- Tools and Strategies for Optimizing Academic Integrity within your Course
- Update your Syllabus in Canvas to Include this Important Statement
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a rapidly evolving situation; we ask that you, please check the USF coronavirus (COVID-19) site frequently for updates.
Return to Campus
The University of South Florida requires students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear face coverings inside university facilities on campus including, but not limited to, classrooms, conference rooms, shared work spaces, academic and administrative buildings, lobbies and lounge areas, research facilities, residence halls, student unions, performance spaces, retail spaces, museums, libraries and dining facilities.
For additional information regarding face covering requirements please visit: https://www.usf.edu/coronavirus/updates/06-19-face-covering-requirements-on-campus.aspx
The university has ordered reusable cloth face coverings (“buffs” - 2 per faculty member, staff member, and student), as well as disinfecting supplies and hand sanitizers to aid a safe return to campus. These buffs are to be worn for all campus activities besides teaching. For teaching, a continuous supply of disposable surgical masks will be provided.
A distribution and implementation plan is currently being developed to equip all personnel with PPE. Until the supplies have been distributed, all personnel are required to supply their own face coverings and sanitization materials.
As we have officially entered Phase I of resumed campus operations, faculty and staff ARE permitted to return to the office to quickly retrieve necessary materials. You do NOT need official clearance, in the form of a letter, permit, or “essential personnel” designation, in order to pick up your materials.
We are no longer producing critical infrastructure employee letters during Phase I. At this time, you do not need such a letter to resume pre-approved operations.
If you have already been issued such a letter, during a previous phase of campus operation, please retain it for your records. Health and safety guidelines on campus are dependent on external factors and must adhere to the expert recommendations of our health professionals, which are subject to change. We may have to phase back into a previous stage where a letter is required.
Critical research efforts have continued throughout the duration of the COVID-19 response with modified operations to promote physical distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols. Remote work was encouraged as much as possible and occupancy thresholds were established in laboratory spaces. As we progress through the phases, operations will be modified to meet the current health and operational environment. As we enter the fall semester, faculty PIs, Laboratory, and Facility Managers should continue to monitor laboratory personnel to maintain six feet physical distancing within all laboratories and associated research spaces, when possible. Personnel may engage in laboratory research provided COVID-19 health and safety measures are observed, to include physical distancing and frequent hand washing and sanitizer use. Frequently used surfaces, equipment, etc., should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes or sprays and cloths often and always between uses by different persons. Personnel should continue to rotate through research labs on an established schedule and only personnel conducting active experiments should be present within the labs.
No. All course instruction continues online.
Yes. Face coverings are required to be worn in all enclosed spaces, including classrooms, labs, offices, and in spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Anyone exhibiting COVID-19-like-symptoms should not attend in-person classes and instead should contact Student Health Services to be assessed. Everyone should wear a face covering in a classroom and sit six feet apart from everyone else. It’s possible the cough is unrelated to COVID-19. If a student coughs, the instructor can ask questions about potential COVID-19-like-symptoms or if the person is feeling well. If the answer is unrelated to COVID-19, such as “no, I just swallowed wrong” or “I have allergies,” the student can stay in the room. If they don’t feel well, they should be sent to Student Health Services.
Students will be made aware of enforcement measures around the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing guidance and other risk mitigation strategies. We are confident that students will take an active role in protecting the USF community. However, if they refuse to comply with risk mitigation strategies, students may be removed from the class and face further consequences.
Students will be made aware of enforcement measures around physical distancing guidance, the wearing of face coverings and other risk mitigation strategies. We are confident that students will take an active role in protecting the USF community. However, if they refuse to comply with risk mitigation strategies, students may be removed from specific activities or courses and face further consequences.
The university has developed enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols for all resumption phases that align with CDC guidelines and public health recommendations. Custodial Services will conduct enhanced cleaning & disinfection in areas traditionally serviced, including conference and teaching areas. In addition, educational and learning spaces will be supplied with sanitizer in order for occupants to supplement custodial services between classes. Students should sanitize their workspaces before and after class. Faculty are responsible for sanitizing their lecture spaces.
Yes. We anticipate moving into Phase 3 of our plan at the start of the semester. Phase 3 calls for a near-full resumption of critical operations. Office hours and face-to-face meetings with students will be allowed to resume, however face coverings and physical distancing requirements will still be expected to be maintained. Where possible, virtual meetings will remain the preferred method.
There could be a variety of reasons why students are not responsive to email. Remember to be empathetic and clear about your expectations and requirements. Be sure to have your virtual office hours prominently displayed on your Canvas site and encourage students to use this as an alternative way of communicating with you. In the event, an undergraduate student continues to be unresponsive, consider sending a referral via the Canvas Referral Button (video directions) or via Canvas (PDF directions). This one-way communication tool allows faculty to directly notify student services about attendance, academic progress, or health/wellness (SOCAT) concerns. For graduate student concerns, please contact email@example.com for academic issues or wellness, or use this online form.
With USF transitioned to remote instruction in response to COVID-19, faculty teaching in this new environment may have questions about how to recognize students of concern. Depending on the nature of the course, the number of students enrolled, and the extent of contact faculty had with students in their physical classroom, recognizing students of concern may not be markedly different. Here are some FAQs to help guide faculty in determining when students may need extra attention or referral to campus resources.
Additional questions and answers:
How should I expect my students to adjust to remote instruction when coming from the classroom environment?
This will depend on many factors. Many students have had online classes before, so the adjustment to remote learning may not be significant. Still, this environment is different than before, so we can expect students to be initially overwhelmed with moving all of their instruction online and having to adjust to different instructional styles. Expect students to struggle initially with logging into class on time, working the technology, and learning how to meet your expectations now that instruction has moved entirely online.
How should I address students’ concerns with assignments, exams, papers, and the challenges of working in an all-online environment?
Be patient with your students, and with yourself. Expect technology glitches and problems so you aren’t surprised by them. Empathize with students’ frustrations while also providing reassurance that we are all learning together and will get better as time goes on. Be reasonable with your expectations.
What if a student demonstrates more adjustment problems than I might expect?
This is a crucial concern. If, particularly after an initial period of adjustment, a student seems overly frustrated, overwhelmed, or distressed, take note. Encourage the student to speak with you during online office hours, or seek assistance from other campus resources (see Current Student Toolkit) to resolve technology concerns or frustrations with the online environment. If concerns appear to be more personal (i.e., difficulty setting up an appropriate learning environment from home, personal and financial struggles), suggest the student check in with Student Outreach and Support, or the Counseling Center on their campus (see Current Student Toolkit).
What support services are available to students in the remote learning environment?
All student support services are providing services to students remotely. The most up-to-date information for essential student support services can be found on the Current Student Toolkit.
How is recognizing a student of concern different in an online environment?
In many respects, the same behaviors that concern you in a classroom environment continue to be concerning when learning remotely. Be particularly attuned to changes in behavior during this transition. Is a typically highly engaged student now seemingly disengaged? Are assignments late? Maybe the student has stopped showing up for instruction and is not attempting to engage you during office hours. Do they seem overly tired and now not interested in the course material? All of these changes may suggest that concerns are present or may be looming.
If a student demonstrates inappropriate classroom behavior during an online learning session, what are my options?
Reach out to the student first and invite them to meet with you during online office hours. Talk with them to try to uncover the issues possibly behind the behaviors so you can have a better idea of an appropriate referral. Refer classroom disruptions to the office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, emotional or mental health concerns to the Counseling Center, and need for other services (on or off-campus) to Student Outreach and Support for their coordination. A referral to SOCAT (Students of Concern and Assistance Team) is always a good idea if there is a general concern about student well-being or if you are uncertain about where the student may be best served.
What student behaviors are most concerning and may warrant an immediate SOCAT referral?
Increasingly withdrawn behaviors, expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in previously important activities, drop in academic performance, abrupt changes in mood, indications of increased aggressiveness, and talk (even in a seemingly joking manner) of harming oneself could all be indicators of deeper, more serious concerns. The more behaviors present, the greater the risk to the student. If you have concerns, particularly if the student is unresponsive to outreach attempts from you, complete a SOCAT referral.
What is the easiest way to make a SOCAT referral?
You can make a referral right from the left panel in a Canvas course. Click on “Refer Student,” drop down the class list and choose the student you want to refer. Indicate that it is a wellness/distress (SOCAT) referral. For further instruction see the video and PDF listed below:
The university has a limited number of laptops available to students and will be accepting referrals from faculty via Canvas by clicking Academic Progress on the Refer Student dropdown. Eligible students will be contacted this week to arrange pick up. Students can also self-refer; please direct them to the Office of Academic Advocacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We acknowledge that technology gaps exist in our student population. For those students who lack access to technology that is necessary for remote learning, we are identifying computer labs that can be accessible for academic assignments. Students who do not have reliable Internet access are asked to contact their professors, directly and immediately, to find alternate opportunities for learning and completion of assignments.
