Congratulations on a successful short block! I want to again commend you for all you did to make SNO and short block classes a success. SNO closed out last Friday with 20 student-produced short films on Resilience. If you missed the ‘short film’ session on Friday, you can view Group 5’s Resilience Documentary, the video voted Most Inspiring.
As we move into the full fall semester I want to remind you that the Delta variant of COVID-19 remains a concern for our University and community, so I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that vaccination, mask wearing, and personal responsibility continue to be our best lines of defense in fighting the spread of COVID-19. I strongly encourage vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff. Immunize Nevada provides easy access to vaccination appointments. As a heads up, we are planning an on-campus vaccination clinic for early October.
Sierra Nevada University continues to adhere to CDC, State, and local mandates that all students, employees, and visitors to our campus must wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Also, all individuals who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are required to wear mask outdoors.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19, whether faculty, student, or staff, you should isolate/quarantine immediately and email firstname.lastname@example.org. Contract tracing within the SNU campus community will be conducted by designated members of the Risk Management Committee, who will handle all communications with individuals and provide additional quarantine/isolation guidelines to any potentially exposed individuals.
As we transition from the short block to the full semester, I want to take a moment to provide some direction regarding COVID-19 and academic operations.
- Any student testing positive is to isolate immediately per CDC recommendations.
- Any student instructed to quarantine because of possible exposure is to do so immediately, per CDC recommendations.
- It is the student’s responsibility to coordinate with their instructors to arrange for any missed classes or assignments. The students testing positive or in quarantine will be instructed to inform their instructors via email.
- No individual, student or instructor, in isolation due to a positive test or in quarantine due to an exposure, shall attend class during the isolation/quarantine period. SNU has isolation rooms for those students who test positive and are living in the residence halls.
- Having a student test positive or symptom-positive student in the classroom does not mean the class needs to be canceled or taught remotely. Instructors should not move their in-person classes to remote instruction due to a positive or symptom-positive student unless they have received a specific public health directive to do so or have been directed to do so by the Office of the Provost. We will evaluate the situation within each class on a case-by-case basis.
- Instructors must provide students who miss class as a result of isolation/quarantine opportunities to make up missed course work, including assignments, quizzes, or exams. Instructors must not penalize students for missing classes in courses with mandatory attendance policies due to COVID-19. In addition, instructors should not penalize symptom-positive students who miss class because the student is acting out of an abundance of caution while awaiting test results or a student who is in quarantine. It is the instructor’s prerogative whether to record classes for or provide synchronous remote access to students who miss class as a result of quarantine/isolation.
- The health of our instructors is of utmost importance to all of us. In the event an instructor is required to isolate or quarantine, they should consult with the Dean of Academic Affairs immediately about the next steps in presenting instructional material during the isolation period.
- Although medical reasons dictate isolation/quarantine and testing recommendations, the question of how best to continue instructional delivery, should an instructor need to miss class as a result of isolation/quarantine, is pedagogical. The decision on how best to deliver course content temporarily in the absence of the instructor of record should be informed by content, logistics, class format, and other pedagogical considerations. This decision should be made in consultation with the Dean of Academic Affairs. If an instructor of record is unable to teach a class for a temporary period of time for any number of reasons, including, but not limited to, COVID-19, other medical conditions, emergencies, etc. the following is advised:
- Is there another qualified individual that can cover the class temporarily?
- Can the instructor of record teach the in-person class from zoom or other remote options temporarily while someone else is in attendance with the in-person class?
- If neither of the above are possible, can the technologies we have adopted over the last year and a half make it possible for the course to be delivered temporarily synchronous remote?
- Can content be delivered asynchronous remote if none of the three above are possible?
Living on campus has provided me a unique window into the fall semester. The energy and excitement from our students is hard to miss – dining hall conversations, games played on the lawn outside my dorm window, thumping music against my dorm room wall (never past 10pm!), students ladened with backpacks piling into a van, the short film festival, slacklines stretched between trees, laughter filtering up through my open office window (during clear air days of course). If you had any doubt, I want you to know that our students benefited from all you did to pull off the short block and SNO.
As our students demonstrated so well in the presentation of their resilience-themed short films – resilience is not how many times you get knocked down, it is how many times you stand up. You, in turn, demonstrated another important aspect of resilience – adjusting your expectations. “Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will – then your life will flow well.” Epictetus. Instead of pinning your students’ SNO experience on events outside of your control, you responded and pinned them on what you were given. You have my sincere gratitude and appreciation.
Dr. Jill Heaton