Faculty/Instructional Staff

This page provides a wide range of COVID-19 updates and information specific to faculty and teaching staff on the KU Lawrence campus. Check back frequently for the most recent information.

Covid-19 Information

The 2021-2022 academic year calendar follows a typical pre-pandemic schedule.

Cleaning protocols

If you are a staff or faculty unit leader and you’d like to coordinate a cleaning and disinfection plan for your workspace or building, contact Custodial Services. You can locate your building’s custodial leadership member on the Custodial Services website.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)

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.

Adapting common facilities

  • Most buildings have at least one entrance with a touch-free door opener.
  • Hand sanitizing stations available in hallways, typically located near elevators.
  • Most restrooms have touch-free flushing and faucets.
  • Drinking fountains remain unavailable, but most buildings have at least one water bottle filling station.
  • One-way restriction on stairs removed.
  • Common areas open.
  • Break rooms open and restrictions of food storage lifted.
  • Conference and meeting rooms open.

Classrooms

  • Alcohol wipes still available for cleaning desktops.
  • Rolling plexiglass barriers can be made available by request through KU’s established accommodation process.
  • Classroom seating designed for an optimal teaching and learning environment based on the Higher Learning Commission recommendations.
  • Regular seating capacity in lecture halls.

Study Spaces

Outdoor tents with electricity and WiFi are available for study breaks.

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 course-adapt@ku.edu.

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 accessiblity@Ku.edu. If you have other questions or concerns, please contact Faculty Development at 785-864-3489 or facultydev@ku.edu.

 

Guidance for When a Student Tests Positive

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. Please copy and paste the text below into an email to send to students who may have attended class with them and were possibly exposed. Please ensure you do not share the COVID-positive student's name. Visit Classroom Safety Guidelines for additional information and guidance on COVID-19 positive students, quarantine & isolation for instructors and/or their dependents, symptomatic students, classroom health safety protection, and teaching requirements. 

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:

  • We are providing a self-screening tool to help you monitor your health to check for any symptoms over the next 10 days. Here is the link to that tool: KU COVID-19 Health Assessment Form (qualtrics.com)
  • If you feel well and pass the screening test, you should attend class and continue to wear a mask and wash your hands.
  • If you feel unwell, please stay home!
  • You should take a COVID test in 3-5 days from the date of possible exposure. Tests are free and available to you on campus. Details about where and how to test can be found here: https://protect.ku.edu/covid-19-testing-information

Please remember that the two best things you can do to keep from getting Covid are:

  1. Get vaccinated! Vaccines are available on campus. Go to:  https://protect.ku.edu/vaccine-incentives to learn how to receive a vaccine.

All students who submit their vaccination cards through the student health portal (no matter when or where they received their vaccine) are automatically entered into weekly drawings for prizes such as $5,000 cash, a semester of free tuition, KU basketball tickets given directly from Bill Self, Apple products, and much more.

  1. Keep wearing your mask.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus safe! Answers to questions you may have related to COVID can be found at https://protect.ku.edu. Any questions not found on the Protect KU webpage can be directed to protect@ku.edu

Researchers are no longer required to create and maintain individual lab and fieldwork COVID-19 safety plans that are approved by deans, department chairs or center directors and kept on file with the Office of Research. Research facility managers are no longer required to track vendors or other visitors to buildings.

GTA offices are open to use as needed in the Fall. There are no longer COVID-19 related distancing requirements.

Refer to the Protect KU Research page or visit Graduate Studies for more information.

Campus Health Protocols

We are taking a comprehensive and coordinated approach to provide for our community’s health and wellness this school year. These efforts include:

  • Enhanced cleaning methods and schedules across all campus classrooms, dining, transportation, and facilities.
  • Posting hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in all classrooms and around campus.
  • Providing personal protective equipment and sanitizing supplies to students and employees.

We ask that all Jayhawks follow appropriate safety guidelines to help protect our campus community.


Testing

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and contact your health care provider.

Members of the KU community can request symptomatic or asymptomatic testing at Watkins Health Services during regular operating hours.

Testing is available at Watkins for individuals with or without symptoms. To reduce risk of transmission, please make an appointment for a test by calling the Watkins Health Services Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583.

For more information visit Testing Information.


If you’ve been exposed or display symptoms

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the criteria below should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:∙

  1. Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine).
  2. Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

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.


If your dependent needs to quarantine or isolate

If you find yourself in the difficult situation of having to care for a child required to quarantine by a local school district or daycare due to possible COVID-19 exposure, 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.

Contact tracing and voluntary reporting

If a student informs you they must miss in-person class because of a positive test or that as a close contact they have been instructed to isolate or quarantine, please support them in following the guidance provided to them by their healthcare professional. Vaccinated individuals who have a possible exposure to a positive case do not need to quarantine if they have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

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. To protect privacy, do not share health information about a student unless they have given you permission to do so.

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. As we have throughout the pandemic, KU will continue to support contact tracing efforts of the Lawrence/Douglas County Health Department in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Health.

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.


Personal resources

KU employees are encouraged to reach out for personal help if it’s needed. Benefits-eligible employees and their dependents can receive assistance through the state’s Employee Assistance Program, which offers short-term counseling services, legal advice, money management assistance, and more. Employees may also be eligible for the Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund, which assists those who are experiencing financial hardship due to natural or personal disaster.


Employee health coverage

Visit the Kansas State Employee Health Plan website for information on health benefits related to COVID-19.

Parking

Additional parking options, such as short-term permits, are now available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to better accommodate our hybrid population.

Permit information for:

Bus Service

  • Federal law requires all drivers and passengers to wear masks. More information about health safety protocols can be found on the Transportation Services website.

All KU faculty and staff are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Watkins Health Services. To schedule an appointment, call the Immediate Care Clinic at 785-864-9565 to make an appointment. Additional information can be found at the Watkins Health Services website.

Testing at KU

Tests are offered free of charge to all KU students, faculty, and staff at Watkins Health Services. It is recommended that you take a COVID-19 test if any of the following are true:

  • You are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. You should test on day 3-5 following possible exposure.

To reduce risk of transmission, please contact Watkins Health Services before arriving for a test:

  • STUDENTS - call Watkins Health Services Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583
  • FACULTY/STAFF - Call the Immediate Care Clinic at 785-864-9565.

COST AND BILLING

  • Symptomatic and close contact individuals should not have to pay for any of the testing resources on campus.
  • Symptomatic COVID-19 tests will be billed to insurance. All insurance providers are required to cover these medically necessary tests in full when ordered by a healthcare provider.
  • Members of the KU community who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 and who do not have insurance will not be charged to receive this test. The cost will be covered through alternate funding sources. 
  • All asymptomatic COVID-19 saliva tests for KU’s randomized prevalence testing and for testing of close contacts of positive cases will be provided at no cost to those who meet the criteria to receive these tests.