Planning for fall 2021 – CTLM, modality, Rosh Hashanah, FAQs

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,

I want to start by (re)sharing some exciting news that you may have already heard from the provost last week: we officially have a new Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring! A lot of work has gone into its creation, and a lot more is to come. I hope you have the opportunity to explore the center’s resources, engage and get the support you need. You can find upcoming offerings, consultations and more at

As you continue to plan for your courses, please also keep the following guidance and resources in mind:

Fall Start Date and Rosh Hashanah

As we have previously shared, the first day of classes occurs during Rosh Hashanah this year, and I echo the deep regret expressed by the chancellor about this conflict. I know it impacts many of you personally, as well as our students. Please see the chancellor’s message for information for instructors planning to observe the holiday; and please communicate to students in your classes your plans for providing flexibility on the first day.

Course Modality

Instructors are expected to teach course sections, including lectures, discussions and labs, in the modality indicated in the schedule of classes (as reflected in Course Search and Enroll and Faculty Center). Modality decisions and modality changes must be approved at the department and school/college level and are subject to review at the campus level. Individual instructors may not unilaterally change the modality of any course section.


COVID-19-Related Guidance and Instruction

I know that this fall semester continues to bring its share of anxiety, uncertainty and questions. We have been doing our best to provide answers to your instruction-related questions, many of which you can find on our “Fall 2021 Instruction” webpage. Topics covered on the webpage include:

  • Instructional support
  • Face masks, and what to do if a student or colleagues isn’t wearing a mask
  • Course modality
  • COVID-19-related absences – students and instructors; what’s expected of instructors when students have to miss class
  • Office hours
  • Microphone access and use
  • Cleaning/disinfecting supplies and PPE
  • Field trips

The university’s COVID-19 Response website also has an extensive FAQ, which includes questions broader than instruction such as campus testing requirements, safety protocols and policies, vaccines and more. Continue to check these websites for updates.