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UMW Healthy Plan / Deliver Quality Instruction

Deliver Quality Instruction

These guidelines are in effect for the University of Montana Western campus as well as offsite instructional spaces during the Spring 2021 semester.

To the extent possible, faculty should develop flexible instructional plans that leverage instructional technology, encourage blended delivery, and encourage smaller groups for in- person class meetings.

While UMW is emphasizing face-to-face teaching, some remote, online, or hybrid/blended courses will help free up classroom space for physically distanced face-to-face teaching and provide options for students who need to learn remotely/online and for instructors who need to teach that way.

Scenario Flowcharts

Click on the links below to download:

University of Montana Western Guidelines for Faculty and Departments for Spring 2021 Instruction

Guidelines for Departments to Consider for Course Delivery

  • Prioritize face-to-face/blended delivery for courses that are difficult to deliver in other modalities (such as labs, studio courses, etc.)
  • Work across departments to evenly distribute online and face-to-face courses, especially general education courses, across blocks.
  • For students who request accommodations for remote learning, work to find online options. Students requesting accommodations must contact the Dean of Students to make their requests. All non-ADA requests should be submitted no later than July 17th in order to allow advising and faculty reasonable time to adjust course schedules.  The Dean of Students will alert faculty to students requesting accommodations as soon as possible.

Guidelines for Faculty Requiring Accommodations and Modifications

  • Accommodations: Individuals with documented disabilities that place them at high risk for developing serious complications due to COVID-19 are encouraged to request accommodations under ADA. Please complete the COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodation Request Form and submit to Dean of Students
  • Modifications: Individuals who do not qualify for ADA accommodations but wish to adjust their delivery of instruction due to COVID-19 concerns should complete the COVID-19 Reasonable Modification Request Form and submit to their Division Chairs who will consult with the Provost.
  • We strongly encourage you to submit these Request Forms by June 26 for planning purposes that will impact the fall course schedule. It is important that departments offer face-to-face and remote instruction options for students.

Guidelines for Faculty to Prepare for Face-to-Face Instruction

  • All faculty should be prepared to move to remote delivery if required by Public Health authorities. All syllabi should be posted on Moodle.
  • Adapt face-to-face delivery to comply with classroom occupancy and traffic flow requirements to minimize health risks associated with in-person instruction.
  • Develop classroom layouts that promote physical distancing. In accordance with CDC guidelines, whenever possible, individuals should remain 6 feet apart.
  • Faculty may choose to use hybrid/flexible instructional models to meet with students face-to-face for shorter periods or in smaller groups. All instructional models should align with contact hour requirements.
  • Maintain face-to-face meetings within the scheduled class times indicated in the class schedule in order to assist facilities with cleaning procedures between classes. Any extended hours should be indicated in the schedule produced by the registrar’s office.
  • Faculty should plan to hold virtual office hours, except in circumstances where it is possible to follow appropriate social distancing guidelines.
  • Assess technology needs as soon as possible, as procurement may be slower or more difficult than usual.
  • Faculty are encouraged to include language in syllabi about expectations for students should they become ill, as well as regarding the use of masks. Sample language is provided below:

The CDC recommends that everyone wear cloth face coverings when leaving their homes, regardless of whether they have fever or symptoms of COVID-19. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in our community, faculty and students are required to wear a cloth mask during all face-to-face meetings associated with this course.

Students and faculty demonstrating any signs of illness should not attend class. Students exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 infection should stay home and immediately contact the student healthcare provider Southwest Montana Community Health Center at 406-683-4440, or their personal healthcare provider for instructions.

Protocols for Student Illness

  • Any student exhibiting possible symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to leave class immediately and contact a healthcare provider.
  • The University of Montana Western administration and faculty agree that students who will not be able to attend class due to illness will be held harmless for absences insofar as possible. All parties recognize that not all classes are amenable to alternative assignments and in some cases it is impossible to reschedule critical learning experiences. Though faculty has the final decision regarding the appropriateness of alternative assignments or experiences, in all cases they will make a good faith effort to accommodate.
  • If a student in a face-to-face course presents with possible symptoms of COVID-19, the professor will instruct the student to leave class and contact their medical provider for guidance. Class will continue to be held until Public Health determines a course will need to immediately move to remote delivery while testing is conducted. A class will only resume face-to-face meetings upon the direction of Public Health or confirmation that the student does not have COVID-19 or is no longer in isolation.

Protocols for Faculty Illness

  • Any faculty member exhibiting possible symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately move to remote instruction and contact their healthcare provider.
  • If a faculty member is too ill to continue teaching, they should contact their Division and Department Chairs as soon as possible to arrange for a substitute.
  • Departments are expected to identify contingency plans for substitute instruction in all Fall 2020 courses.

Guidelines for Off-Campus Experiential Opportunities

  • Make decisions about experiential learning (e.g. internships, clinical work, student teaching in K-12 settings, education abroad, etc.) based on an assessment of: health risks at destination/learning site, compatible approaches by external partners, size of learning group, equipment needs, health risks associated with required transportation, and the extent to which the experience is essential (for accreditation, etc.) to the program of study.

Guidelines for Faculty to Prepare for Remote Delivery

  • Post course syllabi for all courses on Moodle.
  • Work to develop lesson plans and assignments that allow for achievement and assessment of stated course learning outcomes.
  • Consider adaptations necessary for experiential components, including coordination with other organizations and businesses, and develop plans accordingly.
  • Assess technology needs as soon as possible, as procurement may be slower or more difficult than usual.
  • Opportunities for professional development are available this summer. Faculty who are interested in further developing knowledge and skills for remote instruction should contact Director of eLearning and Academic Technology, Justin Mason ( or 406-207-3108).

***Informational items from other groups on campus about cleaning and sanitization protocols, etc., should be added as they are developed***


Additional Planning Considerations for UMW Instruction

Lucy Carson Library Operating Practices

The Lucy Carson Library opened on June 22, 2020, to students and campus employees. Community members are required to make appointments to use the library. Summer hours are Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Academic year hours will begin on August 24, 2020.

Library procedures will be temporarily modified in accordance with current recommended safety practices. Modifications to library practices include:

  • All library staff are required to wear cloth face masks when working anywhere on campus.
  • Library staff will communicate current recommended safety practices through means that include signage in the physical building, information posted to the library website, and direct verbal communication.
  • In Blocks 7 and 8, faculty and students became more adept at using remote resources and services. Faculty and students are encouraged to continue using the library remotely.
  • The library is a thru-way of convenience on this campus. Foot traffic will be routed around the library in order to minimize the number of people passing through the library in close quarters.
  • The library entrance will be the main door next to the Swysgood Technology Center. The library exit will be the library door that opens into the Short Administrative building.
  • The consumption of food and beverages will not be allowed. The library won’t provide space for staff meal breaks.
  • Library staff will sanitize computer equipment and other high-use equipment and areas throughout the day. Equipment and spaces will be sanitized in between patron uses when feasible.

A system is in place that allows library patrons to communicate which work-spaces they have used so that library staff can sanitize spaces accordingly.

Furniture is arranged to promote social distancing while allowing for patron collaboration.

Study rooms are available for individual use and reservations are required.

  • The Makerspace and all equipment that can be sanitized will be available via reservation. The Library Director will work to meet the individual needs of faculty members who incorporate Makerspace equipment into curriculum.
  • The library will provide equipment, materials, and instructions to any member of the campus community wishing to make cloth masks.
  • A complete list of current modifications to library services will be available on the library website and at the library front desk.