Students at the University of Denver are required to attend classes pursuant to program accreditation requirements, University of Denver policies and guidelines, and individual professor attendance policies. In this time of uncertainty related to COVID-19, the University recognizes that students may be unable to attend in person classes or the in-person class sessions of hybrid/hyflex classes because of quarantine requirements, health accommodations or travel restrictions. All academic programs at the University of Denver are committed to helping our students stay on track for graduation during the pandemic and will work with students to assist them in making academic progress in their degree programs. The purpose of this policy is to set forth guidelines and processes to guide programs and students should a student be unable to attend in-person classes.
Programs may use a number of strategies to help students stay on track. These include course substitutions, modification of academic plans, modification of graduation requirements, and/or allowing some students to take scheduled in-person or hybrid/hyflex courses in an online modality for limited or extended periods of time. Individual units will make these decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Thus, if necessary, students may complete an in-person class, or a portion of the class, in an online modality. For students who are in an in-person or hybrid/hyflex course and then become ill and need to temporarily quarantine, the instructor will work with the student to identify an appropriate way to make up the missed classes. That may include allowing a student to watch a video recording of the course and/or to engage in other online activities. Students who are unable to attend in-person sessions for longer periods of time should follow the process outlined below.
Online students, however, may have a different experience than the in-person students for class sessions that were designed to be in person. In-person courses at the University of Denver the 2020-21 academic year were specifically designed, selected and optimized to have an in-person component because of the nature of the course or the high impact qualities of the course. Thus, if possible, students who are able to attend in-person class sessions are encouraged to do so in order to be fully supported and to have an optimized experience.
If a student feels they are unable to attend in-person classes or in-person class sessions for an extended period of time (more than two weeks) for the reasons listed below, the student should submit the following information to the course instructor:
- Year of study
- Reason for asking to take course online
- Email and phone number
Instructors will forward this information to their department chair/director and associate dean of academic affairs. At this time, the instructor may allow online participation without further approval. In other situations, the appropriate University of Denver academic advisor, associate dean, or department chair/director will engage in an advising discussion about the student’s request and reach a determination as to the best solution on a case-by-case basis.
There are several reasons a student might make a request, including but not limited to:
• Health concerns related to a member of the student’s household, or concerns related to someone the student has responsibility to care for;
• Dependent childcare issues;
• Extended health concerns
To comply with best practices as outlined by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) to accommodate six-foot distancing and 50% occupancy, all classroom and event spaces were carefully examined, and modifications were put in place. Furniture has been decommissioned or moved, signage and tape direct students and faculty to social distancing, and classrooms are equipped with supplies to support personal disinfection.
An initial assessment of our classrooms was completed to identify the range of seating capacities we plan to use across all campus classrooms. This assessment resulted in a determination of average capacity of 33% of seats available for 2020-21 in order to remain compliant with CDHE and using six-foot “bubbles” around each student seat, thus identifying a capacity based on room size and presumed seat type.
Scheduling Updates and Space Configurations
The current factors considered in scheduling courses in DU classrooms include six-foot distancing and <50% occupancy calculated. (Note: additional modifications are required for courses in theater, Lamont etc due to enhanced aerosol generation.) The calculations are set also up to use only 50% capacity as restrictions on space ease in the future. This allows the Registrar to analyze a variety of scenarios of class size relating to space availability, and to consider traditionally non-classroom spaces that can be used as classrooms.
The classroom assessment process evaluated classroom occupancy during class, and reviewed options to de-densify the remainder of the building during passing periods. The following factors were considered: staggering class schedules to off-set start and stop times, extending the passing period, one-way hallways and stairwells and designated building entry and exit points. After careful review of these options, the Fall Logistics Task Force determined that the existing Fall 2020 schedule could largely be retained. Continuous movement of masked people not in contact with each other for more than a few minutes presents minimal risk according to current understanding. Explicit policies prevent before or after class informal office hours and—combined with signage and education—will encourage continuous movement through buildings, rather than congregation.
We have also developed a plan for alternative spaces for students to wait in between classes. It incorporates outdoor areas, with modified seating options and planned signage directing students and others to go outside in between classes if they are able.
The realigned Fall 2020 course schedule went live on July 15, 2020. Classroom assignments were made to allow for appropriate updates as new classroom locations were identified and reconfigured, and room capacities were updated. We have continued this process for Winter quarter and Spring semester, with course and room assignments live as of November 23, 2020.
Each classroom has been modified to reflect current social distancing guidelines, resulting in dedensified classrooms. This is being accomplished in the following ways:
Rearrange seating, when able, to be positioned six feet from the next seat on all sides. The pictures above reflect distancing approaches in two different classroom types—one with movable desk-seats, and one with bolted tables and movable chairs.
Where rearrangement is not feasible, such as rooms with fixed seating or desks, signage shall be posted on the seat or table indicating that this location is unavailable.
All rooms shall have a “Max Room Capacity” sign posted to indicate how many people are allowed in the space to be in accordance with social distancing and the DU Phase requirement. This will be for any space where it is needed, such as classrooms, study rooms, break rooms, conference rooms, restrooms and common areas.
Appropriate ADA-compliant signage has been placed throughout buildings to support re-occupancy.
Coordinate all classroom spaces with AV/IT to confirm that the room configuration can support the AV type, which is all coordinated with the class modality.
All classrooms will have rules posted to inform both faculty and students of some key guidance.
- Wipe down your area with a disinfectant wipe (provided) before being seated.
- Arrive on time and do not linger in the classroom or building between classes.
- When arriving at your class, you should choose an open seat closest to the front in order to minimize walking past people in close proximity.
- Remain seated for the duration of the class wherever possible.
- Face coverings are required throughout the duration of the class.
- No eating or drinking during class, except via a straw.
- Faculty are encouraged to remain at the front of the class and minimize use of equipment elsewhere in the room.
- When in the building hallways and common areas, keep moving.
- While on campus during the day between classes, find a location with available room capacity, return to the residence hall or find a space outside.
The classroom reconfiguration team closely coordinated with Facilities Operations and Custodial to set up hand sanitizer and wipe stations in every building. At each station, there is a sign similar to the following:
Off-Campus Experiential Learning
To protect students, staff and faculty during transportation to and from campus for activities related to academic instruction, sports competition and practices, and other activities the University deems necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, DU has established requirements for day and overnight travel. The University encourages students and employees to transport themselves in a personal vehicle whenever possible and to use carpooling or other group transportation only when personal transportation is not an option. At this time, the University does not authorize group trips using ridesharing or mass transit for University business. If a student does not wish to travel for the event, the instructor, unit, or division must develop alternative solutions to accommodate that request. All participants (faculty, staff or students) must be cleared to come to campus as well as download and turn on the Everbridge app while at the experience.
Full details of the comprehensive protocol are available here.
Competing athletes are now required to test three times per week per NCAA guidelines using antigen tests. With this 3x per week testing and a carefully outlined and approved travel protocol limiting exposure during mode of transportation, during play and in lodging, return quarantine will not be required of athletes, as is required following other types of travel. Full details of the comprehensive protocol are available here.