ACADEMIC AND LIBRARY RESOURCES
Faculty should establish a communication plan with their students and provide detailed instructions on how to access the Canvas platform both in class and in the course syllabus.
The answer may differ based on the student’s program of study. It is important to work with the Department Chair or Supervisor to determine the best approach for students in various programs of study.
If the internship, clinical course, practicum and/or student teaching experience is a required part of a student’s program of study, and the placement does not expose a student to large groups of people, the student can continue in the placement, as long as the training site permits.
If a student has already met minimum requirements for successful completion of the internship, clinical, and/or practicum course the instructor may consider suspension of continued face-to-face experiences.
Where possible use technology to deliver equivalent internship/clinical/practicum and/or student teaching experiences, such as the use of videos and/or videoconferencing to support student learning and mastery of skills. Please visit the Faculty Toolkit for Instructional Continuity or reach out to email@example.com.
What about students in USF health related majors?
Specific guidance will be provided by college/department/programmatic leaders.
The following tutorial will provide students with an overview of Canvas.
When creating online content, please do not include personally identifiable information. As a general rule, under the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), personally identifiable information may not be released from a student’s education records without his or her prior written consent. Faculty should be mindful that recordings that include a student’s voice and any reference to student records is subject to FERPA and is considered a student record and protected under FERPA.
HIPAA Compliance. When creating online content – please do not include Protected Health Information. In general, the Privacy Rule prohibits health care providers and health plans from using or disclosing an individual’s protected health information (PHI) without written authorization from the individual except for treatment, payment and health care operations. This is especially important for recordings, as they are viewable by anyone with a link.
COURSES AND INSTRUCTION
Instructors may choose to engage their students synchronously or asynchronously. However, for instructors who choose to offer their classes synchronously, please ensure that all registered students can participate. Many of our students may have returned to locations across the country and internationally and may be participating from different time zones.
Yes, within reason. Any change to the syllabus should be communicated to students with specific attention to the changed elements. Please remember to update and post your revised syllabus to your Canvas course.
Please click here for an overview of tools and strategies on optimizing academic integrity.
TECHNOLOGY BEST PRACTICES & SECURITY TIPS
USF Information Technology has prepared a Microsoft Teams Meetings: Best Practices and Etiquette document for a business environment. Please refer to this PDF for learning more about being safe online; tips for setting up your audio, video, and environment; joining a meeting; and attending and participating in a meeting.
According to Cyber Florida, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significantly increased online activity with the bulk of business, government, and academic activities having to be conducted online. The resulting increase in online activity presents a significantly larger “attack surface” for cybercriminals and nation-states to exploit. Cyber Florida recommends taking these actions:
- Update your computer operating system (such as Windows) and anti-virus regularly. Microsoft and anti-virus vendors are monitoring for COVID-19 malware and threats to release patches and updates to keep your computer safe. you should also set software applications, such as Microsoft Office (that’s different than your operating system), to auto-update whenever possible. Windows users can learn how to turn on auto-updates here: https://support.microsoft.com/enus/help/12373/windowsupdatefaq and Mac users can find out here: https://support.apple.com/guide/machelp/getmacosupdates-mchlpx1065/mac.
- Be cautious of phishing emails, text messages, and phone calls asking for personal information, payment or some type of time-sensitive action. Cyber criminals are using fake emails, phone calls and even fake COVID-19 maps to infect your computer and take advantage of the situation. Do NOT click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or emails from unknown senders, especially those related to COVID-19 that promise ‘new’ information on symptoms, testing and testing appointments, treatments, etc. Beware of innocent-looking coronavirus-related apps and social media posts, as well. Stick with your trusted sources of information. Consider using a Password Manager, an application that generates and remembers unique, strong passwords. A review of popular password manager applications is available here: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/best-passwordmanager-for-2020.
