Frequently Asked Questions

Face Coverings - Employees

  • Are instructors required to wear a face covering in class?

    Yes, instructors are required to wear face coverings in class. The exception is that faculty will be allowed to wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering while teaching as long as they maintain physical distancing from students. The expectation is that faculty would wear the required face covering when traveling to their classroom. Once they arrive at their classroom, they would put on the face shield prior to removing their face covering. When they finish teaching, they would put on their face covering before removing their face shield or leaving the classroom.​

  • What if wearing a face covering impairs my ability to do my job?

    Face coverings are required in all public areas. If a face covering impairs a staff member's ability to do their job based on a disability, the employee should contact Human Resources at 936-294-2637. Accommodation requests should include the reason the face covering impedes one’s job performance and describe the additional safety measures the employee will take to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the absence of a face covering. In some cases, a face shield may be an acceptable substitution for a face covering.

    Faculty members may wear face shields while physically instructing a class.

  • Are face coverings required in work areas separated by cubicle walls or partitions?

    Yes, face coverings must be worn in any public area, even if you are in your own workspace that is separated by cubicle walls or partitions.

  • Do I need to wear a face covering if someone is in my private office or if I am in someone’s private office?

    Face coverings are not required in your private office if you are alone. Face coverings are required by all parties if you are in your private office with other people.

  • Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering when I am teaching in the fall?

    Faculty will be allowed to wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering while teaching as long as they maintain physical distancing from students. The expectation is that faculty would wear the required face covering when traveling to their classroom. Once they arrive at their classroom, they would put on the face shield prior to removing their face covering. When they finish teaching, they would put on their face covering before removing their face shield or leaving the classroom.​ 

  • If I have a student in my class who is deaf or hard of hearing, should I wear a face covering?

    Faculty with students who are deaf or hard of hearing are encouraged to work with Student Disability Services to determine appropriate accommodations. For classes using sign language interpreters, interpreters will either wear a face shield or provide remote interpreting.

Face Coverings - Students

  • Are students required to wear face coverings in class?

    Yes, students will be required to wear face coverings in class. We are implementing the CDC standards of social distancing AND face coverings.

  • Am I required to wear a face covering while eating or drinking?

    Face coverings should be worn upon entering, exiting, and walking through dining halls and on-campus eateries.

    Face coverings are not required when the activity, such as eating and drinking make the covering impractical.  After removing your face covering to eat and drink, please place it in a bag to help keep the face covering clean and away from other people.

  • Am I required to wear a face masks while in my dorm room or apartment?

    Face coverings are not required in your private spaces, including your personal residence hall or apartment. If you or your roommate develops COVID-19 related symptoms, then face coverings should be worn by you and your roommate(s) until consulted by a healthcare professional.

  • Do I need to wear face coverings in the hallway or other areas of my residence halls?

    In accordance with the University directives, all faculty, staff and students must wear masks or other face coverings except in their private office or residence or where impractical. For an on-campus resident, this means that face coverings must be worn anywhere within the residence halls with the exception of your assigned room; this includes elevators, stairwells, hallways, study rooms, lounges and the laundry room. 

    Residents will be required to wear a face covering when an authorized staff member (including custodial, pest control, or maintenance staff) needs to enter the resident’s room in order to complete university business. The staff member will also wear a face covering during this interaction.  If the resident is unable to find their mask, the staff member will provide them with a disposable mask.

Prospective Students

Face Coverings - Compliance

Travel

  • Does SHSU have any travel restrictions? Updated

    All university-sponsored travel originating on or after January 1, 2021 must be approved in advance in accordance with the following protocol.

    University Sponsored Travel

    • Travel is sponsored by the university when the purpose of the travel is to represent the university or further the university’s interests, which includes attendance at conferences and workshops. 
    • Any requested travel itinerary not requiring a common carrier or involving a mass gathering will follow the standard (pre-COVID) approval process.
    • Any requested travel itinerary that includes a common carrier (plane, train, bus, or shared shuttle) or attending a mass gathering will only be approved if:
      • the travel is deemed essential by the Vice President of the division in which the traveler works, 
      • the nature of employment or educational program accommodates telecommuting upon return, and
      • the traveler and supervisor both agree to one of the approved return-to-campus post-travel plans.
    • Upon return, the traveler will telecommute.
    • Upon return from the trip (regardless of mode of travel), the traveler must monitor for potential symptoms or exposures for 14 days and follow all applicable University COVID-19 Protocols if the traveler develops symptoms, tests positive, or is exposed to lab-confirmed COVID-19.

    Approved return-to-campus post-travel plan or alternatives

    1. Traveler will obtain a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test 3-5 days upon return AND, assuming a negative test result, stay home for a full 7 days after returning. 
    2. Traveler will stay home for 10 days after returning with no obligation to test.

    Employee Personal Travel

    • A vacation request must be approved in advance of any scheduled travel.
    • If an employee travel itinerary includes a common carrier (plane, train, bus, or shared shuttle), the traveler must advise the supervisor and a return-to-campus post-travel plans must be coordinated in advance.
    • For post-travel period, the traveler may telecommute (when approved by the division vice president), use accrued vacation, or leave without pay in accordance with advance return-to-campus post-travel plan.
    • Upon return from the trip (regardless of mode of travel), the traveler must monitor for potential symptoms or exposures for 14 days and follow all applicable University COVID-19 Protocols if the traveler develops symptoms, tests positive, or is exposed to lab-confirmed COVID-19.

    Student Personal/Convenience Travel or International Student Arrival to Campus

    • If a student’s travel includes a common carrier (plane, train, bus, or shared shuttle) within 14 days of return, the student must follow one of the above return-to-campus post-travel plans.
    • International Students must notify the Office of International Programs of travel plans prior to travel.  
    • Student athletes must notify the athletic director of travel plans prior to travel.  
    • The student will attend class remotely and not return to campus in accordance with one of the above return-to-campus post-travel plans.
    • Upon return from the trip (regardless of mode of travel), the student must monitor for potential symptoms or exposures for 14 days and follow all applicable University COVID-19 Protocols if the student develops symptoms, tests positive, or is exposed to lab-confirmed COVID-19.

Face Coverings - General

  • I have a face covering accommodation. What do I need to be aware of?

    Individuals who receive a face covering accommodation should maintain strict social distancing and avoids crowds, gatherings and events. This is for the protection of both the person accommodated and the campus community. The main measure to protect our community from coronavirus infection is to properly social distance and wear a face covering.

  • Who is required to wear face coverings on campus?

    All students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings while on campus property, whether indoors outdoors, except when the person is alone in their private office, residence, or when wearing a face covering is impractical. ’Impractical’ activities include those involving strenuous activities that require unusually heavy breathing and those for which a face covering would impede performance, such as singing and other performances requiring the mouth, or eating.

    Students, employees, or visitors with a pre-existing medical condition or other disability should submit a request for an accommodation/exemption from the face covering requirement.  Since the main measures to protect our community from coronavirus infection is social distancing and wearing face coverings, any individual who receives a face covering accommodation must maintain strict social distancing and avoid densely populated locations and events, for the protection of both the person accommodated and the campus community."

    Students should submit their request through Services for Students with Disabilities at (936) 294-3512 or disability@shsu.edu. Information on the procedure to request an accommodation can be found on the SSD website’s Procedures to Request Services page.

    Employees should submit requests through Human Resources at 936-294-2637.

  • What type of face covering should I wear?

    A face covering is a cloth or other type of material that covers an individual’s mouth and nose. Face masks can be purchased or made by the individual.

    Per the CDC, face coverings should: 

    • Cover your mouth and nose fully
    • Fit snugly against the side of your face
    • Include multiple layers of fabric
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • Be tied or secured around your ear to prevent slipping
    • Be washed after each use in the washing machine or by hand with bleach

    As recommended by the CDC, surgical face masks or N95 masks should be reserved for those in health and public safety professions. Additionally, only those with an approved personal accommodation can wear a face shield instead of a face covering.

  • How do you safely wear and remove a face mask?

    To wear your face mask safely, please follow these steps recommended by the CDC:

    1. Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
    2. Place it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    3. Make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face
    4. Make sure you can breathe easily 

    To remove your face mask safely, please follow these steps recommended by the CDC. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing your face covering.

    1. Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
    2. Handle the face covering only by the ear loops or ties
    3. Fold outside corners together
    4. Place face covering in washing machine
    5. Immediately wash your hands after removing your face covering.
  • What type of face covering is not recommended?

    Per CDC recommendations, the following face coverings are not recommended on campus:

    1. Face coverings with exhaust valves
    2. Face coverings made from single layer material
    3. Face shields (unless approved as a disability accommodation by Services for Students with Disabilities or Human Resources for employees)
    4. Surgical masks or N95 masks
  • Why are face coverings required?

    Face coverings are required to better protect our Bearkat community as droplets, which can contain the coronavirus, are expelled from the body when we talk, sneeze, cough, breath, etc. To protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, specifically where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.  By wearing a face covering, we can limit the spread of the virus and continue to return to normal on-campus operations, including face-to-face classes.

  • Where are face coverings required?

    All students, faculty, staff and visitors must wear face coverings except in their private office, residence, or where impractical. ’Impractical’ activities include those involving strenuous activities that require unusually heavy breathing and those for which a face covering would impede performance, such as singing and other performances requiring the mouth, or eating.

  • What is considered public and private spaces?

    Private spaces include: private offices, private residence (including residence hall rooms or apartments), or personal vehicle. Face coverings do not have to be worn in private areas if you are alone. If other people are in the private area, face coverings must be worn by all parties.

    Public space is any space that is not listed as a private space. Public places include lobbies, restrooms, cafeterias, classrooms, common spaces of residence halls, conference rooms, and break rooms. Face coverings should be worn in any enclosed public space or any outdoor space.

  • What if I am unsure if I am in an area that requires a face covering?

    Face coverings must be worn in all areas on university property except when the person is in their private office, residence, or where impractical. ’Impractical’ activities include those involving strenuous activities that require unusually heavy breathing and those for which a face covering would impede performance, such as singing and other performances requiring the mouth, or eating.

    If you are unsure if you should wear a face covering, you should select the option that best protects and comforts those around you. A good practice is to wear a face covering in all public settings, specifically when it is hard to maintain social distancing.

  • Can the university require me to wear a face covering on campus?

    Yes, the university can require face coverings on campus as it is in the university’s best interest in protecting the campus community to help stop the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus.

    We understand some people may disapprove of wearing a face cover and deem it “unconstitutional. While requiring a face mask may infringe individual liberties in many contexts and under normal circumstances, federal and state free speech laws provide exceptions to the general rule.  The university’s interest in protecting the health and safety of its campus community qualifies as such an exception. 

  • What if I am unable to wear a face covering due to a disability or religious concerns?

    Students, employees, or visitors with a pre-existing medical condition or other disability should submit a request for an accommodation from the face covering requirement. Students should submit their request through Services for Students with Disabilities at (936) 294-3512 or disability@shsu.edu. Information on the procedure to request an accommodation can be found on the SSD website’s Procedures to Request Services page.

    Employees should submit requests through Human Resources at 936-294-2637.

  • Is Sam Houston State University supplying students, faculty, staff, or visitors with face coverings?

    Individuals are responsible for providing their own face coverings.  However, SHSU recommends departments have extra face coverings on hand for visitors or occasional needs. Facilities Management Central Stores has a supply of COVID19-related supplies including disposable face coverings department authorities can purchase.

  • I have already had COVID-19? Do I still need to wear a mask?

    Yes. Scientific understanding of COVID-19 is still evolving. It is unknown if those who previously had the disease can be re-infected and become contagious again.

  • Are there limits to the design of the face covering?

    Words or symbols on a face covering are likely protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, unless such words or symbols are obscene, reasonably likely to incite imminent violence, or fall under some other exception to protected speech.

  • How long will face coverings be required?

    This policy will continually be reviewed throughout the current pandemic and will remain in effect until it is safe to revoke it. Please continue monitoring the SHSU Coronavirus website for more information.

Exposure

Human Resources - Faculty, Staff, Student Employees

  • What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and how does it impact my employment?

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA provides leave for COVID-19 related conditions that occur between April 1 - December 31, 2020 as follows:

    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)
      • Up to 80 hours for full time employees and the two week average for part-time
      • Eligible COVID-19 conditions include:
        • Staying at home due to a governmental stay-at-home order related to COVID-19
        • Seeking advice of a health care professional due to COVID-19 symptoms and self-quarantining or isolating based on the advice of a medical provider
        • Caring for another individual due to medically advised self-quarantine/isolation or the individual being under a governmental stay-at-home order
        • Caring for the employee’s child due to child care or school closures
      • More information and request for FFCRA leave is found at this form
    • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion for Child Care (EFMLA)
      • For employees that cannot work due to child care or school closures
      • Up to 12 weeks of leave
        • Weeks 1-2 is unpaid, but may be covered through available EPSL or accrued leave
        • Weeks 3-12 are paid at 2/3 the employee’s rate of pay
        • EMFLA may, with the approval of your supervisor, be used on an intermittent basis.

    You may submit this form to request FFCRA leave.

    For more information about FFCRA, please visit the Department of Labor website. 

  • I would like to work remotely. What are my options?

    SHSU has implemented F&O Human Resources Policy ER-12 to provide telecommuting options to staff when remote work serves the interests of the University and is approved by the department head and division vice president. Staff seeking to work remotely should review the policy, discuss the potential options with their supervisor, an, when approved, the supervisor will prepare a telecommuting proposal.  

    Supervisor/Division approval of telecommuting is not based on medical or family needs.  Faculty or staff seeking to work remotely due to a medical need may qualify for a disability accommodation.  Employees may make such a request as detailed in F&O HR Policy ER-5.  ADA forms need to be completed by employees and medical providers.

  • I am an employee with a documentable medical condition that places me in a high-risk category for COVID-19? Do I have to return to campus?

    SHSU is a part of the country’s critical infrastructure workforce, and that means most of our employees will be back on campus serving our students. 

    That being said, SHSU will continue efforts to reduce population density across campus in order to maximize physical distancing capabilities in our classrooms, residence halls, academic offices, research laboratories and other shared spaces.  Additionally, SHSU requires face coverings to reduce the spread of disease and to protect others, particularly those in our community who have health concerns or loved ones who may be vulnerable. We ask all members of our community to continue social distancing and other safety practices both on and off campus. 

    We have implemented enhanced methods of cleaning and disinfecting, with higher traffic areas receiving even greater attention. Hand sanitation stations have been installed in buildings and disinfectant wipes will be made available to students for cleaning their individual desk area. In addition to the cleaning and disinfecting of spaces, we all need to continue practicing good hygiene. Frequent handwashing is a simple and very effective means of preventing illness and the spread of infections to others.​

    However, staff seeking to work remotely after full operations have resumed should see F&O Human Resources Policy ER-12 to review eligibility and possible options for telecommuting. 

    Faculty or staff seeking to work from home as a disability accommodation should review section 3(d) of F&O HR policy ER-5.  Requests for accommodations must be in writing and include a medical certification as detailed in the policy. Requests may be submitted to Jessica Smith or Patti Zavala, HR Specialist for Leaves. ADA forms must be completed by the employees and medical providers.

  • What are my options if I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable?

    Staff should explore the following options with their supervisor:

    1. Telecommuting - staff seeking to telecommute for child care reasons should fill out and submit the Staff COVID-19 Child Care Request Form to their supervisor.
    2. Flextime
    3. Use of accrued leave
    4. Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under FFCRA and as described elsewhere in the FAQ
    5. Emergency Family Medical Leave Act Expansion (EFMLA) for Child Care under the FFCRA

    Faculty should explore:

    1. A faculty member may request to work remotely by filling out and submitting the Faculty COVID-19 Child Care Request Form to their department chair. 
    2. Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under FFCRA and as described elsewhere in the FAQ
    3. Emergency Family Medical Leave Act Expansion (EFMLA) for Child Care under the FFCRA

    Faculty and staff may be eligible for Emergency Family Medical Leave (EFMLA):

    If your child’s school is closed or child care provider unavailable and you are unable to find suitable replacement child care, you may be eligible for FFCRA. See the FFCRA description in this FAQ and request form.  Payment for EFMLA may be structured as follows:

    Weeks 1 -2

    • EPSL provides an initial two weeks of paid leave which covers the first 10 workdays of EFMLA. If this is unavailable, you can use accrued leave or leave without pay for the first two weeks of EFMLA.

    Week 3- 12

    • After the first 10 workdays have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work.

    EFMLA may, with the approval of your supervisor, be used on an intermittent basis.

  • May I take 80 hours of paid sick leave for my self-quarantine and then another amount of paid sick leave for another reason provided under the new federal legislation (FFCRA)?

    No. A full-time employee may take up to two weeks or 10 days (80 hours for a full-time employee and a two-week average of hours worked for a part-time employees) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons. 

    Beyond the new leave provided by the FFCRA, you may still use accrued leave (sick, vacation, compensatory time) or leave without pay as approved by your supervisor.

