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Frequently Asked Questions

As we move through 2021-2022 academic year, this page will be updated on an ongoing basis. Please bookmark this page for future reference.

For the latest advisories and updates related to coronavirus, please visit the Cal Poly Coronavirus website.

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COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

What safety protocols, practices, and procedures will be in place for classrooms and office spaces on campus? Updated 9/15/21

  • Cal Poly Facilities Management and Development has outlined its COVID-19 safety procedures on its FMD Coronavirus Response 2020-21 page. 
  • Cal Poly’s Facilities Operations team is planning for all utilized classrooms to be thoroughly cleaned once per day, following CDC guidelines.  Lab spaces will have trash pick-up and touch point disinfection performed daily with a more thorough cleaning performed weekly. 
  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be provided via dispensers in prominent locations of occupied buildings and offices. 
  • Custodial cleaning and disinfecting schedules and practices are located on the Facilities Management and Development FMD Coronavirus Response 2020-21 page.  
  • Additionally, Sanitation Stations (including disinfectant cleaner, paper towels, disposable gloves, sterilized wet wipes, and hand sanitizer) will be provided and maintained for labs, classrooms and department spaces as requested by college or unit leadership. Disposable masks will be made available in these spaces as well. 
  • Please Note: Classrooms and teaching labs located adjacently will be equipped with a shared sanitation station. Stations will be located in a common area that is easily accessible. Not every classroom will have an individual sanitation station, however classrooms which are isolated from others may be equipped with their own supplies. Floorplans showing locations of touchless hand sanitizer units and sanitizing stations are available on the FMD website
  • Some classroom or lab spaces may have different cleaning routines depending on the nature of the course (e.g., workstations that are exclusively used by one student throughout the quarter). 

Where can faculty and staff obtain signage to help reinforce the university’s indoor face covering mandate and campus pass requirements? New 9/13/21

  • The links below are to the official campus poster that details the rules requiring face coverings be worn by faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors while in indoor spaces anywhere on campus (including classrooms). These posters will be visible across campus, and faculty and staff can use them to reinforce student awareness of the requirements for campus classrooms and spaces.
  • Academic department offices are encouraged to print and provide signs for faculty to bring with them to use in their classroom and office spaces.
    • The Face Covering Guidance flyer (PDF) provides a pdf of the poster for employees who wish to download and print it for display any place they think is needed and helpful. 
    • The Face Covering Guidance slide (PPT) is a link to a PowerPoint slide suitable for inserting into slide decks that faculty and staff may be using during class instruction or other presentations. This slide is the portion of the poster that addresses the rules for indoor spaces and is in a landscape orientation for a better fit in slide decks.
    • The Campus Pass flyer (PDF) provides a pdf of the poster for employees who wish to download it and print it for display any place they think is needed and helpful.

What support and resources are available to instructors to help enforce safety protocols, practices, and procedures in the classroom; including facial coverings, campus pass and daily health screening requirements? Updated 9/13/21 

  • The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) has created a sample syllabus statement to help explain safety protocols to students. This statement represents the campuswide policies, practices, and expectations appropriate for students taking classes in AY 2021-22.
  • For more information on other types of statements, including syllabus statements on disability resources, inclusion and equity, academic integrity, well-being, etc., visit the Recommended Syllabus Statements page. This page includes a variety of statements available to copy and paste or to modify as needed.
  • Visit the Daily Screening Tool & Campus Pass page, which outlines the daily screening process, the campus pass color system, and compliance protocols.
  • Visit the Face Coverings page. This page includes information about face covering requirements for indoors and outdoors, exemptions and exceptions, and PPE distribution. 

Are face coverings required of all individuals (employees, students, guests), vaccinated or not, indoors on campus? Updated 9/15/21

  • Yes. Everyone on campus is required to wear a face covering while indoors, except when in a closed, private office/space or when eating or drinking. Visit the Face Coverings page. This page includes information about face covering requirements for indoors and outdoors, exemptions and exceptions, and PPE distribution.
  • Vaccinated faculty may either wear a mask or wear a face shield and drape while teaching.  We have consulted with local health experts, Cal/OSHA, and local K-12 leaders, and all agree that the face shield with drape option provides excellent protection for both faculty and students while removing a potential barrier to effective communication. Instructors should discuss requests of amplifying devices or mics for teaching with their department chair/head. 
  • Both students and instructors will need to wear a face covering in classrooms.  
  • Students not in compliance with face covering requirements may be reported and subject to discipline through and reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.   
  • Employees not in compliance with face covering requirements should be reported to their appropriate administrator, who can work with Human Resources to provide guidance/corrective behavior to this employee.   
  • Per CDC guidelines, there are some exemptions and exceptions to the indoor face covering requirement which are included on the Face Coverings page.

What should faculty and staff members do if a student refuses to wear a face covering or adhere to campus pass requirements? Updated 9/16/21

What is the policy on eating and drinking indoors and in the classroom? New 9/28/21

  • Based on the multiple layers of public health measures put in place, extremely high vaccinations rate, Cal OSHA, CDC, CDPH, and SLO County Public Health face covering guidance, Cal Poly does not prohibit eating or drinking indoors.
  • Face coverings may be removed for a minimum timeframe while actively eating or drinking in campus spaces that do not have a clear “no eating/drinking” policy.
  • Faculty can determine eating and drinking policies for their classrooms that may be stricter than the overall campus policy, so long as they are in compliance with student medical needs. They may include such policies in their syllabus.
  • Faculty and staff may also report any student they feel is unsafely leveraging the policy (e.g. keeping their face covering off for extended periods of time while periodically drinking) to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Can employees ask for proof that students or fellow employees have been vaccinated?

  • No. While the July 27 CSU Order requires all students and employees to self-attest that they have been vaccinated or are eligible for an exemption, asking an individual about their vaccination status, may encroach on their privacy rights and possibly place an unintentional power dynamic on the instructor/student/employee relationship.  
  • Requesting to view a student’s campus pass should be the primary tool used by employees to ensure students entering a classroom or campus space are vaccinated or compliant with testing requirements.  

How do I know what information is being shared with students regarding campus health and safety protocols? 

  • The most updated information on campus health and safety protocols may be found at the Cal Poly Coronavirus page. 
  • Student-centered campus communications will continue to be shared with employees for their information as well.  

Course Modality

What is the process for a faculty member to request to change the modality of their class (e.g. F2F to virtual, F2F to hybrid, synchronous to asynchronous)? Updated 9/17/21

  • Course modalities were decided by the departments and colleges in consultation with the faculty member and communicated to students several months in advance of fall quarter.
  • While scheduled in-person class sessions are not normally replaced with online activities, be reminded that AS-896-20 stipulates that the in-person modality does not prohibit or limit technology-mediated instruction. Technology-mediated instruction, which includes online activity, may be blended up to 25% of a face-to-face course at the faculty's discretion. Faculty members are encouraged to keep their department head/chair abreast of such changes in case they receive questions from students or campus instruction stakeholders, or they need to consider classroom scheduling resources. 
  • Faculty members should consult with their department head/chair to develop solutions in the event they need to change course modality beyond the 25% stipulated by AS-896-20 to accommodate temporary COVID-related situations like personal illness, care for sick family members, or childcare emergencies.
  • If a request is due to a faculty member’s personal health circumstances, the faculty member can consult the Human Resources Disability Accommodation Request process to learn about their options. 
  • In cases where the request is due to pressing reasons not linked to a faculty member’s personal health circumstances, the department head/chair will consult with the college dean to determine the appropriate response. 
  • The health and safety of our community remains our highest consideration, and we will continue to follow state and local public health guidance while holding firm in our commitment to prioritizing student success. 
  • More information about Fall 2021 Instruction Planning Guidelines and Strategies can be found in the Employee Repopulation Plan.

In what modality should faculty hold office hours? New 9/13/21

  • Faculty members should discuss office hour modalities with their department head/chair.
  • Please see the most current Office Hours policy on the Academic Programs and Planning which includes background, scheduled instructional office hours scaled to instructional assignments, mode of office hours, notification, and exceptions.

What is the protocol for field trips for the 2021-22 academic year? New 9/28/21

  • Updated guidance for course-related field work for the 2021-22 academic year is available on the Academic Programs and Planning website. Refer to your department/college for the process for completing these required forms.

COVID-19 Classroom Procedures

What are best practices for utilizing the campus pass? New 9/15/21 

  • Guidance and information about the campus pass can be found in the 9/13/2021 Campus Update – Campus Pass Guidance for Fall Quarter including how the pass works, who must obtain a pass, what each campus pass color means, where it will be checked on campus, and best practices for taking advantage of the campus pass. 
  • If a student presents a blue pass on the first day of classes, please consider recording their attendance before asking them to go get tested; line drops based on COVID-19 reasons on day one of the class should be avoided.
  • After the first class session, students turned away from a face-to-face class session because of their campus pass status are subject to the faculty member’s course attendance and make-up work policies.  
    • Note that having a blue pass does not fall within the university’s attendance guidelines for excused absences.  
  • Please consider accounting for campus pass absences in course policy statements
  • Visit the Daily Screening Tool & Campus Pass page, which outlines the daily screening process, the campus pass color system, and compliance protocols. 

Will instructors know if a student in their classroom has tested positive for COVID-19 or if their class has been exposed? Updated 9/07/21

  • If a student tests positive through on-campus testing:  
    • Campus Health and Wellbeing (CHW) advises the student to disclose their positive test result to the instructor of in-person classes to begin the academic accommodation process.
    • CHW also will instruct students to notify close contacts per SLO County online process instructions. 
    • CHW then notifies Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), which triggers the exposure investigation process for instructor(s) involved. 
    • An instructor is notified by EHS via the exposure investigation process. See the FAQ below on class notification. 
    • Instructors can request to see each student’s campus pass daily. 
    • Visit the Daily Screening Tool & Campus Pass page, which outlines the daily screening process, the campus pass color system, and compliance protocols.
  • If a student tests positive through county or other means, the campus may be notified.  
    • If an instructor is notified, they are encouraged to contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to begin the exposure investigation process. 
    • Instructors may never know that a student tests positive, if the test is taken off campus and there is not determined to be any risk of exposure to the class, or if the student elects not to share the information voluntarily.  
  • If a student tells their instructor they have tested positive for COVID: 
    • Instructors should instruct a positive student as they would for other absences due to illness and can encourage the student to work with the Disability Resource Center to begin the academic accommodation process for general accommodations. 
    • Instructors should contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to begin the exposure investigation process. 
    • Any staff or faculty member of the University community that becomes aware that they may have been in close contact with someone who either has tested positive for or is suspected to have COVID-19 is strongly encouraged to report the positive result or exposure using the COVID-19 Reporting Form for Cal Poly Faculty and Staff on the Human Resources website. 

How do faculty support students in their classes who test COVID-19 positive? New 9/13/21

  • Faculty are not expected to provide an online alternative to in-person class sessions.
  • Faculty are expected to treat students who test positive like any other student who misses class due to illness. 
  • In the event a student cannot attend in-person classes prior to the start of the quarter or within the first eight days of instruction, students should reach out to an academic advisor to discuss available options. 
  • Students can make arrangements as they typically do by coordinating directly with the faculty member to develop arrangements that allow them to receive credit for missed assignments or activities. 
  • Faculty can arrange for general accommodations including:
    • A notetaker (while maintaining confidentiality of the ill student)
    • Virtual or makeup exams/classwork
    • Other virtual opportunities to maintain engagement with which the DRC might assist
  • If, during the quarter, a student enrolled in in-person courses is unable to participate in the course due to health concerns or extended length absences, they should reach out to the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to explore options related to accommodations.

When provided an official Notice of Exposure, how should instructors address a positive COVID-19 case in their class? Updated 8/30/21

  • The EHS notification process will include information on appropriate ways to notify students in their class of the potential exposure. 
  • Instructors are encouraged to remind students in their classes to follow current health and safety guidelines, monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms, stay home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, and get tested if they are symptomatic or learn that a close contact has been infected.
  • To protect individuals’ privacy and to ensure that notifications are legally compliant, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for providing notice to employees in accordance with OSHA requirements.  Instructors should rely on Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to make notifications.  An individual’s private health information should not be shared by instructors.

Can faculty members ask students for a doctor’s note to prove they tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine? 

  • No. Should a student inform their instructor that they’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine, the instructor should take them at their word ​and keep this information confidential. Having to show proof may be challenging during an already taxing time for the student. ​ 
  • Due to the increased administrative and clinical demands on Cal Poly’s Health Center at this time, they are currently unable to provide a doctor’s note to COVID-19 positive students. 
  • In lieu of requiring a doctor’s note, an instructor who feels that a student must show proof of the COVID-19 positive status may consider asking to see the student’s campus pass or a screenshot of the campus pass on the day of the absence. 

Should I notify staff with whom I work closely about COVID-positive cases in my class? Updated 8/30/21

  • To protect individuals’ privacy and to ensure that notifications are legally compliant, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for providing notice to employees in accordance with OSHA requirements.  Instructors should rely on Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to make notifications.  An individual’s private health information should not be shared by instructors. 
  • When/if instructors are notified of a positive COVID case related to their classroom activities, they should make EHS aware that the course has associated support staff that may also need to be notified as appropriate.  

Employee Heath and Wellbeing

Where can I find information about COVID leaves of absence and returning to work protocols? New 9/13/21

What other health and wellbeing resources are available on campus to employees? Updated 9/14/21

  • Employee and Organizational Development (EOD) has curated an online toolkit for navigating returning to workplace. Please see the EOD homepage for more current resources 
  • The Cal Poly Employee Emergency Fund provides limited financial assistance when an employee is unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of a temporary hardship related to a qualified disaster. For more information and details on how to apply, visit the Employee Emergency Fund webpage.
  • The Wellbeing and Work/Life Balance program is a free program available to help faculty, staff, and their household members with personal and workplace challenges. 

Where can faculty and staff get a COVID-19 test? New 9/13/21

  • For detailed information about testing availability and options for all members of the campus community, visit the COVID-19 Testing page. 

CSU Vaccination Requirement

The most updated information on vaccine requirements may be found at the COVID-19 Vaccine page. The most updated statistical information about COVID-19 in the Cal Poly community including the number of vaccinated students on campus can be found on the campus dashboard

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