Safety and Emergency Information

Temporary Pause of In-Person Instruction to Prepare for Alternative Modes of Instruction and Next Steps

Date: 3/12/2020
From: Provost - Vice President for Academic Affairs
Subject: Temporary pause of in-person instruction to prepare for alternative modes of instruction and next steps

Dear Faculty Colleagues:

The situation we are in is fluid and rapidly changing. We want to assure you that we are actively preparing for the possibility of moving to remote work and we are coordinating closely with the CSU Office of the Chancellor. Following President Coley's message yesterday regarding a temporary pause of in-person instruction starting on Friday, March 13, 2020, below you will find additional guidance about how we will utilize the temporary pause, as well as how we will resume instruction after the pause. Any changes in the following strategy will be communicated to the campus community.

We are using the term “virtual instruction” to capture a wide variety of teaching modalities and digital tools. It includes pedagogies such as the use of Zoom video and audio conferencing, video capture of lectures, discussion boards, alternative assignments that are submitted through Blackboard, hybrid, and fully online instruction. It is unrealistic to expect that a course can be converted from a face-to-face mode of instruction to fully online in a limited period of time. We anticipate that most instructors will use a variety of virtual approaches to meet the learning goals of their classes.

The main goal of promoting a virtual mode of instruction for lecture and seminar classes is to reduce the number and density of students and visitors on campus, reduce person-to-person contact, and reduce the chance of person-to-person transmission of a communicable disease. This practice is consistent with social distancing best practices for containment of communicable diseases.

Temporary Pause of In-Person Instruction

Starting on Friday, March 13, 2020 through Tuesday, March 17, 2020, there will be a temporary pause of all in-person instruction at Cal Poly Pomona.

  • This 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 that meet on campus.
  • For classes that have off-campus student activities, instructors are directed to seek guidance from their Department Chair and College Dean. The size and density of the event, venue and known risk factors should be considered in making a decision about whether to continue with plans to offer off-campus activities.
  • In-person quizzes and exams scheduled during the pause should be rescheduled.
  • 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 instructors time and support to prepare for alternative and virtual modes of instruction. Instructors are asked to do the following starting now and throughout the pause of in-person instruction:

  1. Activate all of your classes in Blackboard.
  2. Use your class Blackboard page to send a communication to your students to describe how your class will resume instruction starting on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
  3. Upload your course syllabus.
  4. Begin building a grade book for each of your classes, and post student scores in Blackboard.
  5. Learn the technology and methodology needed for virtual mode of content delivery to students. In particular, instructors should familiarize themselves with the Zoom video conferencing technology.
  6. Upload as much of your course materials as possible to your Blackboard page.

We are prepared to support our instructors in every way possible to accomplish the above-mentioned goals. Instructors may receive help from eLearning and Studio 6. Instructors may contact Studio 6 directly for help. They may also take advantage of several Blackboard, Zoom, and Kaltura training webinars planned during the temporary pause. In addition, Employee & Organizational Development & Advancement has several upcoming Zoom training sessions.

Instruction Following the Temporary Pause

Starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020, classes will add a virtual means of communication with students and, as appropriate, add digital content. This virtual mode of instruction will continue through Friday, March 27, 2020.

The situation may change, therefore, both students and faculty should prepare for a need to take instruction to a remote or virtual format.

  • All instructors will be communicating with their students using Blackboard.
  • Lecture and seminar classes should deliver content in-person, as well as in virtual format. Virtual only mode of content delivery may be adopted if all students enrolled in the class agree to this arrangement, with full access to the technology and software requirements of the course.
  • Zoom video conferencing and cameras will be available to deliver content in virtual format. Students should be provided the link to join the class session via Zoom. Zoom sessions can be recorded and posted to Kaltura.
  • Quizzes and exams should be administered via Blackboard. eLearning can provide support and consultation.
  • In consultation with the Department Chair and College Dean, laboratory, activity, studio, performing arts, and physical education classes may continue in person, as normally planned to meet the learning objectives of the course.
  • For classes that have off-campus student activities, instructors are directed to seek guidance from their Department Chair and College Dean. The size and density of the event, venue, and known risk factors should be considered in making a decision about these off-campus activities.
  • Office hours policy will continue to be in effect (Policy 1394). Office hours can be offered via Zoom.

Instructors who need support with technology in the classroom may call (x4040) or contact the IT Service Desk.

Instructors can forward general student questions and concerns to

Spring Break and Continuation of Spring Semester

  • Spring Break (March 28 through April 3) will proceed as currently 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.

I am grateful for your commitment to our inclusive polytechnic identity, and for the work you do daily and during this challenging time to create the best learning experience for our students.

Sylvia Alva
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs