Fall 2021 Face Covering Guide for Faculty
The use of face coverings in all indoor spaces is a university-wide requirement. Facilities will post face-covering signage in all classrooms.  Academic Affairs has created suggested syllabi language which faculty may include that outlines the face-covering policy.  We encourage faculty to use this statement and communicate these expectations clearly on the first day of class. Students failing to wear face coverings will be asked to leave the classroom. Please consider using the suggestions below to help you address situations that may arise regarding the use of face coverings in the classroom setting. 

General tips for de-escalating conflict (provided courtesy  Dr. Rick Pongratz, Director ISU Counseling and Testing)

  • Take a relational approach. Connect with the person first, impose rules later. If we can connect as humans, people can more easily let go of the conflicts. Try to communicate in-person and one on one.  It is easier to objectify and be angry at someone on the phone, in email, or on zoom than when they are in a shared space. We also don’t want to give them a stage in front of others.

  • Try to find common ground as a place to start. Work to identify our shared goals (i.e., keeping our Bengal Community healthy). How can working together help us achieve those goals?

  • Always use non-confrontational language and a respectful tone.  Avoid using words that give any indication that you disrespect someone who refuses to wear a mask. 

  • Always be respectful, curious, and listen. Practice being empathic with and compassionate toward them. Sometimes people just need to feel heard and then they're more compliant.

  • See if there's a way to “give them a win.”  If there is some way working together can result in a compromise, that's going to work best.  An example, perhaps there are some classes on the quad that can occur so masks don't have to be worn.

When a student shows up without a face covering.
As a first step, kindly remind the student that face coverings are required in the classroom setting and that this requirement is a protection for all. If someone has forgotten to wear their face covering, remind them by saying “Please wear a face covering while in class,” and help them find a reusable or disposable one if needed. If the student continues to resist, the faculty member can ask the student to leave the classroom and/or suggest that the student participates only in an online component of the course (if applicable). Faculty will be provided with disposable face coverings to distribute to students on an as-needed basis. If you need additional disposable face coverings to provide to students, please coordinate with your department to request additional supplies through the Bengal Depot Order Form

When a student has self-identified as medically unable to wear a face covering. 
We want to make sure we make every effort to support our students and their needs, ensuring they are treated in a respectful manner by faculty and other students. Faculty should take the discussion off-line and provide students with alternative options, which may include offering distance-based instruction if options are available. If students wish to remain in the face-to-face classroom environment, faculty should advise the student to visit Disability Services to obtain an alternative means of protection. Options for alternative protection are being evaluated. Faculty members will be notified of a student’s accommodation. If faculty have questions or concerns regarding these accommodations, they are welcome to reach out to Disability Services.

When a student refuses to wear a face covering. 
As a university, we want to educate and foster a culture where everyone wears face coverings for the health and safety of our campus community. Wearing a face covering is for the protection not only of the wearer, but for others. For an isolated incident, assume positive intent and remind them of the expectation, educate, and provide them a disposable option if necessary. If a student continues to resist on a repeat basis, problem-solve with the student, off-line, to offer alternative options (such as participating in the course through a distance-based delivery) or other arrangements as available. Consult with your department chair or dean if necessary. If, after this dialogue, the student continues to willfully disregard the need for face coverings, risking the health and safety of the campus community, please refer the student to Student Affairs and the procedures outlined in ISUPP 5000 Student Conduct Code, Article III, Section C. Faculty who are unable to resolve a student conduct classroom issue may send an email to the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@isu.edu
This communication was sent to all Idaho State University faculty and staff.
Send comments, feedback, and questions to communications@isu.edu.
View this email as a web page.