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Frequently Asked Questions for the Faculty

    • Start of spring classes: January 26, 2021
    • Spring Break: Cancelled
    • End of Classes: May 7, 2021
    • Exam Week: May 10-16, 2021
    • Commencement: May 18, 2021
  • Eastern will provide different modalities of teaching this fall including on-ground, hybrid rotating students, hybrid rotating classes, and online. On-ground and hybrid sections will constitute 65% of all instruction, with the balance online.

  • All classrooms and a few additional large spaces, such as the FAIC Concert Hall, have been rearranged to ensure safe social distancing. In traditional classrooms, desks have been removed and tape placed on the floor to mark where each desk should be and to block off a six-foot “Teaching Zone” across the front of the room. Plexiglass has been installed on all podiums. See photos at:

    • Each room has a supply of alcohol wipes. Upon entering the room, the instructor and students should take a wipe and sanitize their area (i.e. the podium or their desk).
    • To ensure a full 20 minutes for one class to leave the room and the next class to enter and sanitize the area, class times have been shortened by the following amounts: 50 minute classes will end 10 minutes early, one hour and 15 minute classes and two hour and 45-minute classes will end five minutes early.
    • Students are asked to avoid congregating outside of classrooms before class, Instead, they should enter the building with enough time to wipe down their desk before class begins.
    • All students and instructors must wear a mask at all times. Face shields may also be worn, but only with a mask as well. Where a student has an accommodation that prevents wearing a mask, the administration will work with the instructor and student to find a solution.
    • If a student is not wearing a mask in class and does not have prior permission to do so, the instructor should remind the student that masks are required under the Student Code of Conduct and tell the student to put on a mask or leave the room. All department offices have a supply of disposable masks for students who may not have one that day. If the student refuses to put on a mask after being told to do so, the instructor can cancel class for the day and refer the student to the Office of Student Conduct.
    • Air quality in classroom buildings has been improved with the installation of HEPA filters and the introduction of more external air into the system, with greater purging of internal air
  • Given the protocol that masks must be worn at all times while students and faculty are in a classroom, all students and faculty are prohibited from eating while in class. No open food containers are permitted.

    Students and faculty may consume appropriate beverages but should do so by inserting a straw under the mask or briefly lifting their masks to take a drink.

    • Communicating with Students:
      Like faculty, students during the pandemic have many questions and concerns. Instructors should communicate with students several times before classes begin to explain the modality of the course and what is expected of them. This should be done through both email and Blackboard, as students have been told to expect communication from faculty through both formats.
    • Syllabi:
      Syllabi do not need to be printed and distributed on the first day of class. Instead, electronic copies should be posted on Blackboard for students to access. Instructors should clearly state in their syllabus and on Blackboard the platform they are using for remote instruction and office hours (i.e. WebEx, etc.), and whether remote class meetings are synchronous or asynchronous.
    • Office Hours:
      Regardless of modality, full-time faculty must be available to students outside of class time for a minimum of five office hours each week. Part-time faculty should be available for students outside of class for some time each week. All meetings with students should be held remotely, with few exceptions. Office hours and the platform used should be included in the syllabus and posted on Blackboard. Each instructor must also send this information to their department chair so it can be posted on the department’s website
    • Add/Drop Period:
      Given the COVID caps in each classroom, students will not be able to add a class online after January 24. Students will need the instructor’s permission to add a course from January 25-February 8. To add a course, the student will need to use their Eastern email account to send an email to the instructor to request permission to add the course. If the instructor approves and there is space in the room, they should forward the student’s email to with their approval for the student to add the class. Students will be able to drop classes online during then normal add/drop period without the instructor’s permission.
    • Overloads:
      Overloads are not permitted for any class that meets on ground at any point this spring. Class caps have been adjusted based on the COVID caps for each room. Adding additional students would put more students in the room than is safe.
    • Special Conditions for courses in the Rotating Students Model:
      Under the Rotating Students model, the instructor is in the room for each class session while students rotate on ground throughout each week. The instructor will determine and inform the students which day they are in class versus when they are online. For example, if a class of 30 meets MWF in a room that will hold 10 students, the instructor might have the first 10 students on the class roster attend on Monday, the next 10 on Wednesday, and the last 10 on Friday. It might be useful to hold the first class meeting online to establish the rotation.

      Instructors must consult their course roster in eWeb regularly during the first two weeks of classes, as students may drop the class. Students wanting to add the class will need the instructor’s permission to do so (see Add/Drop above). It is likely that the roster will change during the first two weeks, so the student rotation may need to be adjusted.
    • Students Requesting Online Accommodations:
      Students have been given the option of taking all of their classes online this spring. However, if the class has an on-ground component, it is up to the instructor to decide whether a student can participate remotely. The students are aware of this policy.
  • As it did for the fall 2021 semester, the University will be monitoring health conditions on campus on a daily basis, working closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and other local and state officials. In addition to campus conditions, other factors that could impact a decision to move to completely online instruction include local conditions in the Willimantic community; public health conditions throughout the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; and overall trends within the state of Connecticut. are unique to each campus and its local community.

Updated: November 10, 2020