illness or medical condition that prevented them from attending class.  This means giving students the opportunity to make up any work they miss when they are prevented from being on campus. Also, faculty do have the right to ask for documentation of a positive COVID test or a quarantine directive.  If genuine, it should not be difficult for students to produce such documentation.  Please notify the CARE team ( for anyone who informs you that they are positive, but you as the instructor should manage the communication to students regarding how and when to complete the makeup work. Students who test positive for COVID do not need to be referred to ODS.   We do urge you to be as flexible as possible, while still holding students accountable for doing all the work needed.

3. Late Withdrawals and Incompletes – The provost and I met recently with leaders from Student Government and learned that they are hearing from other students of a great deal of anxiety around grades here near the end of the term.  Rather than bring back pass/fail, which the Provost believes would be counter-productive, I will be communicating with student government that existing tools exist to help students:  petitions for late Withdrawals and grades of Incomplete.  Students would need to complete a petition by Dec. 3rd for a late withdrawal through the college of their major (or the Graduate College for graduate students) and the provost and I urge the faculty review committees to allow students to do selective Withdrawal if the student can make a convincing argument.  In regard to Incompletes, students may end up testing positive during the last week of classes or finals week from family interactions at Thanksgiving.  Students may need to isolate or quarantine.  Giving students grades of I might be the best course of action in those cases, but students must be in communication with their instructors.  Please, whenever possible, make use of the Incomplete Grade Agreement with students to articulate the expectations regarding finishing the work.  If you are a part-time instructor who is not going to be available or teaching in Spring, please make your chair aware of any Incomplete grades you have in your classes and provide the chair with pertinent materials (e.g. a final exam with grading key).  In my communication with students, I will emphasize that late Withdrawals and Incompletes will be approved only where warranted, and that they should speak with an advisor and/or their instructors to explore all options which may include accepting a final grade that is possibly disappointing, but still passing.  An advisor can also assist them in understanding the potential implications that W's and I's can have on financial aid eligibility and academic standing. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to your chair or myself.

October 7, 2021 (sent via email by John Holcomb)

In many ways, I know this semester is more challenging than in the past.  Thank you once again for your efforts and care of our students as we navigate these very trying times.  I am so in awe of all the efforts I hear about across campus; of what you do and provide for our students. 

I write to make you aware of a change in how we respond to students in your classes who test positive for COVID. If the CARE Team or Health and Wellness learns that a student was on campus and that person is now positive for COVID, Ali Martin Scoufield, our interim Dean of Students, will email you alerting you to that fact.  The text of the message that she will send you is attached.  Her notifications will go out M-F between 3pm – 4pm.

We recommend that you notify the students in the class that one of the students has received a positive COVID test.  The attached has a sample email that you can send to the class to share this information. 

So long as students were properly wearing masks, there is no need to quarantine or move the class to REMOTE instruction.  Contact tracers are reaching out to the positive student and may contact any of the students in the class if they are considered close contacts.  Students should, however, self-monitor for symptoms and seek medical evaluation if they develop any symptoms or have concerns.  They should also continue wearing masks, practice respiratory hygiene, and wash their hands / use sanitizer regularly. 

You, or your students, may desire to get a COVID test.  If so, tests are most accurate when done 3-5 days after this notification.  We offer free testing on a walk-in basis at Health and Wellness for anyone who wishes to be tested for COVID.

Testing is available for all CSU faculty, staff, and students.   Unvaccinated students should strongly consider getting tested, especially if they develop symptoms

Where: The testing center is located on the first floor of the CIMP Building

Days: Monday – Friday; Results are available immediately

Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We utilize self-administered nasal swabbing

We also offer free vaccinations for all students/faculty/staff on Tuesdays with no appointments, CIMP Building, Room 205, 8am-Noon and 1pm-4pm.

Additional information is contained in the attached letter (below) that you will receive from Ali Martin Scoufield if you have a student in your class who tests positive.  If you have any questions, you can reach her via CARE at or you can contact me. Also, please continue to notify CARE should a student notify you that they are positive or in quarantine as many students will notify you before notifying others at the University.

