Faculty & Staff FAQs Related to Reopening
Accountability for Conforming to Flashes Safe Seven: Question and answers
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges, and we have met each one head-on while planning for future hurdles. Keeping Kent State University safe and healthy is reliant on a cooperative effort from all of us. We are thankful to those who have already made a faithful habit of following the Flashes Safe Seven and practicing the behaviors that will ensure that we all get to remain on campuses for the entire semester.
To practice, support and sustain accountability, please refer to the Flashes Safe Seven Accountability web page to find a listing of relevant policies, requirements and ways to share concerns.
Cleaning Enhancements and Requirements: Questions and answers
Employees will need to clean workspaces
Following the Flashes Safe Seven principles, employees, depending on their role, will be required to clean and sanitize spaces during the day. Building curators will designate an individual(s) to clean spaces shared among multiple offices such as break rooms, copy rooms, supply rooms within an office suite, reception counters, and other areas not accessible to the general public. Custodial staff will clean spaces like waiting rooms, seating areas in the corridors, conference rooms, bathrooms or other areas accessible by the general public. Classrooms will be cleaned on an enhanced schedule. Faculty will clean instructor space in the classroom (podium, keyboard, table, etc.) and their office. Units will have cleaning supplies available for employee use. Employees should take personal items home to facilitate regular cleaning of their workspace. If additional cleaning is needed, please notify your supervisor. Note: University Facilities Management (UFM) custodial staff have been methodically cleaning buildings, classrooms and offices, including carpeting. All offices have been cleaned and are ready for use. Horizontal surfaces that contain work or personal items that require moving before cleaning, should be cleaned by the employee before use.
Why am I being asked to clean my workspace with a microfiber towel?
We are using microfiber towels because they are much more effective in controlling the spread of viruses and bacteria than other types of cloths or paper towels. In addition, per university public health experts, microfiber towels also disinfect the hands during use. Microfiber towels also provide a more sustainable option than paper towels. Microfiber towels will be collected and laundered daily by the custodial staff and/or contracted services. Upon collection of towels for laundering, the supply will be replenished.
Can shared laptops be used if we disinfect them when distributing?
The Flashes Safe Seven states: All employees will be required to clean and sanitize their workspaces and common spaces throughout the day, between shifts and at the close of each day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones and keyboards.
How do I order cleaning supplies for the classrooms in my college?
You do not need to place an order for cleaning supplies for the classrooms in your college. University Facilities Management (UFM) and custodial staff at the Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine will provide the surface disinfectant for each classroom and replenish them as needed.
Are paper towels better to dry your hands with than air hand dryers?
The CDC recommends drying by either paper towels or air dryers. Using either method, it is recommended that hands be dried thoroughly to reduce the spread of contamination.
What is the difference between hand sanitizers that are on the market?
The CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand rub with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol in healthcare settings. Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water. Hand rubs are generally less irritating to hands and are effective in the absence of a sink.
Due to increased sales of isopropyl alcohol-based sanitizers, making them hard to find, most hand sanitizers are ethyl alcohol based, which is the same alcohol used for consumption. Buyer beware, as percentages can vary. It is important to check the label.
Recently, hand sanitizers have made their way to the market with methanol, a toxic substance that can be absorbed through the skin. The Food and Drug Administration has published a list of banned hand sanitizers.
What additional changes will be made to restrooms and Classrooms?
Restrooms and classrooms will be deep cleaned twice daily by custodial staff using Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectants for killing the COVID-19 virus. Custodians will also clean touch points frequently throughout their shifts. In addition to enhanced cleaning, public/shared restrooms at all campuses/locations will be provided with signage and foot handles for the entrance door.
How will bathrooms be cleaned?
Kent State has committed to no reduction in custodial staffing for Fiscal Year 2021. One adjustment is that students in residence halls with private bathrooms will clean their own bathrooms this fall. Thus, 10 custodians will be transferred from Residence Services to E&G buildings to help with enhanced cleaning activities. In addition, 25 part-time students are being hired to help with enhanced cleaning. Enhanced cleaning is cleaning the restrooms and classrooms twice daily, Monday-Friday. The first restroom cleaning is traditional cleaning with Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectants for killing the COVID-19 virus. The second cleaning is with an electrostatic ionizing machine, again with an EPA-approved disinfectant for killing the COVID-19 virus. Custodians will also wipe touch points frequently throughout their shifts.
We are supplying EPA-approved surface disinfectants for each classroom to enable the instructor to clean the teaching station and students to clean their desks.
How often are public spaces (water fountains, bathrooms, general space, etc.) being cleaned?
Water fountains have been turned off. Water bottle fill stations are still active and are cleaned daily. See above for cleaning frequencies.
- COVID-19 Occurrences, Reporting and Testing: What do you need to know?
