Contingency plans for teaching

As SMU continues to closely monitor the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is essential that faculty prepare for potential disruptions to the campus community. The information contained herein will aid departments throughout the university to develop contingency plans to minimize the possible impact to our day-to-day operations and academic schedule. I am urging all faculty members to be proactive in anticipating the possible effect on your courses and students should you or any of your students need to self-isolate after exposure to the virus. 

Please plan ahead and become familiar with the resources and technologies available to provide continued instruction if students and/or faculty are unable to attend class. SMU’s Office of Information Technology is working to install web cameras in every classroom and is coordinating training events and webinars to instruct faculty in using various types of technology available for online instruction, should it become necessary. Canvas offers course content delivery and interaction with students, while Zoom can be used to hold real-time meetings, including live presentations. It is particularly important to review these resources now and arrange for any training you need given the rapidly-evolving nature of the virus and likely emergence of cases following spring break travel by students, faculty and staff.

Here are some further recommendations:

  • Take your laptop home with you each day. 
  • If a faculty member or student needs to be in self-isolation due to possible or confirmed exposure to COVID-19, he or she should inform the Office of Risk Management and their Dean or department chair.
  • The faculty member must obtain permission from the Dean or their department chair before cancelling his/her in-person individual classes while in self-isolation. Faculty in self-isolation should be prepared to offer courses online.
  • In some cases, the faculty member may ask a colleague to teach the course while the faculty member is in self-isolation, but this plan requires department chair approval.
  • If a faculty member has student(s) in self-isolation, the faculty member must ensure that the student(s) continue to receive instruction. That may involve using some of the resources outlined in the resources link above.
  • The faculty member may arrange for the student(s) in self-isolation to take a digital exam or schedule a make-up exam after the self-isolation is complete.
  • Faculty members should be flexible if they have a strict attendance policy as it may be necessary for the student(s) in self-isolation to access class through a means other than attending in person.
  • The deans may issue further communications with their respective faculties to ensure academic continuity.