File Faculty COVID Outreach Letter Final.docx

August 18, 2021 (sent via email by John Holcomb)

Welcome back for the 2021 Fall Term!  I do hope you all managed to find some down time this summer to recharge.  I think we were all hoping the pandemic would be behind us at this point, but alas, it is not.  I write to update you on protocols related to the pandemic that we have put into place for the Fall 2021 term.  If the pandemic situation improves, I hope that some of these can be lifted.

Faculty Masking: We know that it is difficult to teach with a mask, but all faculty need to be masked while indoors.  A face shield is not sufficient.  Faculty and staff are allowed to take off their mask in their closed office. Safe Campus Updates can be found here

Student Masking: If students attend class without wearing a mask, we suggest you utilize non-confrontational methods to ask them to wear a mask.  Updated documents from last year are attached that describe how you can give students a warning (yellow card) and then a request to leave the class (red card).  Please do not call the police or security if a student is refusing to wear a mask unless the student becomes unruly or abusive.

PDF icon Nonconfrontational Classroom Management Strategies Fall 2021.pdf

PDF icon Yellow Cards2.pdf

PDF icon Red Cards2.pdf

Faculty Testing Positive for COVID: If you test positive for COVID, please contact your chair to determine how to maintain class coverage.  Please also contact Human Resources at or 216-687-3636 so they can do contract tracing of the Cleveland State University community.

Student Testing Positive for COVID:  If a student discloses they are positive for COVID, we urge faculty to notify the CARES team at  They will take care of notifying contract tracers and they will offer support to the student while they recover.

ODS/OIE Accommodations:  So far, a small number of students have been granted an accommodation for remote learning due to a medical condition or something to do with their family. Please abide by these requests.  Here are instructions to share Panopto videos with individual students:

PDF icon Uploading and sharing Panopto videos for individual students (may be used for students with accommodations).  

Compassion Exceptions: In the past, students could ask you for a “compassion exception” if they felt uncomfortable coming to class.  If students ask that again, you are not obligated to grant it.  In fact, we urge you not to grant it.  CSU has made a commitment to face-to-face instruction.  You can say to students that we expect students to be vaccinated and we are providing the course face-to-face.
Attendance Policies  Attendance policies are allowed and faculty can ask for documentation regarding an illness, including COVID.  We do request that for no-fault attendance policies that have a cap on the number of absences, absences caused by COVID-related isolation or quarantine not count toward achieving the cap number of absences.

Classroom Technology: We have been able to use CARES Funding to upgrade the technological capabilities of many classrooms (especially in Berkman Hall).  These upgrades offer improved ways to share content, record lectures and with connect with others at a distance. The Center for Instructional Technology and Distance Learning (CIT&DL) offers training for departments, groups, and individuals to help them get the most use out of videoconferencing and classroom instructional technology.  If you would like to schedule classroom technology training, please email their Instructional Technology Specialist, John Hubbard, at

Keep Teaching:  We will continue to maintain this Keep Teaching website.  It will contain the Academic Updates and other relevant materials and information. 

Daily Health Assessment: This year, we are no longer using the Daily Health Assessment when coming to campus.

check back soon for more Fall 2021 updates! 

Academic Updates for Summer 2021 and Previous semesters

All Courses | On-Campus Courses | Remote/Online Courses

All Courses

Reading Days (added 3/4/2021): A reminder that March 10 and April 8 have been designated as reading days by the university.  These are days where we will not hold in-person or remote classes. 

Midterm Grades (added 3/4/2021):  Just a reminder that you can submit midterm grades now and the deadline is March 8th. Midterm grades are mandatory for developmental and 100/200-level courses.  They are optional for 300/400 level courses.  (Note: Graduate students, Project 60 students and/or students auditing a course will not be eligible for a midterm grade and will appear “grayed out” on the midterm roster.)