Employees Returning to Work: Questions and answers
When and How Will Employees Return to Campus?
Beginning June 22, faculty may return to their offices upon approval from their academic unit administrator. In order to ensure faculty safety, it is imperative that faculty receive approval to return to their office so that Facilities Management and Procurement are able to ready the space with face coverings, cleaning supplies and signage upon a faculty member’s return.
If you are currently working remotely, please continue to do so until additional guidance is provided by your supervisor. Staff members will return to campus at different times, depending on their roles and responsibilities. Some employees may continue to work remotely as their role allows, possibly beyond the beginning of fall semester.
If I have staff who are already/have been working on campus, do they need to sign the employee guidelines?
Yes, it is important that all employees sign the guidelines, even those who have already been working on campuses/locations. The guidelines set standards and expectations that all employees must follow to help decrease the spread of the virus while working on campus.
How do I determine when my staff/team need to return to campus?
Students, guests, vendors and campus employees will be on our campuses beginning in July, as well as during the fall semester, in a limited capacity. As such, your employees return date should be based on the services you provide to the students, guests, vendors and campus employees. Employees can/should continue to work remotely, if possible, and as determined by your unit’s ability/need to provide services in a face-to-face format. Please note, employees will be required to follow the Flashes Safe Seven principles and comply with the safety measures outlined in the employee checklist, which they will be required to sign (at the bottom of the checklist website) before returning to campus. Supervisors will receive an email once their employee electronically signs the document. In addition, they will have access to online reporting to verify employee signature of the form.
I am A faculty/staff employee. Since all learning will be remote after Thanksgiving Break, will I be expected to return to work on campus after Thanksgiving break?
While classes will transition to remote instruction after Nov. 20, the campus will remain open. Employees can/should continue to work remotely, if possible, and as determined by your unit’s ability/need to provide services in a face-to-face format.
- Access Employee Guidelines
- Access Managers Guidelines
- Accommodation Request Form
- Access Flashes Safe Seven Accountability web page
- Return to Campus Guidelines for Employees, shared on Monday, June 8 via email.
Return to Work Concerns
My supervisor told me I am required to come to campus to work. What if I’m not comfortable coming to campus?
It is understandable that you may be uncomfortable returning to work on your campus/location. The Responsible RestartOhio program and the Director’s Stay Safe Ohio Order of the Ohio Department of Health have provided standards for employees to safely return to their worksites. Kent State University, in accordance with the guidance from the state of Ohio, will utilize these standards in order to gradually and safely return employees to campus. These guidelines include Managers/Supervisors Return to On-Campus Work Guidelines.
Again, while you may feel uneasy about returning to campus, many Kent State employees have already been working on campus and are following these safety precautions. In addition, Kent State does not plan on bringing all employees back to campus at the same time and will phase in campus returns. While this is being done, remote work can continue for employees who have not been told to return to campus. However, if your supervisor has informed you that you are to report to work to fulfill your job duties, you are required to do so.
Why can’t I continue to work remotely?
Last spring, the university transitioned employees to remote work, when possible, as a temporary response to Ohio’s stay-at-home directive. In order to meet the operational needs of the university, employees may need to transition performing their job duties/responsibilities at all campuses/locations. When/if you are asked to return to work on your campus/location, your supervisor will provide details about your return to work (e.g., return date, work schedule, workspace, etc.).
Can I have a combined schedule of remote and on-campus/location work?
While the university transitions back to on-site work, the option of a flexible work schedule or a combined schedule of on-site and remote work is possible, in alignment with your department’s return to campus/location work plan. Your supervisor, dean, and/or division vice president will determine if such a schedule meets the operational needs of the university and is an appropriate means to fulfill your job responsibilities.
I don’t have dependent care/childcare and/or schools are not operating as usual. Can I work remotely?
Contact your supervisor to determine if your job duties can be fully performed remotely or whether a combined or flexible schedule is appropriate.
If a flexible schedule cannot be accommodated and/or you cannot fully perform your work due to a lack of child or dependent care, you must inform your supervisor. With the approval of your supervisor, accrued vacation or personal leave may be utilized to care for a child/dependent. Sick leave may be utilized for appropriate reasons. Such an arrangement will be temporary and dependent on the operational needs of the university.
You may, however, qualify for emergency childcare leave or FMLA leave pursuant to the federal CARES Act. Contact Human Resources at Benefits@kent.edu or 330-672-3107 if you have questions or wish to apply for emergency childcare leave/FMLA leave under the federal CARES Act.
Will employees be able to work from home if they get sick with any non-COVID-19 illnesses, such as colds and coughs?
You will need to discuss this option with your supervisor. In general, where approved and if you are able to continue to work from home, you would not need to use leave time.
This is all very stressful. Where can I get help?
The Employee Wellness Office provides services and resources to support Kent State faculty and staff physically, mentally and emotionally. Because there can be many sources of stress, many of the educational resources, programming and training focus on how to build and enhance stress and resilience. IMPACT Solutions can assist with stress, anxiety, depression, child and eldercare needs, marital concerns, financial planning, substance abuse and a variety of other issues. IMPACT services are confidential and provided by credentialed professionals. Many services can now be offered remotely, which provides additional convenience and flexibility to busy schedules as well as eliminates travel barriers.
To access these online resources, visit www.MyIMPACTSolution.com, click “Member Login,” and enter username KENT. You can reach IMPACT directly at 1-800-227-6007. IMPACT is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information on what additional resources may be available, please contact the Employee Wellness Office at 330-672-7505 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found on the wellness webpage at www.kent.edu/hr/wellness.
What Changes Can I Expect on Campus for Increased Safety?
What modifications will be made to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The university is following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) that relate to the university’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, university Facilities Management has extensively researched these issues and has consulted with appropriate healthcare professionals to prepare the document titled Kent State University – COVID-19 HVAC Response. All HVAC concerns should be brought to the attention of the Building Curator and entered in FlashTrack. At the Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine, please contact your facilities manager on-site.
Will water fountains be turned off?
Water fountains will be deactivated. However, bottle filling stations will remain active.
What cleaning requirements must I adhere to?
Please refer to the cleaning enhancements and requirements: questions and answers.
I have my own separate office or work area, who will clean my office/workspace?
Please refer to the cleaning enhancements and requirements: questions and answers.
What is the protocol for using the bathroom in a public building?
Signage is being installed to encourage proper distancing. Hand-washing signage is also being placed in bathrooms. Bathrooms with doors that swing inward will be fitted with a foot handle.
Will signage be provided?
Signage for common areas, such as classrooms, entrances, restrooms, elevators, etc., will be installed at all campuses/locations. Printable signage for individual office suites and workspaces can be found via this link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/print-resources.html?Sor...
What is being done to outdoor furniture to keep physical distancing?
The same labels used on classroom chairs will be used on outdoor furniture. Regional campuses will need to affix the stickers on outdoor furniture.
When I am working/returning on campus, what kind of changes will be in effect?
Consistent with the Flashes Safe Seven principles, you will see additional health and safety precautions in work and classroom spaces. These include the use of face coverings by faculty, staff, students and visitors; increased cleaning protocols; physical distancing; and self-monitoring guidelines. For health questions about COVID-19, call University Health Services at 330-672-2322, or after hours, contact the Kent State Nurse Line at 330-672-2326. Visit the university’s coronavirus information page for more information.
Questions About Use of Face Coverings
If I am alone in my office space, must I wear a face covering?
The answer to this question depends on your office space. If your office space is shared and there are no barriers to prevent air currents between you and others (e.g., a cubicle, open work area), you must continue to wear a face covering. Employees in enclosed workspaces (e.g., a single-person office with the door closed) with no other person in their workspace may remove their face covering. It is very important to note that a face covering must be used when leaving your personal office space and any situation when interaction with other employees will occur.
How do we eat lunch if we can't take face coverings off at desks and the kitchen break areas are closed?
You will need to use good judgment about where you take off your face covering so as to ensure you are not in close contact with someone else.
Can we take face coverings off to drink water throughout the day?
See above about using good judgment.
Where do staff go for a face covering break? How often do they get a face covering break?
There are no designated face covering-free areas. Again, you will need to apply the guidelines and good judgment.
How do we talk on the phone while wearing a face covering?
Depending on where you work, you may or may not need to use a face covering when on the phone at your workstation.
are there tips for choosing a face covering?
If I am interested in face coverings beyond the one provided to me by Kent State, what should I consider? When selecting a face covering and verifying best practices for how to wear a face covering, please see this CDC web page. Per the CDC, bandanas are not suitable face coverings as they are too thin and too loose to provide the needed protection.
Are face covering required outdoors?
- Face coverings should be worn outdoors while on campus. They can be removed when alone or with a family member/ household member in a green space area. Your face covering should be with you at all times and available to use should you come into close proximity to others.
- Face coverings need to be worn when walking in higher density areas including campus and downtown Kent.
- Even when wearing face coverings, keep outdoor gatherings small. When at an outdoor gathering, still wear a face covering.
Faculty In-Person Teaching and Return to Work: Questions and answers
All course delivery methods were determined based on identifying which courses can be taught face-to-face based on classroom capacity, and those courses that have to be taught face-to-face due to pedagogical requirements were given priority. Each instructor decided whether to opt in to teach in person during the fall semester. Willingness to teach in person did not guarantee the ability to do so. In-person classes were scheduled based on many considerations, including but not limited to classroom capacity, equipment and other priorities established by colleges, academic units and programs.
