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December 10, 2021

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

I am writing with guidance about spring courses. The planned class schedule is similar to pre-pandemic spring semesters. For many of you, this will include teaching face-to-face classes. For spring, please feel free to plan your face-to-face courses as you determine is best for student learning.

For example, use your preferred attendance policy (including mandatory attendance, if that is your preference). Feel free to use your typical pre-pandemic approach to class absences. Do not feel obligated to stream or record lectures; this is at your discretion. (Please ensure that your expectations for student attendance are clear in your syllabi.)

This is a change from the fall. Because of the Delta wave, I encouraged you this semester to avoid requiring attendance and asked you to find ways to help quarantined students continue in the course. I have heard from many of you how difficult it is to teach face-to-face while simultaneously supporting students not in attendance. I do not make that request for spring.

The pandemic is not over, and we do not know for certain what next semester will bring. I have to acknowledge that if, say, the Omicron variant takes off, we may need to change direction yet again. However, for now, please plan to offer ordinary face-to-face courses.

Another challenging year is nearing a close – challenging, yes, but still a time of real accomplishments for students and many faculty members. I hope that your holiday season is peaceful and joyful and that we return to a better and brighter New Year.

Michael D. Johnson
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs