Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

Table with lists containing FAQ section links

To submit a question for FAQs please email coronavirus@utrgv.edu.


Accomodations

  • Yes, please discuss with your supervisor or email the Office of Human Resources at hr@utrgv.edu.

  • What if an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 or must self-isolate at home due to exposure?

    Please work with your supervisor regarding proper leave to take or email the Office of Human Resources at hr@utrgv.edu.

  • What can faculty do if a student discloses they are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition?

    In the event a student discloses that they are unable to wear a facial covering due to a medical condition, the instructor should inform the student that for his or her safety, as well as the safety of others present in the classroom, they should excuse themselves.  There should be no penalty for not attending class on that occasion.  If subsequent absences are required, the instructor should refer the student to submit their request for accommodations to Student Accessibility Services using the mySAS portal located at, or to contact Student Accessibility Services for further guidance.    

    • Note: The student is responsible for providing sufficient documentation to Student Accessibility Services that the wearing of a facial covering is contraindicated by the medical condition/disability. Accommodations may be requested at any time but are not retroactive, meaning they are valid once approved by Student Accessibility Services.
      • Student Accessibility Services Contact Information:
        Email: ability@utrgv.edu
        Locations:
        Brownsville Campus: 1.107 in the Music and Learning Center building (BMSLC) Phone: (956) 882-7374  
        Edinburg Campus: 108 University Center (EUCTR) Phone: (956) 665-7005 
  • What do faculty do if unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition?

    Please inform your immediate supervisor and contact the Office of Human Resources at hr@utrgv.edu if you have a medical condition that does not allow you to wear a face covering.  The Office of Human Resources will review and provide guidance regarding possible workplace accommodations.

  • Faculty should address any questions and/or concerns primarily with their immediate supervisor. If additional support and guidance is needed, they may contact the Office of the Faculty Ombuds at facultyombuds@utrgv.edu.

  • Where can faculty find guidelines and best practices to ensure effective accommodations are made for our students with disabilities?

    This information is available on the Fall 2020 Course Syllabus Template.



County Mandates

  • My county or city has issued a shelter-in-place/ stay-at-home order. How does this affect employees?

    UTRGV is an exception to the orders because we perform essential government functions as a state education institution.

    Below is guidance in your role as a member of the UTRGV community during shelter-in-place / stay-at-home orders.

    Employees

    • Should continue working from home or campus, if previously authorized to do so.
    • May continue accessing our campuses / facilities for essential services.
    • May continue traveling between campuses / facilities as needed for essential services.
    • Should carry a UTRGV ID at all times as evidence of your essential status with the university.

     



Health and Safety

  • What do I do if I am concerned about returning to campus because have a preexisting medical condition or live with someone with health issues?

    • For students: If you are concerned about returning to campus, you may choose to take all your classes online. The university is providing six different course modalities to provide options for our students’ needs. More information can be found on the Fall 2020 Course Options and Safety Procedures webpage.  
    • For employees: If you are concerned about returning to campus, please discuss your situation with your supervisor or email the Office of Human Resources at hr@utrgv.edu.

    If you must return to campus, please rest assured that the university has implemented safety and health protocols that, according to the CDC, will help ensure your well-being upon your return.

  • Will employees be informed when someone on campus tests positive for COVID-19?

    Consistent with UTRGV protocols and federal privacy laws, anyone identified within our university community as being at risk of exposure from those who have tested positive will be notified by our COVID-19 Response Team and will be instructed to be isolated or tested.

    The COVID-19 Response Team is responsible for identifying and contacting others who may have been at risk. In addition, areas of exposure are thoroughly disinfected and cleaned as needed.

    Please remember that, according to CDC guidelines, properly wearing a face covering over your mouth and nose, social distancing (staying six feet apart) and avoiding close contact (15 minutes or more within six feet) will minimize your exposure to COVID-19.

    In addition, UTRGV is providing weekly updates of confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus/off-campus facilities on this webpage.

  • Does UTRGV have any employee resources for screening and testing for COVID-19?

    Yes. Please follow the UTRGV Employee/Student Self-Screening & Reporting Process. See below:

    Self-Screening

    Each day, prior to visiting any UTRGV campus/off-campus facilities, university students and employees must review and answer the current version of the UT Health RGV screening questions regarding COVID-19-related symptoms.

    Do not access the campus/off-campus facilities if: 

    • You answered yes to any of the screening questions
    • You have been exposed (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) to someone who tested positive or who is currently being tested for COVID-19 in the prior 14 days. 
    • You tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been officially released by a member of the COVID-19 Response Team.

    Reporting

    Instead of accessing campus/off-campus facilities:

    • Communicate with your instructor/supervisor (If you are a student employee please communicate with both you instructor and supervisor.)
    • Fill out the Preliminary COVID-19 Screening Form. You will receive an immediate email response from the COVID-19 team. A sample is below:
    Screen shot of confirmation page
    • The COVID-19 Response Team is responsible for identifying and contacting others who may have been at risk.
    • Students or employees may not return to UTRGV premises until they are released by a member of the COVID-19 response team.

    If you develop symptoms or start to feel unwell while on campus, follow the same process:

    • Leave campus/work immediately
    • Contact your instructor/supervisor so arrangements can be made with you to complete your academic requirements/work assignments. 
    • Fill out the Screening Form
    • Wait for instructions from the COVID-19 Response Team
  • Yes. Please visit UT Health RGV’s COVID-19 (coronavirus) Resource Center.



Human Resources

  • Employees should reach out to their supervisor, who will work with the employee to see if a remote work arrangement can be made. If an employee or a live-in family member falls under one of the high-risk categories, employees must follow policies and procedures and provide a doctor's note stating that the employee cannot return to campus due to high risk. Please contact HRpartners@utrgv.edu for more information.



On Campus

  • What is UTRGV’s Commitment to Safety and Success?

    UTRGV’s Commitment to Safety and Success is the university’s pledge to, first and foremost, keep our students, faculty, staff and visitors safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Secondly, the university wants to ensure the success of our university community:

    • For students, we want to provide you as much support possible, so you can continue pursuing your degrees and not allow the impact of the pandemic derail your academic progress.
    • For employees, we will continue to make operational decisions that help protect your employment at a time when many in our community are without jobs. The university is our people and we must preserve our people.
  • Are employees required to return to campus this fall?

    Limiting the amount of people at our campuses/off-campus facilities this fall will help UTRGV ensure the health and safety of our university community and the community we serve. Therefore, at this time, only staff members who are essential to on-campus operations or who can’t effectively perform their job duties from a remote setting are expected to return to campus this fall.

    The return date for other employees will vary by department and employee’s role and should be discussed with each supervisor. All employees will have at least a two weeks’ notice before any decisions are made to return. 

    For staff who must come to campus or who choose to come to campus, rest assured that:

    • there will be significantly less people at our campuses/off-campus facilities;
    • the university has implemented social-distancing and other health measures to ensure your health and safety;
    • and we are monitoring the situation daily and will make changes to our plans, if necessary. 

    If you have any questions about your status or concerns about returning to campus, please contact your supervisor or email hr@utrgv.edu.

  • Are student employees required to return to campus this fall?

    Limiting the amount of people on campus this fall will help UTRGV ensure the health and safety of our university community and the community we serve. Therefore, at this time, only student employees who are essential to on-campus operations or who can’t effectively perform their job duties from a remote setting are expected to return to campus this fall.

    Supervisors will work with student employees to arrange appropriate social-distancing measures, as recommended by the CDC. 

    If you have any questions about your status or concerns about returning to campus, please contact your supervisor or email hr@utrgv.edu.

  • How many students, faculty and staff will be on campus during the fall?

    The university doesn’t have an exact number, but we expect the population on both our campuses to be significantly reduced as compared to a normal fall semester. Minimizing the amount of people on our campuses will help ensure everyone’s health and safety.

    • For students, more than 70 percent of the fall courses will be taught online; less than 10 percent are traditional face-to-face; and less than 20 percent are hybrid, with these hybrid courses likely meeting no more than once a week.
    • For faculty and staff, only those employees who are essential to on-campus operations or whose job function cannot be effectively performed from home, are being asked to return to campus. Most employees will work remotely as they have throughout the summer.
  • Are employees allowed to access campus or off-campus facilities?

    Yes. Please review and follow these Return to Campus guidelines before returning to ensure the health and safety of yourself and our university community.

    Also, please alert your supervisor before returning to ensure your office space meets social-distancing standards, as recommended by the CDC.

  • What do I do if I am concerned about returning to campus because have a preexisting medical condition or live with someone with health issues?

    • For students: If you are concerned about returning to campus, you may choose to take all your classes online. The university is providing six different course modalities to provide options for our students’ needs. More information can be found on the Fall 2020 Course Options and Safety Procedures
    • For employees: If you are concerned about returning to campus, please discuss your situation with your supervisor or email the Office of Human Resources at hr@utrgv.edu.

    If you must return to campus, please rest assured that the university has implemented safety and health protocols that, according to the CDC, will help ensure your well-being upon your return.

  • Will employee services be open on campus, like the Office of Human Resources, the food court and recreational center, etc.?

    Yes, staff services will be open but might alter their schedule of operations to ensure the safety and health of their staff and visitors. Please visit Campus Operations for the latest information.

    In addition, all staff services will also be available through remote operations.

  • May in-person staff meetings be conducted if social distancing is assured?

    Yes, but all participants must wear a face covering over the mouth and nose and be six feet apart.

  • Why are we returning to campus?

    At this time, only employees who are essential to on-campus operations or who can’t effectively perform their job duties from a remote setting are expected to return to campus this fall.

    Limiting the amount of people on campus this fall will help UTRGV ensure the health and safety of our university community and the community we serve.

    The return date for other employees will vary by department and employee’s role and should be discussed with each supervisor. 

    If you have any questions about your status or concerns about returning to campus, please contact your supervisor or email the Office of Human Resources at hr@utrgv.edu.

  • Is everyone required to wear face coverings?

    Yes. UTRGV has implemented a Face Covering Protocol, which requires wearing face coverings that covers the mouth and nose when entering a campus building to protect others and themselves and create the safest possible campus. This protocol applies to all students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors.

    The covering must be worn in all hallways, public spaces, research labs, teaching/computer labs, libraries, classrooms, automobiles with a passenger, stairwells, elevators and common areas, as well as office spaces. In office spaces — when social distancing of 6 feet is possible and maintained — face coverings may be removed. 

    Face coverings also are required in outdoor settings, if safe social distancing and gathering practices are not possible.

    Failure to comply with these procedures may result in disciplinary action through the appropriate processes.  

    For more information refer to the Face Covering Protocol.

  • How often will the buildings and offices be disinfected?

    Enhanced cleaning procedures have been added to help disinfect high-touch surfaces more frequently. 

    • Additional focus will be spent on all high-contact public spaces and surfaces, like entrance door handles, doorknobs, light switches, counters, faucets, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, toilet partition latches/handles, stair hand rails, open seating areas, benches, and elevator controls. 
    • Deep cleaning of areas, such as classrooms, clinics and/or high-traffic contact areas in all campus/off-campus facilities will occur during every evening shift.  
    • In addition, hand sanitizer dispensers have been mounted in high-traffic areas.
    • Disinfectant and paper towels will be provided to departments for cleaning of personal spaces. This is being provided centrally through iShop and delivery by Central Receiving. Departments will be responsible for cleaning/disinfecting their personal spaces daily with supplies being provided centrally through Procurement.

     

    In addition, services under Standard Cleaning Procedures will remain:

    • Daily Service: General cleaning will continue via standard procedures
      • Trash pickup - Common areas such as classrooms, lobbies, break rooms, conference rooms, hallways, breezeways, etc.
      • Sweeping, mopping, dusting, and vacuuming of all common areas.
      • Restrooms - cleaned and serviced
      • Clinical locations – cleaned and serviced
    • Weekly Service: Private/personal spaces such as offices and cubicles:
      • Empty trash cans and remove material labeled as trash
      • Sweep and/or dust mop hard surfaces
      • Vacuum and spot clean carpeted floors
      • Dust all furniture, countertops and shelves not obstructed by paperwork
      • General wipe downs/spot cleaning of all doors, frames, and entry glass
    • Monthly / Quarterly
      • Window cleaning
      • Floor waxing and polishing
      • Carpet extractions

     



Screening and Testing for COVID-19

  • What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms; have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or who is currently begin tested; or have tested positive?

    Please follow the UTRGV Employee/Student Self-Screening & Reporting Process (ADD LINK). See below:

    Self-Screening

    Each day, prior to visiting any UTRGV campus/off-campus facilities, university students and employees must review and answer the current version of the UT Health RGV screening questions regarding COVID-19-related symptoms.

    Do not access the campus/off-campus facilities if: 

    • You answered yes to any of the screening questions
    • You have been exposed (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) to someone who tested positive or who is currently being tested for COVID-19 in the prior 14 days.
    • You tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been officially released by a member of the COVID-19 Response Team.

    Reporting

    Instead of accessing campus/off-campus facilities:

      • Communicate with your instructor/supervisor (If you are a student employee please communicate with both you instructor and supervisor.)
      • Fill out the Preliminary COVID-19 Screening Form. You will receive an immediate email response from the COVID-19 team. A sample is below:
    Screen shot of confirmation page
    • The COVID-19 Response Team is responsible for identifying and contacting others who may have been at risk.
    • Students or employees may not return to UTRGV premises until they are released by a member of the COVID-19 response team.

    If you develop symptoms or start to feel unwell while on campus, follow the same process:

    • Leave campus/work immediately
    • Contact your instructor/supervisor so arrangements can be made with you to complete your academic requirements/work assignments.
    • Fill out the Screening Form
    • Wait for instructions from the COVID-19 Response Team


Teaching

  • How do I help students with limited or no internet access?

    Please remind these students that the library and computer labs will be available on both Brownsville and Edinburg campuses during the fall. If they don’t want to access campus, WiFi is available at different parking lots on both campuses. They can access a map of hotspots here.

    If none of these options meet their needs, please relay any such case to your department chair. In the meantime, please allow as much flexibility as possible to help these students.

  • What can faculty do if they don’t not have much, or any, online experience?

    Your colleagues, department chairs, deans and the Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology (COLTT) are standing by to provide mentoring, training and support. Your department chair should be your first point of contact.

    In addition, the Office of Faculty Success and Diversity and the Center for Teaching Excellence

    provide many professional development opportunities focusing on remote learning. Visit https://www.utrgv.edu/facultysuccess/ or https://www.utrgv.edu/cte/ to learn more about current offerings. There is also a Teaching Continuity site with information and video recorded training:

    https://www.utrgv.edu/cte/teaching-continuity/index.htm

  • Are there guidelines for the number of students per classroom?

    Yes. All courses with 50 students or more will be taught online. In addition, classrooms will only be used to 35 percent of its capacity. For example, if a classroom holds 50 students, only 17 students will be allowed in the classroom to ensure proper social distancing.  

    Please see University Guidelines and Fall 2020 Course Options and Safety Procedures for any updates on classroom guidelines. 

  • What if faculty member becomes ill with COVID-19 or must self-isolate at home due to exposure? What should be done with their class?

    If a faculty member is able to work remotely, they should work with their immediate supervisor to make any necessary arrangements.  

    If the faculty member needs to take leave to care for themselves or a dependent, then the faculty member should make sure that their immediate supervisor is informed as soon as possible. Their immediate supervisor will work with their department and/or dean’s offices to make sure the appropriate leave is applied to the faculty member’s time away, and that a back-up instructor temporarily covers the class while the faculty member is on leave.  

  • How can faculty enforce the requirement that students wear masks during traditional face-to-face classes?

    Follow the chain of command for Student issues. The supervisor is the instructor. If the instructor has issues with a student not wearing a face covering or fails to wear the face covering in compliance with university guidelines, the faculty member will request that the student wears the face covering correctly or to get a face covering and will allow the student to return to class upon demonstrating compliance.  Faculty can request spare face coverings via iShop.

     

    If the student refuses to wear or correctly wear the face covering, the instructor will ask the student to leave the class. If the student refuses to leave the class, the instructor may call UTRGV Campus Police Department at (956) 882-7777 to address the issue with the student, or, adjourn the class and submit a referral to the Dean of Students for follow-up with the student.

     

    In the event a student discloses that they are unable to wear a facial covering due to a medical condition, the instructor should inform the student that for his/her safety, as well as others present in the classroom, they should excuse themselves.  There should be no penalty for not attending class on that occasion.  If subsequent absences are required, the instructor should refer the student to submit their request for accommodations to Student Accessibility Services using the mySAS portal located at www.utrgv.edu/mySAS, or, to contact Student Accessibility Services for further guidance.

    Note: The student is responsible for providing sufficient documentation to Student Accessibility Services that the wearing of facial covering is contradicted by the medical condition/disability. Accommodations may be requested at any time but are not retroactive, meaning they are valid once approved by Student Accessibility Services.

    Student Accessibility Services:

    Email: ability@utrgv.edu

    Location:
    1.107 in the Music and Learning Center building (BMSLC) Phone: (956) 882-7374
    108 University Center (EUCTR)  Phone: (956) 665-7005 

    The Faculty Ombuds is available to help faculty navigate workplace issues and can provide assistance regarding conversations around the face covering directive with students and colleagues. Meetings by phone and virtual format are available. Call the Faculty Ombuds for more information at (956) 540-8261 or email facultyombuds@utrgv.edu.

  • Are faculty required to wear masks while teaching during face-to face classes?

    Yes. UTRGV has implemented a face covering protocol that requires the wearing of face coverings when entering a campus building to protect others and themselves and to create the safest possible campus. Masks must cover both the mouth and the nose. It is important to understand that violations of safety procedures are not acceptable. Failure to follow protocol and directives may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. 

  • Where can faculty teaching online find instructional resources?

    {CONTENT NEEDED HERE}


Technology

  • What is the (VPN) virtual private network capacity? How is priority determined?

    There are 5,000 concurrent VPN connections allowed. Connection is first come, first served.

  • How do I set up the VPN (virtual private network)?

    Please see knowledge article on how to create a VPN connection. All UTRGV laptops should have DirectAccess which negates the need to manually create a VPN connection. UTRGV desktop computers being used off campus can also have the DirectAccess policy applied by having the user submit a Service Request, including the computer name and asset tag number. 

    For more information and guidance, click here.

  • Does UTRGV have an enterprise Zoom subscription that faculty can utilize?

    Yes, all UTRGV faculty, staff, and students are automatically granted access to utilize Zoom online video and audio conferencing. For additional information on Zoom and its capabilities, please visit the UTRGV Zoom for Instructors resource webpage.