COVID-19 instructional continuity planning

Mar. 11, 2020

This message was sent on behalf of the Office of the Provost to academic faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Dear faculty,

While no decision has been made with regard to shifting to online course delivery due to concerns related to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), we are now asking all faculty to prepare to go online with their instruction. We are requesting that faculty have an online delivery instructional plan for all classes (e.g., lectures, labs, performance, recitation, arts, etc.) finalized no later than March 30. These plans would be used in the event the University chooses to shift to alternate operations and directs students to complete their spring semester work without further in-person instruction. This plan should include how you would address your courses, related materials, and assessments and to evaluate and train yourself on technological resources available to assist you.

This timeline may be accelerated if needed, so early preparation is advised. Deans and Chairs need to facilitate conversations with instructional faculty and TAs as some instructional formats may be easier to deliver remotely, while others will require outside of the box thinking. Deans and/or Chairs may also want to set standards or expectations within their respective units so that student experiences have some measure of uniformity. Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) and the Office of the Provost have put together resources to assist you in preparing your courses for online delivery. Please ensure that this message is delivered to all instructional faculty in your department.

We value and appreciate the time and effort that you will devote to this. TLT will continue to update their resource page as we are able to provide you with relevant and robust recommendations for successful online delivery of courses. The University’s decision-making will be informed by considerations of safety for our faculty, staff and students in effectively meeting the public health challenge presented by the coronavirus. It is essential that online instructional delivery plans are conceptualized and finalized by March 30, if not sooner, in the event the University were to adopt alternate operations.

Flexibility: Given the current situation and the dynamic nature of the understanding of coronavirus, University continues to recommend that instructors offer students understanding and accommodations such as makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work due to illness.

Even in the absence of coronavirus on our campus at this time, we must be mindful that students, who have already just negotiated a round of mid-terms, could be understandably anxious or stressed about uncertainties regarding the outbreak. Listen carefully to your students’ concerns. Offer resources when appropriate. Keep the lines of communication open. In addition, this is a good time to think about preparing for any situation that could disrupt regular schedules. Think about your own expectations as an instructor for the semester, and what you might need to do in the event you have to refocus your course goals due to unexpected events. Flexibility is be a must for all of us.

The University has preventive measures and controls in place to support the health and safety of our University community. We continue to review and adapt our planning and strategies as more is learned every day. The University has created a Novel Coronavirus information page, which will be updated regularly. The page contains the latest information and includes a variety of sources, as well as tips for faculty, students and staff regarding issues that could arise from coronavirus.

Jill Heaton
Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs
Full Professor, Geography
Provost's Office
Phone: (775) 784-1740