POCATELLO — Idaho State University will require face masks to be worn on campus and within its instructional spaces and is moving its final examinations to a virtual format, according to a recent memo.
The university plans to offer some in-person instruction but has transitioned many courses to a hybrid model that involves both in-person and remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Courses that use face-to-face instruction will be required to either follow an approved health plan or to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between people at all times, according to the memo authored by Laura Woodworth-Ney, executive vice president and provost for Academic Affairs. ISU’s face mask policy will grant an exception for anyone who is outside where physical distancing is possible.
In her memo, Woodworth-Ney emphasized the importance of flexibility in responding to a fluid situation with COVID-19.
“We have intentionally created a great deal of flexibility in the new course schedule, which is designed to easily transition between delivery modalities,” Woodworth-Ney wrote.
She referenced a new planning process the university has created to respond to the changing COVID-19 environment, in partnership with Southeastern Idaho Public Health. Furthermore, public health staff will answer questions to a new COVID-19 hotline created by the university, 208-282-2705, and a dedicated email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty have been asked to record lectures for remote viewing. Faculty may opt against recording elements that don’t contain critical information or course discussions students may not wish to be recorded.
Final examinations will be conducted virtually from Nov. 30 through Dec. 4. Students may either take exams simultaneously over Zoom or take them throughout a window of days using a proctoring service.
Idaho’s other public universities are taking similar precautions. Boise State University initially planned to require asymptomatic testing of all residential students prior to them moving into campus residence halls or apartments. The university announced on July 16 it has lifted the mandate due to a lack of capacity for testing. BSU will offer in-person, remote, hybrid and online instruction.
Individuals on BSU owned or controlled property will be required to wear face coverings, except for outdoors where physical distancing is possible or in living spaces or enclosed offices in which a single individual is present.
University of Idaho is also requiring face coverings in campus buildings and when social distancing cannot be maintained outdoors. UI supervisors are encouraged to develop alternate schedules to decrease in-person contact.