Student Workload (added 3/4/2021): Please be cognizant of the workload you are assigning students.   We know that you care very deeply about your students and their mastering of the material.  Many of you have gone to extraordinary lengths to retool for this challenge and we are very grateful for your efforts.  However, some students believe the work being asked of them is greater than what would occur for a face-to-face class.  There is a national conversation occurring on this topic.  I encourage you to read this article by Betsy Barre on why this issue is important.  Here is the link to help professors assess the amount of work they are requiring.  Finally, PDF icon attached is an interview with Betsy Barre that appeared in the Teaching newsletter of the Chronicle of Higher Education

Remote Learning Support (added 3/4/2021): A reminder to take advantage of the resources at our Keep Teaching website including our Faculty Champions.  There is a webinar series to learn of how faculty here are engaging their students.  If you feel that you want to utilize tools better for your own remote teaching, do not be afraid to reach out.  Please contact a colleague who is a Faculty Champion, your chair, e-learning, the Center for Faculty Excellence or John Holcomb.  We can help get you the resources you need. 

Mental Health (added 3/4/2021):  We know this pandemic has been extremely challenging.  If you are feeling overwhelmed and need assistance, please do not hesitate to use IMPACT Solutions.  This is a service open to all CSU employees (full-time and part-time) and their household members. One service they offer is unlimited 24/7 phone consultation with a licensed mental health professional.  Learn more about IMPACT.
PDF icon Recommended procedure for addressing student academic-related complaints (excluding grade disputes) (added 3/2/2021)

Spring 2021 Pass/Fail Update: Undergraduate students (added 1/26/2021)

Spring 2021 Pass/Fail Update: Graduate students (added 1/26/2021)

Accommodation/Exception Requests (added 1/19/2021) – Like last semester, we anticipate that some students who had to enroll in face-to-face classes will need accommodations because of their health status or because they are a parent.  Also, students who live with people with compromised immune systems may also seek exception requests.  Click here for guidelines on accommodations and exception requests to guide you.

Students with COVID or in Quarantine (added 1/19/2021) – If students disclose to you that they have tested positive for the disease or they have been asked to quarantine, please refer them to the CARE Team at  Please work with such students as you would in any term for students with a serious illness by allowing them to make up work and take makeup exams if necessary.

Faculty with COVID (added 1/19/2021) – if you yourself contract COVID, please notify your chair and Richard Horsfall at Human Resources at This way CSU can help support you during what might be a challenging time.

Classroom Technology (added 1/19/2021) If you have any issues with technology in the classrooms that you are teaching in on campus, please call 687-5050.

Student Technology (added 1/19/2021) If students indicate to you that they need a laptop, hotspot, or other technology issue, please have them call 687-5050.

Cameras Optional (added 1/15/2021)  It is Cleveland State University's policy to not require students to turn on their cameras for every remote synchronous class session.  Some questions have arisen as to how that idea relates to using cameras to proctor exams using monitoring software such as Respondus, Honorlock or Zoom.  Faculty may require the use the camera monitoring proctoring options for assessments such as quizzes and exams.

Fall 2020 Pass/Fail Update (added (10/27/2020) 

Video Content and Blackboard (added 10/23/2020)  Uploading video content to Blackboard is causing us to run out of storage space on Blackboard’s servers.  The best approach is to provide links to Panapto, Collaborate, and Zoom videos within Blackboard rather than uploading the videos themselves.  Please read here for more information

Test Settings in Blackboard (added 10/23/2020) We have also become aware that faculty sometimes set the “Force Completion” option for their BB tests which forces students to complete their test in one sitting. We encourage you not to use this option because if a student has an internet outage of some kind, the student cannot complete their quiz/exam.   Rather, set a timer for your exam. If a student loses a connection during the exam and force completion is off, they will be able to re-enter the exam at the point they left off, with only the time they had remaining when they lost the connection. Everyone has internet and browser issues on occasion and loses their connection and needs to log back in to complete their test.  When that kind of outage occurs, it causes an enormous amount of anxiety on the part of the student.  If you are using that option to help prevent cheating, please know there are other options available.  Please check them out here and reach out to eLearning for assistance. 

PDF icon Contnuity of Library Services and Operations: Fall 2020 Update (posted 8/20/2020) The Library will be open for Fall semester.

PDF icon CSU Academic Operational Recommendations: (added 8/17/2020) Guiding principles, mandatory actions, and highly recommended activities related to both on-campus and remote instruction this fall.

