Guidelines and frequently asked questions about course policies for continuity of learning.
Policies, Guidelines, and Recommendations
- Class Recording Guidelines - These University guidelines should be followed when recording class lectures, presentations, and demonstrations.
- Contingency Planning for Academic Unit Heads (PDF) - This document provides assistance to academic unit heads for contingency planning in the event of a faculty member's extended absence, or multiple student absences in a class, related to COVID-19.
- Contingency Planning for Instructors - Use the Contingency Planning resource for guidance on how to handle class meeting disruptions when absences occur or emergencies arise.
- Enforcing Mask Compliance in Instructional Spaces: Guidance for Instructors (DOC) - Based on guidance from the University, this document offers recommendations for instructors to respond to incidences of noncompliance to mask policy.
- Guidance for Live Streaming vs. Recording Lectures (DOC) - This document gives instructors guidance for when to live stream lectures and when to record lectures, including the value of each and when each are appropriate.
- Information for University Park Instructors Regarding Interim Suspensions - This is a letter to University Park instructors detailing the process for student interim suspension due to non-compliance with COVID protocols.
- Procedures for Instruction during Campus Closures (DOC) - Use these procedures when there is a change in normal campus operations due to weather, power outages, or other emergencies.
- Suggested Teaching Strategies in Residential Courses for Temporary Instructor or Student Absence (DOC) - This guide is meant to assist instructors in continuing course delivery in case of necessary student or instructor absence in alignment with Senate policy 42-27, Class Attendance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Review the following frequently asked questions about course policies and syllabus. For additional information, read all frequently asked questions.
Course Policies and Syllabus
The Penn State Student Quarantine and Isolation document describes how you will be notified if a student in your class is in quarantine or isolation and the role faculty can play in contact tracing efforts.
For guidance on working with students who test positive for coronavirus or who find themselves in special circumstances created by this crisis, please see this FAQ.
Refer to University Faculty Senate Policy 42-27 on Class Attendance. Keep in mind that you can’t adjust the grading scheme for a student who misses assignments. All students must have the same opportunity to earn grades that you outlined in your syllabus.
Instructors are encouraged to communicate their contingency plans in advance so that students are aware of expectations in case of a temporary instructor or student absence.
For undergraduate students who become ill near the end of the semester, faculty have the option of assigning deferred grades under Senate Policy 48-40.
For graduate students who become ill near the end of a semester, refer to policy GSAD-906 Graduate Student Leave of Absence.
Resources have been created to help guide instructors in cases where students and/or faculty test positive for COVID-19 and need to be absent.
- The Contingency Planning for Academic Unit Heads guidance document provides guidance in the event of instructor’s extended absence or multiple student absences in a class.
- The Contingency Planning for Instructors page on the Web Learning website is a resource for how to handle any class meeting disruptions when absences occur.
- The Suggested Teaching Strategies in Residential Courses for Temporary Instructor or Student Absence guidance document was created to assist instructors in continuing course delivery in the case of student or instructor absence.
Are there privacy concerns if students who attend class in-person are included in my class session recordings, which may be watched by other students?
If the recordings are only accessible to students in the class, there are no privacy concerns. If you intend to use or share the recording outside of students in that class, all student images, names, chat, and other data must be deleted. If all student data is not deleted, you must get the students’ written consent to use or share the recording outside of students in that class. Review the class recording guidelines created for instructors.
Webinars designed to provide critical information to faculty and staff about course policies and syllabus.