  • Am I able to use FMLA if I cannot work remotely/telecommute?

    Yes, you may use FMLA if you have a qualifying event.  For more information on FMLA see § 16 of F&O HR Policy B-1 and contact Human Resources.

    • During the period of April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, qualifying events are expanded to include an employee’s care for a child when the school is closed or care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 conditions. The new legislation allows Emergency Family Medical Leave Act for child care as described in the FFCRA section of this FAQ and the request for leave.
  • Am I eligible to receive emergency paid sick leave if I self-quarantine?
  • I was sent home to self-quarantine on the advice of a health care professional. My test (or the test of my close contact) was negative. Can I come back to work?

    The SHSU Protocol details the period of time an employee must remain home when symptomatic (10 working days) or exposed (10 working days, unless required to return to work under the asymptomatic critical infrastructure worker protocol in § 3(f).)

    SHSU does not alter the return to work dates based upon negative test results because, per the CDC, a negative test does not necessarily mean an individual will not get sick and cannot continue to spread the virus. 

  • Are medical notes required for employees?

    Employees experiencing symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 should seek the advice of a health care professional, but a note is not required when missing work for up to three days. 

    Employees who request FFCRA leave due to COVID-19 symptoms or self-quarantine must provide the name of their health care professional to SHSU Human Resources.

  • What precautions should employees take returning to campus?

    Employees on campus should continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, avoid touching your face and must wear cloth face coverings.  See CDC prevention guidelines and Texas Governor’s  guidance.

  • What other resources are available to aid employees at this time?

    Employee Assistance Program

    The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for SHSU faculty, staff and family members has COVID-19 resources, articles and webinars available on line at www.mylifevalues.com (user id: uteap and password: uteap). The EAP is available 24/7 for support with personal issues, including those related to COVID-19.

    More information about the EAP is available on the Human Resources webpage - Employee Assistance Program.

    COVID-19 and Your Health Plan

    The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) has added a new link: COVID-19 and Your Health Plan which contains COVID-19 testing information, virtual visits and contact information for insurance providers for emotional support, mental health benefits and coverage questions. In addition, the prescription drug plans have early-fill programs in place to assist at this time.

    Optum has opened its Emotional Support Help Line–staffed by mental health professionals–to anyone who may be experiencing fear or stress because of COVID-19. Call (866) 342-6892 (TTY: 711), free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This help line is available to anyone, so you can share it with family and friends. Caring professionals may also connect callers to additional resources.

    Catapult Nurse Practitioner

    BCBSTX HealthSelect members can now speak with a trained Catapult Nurse Practitioner about COVID-19 concerns.

    Visit ERSassist.com and type the word “support” in the password field to get started.

    This site also provides daily updates about COVID-19, along with links to statewide resources, including coronavirus testing sites. 

    If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 resources or your HealthSelect benefits, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant at 800.252.8039, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CST. 

Faculty

  • How do you monitor attendance in Blackboard?

    In Blackboard, under Course Tools, there is an Attendance tool. This is one way to facilitate recording attendance. It creates a column in Gradebook and allows instructors the option of assigning points for attendance. Instructors must actively record attendance with this tool for it to populate in Gradebook. This tool may be helpful for recording in-person attendance and participation in synchronous online course activities.

    If instructors would like to track student participation in asynchronous online course activity, in lieu of traditional attendance, several Course Reports are available in Blackboard under Evaluations in the side bar. Both the Overall Summary of User Activity for the entire course or Student Overview for Single Course are examples of reports that provide detailed information on how long a student viewed the materials and the dates of access.

    For other ways of using Blackboard to track attendance, please contact your instructional designer.

    NOTE: While Blackboard should be used to monitor attendance, faculty are still required to report attendance in Banner. For each class, faculty members will need to verify enrollments from the first day of class through the census date on the twelfth class day. Please visit the ATTENDANCE VERIFICATION webpage for instructions and for more information.

  • When an instructor is informed by a student that they have tested positive for COVID-19, should the instructor ask to have their classroom cleaned and/or cancel class (or move it remote)?

    The contact tracing process includes classroom visits (which classes were attended, are masks worn, is social distancing practiced). If the contact tracer feels that a class should no longer meet in person or that steps need to be taken to “deep clean” (beyond normal daily cleaning) a classroom or lab, the health center will contact the instructor of the classes and the department chair. (Reasons these steps might be taken include:  masks not worn by everyone, or several students in the same class have tested positive.) 

    According to the Student Health Center, there is no reason for a faculty member to decide on their own to have a class “go remote” based on one student (or even more, depending on the size of the class) testing positive. As long as social distancing is practiced and face coverings are worn in the classroom, one student being infected in a class does not put others at any greater risk for contracting the virus than is posed outside the classroom, so there is no reason to have the entire class stay home. 

    Any requests for deep cleaning of rooms or labs will originate with the department and not the health center. But again: if the health center feels a deep cleaning is necessary, they will contact the department. There is no need for faculty to assume a room needs further deep cleaning – beyond what is done on a daily basis – based solely on one student reporting a positive COVID test.

     If any faculty member would like to talk about steps or precautions to be taken once a student reports a positive COVID test, contact Erica Bumpurs:  ebumpurs@shsu.edu, 294-1843.

  • Will my class move to remote delivery if a student in my face-to-face class tests positive for COVID-19?

    The student will be advised to self-isolate. Anyone who meets the definition of a close contact exposure should self-quarantine. A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes or had direct physical contact. The masking and physical distancing requirements in the classroom would likely enable the course to continue. If there were any extenuating circumstances in which mitigation measures were not fully operational throughout the class period, those circumstances should be discussed with university officials.

  • What if I am a faculty member in a documentable high-risk category for COVID-19? Updated

    Faculty assigned to teach face to face, but who seek to work remotely due to an underlying disability that the CDC has determined places the individual at an increased risk should review section 3(d) of F&O HR policy ER-5.  Requests for remote work accommodations must be in writing and include a medical certification as detailed in the policy. Faculty may use the ADA forms for employees and for medical providers and submit to Jessica Smith or Patti Zavala.

  • Will students be charged an online, distance learning fee?

    No.  Because less than 85% of instruction takes place remotely, courses designated as hybrid are not designated as online courses and will therefore not be assessed the online course fee.

  • Will this do anything to help the spread of the novel coronavirus? What about true social distancing?

    The practice of social distancing as recommended by the CDC includes but is not limited to avoiding close contact with people who are sick, wearing face coverings, avoiding mass gatherings, and staying 6 feet away from other people.  There are many actions we can take at this point to follow this advice and mitigate the spread of this virus:

    • Decrease the number of students on campus on a given day by at least half the amount in a “normal” fall semester.
    • Adopt teaching schedules and methods that allow no more than half of enrolled students in a classroom at a given time
    • Have faculty, staff, and students get into the habit of wearing a facial covering when it is not possible stay 6 feet from each other (walking to/from cars, to/from offices, between building).
    • Holding staff and department meetings remotely, even if most participants are on campus.
    • Dramatically limiting attendance at sporting events and performances.
    • Establishing one-way pedestrian routes in hallways, stairwells, and doorways.
    • Encouraging, promoting, and modeling to students the use of best hygiene practices.
  • Are there larger classrooms I can use to help mitigate the spread of the virus in my courses?

    Yes. Instructors should communicate with their chair and dean to request a section to be considered to move into a larger room.  Based on availability, the hybrid model chosen, and the days and frequency of planned face-to-face instruction, instructors will be contacted about moving to larger rooms. 

    Space is limited, so not all requests will be able to be granted.  But we are committed to doing all we can to accommodate increased distance among students.

  • How will classrooms be modified to best accommodate the hybrid mode of instruction?

    Almost all classrooms currently have a projector, screen, and desktop computer terminal that serves to control input to the projector. This technology can be used within Zoom or Bb Collaborate to display Powerpoint slides or projected materials to those students attending remotely.  About 50 percent of the classrooms have a digital document reader that allows for projection of written or printed material onto the projector screen.

    In addition, by the start of the fall semester 90 percent of classrooms on campus will also be equipped with a webcam that will allow video recording from a fixed podium. Instructors will therefore be able to design pedagogy that allows all students to listen, learn, contribute, present and fully participate in the class whether they are physically in the classroom or attending remotely.

    Visit the SHSU Room Technology site for a list of technology available in each classroom to support hybrid instruction.

    IT@Sam is still working to ensure all classrooms receive the best technology for teaching hybrid courses.

  • What do I need to use Blackboard for?