Safe Campus CSU Signage: (added 8/17/2020) Order form for departmental spaces

Faculty Access to Campus: (added 8/10/2020) The general philosophy of the university is that if you can complete your work from home, you should do so. However, faculty can come to campus before the start of the semester to obtain teaching materials and to examine the room they will teach in. Prior to coming to campus, faculty must:

  • Complete the Social Contract(added 8/10/2020) before coming to campus for the first time (Note:  the required video has no sound).  
  • Complete Daily Health Assessment(updated 9/4/2020) EACH TIME you come to campus, Online or with the app (Working Well). The code is CSUCLE. Please also encourage your students to fill out the daily health assessment when you begin your face-to-face courses. 

File Student Exception Requests for on campus classes -FINAL.docx(added 8/17/2020) CSU's referral process for COVID-19 related accommodation requests. Includes Testing Center Operational Updates for Fall 2020.

File Sample email for synchronous sessions and recordings (added 8/17/2020)  Sample language to inform students of synchronous sessions and recording policies.

PDF icon FERPA Consent Related to Classroom Recordings: (added Spring 2020) If you are planning to record your synchronous sessions (Zoom/Collaborate), AND you wish to reuse those recordings in a different class, you should obtain releases from your students who may be identifiable in your recordings.

International Travel: (added 9/4/2020) The university has extended the suspension of University sponsored international travel to December 31, 2020. Attending remote virtual meetings is allowed.


On Campus Courses

  • Positive Cases and Exposure: (added 9/4/2020) We understand that students are self-disclosing to faculty that they have either tested positive for COVID or have been “exposed” to someone who is positive (or suspected positive) for COVID.  If students do this, please give the name and ID number of the student to the CARE Team at  They will reach out to the student to determine next steps and if the student needs to contact Health and Wellness.  If it is determined that the student needs to quarantine, then the CARE Team will contact the faculty members of the courses in which the student is enrolled.  Please do not notify the other members of a class that a student in the class has tested positive or has been exposed.  County Public Health officials are the ones charged (and legally allowed) to determine who is a close contact and at risk for infection.  They determine who needs notification and who is just a casual contact.    CSU hired our own contact tracers to work with County Public Health to do this rapidly on campus for CSU close contacts only.  Faculty members should not be the ones determining who is a close contact. If a faculty member is identified as a close contact of a CSU student or employee who is COVID positive, the CSU contract tracers will contact the faculty member directly. 
  • Masks and Social Distancing: (added 9/4/2020) We have been very pleased to see the high rate of mask wearing compliance on campus.  Thank you for your efforts in this regard! (Has anyone had to use a yellow or a red card?)  Please continue to ensure that students are wearing masks, keeping distances, and cleaning their desks if the cleaners did not come in between classes (and let me know if that is an issue in your classroom).   When this is done, then other students in a classroom are casual, not close, contacts, and they won’t need notification by anyone.
  • End time: (added 9/4/2020) Please be conscious of time and end your classes on time so the cleaning crews have time to clean the classroom before the next class.

  • Masks vs Face Shields: (added 9/4/2020)  Just a reminder that faculty need to teach wearing a mask.  Face shields are not protective enough.  You can teach with both a face shield a mask, but faculty need to be wearing a mask when teaching.

  • Instructional Support: (added 9/4/2020)  For classroom support for instructional technology, please call 687-5050.  For the safety of support staff, faculty, and students, all initial classroom support calls to Instructional technology and distance learning (ITDL) will be handled remotely. On-site staff will be available to deploy for issues that cannot be handled remotely. Please see for more ways to get help and info on ITDL services.

Rosters Changing: (added 8/24/2020) Please be aware that many new students are obtaining schedules right up through this past weekend and into this week.  Please email your students again any communications that you sent last week (especially FLEX classes that let students know when they need to be attending class). 

Green dots: (added 8/24/2020)  As students enter your auditorium style classrooms or rooms with fixed furniture, please tell them to sit in seats marked with green dots. 

Cables: (added 8/24/2020)  Even before COVID, many of our rooms in BH required you to bring a VGA or HDMI cable to connect a laptop to the displays.  If you plan to use your laptop please bring a cable with you.  (Note:  not all rooms have computers.) 

