Frequently Asked Questions

Classes

  • SHSU is following a blended instructional model this semester, so why do some labs and courses need to be held in-person? How do I know the lab areas are safe Updated

    Depending on the subject area and course, there will be exceptions, such as highly specialized science labs and some studio courses. In these particular classes, face-to-face instruction is necessary for students to develop familiarity with experimental techniques and hands-on experience with modern laboratory equipment which can’t be replicated online. Knowing this, instructors take extra precautions to enhance lab safety including: minimizing the use of shared equipment; sanitizing essential equipment between users; using PPE to minimize contact with a shared surface; mandatory face coverings; and separating students a distance of at least six feet apart during class.

  • How do I verify the course format for the classes I am registered for?

    How to Verify Course Formats for Registered Classes – How-To Guide

    1. To begin, go to MySam. On the Registration tab, select “Register for Classes”
    2. Select “View Registration Information
    3. Select the Term Dropdown and choose Fall 2020.
    4. Tap the Title of your class.
    5. Under Class Details, view the Instructional Method.
      This will indicate the course delivery format (Blended, Online, or Face-to-Face)
    6. Select the Instructor/Meeting Times tab to view the class location and time.
      Under Instructor, verify the class building, room and meeting time.
    7. Visit Blackboard for more details.
  • Will there be computer labs dedicated to attending remote classes?

    The university has designated four remote learning labs for students needing a quiet location on campus to attend remote classes. Students utilizing a remote learning lab must bring headphones/earbuds, wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The locations and times are:

    Evans 105
    Monday: 8 – 11 a.m.
    Wednesday: Noon – 5 p.m.
    Friday: 1 – 5 p.m.

    LSC Theatre
    Monday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Tuesday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    Smith-Hutson Building – Room 331
    Monday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Tuesday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Thursday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Smith-Hutson Building – Room 133
    Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • 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.
  • What is a hybrid/blended course?

    A course is called hybrid (or blended) if more than half (but not all) of the instruction is done from a distance. Here are some examples:

    • A T-Th course might split the class into two groups.  Each group attends in-person either Tuesday or Thursday (while the other group participate via Zoom).
    • A large MWF course might split the class into three groups. Each group attends face-to-face in the classroom one day each week while the other two groups participate with Zoom.
    • The first 3 weeks of a course are taught face-to-face (either in a larger room or in smaller groups) while the remainder is taught online, with exams proctored face-to-face in a large room every other week.
  • Why is SHSU using hybrid/blended courses this semester?

    In order for our students to learn as much as possible during the semester, we want them to spend time with their classmates and with their instructors. But we also want our students, staff, and faculty to stay healthy by being able to keep a safe distance from each other. This hybrid option allows for both.

    We realize true social distancing cannot be accomplished on a campus our size. But using the hybrid model for our courses means there will be fewer students on campus on any given day. Reducing this student density on campus every day – along with wearing facial coverings and washing hands frequently – can help stop the spread of COVID-19 while enjoying the benefits of the university experience.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

Campus Life

  • Will Dining Halls and Retail Eateries be open?

    All campus facilities, with the exception of the Three Horse Tavern, will be open during Fall 2020. For a list of hours of operations of each individual location, visit the Dining Services Website. 

    Creating & maintaining safe environments for our Customers

    • No Self-Serve stations
    • Social Distancing
    • Centralization of certain food items - All packaged items on request
    • Conduct a deep cleaning of the Facility (CDC approved sanitizer & disinfectant)
    • Increased cleaning frequency of all high touch surfaces
    • Sanitization of all equipment (CDC approved sanitizer & disinfectant)
    • Plexi-glass barriers at all locations for customer/employee protection
    • Line stanchions and floor markers for all areas
    • Directional arrows and table and chair configurations to encourage 6’ spacing
    • Increased availability of sanitizer

    Focusing on Students

    • Touchless Technologies  - Implementation of No-Touch Payment process
    • Guest required to wear facial coverings while in Dining facilities, until sitting to eat
    • Increased availability of tissues and trash cans
    • Streamlined menus w/ focus on speed of service for all dining venues (incl.National Brands)
    • Maintaining occupancy limits controls
    • Residential take out solutions - Providing to-go meals (this will be provided at both Dining Location) all Retail is currently packages as to-go
    • Increased outdoor seating
    • Quarantine Meals available if needed at any time
    • On-going collaboration with students through dining committee or student roundtable
    • Continuous modification of plans

    Engaging Our Employees

    • Employee mental & physical well-being - Safety, productivity and engagement is top of mind
    • Employee Health Monitoring Daily Health verification
    • Time Clock – Employee screening – 1st Employee Health Attestation
    • Employee Temperature screening – Upon entrance
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided
    • Leveraging technology to recruit employees
    • Enhanced team training

    Sanitation for Employees

    • Hand washing & glove change - every 15 mins
    • Employees required to wear facial coverings
    • Customers required to wear facial coverings on campus
    • Self-sanitizing stations in all areas

    Adapting our Operations

    • Mobile ordering through GrubHub at all Campus Venues
    • LSC Subway will be used for GrubHub orders only (SUBWAY pick-up orders)
    • All Retail locations to package all food items to-go
    • Touchless technologies at all Dining Venues provided – download QR Codes for all No-Touch Payment Process
    • Social Media – Communicate openly with students and parents as things change 
    • South Paw Dining -  Developed a To-Go only program for Students and Faculty & Staff and To-Go options will be available at both Dining Halls
    • Amped up Grab-n-Go options at our 5 campus POD Locations (Sandwiches, Salads & Snacks)
    • Catering Department and Menus have been revamped to comply with all Local, State  Federal guidelines

Cleaning & Precautions

  • What is SHSU's cleaning procedure?

    Facilities Management Comprehensive Cleaning will implement the following procedure when an area has been determined to have been compromised with the Coronavirus.

    • 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.
    • A Pure Application Spraying Team from Facilities Management will arrive within two hours of notification to disinfect with an electrostatic sprayer and let the application incubate for 30 minutes.
    • As soon as practicable, after the incubation period expires, a Comprehensive Cleaning Crew from Facilities Management will perform a complete wipe down of everything in the secured space.
    • A second application of Pure will be applied after the Comprehensive Cleaning and the disinfected space will be released for occupancy no longer than 24-hours after initial report.
    • The disinfection process includes dispersing an aerosolized liquid product that will settle on all surfaces and exposed material. We recommend that personal items be removed and/or stored in secured storage as the space is vacated.
    • Custodial personnel are cleaning commonly used areas and restrooms a minimum of three times per day. Aerosolized disinfectant will be 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.

  • What does a Level 2 mean?

    SHSU is at a the low-end of Response Level 2. This level incorporates mitigation efforts indicated in Level 1 while considering additional actions that may be taken to continue to improve campus safety and awareness.

  • 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 on a daily basis.

Exposure

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)? Updated

    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? Updated

    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 is the hybrid-online model of instruction?

    The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board defines a hybrid/blended course as:

    A course in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent), of the planned instruction occurs when the students and instructor(s) are not in the same place.

    Examples include:

    • a TTh course that meets in person on Tuesday and remotely via Bb Collaborate on Thursday (50% remote);
    • a MWF course that meets all three days using student rotations: one third of the class rotates attending in-person one day of the week, while the rest attend via Zoom (67% remote); and
    • a large MW section with 125 students meets every Monday in an auditorium that seats 275. Students complete assignments remotely the rest of the week (50% remote).
  • Must I adopt this mode of instruction? Why?

    To reduce density on campus, the majority of fall courses originally scheduled as face-to-face will be delivered instead in a hybrid or blended modality.

    There are two primary reasons for this shift, all directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

    • If all courses use the hybrid model of delivery – with coordination within and across departments – the density of students on campus any given day will be reduced by more than 50%, helping to minimize contact among the campus community
    • In the event of a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the campus is ordered to shut down as it was in March, it will be much easier to make the transition to 100% remote course delivery from the hybrid model.
  • What if I am a faculty member in a documentable high-risk category for COVID-19?

    Faculty 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 and must contain

    1. a diagnosis and prognosis;
    2. indication of major life function(s) impaired and how it affects the ability to perform academic duties in person; and
    3. the specific accommodation the health care provider recommends relative to the disability.

    Faculty may use the ADA forms for employees and for medical providers.

  • 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.

  • What options are available for the hybrid model?

    There are several nationally used models for hybrid courses.  Strictly speaking, a course is considered hybrid/blended if between 50% and 85% of instruction is occurs remotely.  However, in order to maintain student engagement, we prefer models that ensure regular, sustained contact throughout the semester.

    • Split week
    • Flex
    • Student Rotations
    • 7 ½ week courses

    There is considerable flexibility within each of these models and we are confident that with very few exceptions every course taught be at SHSU using at least one of them effectively. 

    Thorough descriptions – along with some examples – of these models can be found at the PACE website.

  • How do I communicate my preference?

    Please communicate your preference of hybrid model to your department chair and dean. 

    In order to collaborate across and within departments, sharing information on the days of the week (and number of weeks through the semester) that all or part of the class will meet in the classroom will allow us to:

    • estimate the extent to which the student density is decreased on a given day (a goal of at least 50%);
    • ensure a consistent approach across courses with multiple sections;
    • move into much larger classrooms some courses that do not wish to split the class into smaller groups; and
    • ensure the student population is distributed evenly across the days of the week.

    This information help us coordinate efforts to reduce the density of students on a given day throughout the Fall semester.

  • 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.

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.