Planning for fall 2021 – Face masks, instructor town hall, syllabus template and more

This message was sent to all faculty and instructional academic staff  from Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen. School and college deans, academic associate deans and department chairs were copied.


 Dear Instructional Colleagues,

Following yesterday’s announcement about changes to the campus masking policy, I am writing to provide additional updates and reminders for instructors teaching this fall 2021.

  • Fall instructional modalities – We continue to plan to resume more typical campus operations this fall. More than 90% of course sections have been scheduled for fully in-person delivery. All course sections (including lectures, discussion and labs) should be taught according to the modality currently indicated in the timetable of courses.
  • Face masks – As announced yesterday, all students, employees and visitors to campus will be required to wear face masks when inside campus buildings effective tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 5. Communications to students emphasize their responsibility for following the policy and indicate that a failure to attend class with an appropriate face mask will be considered an unexcused absence. Such unexcused absences should be treated in accord with each course’s particular unexcused absence policy, which should be clearly stated on the course syllabus. Students who repeatedly fail to comply may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and may be subject to disciplinary action under the non-academic misconduct policy.
  • August 12 instructor town hall – Join us for a campus town hall on Thursday, Aug. 12, from 1:30-2:30pm, specifically intended for faculty, instructors and TAs. I will join a panel of campus public health experts to provide information about reuniting on campus, current public health guidance and in-person instruction. Participants can attend in person (Grainger Hall, Plenary Room) or remotely. The event will directly follow a campus town hall open to all employees.
  • Updated syllabus template – View campus’ updated course syllabus template for fall 2021 (MS Word and digital versions). Note that public health information related to COVID-19 has been removed from the template. Current campus health and safety guidance can be found at
  • International students – Some of our new and continuing undergraduate and graduate international students may face difficulties getting to campus in time for the start of the fall semester. We are working on identifying these students, and are directly reaching out to them at the campus level to address their circumstances. If you receive questions or requests from international students, please refer students to the email they received from International Student Services and these flow charts: new student and continuing student. While we understand instructors may be willing to provide flexibilities on a case-by-case basis, we believe a more coordinated approach via ISS will be in the best interest of these students.
  • Fall start date and Rosh Hashanah reminder – If you haven’t already, please review the chancellor’s all-employee message about the start of fall semester and Rosh Hashanah. The message contains information for instructors planning to observe the holiday, and emphasizes the importance of reaching out to your students and sharing your plans for providing flexibility on the first day of classes.

If you have questions, I encourage you to continue to share these with your school/college associate dean, department chair or directly with me so that we can work together to provide information in as timely a manner as possible.