Positive Cases and Quarantines: (added 8/24/2020) We really need your help.  Some students have to quarantine because they are either positive themselves, they have had close contact with someone who is positive, or they have moved to Cleveland from a state that or country that requires quarantine. Faculty will receive a letter from the CARE team for such students stating that the student is unable to currently attend class. Please work with these students as you would in the past with ill students who had to miss class.  These students need our support.  Most students will be able to come to campus in 2 weeks.  Please do not ask these students to register for a remote section as almost all remote sections of classes are full.  It may also be helpful to know that all people who test positive for COVID are counseled at least twice by medical professionals about their responsibilities before leaving quarantine. 

Cleaning Protocol: (updated 8/24/2020)  CSU has hired extra custodians to wipe down surfaces in rooms in between classes.  Thus, in most cases students do not need to wipe spaces down themselves.  The cleaning supplies in the rooms are there as a backup in case something breaks down with the custodians.  Do feel free to use these supplies.There will be a custodian cleaning in between classes for all the classrooms. Thus it is important that you not teach past your scheduled time.  The custodians will have sanitizer spray for keyboards.  In each of the rooms there will be:

  • Purell Table Top Quick Stand Sanitizer Dispenser
  • 2 spray bottles of hard surface disinfectant
  • 2 rolls of paper towels
  • 1-8 ounce bottle of microphone sanitizer

Non-Confrontational Strategies in the Classroom email Communication  (added 8/19/2020)

File Health and Safety Syllabus Statement (added 8/10/2020) This statement has been approved by Faculty Senate. Suggestions for implementation in the classroom can be found in the CSU Academic Operational Recommendations.

Flex Classes: (added 8/17/2020) If you are teaching a class that is meeting with a subset of your whole class during a session (a Flex class), please email your class rosters by Wednesday August 20  to inform them what class sessions they will attend.  This is very critical so that the whole class does not show up on the first day.  This is especially important for lab and studio classes.  Please cc your chair and associate dean as you email your class.

Classroom Assignments: (added 8/10/2020) Almost all the classroom assignments have been made and now can be seen in Campusnet. (In Campusnet, if the room assignment is missing, it means we are still working on placing the room.)   Please check Campusnet regularly in the next two weeks as we are still tweaking the room assignments.  Many of you will be teaching in rooms that are not familiar to you.  We have utilized many non-traditional campus spaces to accommodate the 6-feet social distancing needed to hold face-to-face classes.  Your flexibility and understanding are appreciated regarding the location of your classroom. 

File Panopto Enabled Classrooms(added 8/10/2020) For all rooms, faculty can bring laptops to class, use Panapto on laptops to record voice and screen. IST staff is working to ensure each teaching site will be equipped with a PC in the room that is Panapto-enabled as well as a document camera.  

PDF icon Using Panopto in your F2F Classroom instructions

Classroom Technology: (added 8/17/2020)  IS&T is working very hard to bring as many conference service sites now being used as classrooms up to speed with technology for the professor.  This is true for regular classrooms as well.  However, some rooms might not have all equipment installed by August 24th.  Please check on the room this week if you are on campus and plan to arrive early for your first class.  Recommendations are to try to keep the class simple on the first day.  Also, bring a laptop.  If you usually use a whiteboard while teaching and your room does not have one, consider making a PDF your notes to display on the screen.  Also, encourage your students to bring their laptops or print course materials and bring them to class. Some classrooms are now quite deep to accommodate social distancing and the screen might be difficult to read.   Most rooms will have document cameras, but unless they are hooked up to a computer in the room, what is seen through the document camera won’t be recorded in Panopto.  We will be working all week and into the start of the semester to get every room what it needs.  Your patience is appreciated. 

Remote/Online Courses

PDF icon The Virtual Classroom and FERPA FAQs (revised 8/27/2020)

PDF icon The Virtual Classroom Resources FAQs (non-FERPA) (added 8/20/2020)

File Combined FAQs for Virtual Learning (added 8/17/2020)

PDF icon Caring for Our Students and Ourselves: Resources for a Remote Learning Environment (PDF): (added Spring 2020) CSU community resources for remote students.