    It will be vital for faculty to follow best practices that will allow them to quickly adjust to changing conditions while maintaining course continuity.  These best practices include using Blackboard, the University’s accepted Learning Management System (LMS) as the course hub for the following essential course elements:

    • Posting and maintaining the course syllabus
      Communication among instructor(s), students, and teaching assistants.
      Posting and maintenance of the course schedule and calendar
      Monitoring of attendance
      Posting of course grades for all assessments
      Hosting virtual office hours and/or discussion boards.

    Effective the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the provost and all college deans have agreed to require all courses to use Blackboard as the course hub, with each of these elements fully utilized.

  • Where can I get additional training on effectively using Blackboard?

    SHSU Online is hosting several training sessions and webinars that will help instructors realize the full potential of Blackboard, including

    • Preparing to Teach with Blackboard Summer/Fall 2020
    • Recording Voiceover PowerPoint and Uploading to Blackboard
    • Recording and Posting Audio/Video/Screen Capture with Kaltura
    • Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor – Assessment Protection
    • Blackboard Ate My Homework
    • Office Hours & Lectures in Blackboard with Zoom or with Collaborate
    • Setting up A Virtual Office in Blackboard
    • Engaging Students in Blackboard
    • Creating Tests, Surveys & Quizzes in Blackboard
    • Uploading Tests to Blackboard with Respondus Campus Wide
    • Grade Center basics

    For more information on and to register for these sessions, visit their site.

  • I’m concerned about cheating on exams that are delivered remotely. What can be done to mitigate cheating?

    Courses taught online require students to use special software that helps prevent students from seeking outside sources during an exam.  Effective Fall 2020, instructors of hybrid courses will be allowed to require this software as well.  See a previous question for specific training sessions led by SHSU Online.

    Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser (available for Windows, Mac and iOS) that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard.  When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications.  At the start of an assessment, students are locked into the browser until it is submitted for grading.  To learn more about this integration, check out the student's Respondus Lockdown Browser page.

    Respondus Monitor is a companion application for the LockDown Browser that uses webcam and video technology to prevent cheating during online exams.  Respondus Monitor integrates seamlessly with Blackboard and is ideal for online testing environments.  To learn more about this integration, click here.

    Some instructors may wish to conduct exams face-to-face, either in the room in which the course was originally scheduled (with students attending in groups) or in a larger room to enable distancing during the exam.  This preference can be recorded in the June Qualtrics survey mentioned above.

  • I’m concerned about plagiarism. What can be done to detect and/or prevent plagiarism?

    We have access in Blackboard to a feature package called SafeAssign, which can be used as both a plagiarism deterrent as well as an educational tool.  Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for originality and create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.

    How does it work?  When an assignment is submitted by students, SafeAssign compares the text against a set of academic papers from several databases to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

    SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material.  A report is then generated detailing the percentage of text in the submitted paper that matches existing sources.  The report shows the suspected sources for each section of the submitted paper that returns a match.  You can delete matching sources from the report and process it again if the paper is a continuation of a previously submitted work by the same student.

    More information on SafeAssign

    Instructions for integrating into one of your courses

  • Will classrooms be sanitized between classes or at the end of each day?

    Yes.  Facilities Management staff will be cleaning and sanitizing the furniture in each classroom every evening.

    In addition, a hand sanitizer dispenser has been placed at every building entrance, and a container with disposable sanitizing wipes will be available at every entrance of a classroom.  This provides students, faculty, and staff entering the classroom the opportunity to disinfect their immediate area. Instructors will be encouraged to help students develop a daily habit of utilizing a sanitizing wipe on the desk or chair they will by using.

Cleaning & Precautions

  • What is SHSU's cleaning procedure? Updated
    • Once confirmed that an area has been compromised call 936-294-1869
    • The department where the compromised space occurred will secure the area to prevent anyone else from entering.
    • Personal items should be removed and/or stored in secured storage as the space is vacated.
    • Upon receiving notice of a need for comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting, Facilities Management will
      • mobilize after the infected individual has vacated the space in accordance with CDC guidelines. A disinfectant will be applied with an electrostatic sprayer that disperses an aerosolized liquid product that settles on all surfaces and exposed material. The application must incubate for 30 minutes;
      • as soon as practicable, after the 30 minute incubation period, a Comprehensive Cleaning Crew from Facilities Management performs a complete wipe down of everything in the secured space
      • spray a second application of disinfectant after the Comprehensive Cleaning; and
      • release the disinfected space for occupancy no longer than 30 minutes after the second application.
    • Custodial personnel clean commonly used areas and restrooms a minimum of three times per day. Aerosolized disinfectant is applied to all occupied building spaces as frequently as possible but not less than every 30 days. Some areas may receive more frequent applications due to high volume of usage and/or density.
  • What do SHSU Response Levels mean?

