Teaching Reminders for the Beginning of Classes

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Dear Colleagues,

Tomorrow, August 10, marks the start of classes for the fall semester. We write in deep gratitude for your many efforts to ensure we are prepared for a successful semester. To assist you in making a smooth start in your classes, please find below a set of tips and practices collected from a number of campus sources.

Instructor Checklists

Each classroom will have an instructor checklist present to help reinforce our new habits. For your convenience, that checklist is [linked here]. 

Physical Distancing in Classrooms

Please remind your students to maintain appropriate physical distance and adhere to health and safety protocols during class and while entering and exiting buildings. Students and instructors must wear masks at all times in classrooms and academic buildings. Please note that a taped “courtesy line” has been added to many classrooms to help instructors maintain physical distancing, but note that you may move about the classroom to help students at a distance of 2’ - 3’ feet for short periods of time (10-15 minutes). Classroom designs and practices have been developed, reviewed and approved in conjunction with our consulting teams of medical experts. Comments and feedback on classrooms may be sent to: facilityreopening@nd.edu

Reporting Seats

Each time your class meets during the add/drop period (from August 10th through August 17th) and on the first day after enrollments have finalized (on August 18), please ask your students to report their seat location using here.nd.edu/seat. Please provide your students with your course/section information and room location during these reminders. Usable seats have been numbered. You do not need to report attendance to the Covid Response Unit (CRU) and do not need diagrams or charts. Classes starting later in the semester should use this process for reporting seats as well; the form will remain live all semester. A link to this form has been added for students in the ND Mobile App. For your convenience, a seat reporting reminder sheet which can be included in a slide deck is [linked here].

Resilient Teaching

Created by ND Learning, the Resilient Teaching website collects recommended research-based teaching strategies, key policies and procedures (including sample syllabus language), and information about using learning technologies. 

Technology Assistance

The OIT Help Desk has added staff and has a rapid-response teaching-triage process in place. If you need technology assistance (including but not limited to help with dual-mode procedures), please contact the Help Desk at oithelp@nd.edu or 574/631-8111. 

Dual-Mode Procedures

Detailed instructions for using the dual-mode technology in classrooms are available here, and electronically on the teaching lecterns. We recommend you print and bring these to your class for reference. Also note a quick-reference guide has been printed and installed  on teaching lecterns. Please remember that some students may need to attend remotely (for instance, if they receive a “red pass” on their Daily Health Check), so we ask that you begin every class by opening the Zoom meeting. If no remote students are present after a reasonable time, feel free to close the meeting. Remember to log in to Zoom using Single Sign-On (SSO) to ensure you are the “host” of the meeting in order to use breakout rooms, interaction tools, and security features. For teaching strategies to engage remote students, please see this article in the Resilient Teaching Handbook

Online and Alternating Attendance Courses

If you are teaching an online course, please share the Zoom meeting link with your students, and post it in Sakai. Remind your students to dress appropriately, observe the University’s privacy standards, and use headphones/headsets to minimize disruption. Instructors and students alike should use a quiet place with a strong internet connection for online courses. For some students, the best location will be their dorm room. For others (including graduate and off-campus students), the University has prepared a range of informal and quiet study spaces for this purpose, including in the dining halls and in the concourse of Notre Dame Stadium. As always, the Hesburgh Libraries remain a core destination for quiet study.

Red Pass / Green Pass 

Instructions on how to proceed are clearly outlined on each pass. If your students have any health concerns, please encourage them to follow the University’s detailed medical/health procedures outlined here or call UHS at 574/631-7497.
Even if students get a red pass, they are expected to join the Zoom meeting for their classes that day; a red pass is not an excused absence; students should use the Zoom meeting only if they have an approved accommodation or have a red pass. Students not able to be online will receive an excused absence from University Health Services
We anticipate that instructors will receive regular red-pass reports from the Return to Campus tool.
If you receive a red pass during your daily health check, please read the health directions carefully. Advice varies based on the symptoms you report, so you may still be able to teach in person. If you are advised not to come to campus, please ask your students to join the Zoom meeting and teach your class remotely. In this case, students would not go to the classroom.

Things to Remember

This will be an unusual semester. A number of our students will have at least one online class. Daily health checks, the wearing of masks, hand washing protocols, and physical distancing standards will be part of the daily rituals all members of our community are asked to adopt. We will need to be patient with students and others, and vigilant in the pacing of student work and the timing of assessments, given that our fall calendar will be lacking the traditional fall break. Most of our students, whether newly matriculating or returning, will begin this semester after having spent the spring semester in an online environment. It will take all of us — faculty, staff, and students — some time to adjust. Therefore, we encourage flexibility and grace in all things as we begin this new term.

If we may be of help in any way, please feel free to contact us.


Yours in Notre Dame,

(The Rev. Canon) Hugh R. Page, Jr., DMin, PhD, LHD
Vice President & Associate Provost
Professor of Theology and Africana Studies

Elliott Visconsi, PhD
Associate Provost and Chief Academic Digital Officer
Associate Professor of English and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law