COVID-19 Weekly Update (7/23)

July 23, 2020

(This message was originally sent on July 23, 2020. It is being published here for preservation.)

Dear Department Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, Vice-Chancellors and colleagues:

Syllabus Statement
A COVID syllabus statement has been approved by Faculty Council and is posted on the Provost website. Please copy and paste it into your syllabus so students will be aware of the health guidelines and the accountability procedures they are expected to follow.

Communication, Accommodation, and Pivot Plan
Please share with faculty the “Communication, Accommodation, and Pivot Plan” shown at the end of this email, as they plan their fall face-to-face or blended classes. Chairs are responsible for making sure that their faculty and graduate instructors have prepared accordingly.

Update on Proctoring
Although we still recommend that instructors use alternative assessments for exams wherever possible, if you must have an exam, and it must be proctored, for Fall 2020, instructors will have options for exam proctoring services. Please click here for more information on those options.

If you have online exams, both Proctorio and Examity will be available for your use. While Proctorio is free to students, Examity will cost each student $16/test-hour per exam. If you choose to use Examity, you will need to ensure that your course is flagged in MyZou as requiring additional fees for proctoring (contact your course scheduler), and you will need to add a statement regarding the proctoring method and fees in your syllabus.

Please note that in-person proctoring of on-paper and online exams will continue for those students with accommodations through the MU Disability Center. The Mizzou Online Exam Room will remain closed for the fall semester. Currently, MU Testing Services is also closed.

Most Recent Communication with International Students
The following information was sent to all international students late last week:
Please read the important information below about U.S. visa services and self-quarantine guidelines for international travelers. Additionally, keep up to date with university announcements regarding COVID-19, including protocols for being on or returning to campus, in the Show Me Renewal Plan and the ISSS COVID-19 guidance. If you have any questions, contact your ISSS adviser or schedule an advising appointment.

U.S. visa services updates:
On July 13, the U.S. Department of State announced a phased resumption of routine visa services beginning July 15 in some countries. If you need to apply for a visa, you will need to confirm that the embassy or consulate where you will apply is currently operating.
If you are an F-1 student from the Schengen area, United Kingdom or Ireland, you are now permitted to travel to the United States. If you are a J-1 student from the Schengen area, United Kingdom or Ireland, you will need to contact your nearest embassy or consulate to initiate a National Interest Exception request in order to travel to the United States.
Students traveling from China, Iran and Brazil are still barred from entering the United States if they have spent the previous 14 days in one of those countries.
We encourage you to review the Department of State’s visa news page for any updates regarding visas and travel to the United States. If you are able to secure an appointment, be sure to review application requirements prior to your appointment.

International travel and self-quarantine:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided the following guidelines and restrictions related to COVID-19 and international travelers coming to the U.S.:
• Certain international travelers are prohibited for entry to the U.S.
• International travelers permitted to enter the U.S. may encounter additional screening upon arrival.
• All international travelers are required to stay home for 14 days after arrival.
You should plan to arrive in Columbia, Mo., no later than Aug. 10, which is 14 days prior to the first day of classes, Aug. 24, 2020. This will facilitate the 14-day stay-at-home period. If you have contracted with Residential Life for on-campus or apartment housing, you will be advised on your self-quarantine options based on your housing assignment. Email Residential Life ( before you arrive or if your arrival will be delayed. If you are living off-campus, you may choose to self-quarantine in your previously arranged accommodations. If you have not yet selected housing, you may elect to utilize a local hotel as self-quarantine accommodations at your own expense. Every effort will be made to help you identify reasonably priced self-quarantine accommodations. Please refer to the following resources for temporary housing.

Communication, Accommodation, and Pivot Plans
Purpose: To provide information so faculty and graduate instructors are prepared to communicate with their students, make accommodations for students who are unable to attend the class in person, and to pivot their courses fully online, if that becomes necessary. Specific suggestions and instructions for best practices are discipline-specific and will be left up to individual departments and colleges. This is meant to provide an overall framework and general guidelines. We encourage individuals to take advantage of sessions and consultations to implement agile “resilient” course and instructional design with the Teaching for Learning Center and the Office of eLearning.

Communicating with Students before the First Day of Class
The first and most important point is that instructors need to contact all students in their courses one week before the start of the semester to clarify what the first day of class will entail (who should come in person, protocols for entering the classroom, etc.) and to introduce them to the basic structure of the course. The Division of IT is currently updating the website that shows the layout and IT capabilities of each classroom. Instructors should check this after August 10 in order to give students more specific instructions.


Please include the following items on your Canvas sites.


Syllabus statement regarding “Decreasing the Risk of COVID-19 in Classrooms and Labs” (
If the course is blended, a clear description of when and where individual students will be learning. For example, if half the class is attending in person one day and half another, specify which students will be in class which days.
How students will contact you, both regularly and in the case of an emergency
An affirmation that social distancing and face-covering protocols are required for all F2F components of the course. (If there are different protocols for a course, please make that clear to your students.) Students should be told to come to class with their own face covering, but that they will be available for students who don’t have one. Students should also know ahead of time that instructors will contact the Dean of Students if students are not wearing one (and do not have an accommodation for not wearing one).
The flexible course attendance policy that addresses how students who are unable to come to class will be able to access the materials, lecture, discussion, etc.

Accommodation Plan
Develop a plan for how you will accommodate students who are unable to attend class for medical reasons. Please note that instructors will not be contacted with specific student health information, but public health officials and contact tracers will be aware of positive cases and will be working with affected individuals. (If an instructor or student has been exposed to COVID-19, they will be contacted by a contact tracer.) In other words, students may disclose why they need to work remotely, but they do not have to. We ask that instructors work with students who make this request.

How will you facilitate engagement with course content? For instance, will you zoom students into class synchronously or post course content in weekly modules to Canvas to complete outside class?
If the course is activity based, will remote students participate in an equivalent manner using technology?
If the course is highly interactive, how will you facilitate interaction for students who are attending remotely?
How will you assess these students? Please plan assessments that can be easily adapted for this circumstance.

Pivot Plan
Develop a plan for how you will conduct the course if it becomes necessary to move the course fully online. Consider designing your course for resiliency in the first place. This means one basic design for any modality. In this way, if a pivot is required you will have only minor modifications to accomplish the shift. Find resources on resilient pedagogy.

How will you facilitate engagement with course content? For instance, will you zoom students into class synchronously or post course content in weekly modules to Canvas and allow students to work through the material themselves?
Is there content that will need to be eliminated and/or added under these new conditions?
How will your assessment strategies and protocols need to change? (If you suspect that you need proctored exams, you should notify the Registrar of this ahead of time.

Alternative assessments other than proctored exams are recommended by the Office of eLearning and the Teaching for Learning Center.)

How will you interact with your students? How will students access you outside class sessions?

I remain awed and inspired by your hard work, and dedication as we get ready for the Fall semester. It has been exhausting for sure, but please know that your leadership and participation have helped us stay focused and motivated.
Thank you for all you do.


Latha Ramchand