Education Guidance

 
 

The University is pleased to welcome our community to campus for the 2021–22 academic year.

The University’s pandemic response is grounded in science and expert medical guidance, and we are confident that the layered precautions of our campus-wide vaccination requirements, masking requirements, COVID-19 testing, and updated health protocols and attestation, among other measures, will promote a safe return for our academic community. Announcements regarding any campus status updates can be found here

This page contains important information related to the 2021–2022 academic experience.


Academic Calendar 2021-22

Autumn Quarter 2021 marks the beginning of several previously announced changes to the regular academic calendar. These changes were announced by Provost Lee in February 2020, and are the result of a comprehensive review of the academic calendar by a committee composed of faculty, academic staff, and undergraduate and graduate students, who worked at the charge of Dean John W. Boyer with support from the Office of the Provost. The full report by the committee and their recommendations can be found here.

The full, revised Academic Calendar for the 2021-22 academic year is now posted online. Please note:

  • Although the start of Winter Quarter has been delayed by one week for most schools and divisions, and Spring Break will now begin on March 19 instead of March 12, the date of Convocation has not changed. Convocation is still scheduled for Saturday, June 4.
  • To start Spring Quarter one week later without changing the date of Convocation, the College will hold final exams for non-graduating students the week of May 30; graduating fourth years will complete their exams the preceding week. Students and families will receive further details on these plans soon.  

Returning to Campus

The University will be fully open for Spring Quarter 2022.

We encourage anyone traveling either domestically or internationally to review the latest travel advisory from the City of Chicago prior to returning to campus. More information will be provided as Spring Quarter approaches.

  • If you are an international student concerned about arriving in time for the start of classes, please contact your area dean of students to check in with your program.
  • If you are a student with concerns about returning to in-person instruction, please reach out to your advisor, area dean of students, or the appropriate administrator in your program or unit to discuss your concerns.
  • If you are a student with a disability or medical condition that may require specific accommodations in regard to classes, you can reach out to Student Disability Services at 773.702.6000 or disabilities@uchicago.edu.

Effective February 28, 2022, the City of Chicago has removed the mask and vaccine requirements for certain public spaces. Masks will continue to be required in health care settings, on public transit, and other congregate settings such as nursing homes, prisons, etc.. The University of Chicago is transitioning to mask optional for much of campus beginning March 4, 2022. As of March 4, masks will not be required in most non-medical campus office settings, on-campus residence halls, retail stores, and dining spaces. Most classroom settings will be mask optional starting April 4 – one week after the start of Spring Quarter for most of the University. The one-week delay will allow for a transition period as students and others return from travel over spring break.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Spring Quarter 2022 FAQ (last updated March 24, 2022)

The University recently announced plans to delay the start of Winter Quarter and shift to a remote-only instructional format during the first two weeks of the quarter. All courses and office hours should be held remotely through January 24. Classes will be held in person starting January 24, and faculty may hold their office hours in their offices in person from that date as well, subject to the policies on meetings.

1. Are there remote resources for instructors?

To help instructors prepare, we are sharing some important information about Canvas and Zoom, along with links to training and resources for the University’s remote and hybrid teaching tools.

Canvas
Canvas is the University’s learning management system. Before the quarter begins, instructors are encouraged to create a course Canvas site at courses.uchicago.edu. Click the “Create Course Site Now” button and follow the prompts to begin.

Visit the New Academic Quarter Instructor Checklist for an overview of how to set up a course in Canvas and Zoom class meetings.

Training
IT Services, the Chicago Center for Teaching and Learning, and the University Library have designed a series of workshops to help instructors prepare to teach in remote or hybrid modalities. For instructors new to teaching remotely and even for those with experience, a curated learning path of workshops is available for viewing now or registering to attend a live session. All instructors are encouraged to explore the different synchronous and asynchronous offerings to learn about tools and methods for teaching in remote and hybrid modalities, as well as pedagogical guidance to assist with restructuring course content by visiting training page on the Teaching Remotely website.

AV Training Options
Instructors who want to teach using video conferencing equipment in classrooms may wish to review training videos for the various video conferencing kits. To find out what equipment your assigned campus classroom may have, please consult the Winter 2022 Classroom Technology list. Instructors may also contact AV Services at avs@uchicago.edu or 773.834.4499 to request and schedule a tutorial in their assigned campus classroom, or to check out a video conferencing kit to use in a room that does not have one currently installed.

For more information, please consult with the Academic Technologies team.  

Zoom Security Checklist
Please review the Zoom settings on each meeting to ensure a safe and productive educational experience.