- Use unique and strong passwords with multi-factor authentication. Strong, unique passwords help secure your account. Using unique passwords for each of your accounts helps protect your accounts if one of your passwords becomes compromised. A ‘strong’ password is one that contains at least 12 characters, does not use common words, is not easy to guess (no pets’ names, kids’ names or birthdays) and contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
- If you access the internet via your home WIFI, make sure it, too, is password protected and if possible, encrypted.
- Use your company’s virtual private network (VPN), if provided. Virtual private networks provide a secure connection between your computer and your company to keep your information more secure. The University of South Florida provides virtual private network (VPN) software to all those with an active NetID. A VPN encrypts data traveling from your computer to the campus network. To learn more, visit https://www.usf.edu/it/documentation/virtual-privatenetwork.aspx.
For more insight on COVID-19-related cyber threats and recommended mitigation steps, please visit Cyber Florida’s online COVID-19 Cybersecurity Advisory Center at https://cyberflorida.org.
If a suitable computer and high-speed internet access are not available, you should consult with your chair/director to develop a plan to use the computer in your office, consistent with appropriate social distancing as needed to safeguard your health and that of the campus community. Should you need special accommodations, please consult with your supervisor.
Please note: Given the reduced access to USF facilities when coming on to campus to conduct work or retrieve items, USF PD asks that you please be mindful of facility security and personal safety. If you see something, say something.
Yes, unless your phone is connected to home/other wireless connection.
RESEARCH AND SCHOLARLY ACTIVITY
The USF IRB SARS-CoV-2 Guidance for the Research Community document may be viewed here. If you need to contact the USF IRB, please be advised that the staff members, Chairs and Vice Chairs are working remotely. If you have an urgent issue on which you need guidance, please send an e-mail to RSCH-IRB@usf.edu and an IRB Manager will respond as quickly as possible. Applications, including initial applications and modifications, are being processed in the order in which they are received.
If you need to make emergency revisions to your currently-approved protocol as a result
of COVID-19, please send an e-mail to RSCH-IRB@usf.edu and provide the name of the Principal Investigator, study title and protocol number
(Pro XXX or Study XXX) and the reason you are requesting an expedited review and we
will do our best to accommodate your request.
Other USF HRPP program staff members and ARC team members are also working remotely and can be reached via the following e-mail addresses:
- For information/questions about single IRB review: RSCH-Reliance@usf.edu
- For information/questions about BullsIRB: RSCH-ARC@usf.edu
- For information/questions on research-related conflicts of interest (COI): COI-Research@usf.edu
- For information/questions on HIPAA: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For information/questions on quality assurance: QA-QI@usf.edu
Please visit USF's Research and Innovation webpage for Sponsored Research at https://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/sr/covid-19-notice.aspx#continuity for more information.
The Office of Research & Innovation staff are working remotely, please visit https://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/about-usfri/covid-19-notice.aspx for further guidance, and for additional research frequently asked questions.
The University of South Florida recognizes that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about major disruptions in the lives of our faculty that may temporarily prevent or interrupt their scholarly productivity and achievements. This problem is especially acute for those faculty members in their probationary period who are working towards tenure. Therefore, the university is making available an extension to the tenure-clock by one academic year, for eligible tenure-earning faculty members.
This action has been carefully considered, and endorsed by, the Faculty Senate presidents on all USF campuses, the president of the USF System Faculty Council, all College Deans (across all campuses), leadership of the USF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida, the Senior Vice President for USF Health, the Provost and University President.
Additional questions and answers about the opportunity to extend one’s tenure clock:
Who is eligible for an extension of their tenure-earning probationary period?
All presently employed tenure-earning faculty who will be considered for tenure during or after the 2020-2021 academic year are eligible. Those excluded from this opportunity are faculty who have already been considered for tenure this academic year and those tenure-track faculty who will begin their employment with USF subsequent to March 21, 2020.
If I am eligible, how do I request an extension of my probationary period?
The leadership of the United Faculty of Florida was consulted and has agreed that requests for an extension due to current circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic can be requested under a provision found in Article 15.2.A of the current USF-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement. The procedure specified there is to submit the request to your Chair/Director (or Dean if there are no Departments/Schools in the College). A recommendation is made to the Dean (of the USF college contemplated with USF consolidation), who forwards a recommendation to the Office of the Provost or, if a faculty member is appointed in USF Health, to the Senior Vice President of USF Health. A letter granting the extension is issued from the latter office(s). It is understood that such requests will be presumptively approved. This process will also apply to out-of-unit faculty.
