Safety and Emergency Information

Remote or Virtual Mode of Instruction for All Classes Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Date: 3/16/2020
From: Provost - Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Subject: Remote or Virtual Mode of Instruction for All Classes Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

Since my message to you last Thursday, public health experts and other government leaders have provided concrete advice and recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Governor Newsom has stated that persons who are 65 years of age or older, or those with a preexisting health condition, should self-isolate. Therefore, in close consultation with campus and system leaders, the following guidelines are provided to assist you in navigating this rapidly changing situation.

Please remember that this is a rapidly evolving situation. I will continue to update you as new information becomes available.

Guiding Values and Principles: 

  • The safety and well-being of our campus community remains our top priority. Virtual content delivery for most classes reduces the number of students and visitors on campus, reduces person-to-person contact, and reduces the chance of person-to-person transmission of a communicable disease.
  • Faculty are the content experts and in the best position to determine how content should be delivered to ensure that students achieve the course and programmatic learning outcomes. Given this extraordinary situation, it may be necessary to modify the course objectives/outcomes.
  • Both faculty and students must have the information and support they need to successfully achieve course learning objectives and outcomes.

Temporary Pause of In-Person Instruction

The temporary pause of all in-person instruction began on Friday, March 13, 2020 and will continue through Tuesday, March 17, 2020. With the exception of fully online classes, instructors should not resume instruction until Wednesday, March 18, 2020

  • The pause applies to all undergraduate and graduate classes with an in-person mode of instruction, including lecture, seminar, laboratory, activity, supervisory, and independent study classes. It also applies to internship and service-learning classes.
  • For classes that have off-campus student activities, instructors are directed to inquire if off-site locations (e.g., schools, businesses, restaurants, etc.) remain open. If you have questions, seek guidance from your Department Chair and Dean.
  • In-person quizzes and exams scheduled during the pause (March 13-17, 2020) must be rescheduled.
  • Fully online classes will continue uninterrupted during this period.

What to Do during the Temporary Pause of In-Person Instruction

The purpose of this temporary pause is to provide faculty time and support to prepare alternates for remote and/or virtual modes of instruction. Instructors are asked to do the following:

  1. Activate all your classes in Blackboard.
  2. For each class you teach, use your Blackboard course site to send a communication to your students to describe how your class will resume instruction starting on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
  3. The communication to students should include clear information about any changes in the course requirements including alternative assignments. It is important that all students are clearly informed about the mode of instruction, materials required to properly receive instruction, how assignments will be collected, and how quizzes and exams will be administered remotely.
  4. If a student identifies as having difficulty receiving instruction remotely, work with your Department Chair, Dean, and others, as appropriate, to address the needs of these students. See FAQs on the Health Alert website for further information.
  5. Upload your revised course syllabus.
  6. Begin building a grade book for each of your classes, and post student scores in Blackboard.
  7. Learn the technology and methodology needed for virtual modes of content delivery to students. In particular, instructors should ensure they can access and use Zoom video conferencing technology.
  8. Upload, or provide links to, as much of your course materials as possible within your Blackboard course site.

Extensive help is available to instructors: eLearning and Studio 6,  several Blackboard, Zoom, and Kaltura training webinars planned during the temporary pause; and additional Zoom training sessions provided by Employee & Organizational Development & Advancement. Instructors may also obtain help by contacting the IT Service Desk.

Remote/Virtual Instruction Following the Temporary Pause

Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all instructors should deliver content remotely, virtually, or have an alternate course assignment that does not require students to come to class. This will be for all classes, including lecture, seminar, laboratory, activity, supervisory, and independent study classes. This virtual mode of instruction will continue through Friday, March 27, 2020. I want to emphasize the importance of preparing for the strong possibility that all instruction may need to be delivered remotely for longer than expected.

Instructors who meet the criteria in the Governor’s directive (age or chronic health condition) must stay home. Instructors should use Blackboard to clearly communicate alternative assignments to their students to meet the learning objectives of the courses they teach.

Please see continue to visit the Teaching Continuity page for the latest information.

Spring Break and Continuation of Spring Semester

  • Spring Break (March 28 through April 3) will proceed as scheduled.
  • A decision on instructional delivery after Spring Break will be announced by Thursday, April 2, after a careful reassessment of our local context and risk. The announcement will be shared via email and the Cal Poly Pomona Health Alert website.

These are challenging times and I appreciate your understanding, compassion, and collective efforts to ensure that students can achieve the learning objectives of the curriculum and their educational goals.

With sincere gratitude and appreciation,

Sylvia Alva
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs