Faculty/Staff FAQ

Masks

Q: Do I have to wear a mask while teaching?

You must wear a mask or face shield over your mouth and nose at all times while in the Law School building, including during class, unless you are in a private office by yourself with the door closed.

Face shields are now permissible, with or without a facemask, for instructors who are able to maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from their students: https://healthinfo.ua.edu/returnplan/directives/face-coverings-physical-distancing-and-hygiene/  Masks are still required for students.  If you wear a face shield, you should communicate this distinction to your class.

 

Q: What do I do if a student is not wearing a mask or removes their mask during class?

The Law School has a zero-tolerance policy with respect to mask non-compliance.  As a member of the Law School faculty, you have the authority and the obligation to enforce this policy in your classroom.  You have various options with respect to how you enforce this policy, all of which are supported by my office:

  • You can eject a student from the classroom if they are not wearing a mask properly and refuse to do so.
  • You can refrain from teaching your class until everyone is wearing a mask properly.
  • You can leave the classroom, essentially cancelling class for that day.

 

If the above actions fail to remedy the student’s noncompliance, you can and should report their names to my office for possible additional sanctions, which may include sanctions imposed by the University’s Office of Student Affairs and reporting to the Alabama State Bar.  As a last resort, you may contact UAPD to have a student removed from the classroom.

Additional information on UA’s policy regarding face coverings can be found at https://healthinfo.ua.edu/return-plan-faq/#ppe.

 

Q: Can a student remove their mask to eat or drink?

Not in the classroom.  Students are not allowed to bring food or drink into classrooms this semester.

 

Q: What if a student says that they “can’t” wear a mask?

Any student who says that they are unable to wear a mask should be directed to my office, where they will be given permission to attend courses online.

 

Attendance Policies

Q: Do I need to check each student’s HealthCheck status every day?

All students are required to complete HealthCheck verification on every day they are present on campus.  I will send a one-time reminder to all students of this requirement and inform them that, by entering the classroom, they are representing that they have completed Healthcheck and been cleared to enter campus.  You are encouraged to receive additional confirmation from students by including a reference to Healthcheck when taking attendance.

 

Q: I received a message that a student will not be in class today because they are in quarantine.  What should I do?

Students are required to self-quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19.  We are also encouraging students to self-quarantine if they have been in extended contact (longer than fifteen minutes at a distance of less than 6 feet) with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.  Because we want to encourage voluntary self-quarantine, we ask that you allow students who choose to self-quarantine to be able to participate in your class in real time without penalty.

My office will let you know as soon as we are aware of any students who will be participating in your class remotely due to self-quarantine.  Because we may not have much notice of when a student will need to self-quarantine, we encourage you to sign up for automatic Panopto recording, which will allow students to log on in real time without additional work on the part of the professor or the Tech Department.  The form for automatic Panopto recording can be found here: https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eeQzH5OUYR5tLmt

If you are using Zoom rather than Panopto, you will have to send the student the Meeting ID and Password.  You may wish to provide the Meeting ID and Password to all students on the first day of class so that they can log on easily should they need to attend class remotely.

 

Q: I received a message that a student will not be in class today because they are not feeling well.  What should I do?

We are encouraging students to stay home and follow University guidelines when they are not feeling well: https://healthinfo.ua.edu/generalfaq/.  If a student is well enough to participate in class in real time, we will let you know.  As with self-quarantining students, we ask that you not penalize students who stay home due to illness but are able to participate in real time.

If a student is not feeling well enough to participate in class in real time, we do encourage you to be flexible when possible by allowing students to access recordings of the class to view when they are able.  You may require students who were unable to participate in class in real time to meet with you separately and/ or complete additional work.  If you have concerns that a student has missed an excessive amount of class due to illness, please contact my office.

 

Remote Students & Recording Classes

Q: I received an e-mail indicating that one or more students will be attending my course remotely.  What do I have to do for that student?

You must make two primary accommodations for students who will be attending class remotely.

  • First, you must provide a method for students to attend your class sessions remotely in real time. The simplest way to do this is to request automatic recording through Panopto using the following form: https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eeQzH5OUYR5tLmt.  Panopto will record your class while simultaneously sending the recording to remote students so that can view the course essentially in real time.  You can restrict the extent to which students can view these recordings after class.

 

Alternatively, you can use Zoom in your classroom, which will allow students attending remotely to actively participate in the class.  Additional information on using both Panopto and Zoom can be found on the Law School website (https://www.law.ua.edu/faculty-academic-continuity/).