    Response levels provide a framework of mitigation efforts in correlation to a number of risk factors.

    This framework is a sliding scale which can move up or down. Even within each level, there is a range of actions that can be taken.

  • Will there be disinfecting wipes in classrooms?

    Yes, disinfecting wipes will be located at the entrance door closest to the front of the classroom or lab. 

  • What is SHSU doing to minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    To minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, SHSU is following protocols set forth in the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2)

  • How and how often are classrooms and desks being cleaned?

    In addition to normal cleaning procedures, all surfaces will be wiped down with antibacterial cleaning products and an aerosolized disinfectant will be sprayed within the entire space daily.

Classes

  • How do I know how my classes will be held? Updated

    To view the blended format pertaining to your registered classes, see our How-To guide.

    1. From the registration menu, select either "Register for Classes," "Plan Ahead," or "Browse Classes."

    A screenshot of the registration menu with box around 'Register for Classes,' 'Plan Ahead,' and 'Browse Classes'

    2. Select the Term and then Continue.

    A screenshot of 'Select a Term' menu

    3. Enter the class search criteria and then press Search.

    A screenshot of the 'Enter Your Search Criteria' menu.

    4. Tap the Title of the class.

    A screenshot of Schedule of Classes search results with box around course title

    5. View the Instructional Method, then select Instructor / Meeting Times for more details.

    A screenshot of 'Class Details' window with box around 'Instructional Method' and around the 'Instructor/Meeting Times' tab

    Under Instructor, click the dropdown arrow to expand meeting details:

    A screenshot of 'Instructor/Meeting Times' panel with an arrow pointing to expand the dropdown

    6. View the Type, Time and Location to verify class meeting format requirements.

    A screenshot of 'Instructor/Meeting Times' panel with box around 'Type' information and around the time, campus and room information

  • What type of classes can I choose from for Spring 2021? Updated

    he Spring semester will be similar to the Fall semester. Students will be able to choose classes in the following modalities:

    1. Face-to-Face:
      1. Class meets in person during normally scheduled times
    2. Online
      1. Course content is delivered asynchronously online
    3. Split Week (Blended)
      1. Class meets in-person for a minimum of once per week AND
      2. Class meets synchronously remote and/or asynchronously online at least once per week
    4. Flex (Blended)
      1. Class meets in-person for approximately 1/3rd of total semester contact hours AND
      2. Class meets synchronously remote and/or asynchronously online for approximately 2/3rd of total semester contact hours
  • Can I request my classes be delivered 100% remote?

    SHSU has granted students the ability to request 100% remote delivery of a blended course.  Due to specific course requirements, some courses may not be able to be completed in a 100% remote option. The determination of the request is solely up to the discretion of the instructor.

    How to request the remote option?

    • On Friday afternoon, August 7, a new link will be added to your blended course menu in Blackboard, titled “Request Remote Option”.
    • Click the “Request Remote Option”  link and follow the instructions displayed.
    • For help, contact the SHSU Online Support Desk, open 24/7, at blackboard@shsu.edu or 936-294-2780.
  • Does SHSU have an attendance policy?

    Given the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus, faculty will establish clear guidelines regarding attendance and inform their students of their policy at the first class meeting and in the course syllabus.

  • Are there different fees?

    Blended, remote, and face-to-face classes will not have the “Distance Learning” special fee.
    Please note, the “Distance Learning” special fee will continue to apply to only online classes.

    Please contact the Cashier’s Office with additional questions about tuition and fees.

  • What are the minimum technology requirements for blended classes?

    For Blended Classes:

    We recommend having the below technology before starting your blended class. This will help you to be successful and to meet minimum technology requirements.

    Please reach out to your professors to determine if additional technology is required for your remote class.
     

    For more information on technology requirements for remote and online classes:

    visit the SHSU Online technology requirements.

  • What if I need to miss class?

    Should you have the need to miss class for medical or other documented reasons, please utilize this form and the Dean of Students Office will notify your professors.