Suggested Strategies to Accommodate Students in Quarantine, Isolation, or Who Become Ill
Instructors should assist students who are in quarantine, isolation, or absent because of COVID or suspected, but yet unverified, cases of COVID. In these situations, instructors should take care to provide affected students with reasonable accommodations and opportunities for make-ups.
Student Health Services does not provide medical excuses and students who are required to quarantine or isolate due to a COVID diagnosis or close contact are NOT required to request accommodation through DRS. Ask students to contact you as soon as possible, if they are required to quarantine, isolate, or if they become ill. In these situations, recognize the need for confidentiality.
The strategies for maintaining engagement and instructional continuity for these students will vary. Depending on how long your students are unable to attend class, there are several options you can provide to support their learning until they are able to return to the classroom. While these strategies are broadly applicable, their specific implementation may vary depending on the type of course you teach – a large enrollment lecture course, a project-based course, a discussion-based seminar, or another type of course. Contact the Teaching Center if you have questions about specific application in your course.
If a student becomes ill and is unable to attend or participate in class for an extended period, you may need to consider adjusting assignments, extending deadlines, and accommodating opportunities for students to make up assignments, exams, and other activities. In some instances, you may need to consider assigning a G (unfinished course work) grade (PDF – 152 KB).
Strategies for supporting students
The following strategies are applicable to a broad range of class types, and can be used in large lecture courses, smaller discussion-based course, lab courses, and studio courses. If you have questions about how these strategies might be applied in your course, contact the Teaching Center.
- Be flexible and adaptive. Across all situations, it’s helpful to remind yourself that the pandemic continues to challenge us with uncertainty, unpredictability, and complications that can be stressful for everyone. You may need to consider flexibly adapting assignments, activities, due dates, and exams to help your students successfully achieve your desired learning outcomes. Clearly explain your policies about deadline extensions and how students can make up missed assignments or exams.
- Post frequent announcements and reminders. At least twice a week, send detailed announcements, about what’s happening in class, homework, assignment updates, upcoming exams, and other important course activities. This not only helps keeps quarantined/isolated students on-track but benefits all students in their efforts to stay caught up with classwork.
- Keep your Canvas course site up to date. Post class notes, slides, assignments, and other course materials to your Canvas site. You may also ask students to volunteer to share their notes with those who are unable to attend class.
- Encourage students to ask questions. Remind students who are unable to attend class that they should ask questions via virtual office hours, online Q & A forums, or email.
- Share recordings from a previous semester. If you have audio or video recordings from a prior semester which cover the same content, you may consider posting them to your Canvas course site. Be aware that if any of the students from the previous semesters appear in your recordings, you may need to make some adjustments. Before using previous recordings for your current class, you must edit out prior students or de-identify them by blurring, cropping, or other means.
- Share audio recordings. You may choose to record and share an audio recording your class sessions. This may involve recording a full class discussion (in a small lecture-based course) or just recording your lecture audio (in a large lecture course).
- Video record class sessions. Instructors are not required to record their class sessions. Decisions to record classes are at the professional judgement of the instructor or should adhere to any guidelines or practices in place for the department, school, or campus. Where established practice may be at odds with other aspects of this guidance, instructors should reach out to their dean’s office, the Teaching Center, DRS, or the Office of the Provost, as appropriate, for clarity.
- Broadcast class sessions for remote participation. While instructors are not expected to provide remote access, when appropriate, you may choose to provide your quarantined or isolated students with the opportunity to participate remotely in class sessions until they can return to class in person. You can allow your students to join class meetings in real-time with Zoom. Be sure to make any materials, slides, class notes, or other resources that are available to your in-class students available to the remote students.
- Record broadcast sessions. If you livestream your class sessions with Zoom (or another video conferencing tool), you can record and post the sessions to your Canvas site. Note, you may choose to livestream and record class session, even if there are no remote students, and post the recording for students who are unable to attend class. For more details about broadcasting and recording your class sessions, visit our web pages for more considerations for recording your class sessions, details on how to record your class session and frequently asked questions.
- Create asynchronous content. While allowing students to participate remotely and recording class sessions are the most straight-forward options for engaging students who are in quarantine or isolation, you may also consider creating additional content to share asynchronously. This strategy may be particularly relevant for students who are ill and unable to participate remotely, in real-time. You may consider creating short video lectures, demonstrations, or tutorials. These can be shared on Canvas and can form the foundation of asynchronous modules that might also include problem sets, discussion forums, or other asynchronous activities. For more information about creating video content, visit our Creating and Using Video page.