  • The University’s Web Conferencing website provides a brief tutorial explaining how to configure Zoom for secure meetings: “Zoom Security Settings for Meetings Scheduled in Canvas.”
  • Please note: selecting “Only authenticated users can join” is the most effective step for preventing meeting disruptions. When creating Zoom meetings for classes, office hours, and TA sections, the meeting should be restricted to authenticated users for added security, if the meeting does not have external participants. Students should be reminded to log into Zoom using their University account.
  • The “Security” icon located at the bottom of the meeting window allows a host to quickly halt all activity by selecting “Suspend Participant Activities.” Please review our step-by-step tutorial for instructors for how to Manage Participants During a Zoom Meeting and what to do if a disruption occurs.
  • It is important to never share Zoom meeting links on public websites, social media, or other public forums.

For questions about Zoom security or to report a disruption, please contact Information Security at security@uchicago.edu or 773.702.2378.

Additional Resources
For additional information and resources on remote teaching, please visit Teaching Remotely for workshops, syllabus guidance, and to view our Instructor Guide for Remote and Hybrid Instruction.

2. What are the University's current vaccination requirements?

As part of the University of Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement, the University is requiring students and employees to receive a COVID-19 booster shot once they are eligible, unless they have an approved exemption.

To meet the booster shot requirement:

  • Students who are currently eligible for a booster must, by January 24, 2022, take one of the steps outlined in the student email.
  • Employees who are currently eligible for a booster must, by January 31, 2022, take one of the steps outlined in the employee email.

More information on the University’s vaccination requirements can be found here.

3. In what situations is remote teaching permitted?

For Spring Quarter 2022, all instruction is intended to be in person. If an instructor cannot teach in person (due to a COVID-related quarantine or isolation period, other illness or symptoms, or short-term caregiving duties), short-term remote teaching is allowed. Instructors who shift to remote teaching for a week or less under these conditions should simply notify their Department Chair, Course Director, Core Chair, or Dean, as appropriate. If remote teaching is needed for more than a week, the instructor should secure approval from their Department Chair, Course Director, Core Chair, or Dean, as appropriate.

The Zoom to Canvas integration remains available for each course in Canvas. Once the instructor (or Teaching Assistant) schedules Zoom meetings for the course through Canvas, all registered students can access the Zoom meeting links via Canvas. The instructor should then inform students that class will be held remotely for the relevant period of time. In this case, students may attend class remotely, either from the usual classroom on campus or from another location. Instructors can ask students to attend class in person if components such as labs, group work, or TA-facilitated activities require physical presence.

As with any illness, if the instructor does not feel well enough to teach at any time, they should inform their Department or Program Chair, or Dean, as appropriate, and follow their policies for missed instruction.

4. Will there be any accommodations for faculty and other academic appointees who have a high risk of COVID-19 infection?

Yes. Faculty and other academic appointees who believe they are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection due to an underlying medical condition may feel that, even with the health and safety measures the University has in place, they need additional accommodations for their on-campus activities. These instructors should complete and submit a reasonable accommodation request form for academics to the Office for Access and Equity. A summary of the reasonable accommodation process is available from the Office for Access and Equity.

5. Can an instructor choose to teach remotely if they don’t meet the conditions for teaching remotely, and have not received an accommodation?

Remote instruction is allowed only under the conditions listed above or if an instructor has been approved for a workplace accommodation. Instructors who do not meet the conditions for teaching remotely and who have not been approved for a workplace accommodation may not teach remotely. While some programs have received approval from the Office of the Provost to offer a limited number of courses remotely, the University is returning to in-person instruction on January 24, 2022. If it is not possible for an instructor to teach in person (due to a COVID-related quarantine or isolation period, other illness or symptoms, or short-term caregiving duties), short-term remote teaching is allowed.

6. Will there be any accommodations for students who have a high risk of COVID-19 infection?

Yes. Students seeking reasonable accommodations for a disability or who have concerns regarding accessibility should contact Student Disability Services. This includes graduate students in teaching roles.

7. What is the guidance for students who have to miss class because of COVID-19 or related issues?

Instructors should do their best to enable students to make academic progress while following the University’s guidance regarding their health. Instructors should be flexible, within pedagogical and practical limits, with students who are required to miss class because they are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms prior to obtaining a COVID-19 test, are quarantining, or are otherwise required to absent themselves from campus under the University’s revised exposure protocols.

  • If a student cannot attend class for these reasons, they should contact their instructors directly to make alternative arrangements to attend the class remotely, request a recording of the class, or make other arrangements for covering the material.
    • Instructors should be the first point of contact for students; students can also contact their program administrator or area dean of students to consult with the instructor if the instructor could benefit from additional support to make appropriate adjustments.
    • While instructors should not ask to see students’ COVID-19 test results, a program or department may designate someone to verify positive test results to ensure the integrity of the request.
  • A student who is unable to attend class for more than two weeks will need to use their Dean of Students’ regular process to make arrangements.