After consolidation, I am a faculty member who has been approved to be considered for tenure under the former guidelines of my regional institution. Will this change if I request an extension?
No. All current arrangements remain intact regardless of whether one chooses to request an extension or not.
My College already has a probationary period greater than six years. Will this affect my eligibility?
No. The year will be added to whatever probationary time period was specified upon your hire.
I had a year’s extension due to my taking parental leave. Will I still be eligible?
Yes. A year will be added to the adjusted time period following the previous extension.
Will the standards for tenure be set higher for me because I’ve had an extra year toward tenure?
No. The standards specified in your Department/School and College governance documents, as well as the University of South Florida Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion, remain in effect when your tenure review occurs.
What if I don’t want an extension to my probationary period? Do I have to do anything?
No. As per the University of South Florida Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion, faculty may choose to be considered for tenure when they believe their scholarly record is sufficient for that purpose. This may be on or before the mandatory date specified upon hire. As is the case today, you are advised to consult with your Chair/Director and/or College Dean if you are planning to request early consideration.
Will my mid-tenure review period change?
No. Faculty will be considered for mid-tenure review at their regularly scheduled time. Any subsequent actions in regards to that review are not impacted by an extension that has been requested or granted. Also, any action that has already been taken as a result of a mid-tenure review remains in force.
Is there a time limit when I have to apply for an extension?
No. You may apply any time prior to when your tenure materials are due as per your regular probationary period.
When can I formally apply?
Applications are accepted at present, please contact your dean’s office.
Yes. You are strongly encouraged to work remotely. However, the campus remains open and operational at this point in time. Please consult with your department chair or supervisor for further direction.
You should have the usual access to your office and lab while the campus remains open and operational. Should you need to design and deliver instructional content from your office, please consult with your department chair. When on campus, to safeguard your health and that of the campus community, please exercise appropriate social distancing (at least 6 feet apart) and wipe down equipment after each use.
You should be able to get into your lab to complete ongoing experiments. Please consult with your chair/director to develop a plan to accomplish your research objectives with the aim of maximizing remote time to the extent possible, while minimizing risk to our community.
To the extent possible, meetings should be conducted remotely. There may be exceptional circumstances where this is not feasible, but the intent of the current directive is to reduce face-to-face contact as per CDC guidelines. Please receive approval from your Department/School Chairs/Directors and Deans prior to scheduling such face-to-face meetings. Students should never be put in the position of feeling that they must attend a face-to-face meeting during the period of the university’s change in operations.
Yes, for the time being. You are encouraged to collaborate remotely, when possible.
To the extent possible, all employees should work remotely. Departments/schools will need to work with their support staff to facilitate this.
Departments/schools will determine an appropriate distribution of individuals’ telephone numbers so that contact can be maintained. Office staff will be expected to maintain regular business hours even if working remotely. Please respect your colleagues' personal time and contact them only during regular business hours.
Please follow all current university policies and CDC travel recommendations. Be advised that all business travel has been prohibited until further notice, and personal travel is strongly discouraged. In any remote work scenario, you should remain readily available to come into the office, and in contact with your departmental office and supervisor.
Yes, students need a way to ask questions and receive instant answers. The recommended tool for virtual office hours within Canvas is Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Instructions on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra are provided within the Faculty Toolkit.
First and foremost, each Principal Investigator should establish protocols to ensure the health and safety of students and laboratory personnel. Principal Investigators of larger laboratories are encouraged to rotate members through in small groups (<5) to complete essential research activities. Researchers requesting travel related exemptions to field sites must secure approval from the appropriate senior vice president.
Student assignment in research activity may continue with approval of Chair or Supervisor if the space is not overly crowded (<5) and social distancing guidelines (maintaining a distance between individuals of 6 – 10 feet) can be achieved.
Student success offices on all three campuses are ready to assist you. Please refer to the Current Student Toolkit for directions on how to contact the offices for service and assistance. If you need service from an office not included in the toolkit, visit their website for instructions on how to contact them.
- Campus Recreation
- Campus Dining
- Marshall Student Center
St. Petersburg Campus
- The University Student Center (USC)
- The Reef
- Nelson Poytner Memorial Library
- Campus Recreation
- Student Life Center (SLC)
- Student Life & Engagement
- Support-A-Bull Market Food Pantry
- St. Petersburg Campus Bookstore
- Parking Services