Classroom COVID-19 Guidance

Exposure and Illness

Notification of a Positive Case of COVID-19

If a student informs you they must miss in-person class because of a positive test, please support them in following the guidance provided to them by their healthcare professional. Everyone should consult in the guidance provided on Protect KU's Exposure & Isolation Guidance page. 

Instructors set the attendance policies for their classes. Students are expected to reach out to you as the instructor to make arrangements for staying on track in the class and with any examinations. Instructors are not expected to create a full online version of their course for students who are sick or are asked to quarantine. Instructors may request documentation for student absences, and we encourage consideration of documentation other than doctors’ notes in order to keep as many appointments available at Watkins for students who must see a physician.

If you have concerns about your own health, please reach out to your healthcare provider and follow their instructions.

Optional Notification of a Possible Exposure of COVID-19 to an Entire Class

If a student notifies you that they have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and attended one of your classes in person at any point in the previous 10 days, the student should NOT come to class until their isolation period has concluded.

If there is a high probability that this student exposed the rest of the class (e.g.: a course that requires person-to-person interaction and/or students are in close proximity to one another), you may wish to email the class to let them know they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. To protect privacy, do not share health information about a student unless they have given you permission to do so. For your convenience, you can copy and paste the message below into an email to send to students who may have attended class with the person who tested positive. 

Dear Students,

I am writing to inform you that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 during __________ class. Please carefully review and adhere to the following protocol for possible COVID exposure:

  • Complete the COVID-19 Health Assessment & Protocol Guidance Form for specific instructions on what you need to do in terms of testing and quarantine.
    • As we are all considered close contacts, the assessment will advise testing 3-5 days from the date of possible exposure. Tests are free and available to you on campus at Watkins Health Center. Your individual circumstance may warrant additional steps, so please complete the assessment to obtain those instructions.
  • If you feel well and the results of your Health Assessment indicate it is safe for you to be around others, you should attend class, wear a mask for 10 days following exposure, and practice good hygiene.
  • If you feel unwell, please stay home!
  • You should take a COVID test 5 days from the date of possible exposure. Tests are free and available to you on campus at Watkins Health Center.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus safe! Answers to questions you may have related to COVID can be found at Any questions not found on the Protect KU webpage can be directed to

When an Instructor Needs to Isolate

Moving a class entirely online cannot be done without approval of the dean, with requests made through chairs/directors in schools with chairs/directors. Please inform your chair/dean if you have been personally contacted and advised by a county health professional that it is appropriate to move your class online. If you have any concerns about your own health, please contact your healthcare provider.

If you have any concerns about your own health, please contact your healthcare provider.

When an Instructor's Dependent Needs to  Isolate

If you find yourself in the difficult situation of having to care for a child required to isolate by a local school district or daycare, we ask that you take the following steps to manage your teaching responsibilities:

  1. Inform your chair, dean, or faculty supervisor and work with them to find another instructor to meet with the class.  
  2. If another instructor is not available, then devise a meaningful alternative that could include:
    • Engaging students remotely, but with students in the classroom and someone else designated to assist in facilitating course activities.
    • Engaging students remotely until the end of the quarantine period.

When a Course Should be Moved to Online

Should attendance drop below 25% for a week, and instructor may move their course to online for a one-time period of no more than two weeks. You must send a request to your chair or dean that includes a brief justification and documentation (sharing attendance records or emails from students).

Student Displaying Symptoms of COVID-19

As in any situation when a student is obviously in distress, encourage students appearing ill to leave class and seek assistance. Watkins Health Services provides walk-in services for students. Remind students that they need to contact you about how to complete missed work or exams, and to follow health care provider instructions or Douglas County Health officials about when it is safe to return to class.

Contact Tracing

State law precludes the university from undertaking its own contact tracing efforts, but KU provides relevant information to LCDHE and KDHE, as appropriate, to assist in contact tracing. 

Safety Precautions Available to Instructors

Instructors will find familiar safety features in classrooms such as plexiglass barriers, sanitizer, and air purification systems. PPE can be requested through Campus Operations by completing the PPE Requisition Form. Instructors may also benefit from scheduling a meeting in their classroom with an operations employee to discuss the safety precautions of the room, space configuration, and ventilation specifications by contacting  A PAPR (powered air purifying respirator) can be requested by emailing 

Room Ventilation

FS HVAC teams, in partnership with the University Engineer, studied the effects of increasing our MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating and it resulted in an exponential drop in air exchange rates and therefore a drop in the introduction of fresh air in the spaces. This would have an overall negative effect on the health and safety of our buildings (stagnant air). Increasing outside air intake and optimizing exchange rates are far more important than filtering. Mask wearing reduces the likelihood that the airborne particles make it back into the return air system at all.

To further enhance the ‘in room’ filtration, air purifiers have been installed in classroom and shared spaces.  Filter units use hospital-grade filters to continually scrub and circulate the air.

For additional support please call the Watkins Health Services Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9507.

Mask Requirements

Our current mask policy is as follows:

  • Masks are no longer required in classrooms nor in non-classroom settings such as libraries, dining halls, research labs, hallways, athletics facilities, offices, meeting rooms and similar areas.

  • The only settings in which masks are still required are Watkins Health Center, and in childcare facilities. Masks are no longer required on KU buses.

Teaching Requirements

Online Course Options

If the course you’re teaching was offered in-person prior to the pandemic, the expectation is that the course will be offered in-person again. Instructors and departments are not required to offer course adaptions. Students needing online courses should discuss options with their academic advisor. Advisors will help students explore online options that meet degree requirements. If there are no viable options, students will need to work with their home academic department . The details of each adaptation will be worked out between the student, their instructor, and the academic department. Because of the possibility of the need for students or instructors to quarantine, instructors are encouraged to build flexibility into their course plans to more easily adapt to changing public health circumstances. Visit the Flex Teaching website for more information.  

For more information about course adaptations, please visit the Student Affairs website or contact

Faculty teaching assignments are established by their departments/chairs. If you have an in person teaching assignment and you are concerned about returning to campus due to an underlying health condition, we welcome you to contact the ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility to discuss your concerns and potential workplace accommodations. You can contact the office by completing the intake form or emailing If you have other questions or concerns, please contact Faculty Development at 785-864-3489 or

Office Hours

We know that students appreciated the flexibility offered by Zoom office hours; CTE has encouraged instructors to continue at least some office hours via Zoom.

Classroom Capacity

Over the summer we reset classrooms across campus. Those efforts adjusted classrooms from the pandemic-relegated/physical distanced capacity, to a newly established optimal-learning capacity. The updated classroom seating is designed to accommodate 25 square feet per student, which is the standard for an optimal teaching and learning environment based on Higher Learning Commission recommendations. Regular seating capacity will resume in lecture halls.


Instructors control the attendance policies in their classes. If students are asked to quarantine or they are too sick to attend class, we have reminded them they need to follow their healthcare provider or Douglas County Health instructions and they are responsible for contacting you about how to complete missed work or exams.