Resources for remote or hybrid instruction can be found on Teaching Remotely. Instructors may also reach out to Academic Technology Services for training or consultations on how to use classroom video conferencing equipment, teaching tools such as Canvas and Panopto, as well as consultations with instructional designers about how to teach with technology. If you require additional assistance with set-up, please reach out to your local Information Technology Services.

 

8. Will classrooms be equipped with the appropriate video conferencing equipment to provide a remote experience?

Yes, 100+ classrooms around campus are outfitted with video conferencing technology. Please note that ITS trainings for remote and hybrid teaching are still available, and if you have not completed remote training or would like a refresher, instructors are highly encouraged to review current training offerings available through Teaching Remotely.

For classrooms not equipped with video conferencing technology, video conferencing kits are available. To learn more about these kits and how to use them, you can visit Academic Technology Solutions’ page on Classroom A/V Training Options, or contact AV Services at avs@uchicago.edu.

If you require additional support, Academic Technology Solutions (ATS) hosts weekly virtual office hours. Drop by for help with using technology for teaching and learning. The Zoom link and the most up-to-date schedule is available on ATS’ Virtual Office Hours page.

9. Will I be informed if one of my students tests positive for COVID-19?

The University contact tracing protocols have been designed to protect the privacy of individuals while protecting the safety of the University community. A student who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately inform the University contact tracing team at C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu. The contact tracing team will then determine whether individuals in the course will be contacted. If they determine that the instructor was a close contact and should be advised of that, the instructor will be contacted; if they determine that the instructor was not a close contact, the instructor will not be contacted.

10. Can instructors record lectures?

Yes. If a course session is recorded, it falls under the University’s recording policy. Instructors are free to pre-record lectures for use in a flipped class model, either using Panopto or other software, but these are materials for the course, not a substitute for in-person class meetings. Instructors may also record themselves giving in-person lectures, provided the recordings follow the University’s recording policy. (If instructors set up to livestream their lecture through Zoom, they may choose to record the Zoom session, and the recording will be automatically available to students through Canvas.)

11. What is the current policy on masking in the classroom?

In consultation with experts at UChicago Medicine, most classroom settings will be mask optional starting April 4 – one week after the start of Spring Quarter for most of the University. The one-week delay will allow for a transition period as students and others return from travel over spring break.

While anyone may ask others to wear masks, starting April 4 no one is obligated to do so in classrooms, and individual instructors may not set masking policies for classes. Instructors and students can request accommodations related to masking requirements or COVID-19. See questions 13 and 14 in this section.

Some units will continue to set their own masking policies. UChicago Medicine will maintain its own masking policies, and those policies will be followed by active clinicians in the Biological Sciences Division and clinical settings in the BSD related to healthcare. Because Spring Quarter starts one week earlier at the Law School than in most of the University, the Law School will lift its classroom masking mandate on March 28.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and been released from isolation housing will be required to wear a mask until the 10th day after their initial exposure. People exposed to COVID-19 will also have to mask themselves for 10 days after their last contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19. For additional details, see the Masking Policy FAQ.

12. Are food and drink permitted in the classroom as of April 4?

Yes.

13. Can instructors invite guest lecturers to their courses?

Yes. Please note that a visitor’s decision to be present on campus and/or in University facilities serves as their acknowledgment and acceptance of the potential risks posed to them by COVID-19. Visitors and vendors are required to follow the University’s COVID-19 guidance applicable at the time of their visit.

Because of ongoing health risks, particularly to the unvaccinated, visitors are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures appropriate to their vaccination status as advised by public health officials and to their individual vulnerabilities as advised by a medical professional. Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Visitors will not know the vaccination status of others and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures. Unvaccinated or vulnerable visitors should request of their host or sponsor whether provisions for social distance can be accommodated before arriving on campus.

For certain convenings on campus, such as large attendance events, face coverings may be required of all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Visitors to University museums, exhibition spaces, theaters, and certain units may be additionally required to register for an appointment to visit those facilities. Check with your host or sponsor before arriving on campus, and pack a face covering just in case.

For additional information, please review our policies regarding campus visitors.

14. Is the classroom capacity returning to normal?

All classrooms assigned by the Registrar have been cleared for use at their normal capacities. Social distancing is no longer required. Classrooms that did not meet the health and safety standards have not been assigned for instruction.

15. Can students participate in-person in externships and field experiences?

Students may participate in in-person externships and field experiences if their organizations or companies allow in-person work.

16. What should instructors do if a student or someone else won’t comply with the University’s health requirements?

Please see the UCAIR Reporting and Non-Compliance Process for guidance on how to report or respond to individuals who do not comply with the University’s COVID-19 health requirements.