 

  • Second, you must provide a means for students who are attending class remotely to interact with you and with other students in the class.  If you are using Zoom in the classroom, this should be possible as you are teaching the class. If you are using Panopto in the classroom, you might supplement classroom teaching with office hours or small group discussions using Zoom.  The level of interaction that you find appropriate for your remote students may depend on the size and nature of your class, so we leave these decisions largely to your discretion.

 

Q: Do I have to record my classes?

As noted above, if you have received an e-mail from me indicating that some students in your class will be attending class remotely, you will need to provide a way for them to attend the class remotely in real time by using either Panopto or Zoom.  Panopto automatically creates recordings, although you can restrict the extent to which students can access those recordings.  If you would prefer to have remote students connect through your class through Zoom, you do not have to record your Zoom class.  However, we strongly urge you to do so as a fail-safe in the even that students have difficulty connecting.

Recording may also be necessary in exceptional cases when a student becomes unable to attend classes in real time due to extended illness or emergency.  Because these events can happen with very short notice and may be more common this semester, we strongly encourage recording of classes.

As noted above, setting up automatic recordings is the easiest way to ensure that recordings of your class will be available when necessary.  The form for automatic Panopto recording can be found here: https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eeQzH5OUYR5tLmt

 

 

Q: I am concerned about recording security.  What steps are being taken to ensure that students will not use class recordings improperly?

Blackboard allows us to monitor which students have accessed recordings, as well as to monitor how often a student has accessed a recording.  In addition, all students were sent the following message:

Accessing recordings without permission, making your own recording without permission, or using a recording for any purpose other than its authorized use is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will be reported to the Office of Student Affairs.  Unauthorized use of recordings may also be a violation of the Law School Honor Code and subject to additional sanctions.

We encourage you to state any rules regarding use of recordings in your class clearly in your syllabus.

 

Online Teaching & Office Hours

Q: Can I teach my course remotely?

You are required to teach a substantial and ongoing portion of your course in person unless you have submitted an Accommodation Form (https://everest-sf.fa.ua.edu/Runtime/Runtime/Form/Benefits__COVID19AccommodationsRequest/) and received a communication from Dean Brandon allowing you to teach your course remotely.

 

Q: I did not receive an accommodation to teach my class online.  Can I still teach some portions of my course remotely?

Even if you have not received this accommodation, you may still teach some portions of the course remotely, provided that the majority of your course is still taught in person and that the remote teaching is done for pedagogical reasons (e.g., to facilitate small group discussion).

 

Q: If I am teaching in person, can I also hold office hours in person?

We strongly encourage faculty to hold office hours via Zoom as much as possible.  As noted above, we also require faculty to meet with students who are attending class remotely, which is best achieved via Zoom Office Hours.

While you still are allowed to meet with students in person, you must maintain the recommended social distance of 6 feet (and of course wear masks) while doing so.  If your office configuration does not allow you to maintain a proper distance from a student, or if you plan to meet with more than one student, we have designated a handful of classrooms as meeting spaces.  Alicia Rhodes (arhodes@law.ua.edu) will be handling the reservations for these meeting spaces, which can be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Exams

Q: How will exams be conducted this semester?

We plan to conduct exams remotely this fall, as the University will end all in-person instruction the week before Thanksgiving.  We are currently testing software that allows us to virtually “proctor” exams by recording the students as they take their examinations.

 

Q: Given this new environment, is there anything I should keep in mind when drafting my exam?

While our exam proctoring software has a lot of great monitoring features, any system that relies on videotaping will have some inherent limitations.  Some of those limitations may be especially true for closed book or “limited” open book exams, as it may be difficult for monitoring software to capture when a student is consulting a source that is outside of camera range.  Even if you normally provide a closed-book or limited open book exam, we encourage you to consider an open book exam for this fall.

 

Other Questions

Q: Where can I access the seating chart for my class?

We have assigned seating for all classes that have more than 20 students.  Seating charts can be accessed through UA Box: https://alabama.box.com/s/5t8du9zagqir4ktvpf9ftdrhc8kwxjuk (UA login required).

 

Q: Where can I find information that has been given to students?

You can find information that has been released to students about the fall semester on the Law School’s COVID-19 Student page: https://www.law.ua.edu/students-academic-continuity/

 

Q: Where can I find more information about the University’s COVID-19 policies?

The most recent information about University policies regarding COVID-19 can be found on the University website at https://healthinfo.ua.edu/  Information specifically for faculty can be found at https://healthinfo.ua.edu/faculty-faqs/  Please check these sites regularly.