Fordham Forward FAQs for Faculty
Is the fall semester being held in person?
Fordham is pleased to be offering the full range of in-person instruction and on-campus activities this fall.
Will I be required to be vaccinated?
All employees teaching and working on-campus are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 2. Employees may request accommodations on medical and religious grounds. Similarly, all students coming on campus must be vaccinated by the opening of the fall semester, unless they have received a medical or religious accommodation.
If I receive a vaccine accommodation from HR, will I be able to come on campus?
Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff who have received an accommodation from the University will be allowed on campus provided that they have received a negative COVID-19 test within the past seven days and wear a face mask both indoors and outdoors. All members of the University community who have received a COVID-19 vaccine accommodation must be tested every seven days to continue access to campus. In addition, unvaccinated individuals will not be permitted to dine indoors, use indoor athletic facilities, nor take part in indoor entertainment events per the New York City policy requiring proof of vaccination for such venues. The policy, known as Key to NYC, went into effect on August 16.
Are there social distancing measures in classrooms?
On June 15, 2021, the State of New York lifted the vast majority of COVID-19 restrictions after reaching a statewide vaccination rate of 70 percent. All interior spaces will return to pre-COVID seat spacing and occupancy levels, including elevators, stairwells, hallways, and all other spaces.
If the University determines that social distancing is required, how will we know the new capacity of the classroom in which we teach?
The University will provide instructors with the number of students their assigned classroom can hold under current conditions (no social distancing), 3-foot social distancing, or 6 foot social distancing.
If the University announces that we must reduce classroom capacity because of social distancing, may I simply decide to teach fully online?
The decision to move all courses fully-online, if necessary, will be made at the University level. As long as in-person learning is possible, even with social distancing, each instructor is responsible for determining the best way to continue teaching with in-person components. It may be helpful to develop a plan in advance for such a contingency and discuss it with your students.
On what basis will the University make the decision to adopt social distancing in the classroom or to shift to remote learning?
Fordham will monitor daily the COVID-19 case count on each campus along with the positivity rate in the surrounding neighborhoods. The University’s senior leadership team will follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York state and New York City departments of Health, and consultations with local public health experts, before making a decision to impose or relax mitigation measures on campus. The University will base such decisions on multiple sources of information—there is no single metric that will determine campus COVID-19 status.
Will my students and I be required to wear face coverings?
Given the increasing prevalence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the University requires all members of the campus community to wear face masks while indoors, except in limited settings, such as individuals who are alone in a room or roommates residing together in University housing.
How will the University’s mask mandate be enforced in the classroom?
Everyone is required to wear a face mask in classrooms, laboratories, or studio environments. If an instructor sees a student in their class who is not wearing a mask or wearing it improperly, they should respectfully ask the student to don a face mask. If the student does not comply, the instructor should ask the student to leave the classroom and refer the matter to the Dean of Students. If the student disrupts the class or refuses to leave, the instructor can immediately contact Public Safety through the hot-line phone in the classroom, or the instructor can discontinue that day’s class and let the Dean of Students address the matter through the Student Code of Conduct.
Will masks be provided to those who do not have one?
Free masks (both disposable surgical masks and washable cloth masks) are available to all at the Public Safety offices at each campus. Disposable KN95 masks, which provide superior filtration of virus-laden droplets with minimal distortion of one’s voice, are also available. A transparent reusable face mask, which allows students to see an instructor’s facial expressions while offering comfortable protection against COVID-19 transmission can also be obtained at these offices.
How should I conduct office hours?
Instructors can hold office hours and advising appointments through both in-person meetings (provided all parties wear face masks) and through synchronous online means (e.g., Zoom). Please encourage students to schedule appointments in advance for in-person office hours to avoid unnecessary congestion in offices and hallways. Google Calendar or SSC Navigate is recommended for scheduling meetings with students.
What should I do upon learning of a student's financial, housing, or other needs?
A variety of funds are available for students who are experiencing emergency financial hardship. Please reach out to the dean's office of the student’s school about the students particular needs. The dean will serve as the liaison with the Financial Aid office and/or with the committee managing Student Emergency Funding.
What symptoms are consistent with COVID-19?
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have reported a wide range of symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptomatic individuals with COVID-19 often exhibit one or more of the following: New cough, fever, chills, new loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose not attributable to allergies.
What should I do if I begin experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
As was true prior to the pandemic, if an instructor feels ill they should stay home, practice self-care, and consult with their dean and, as appropriate, their department chair as to whether to cancel their classes, arrange for coverage, or take other measures. During the pandemic, VitalCheck may direct an instructor to undergo a COVID-19 test and potentially quarantine for a period of time. If a quarantined instructor is asymptomatic or experiencing only mild symptoms, they may choose to pivot their course(s) to a fully online format until VitalCheck authorizes them to return to campus. A pivot in course modality should be done temporarily and in consultation with their dean (and chair as appropriate). The following diagram illustrates the circumstances under which an instructor, who becomes ill, may need to pivot between in-person and online teaching.
What will happen if a member of the Fordham community is diagnosed with COVID-19?
Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for an amount of time prescribed by VitalCheck or their physician. In coordination with the New York City and New York state contact tracing programs, Fordham will implement its contact tracing program to notify members of the University community who have been in close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual on campus. New York State defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 10 minutes over a 24-hour period. Unvaccinated close contacts will be directed to self-quarantine so as to prevent further spread. People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
Guidance around quarantine and isolation is provided by the CDC. Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have COVID-19.
- Isolation separates sick people with COVID-19 from people who are not sick. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).
- Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to COVID-19 to see if they become sick. Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated.
What would happen if an instructor learned that they have been in “close contact” with a COVID-positive individual?
New York State defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 10 minutes over a 24-hour period. A person who believes they have had a “close contact” should notify VitalCheck. For any known COVID-positive member of the Fordham community, a contact tracer will reach out to individuals who have been identified as a “confirmed close contact.”
VitalCheck will direct the individual to be tested or to quarantine, and will determine when an individual is cleared to return to campus. The following diagrams illustrate the circumstances under which an instructor may need to pivot between in-person and online teaching.
How should student absences as a result of COVID or quarantine be handled?
During the pandemic, it is reasonable to expect that some Fordham students will miss class because of illness, a positive COVID-19 test, or quarantine. Undergraduate students are subject to the University’s policy on excused absences. In cases where a student misses a significant amount of class time for reasons beyond the student's control, the student should confer with their instructor and class/advising dean to ascertain if it is feasible to complete the work of the course.
What should I do if my child’s school closes or my child unexpectedly needs to stay home?
Fordham has identified resources for short-term childcare during the semester. Instructors should consult with their dean and chair (if appropriate) if no viable solution can be found.
What should a fully-vaccinated instructor do if their child is quarantined for COVID-19, and the instructor needs to stay home as the primary caregiver?
The following diagram illustrates the circumstances under which an instructor may need to pivot between in-person and online teaching.
Can I be tested for COVID-19 on campus?
The University conducts weekly Covid-19 testing among the small number of unvaccinated students and employees who have official vaccine exemptions, and on individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with a COVID-positive person. Learn more on the Health Services webpage.
Why does Fordham no longer conduct surveillance testing on campus?
The CDC recommends testing for symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals who have been in close contact with someone known to be COVID-19-positive. The CDC does not currently recommend broader surveillance testing. The Fordham on-campus community is approximately 99% vaccinated, and New York City has a relatively high vaccination rate as well (>70% of NYC adults are fully vaccinated).
Does Fordham report the names of COVID-19 positive individuals to the New York state Department of Health dashboard?
No. The University only provides the state with numbers of positive cases in various categories.
Does Fordham report the names of COVID-19 positive individuals to the New York City Department of Health?
Yes, the University is required by law to provide the names of students, faculty, and staff who test positive for COVID-19 (or have been identified as close contacts).
What if a COVID-positive student reveals their positive test results to me and other students in the class?
It is the student’s prerogative to speak about their COVID-19 status. Nonetheless, the University is obligated to ensure that the student’s medical information is protected. You may not share the identity of the student with colleagues or other students, or refer to the student’s medical status except to University or public health officials who need the information for contact tracing and quarantine protocols.
Will students and faculty know if someone is unvaccinated in one of their classes?
Fordham’s contact tracers will notify anyone in the class who is believed to have been in close contact with a COVID-positive member of the class. Every attempt will be made to protect the identity and privacy of those involved in the process.
What measures have been taken to ensure classroom environments are safe for teaching?
Fordham performs regular maintenance on, and installs medical-facility grade MERV-13 filters in the air handlers for campus buildings. The building operating conditions currently involve distributing 100% outside air into the classrooms and exhausting building air to the atmosphere. The ventilation units are run two hours before occupancy in the morning and not shut down until two hours after the building is vacated for the night. In classrooms without central air systems, recirculating HEPA units provide rapid filtration of the air in each classroom.
Can I open the windows in my classroom?
Some instructors would like to open classroom windows in buildings like Lowenstein and Dealy. Such action is not recommended, because it will throw the building’s overall ventilation scheme out of balance. Air acts like water in that you can only get as much of it into a fixed space as you remove from the space. When you open the windows, depending on the ambient conditions outside, you may either be drawing in unfiltered air (which means the room was in negative pressure and now you've lost that advantage by balancing the pressure with an open window) or pushing air out of the space (which will make the supply fans run harder to "catch up" with the exhaust scheme). While pushing air out is ok, if there is a shift of wind, the flow regime could change in the opposite direction affecting the air balance in other rooms in the building.
Can I hold classes outdoors?
There are a limited number of outdoor spaces on campus in which instructors can hold classes, weather permitting.
How can instructors obtain additional assistance with technology for teaching their courses?
Instructors who would like to consult with an instructional technologist about how to use specific learning technologies/applications within their courses are encouraged to schedule an appointment through Faculty Technology Services. Additionally, Fordham IT may be able to assign an undergraduate Tech Support Assistant to help an instructor with technology management in a Zoom environment (when needed) so that the instructor can better focus on their teaching.
What if I have further questions?
If you can’t find the answer on the COVID-19 Guidelines pages, you may contact your department chair or associate chair, supervisor, or dean. You may also request a visit with a health provider through VitalCheck.