Will teaching in person be different in the fall?
If you were assigned to teach in person, you will decide the format of your class. Consistent with the room size, health and safety protocols, and your pedagogical objectives, you determine how and when students will meet during the scheduled class times. Each classroom will be equipped with technology to broadcast classes if students are attending your class remotely.
What do I do if I don’t feel comfortable instructing face-to-face? Do I have a choice, or will my workload be impacted negatively?
Please discuss any challenges you may face regarding your return to campus with your academic unit administrator (e.g., campus dean, department chair, school director) as soon as possible, so that both you and your academic unit will have the flexibility to plan for our future reopening in a manner consistent with meeting all needs.
Where can I get help with moving my classes to remote instruction?
For assistance with remote instruction, please visit the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Continuing and Distance Education and the Keep on Teaching websites, which offer a full range of services to all instructors. You can also reach out to your colleagues, chair, director, dean or Regional Campus dean for guidance and support.
What will happen if the university closes again?
If the university is required to close after the beginning of the semester, all classes will transition to remote instruction immediately. Instructors should consider this possibility as they construct their course syllabi and be prepared to switch to remote instruction if needed. Furthermore, instructors are reminded that all classes will transition entirely to remote instruction beginning Nov. 30, through the end of the semester.
- As I work remotely, what resources and technology are available to me and how do I safeguard university property, data and documents?
- Remote Course Content and Requirements
- Conducting Remote Exams
- Clinicals and Skills Labs Information
- Remote Work Locations, Compliance and Cybersecurity
Am I required to wear a face covering in class?
Yes. Instructors and students must wear approved face coverings in all classrooms, other instructional areas, and indoor public areas. Instructors should review the Flashes Safe Seven webpage and discuss with their academic unit administrator or Regional Campus dean what type of approved face covering (e.g., cloth mask, face shield) is best suited for each course assignment.
Access additional information about:
- Face coverings, alternate face coverings, washing face coverings and university-approved and modified plastic face shields
- Note: not all face shields offer the necessary protection for instructors
- How and when to use the Pandemic Adjustment Form.
Will physical distancing be required in classrooms and other instructional areas?
Yes. The maximum capacity for each classroom will be clearly posted. This maximum number of occupants (e.g., students, instructor, guests) per space must always be observed, and physical distancing is required within each space.
How will classrooms and other instructional areas be cleaned?
All classrooms and instructional areas will be cleaned by university custodial staff twice daily. In addition, instructors and faculty will clean instructor space in the classroom (podium, keyboard, table, etc.) and their office. All instructors and faculty who are teaching in person will receive a kit of supplies (e.g., markers, erasers) for their exclusive use. Students will be responsible for cleaning the equipment and surfaces they use in class. Cleaning supplies will be provided including dispensers of disinfecting wipes, spray bottles and microfiber cloths which will be washed daily.
What if someone fails to comply with the university’s health and safety protocols in class?
- The Ad Hoc Academic Continuity Committee has published guidance on this issue. All instructors should review and comply with this guidance.
- Guidelines for reporting students who are not in compliance with the Flashes Safe Seven have been established.
- An email template for follow up is also available.
- Monitoring and cleaning areas outside of your office and outside of the classroom are not your responsibility.
Where can I learn more about health and safety protocols as we reopen the university?
More information is available on the:
- Flashes Safe Seven webpage
- Academic Affairs Response to COVID-19 links
- Safety Guidelines FAQ
- COVID Response Team webpage
- Reopening FAQs webpage, which provides access to these faq categories: General, Faculty and Staff, Health, Student.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Questions and answers
What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a main source of protection for emergency and recovery workers. It is necessary to protect emergency response and recovery workers from physical, chemical and biological hazards. Depending on the hazard, the recommendations on the use of PPE change. Some examples of PPE may include gas masks, gloves, overalls, boots and goggles.” Thus, based on this definition, PPE is for first responders, medical and patient-facing personnel. Non-medical protective gear is used by those not responding to emergency or recovery work.
Kent State has therefore designated two generic categories of protective equipment:
- PPE for medical and other first responders
- Protective gear for non-medical or other first responders
Both can be obtained through a centralized ordering process.
PPE for medical and other first responders includes:
- N95 filtering face masks
- Surgical masks
- Face shields
- Nitrile gloves
Protective gear for non-medical or other first responders includes:
- Washable face coverings
- Face shields (based on medical need)
- Hand sanitizer
- Disposable gloves (plastic food-grade and nitrile gloves, based on risk)
- Sanitizing and cleaning products for workspaces
- Reusable microfiber towels
- Paper towels
- Other products with proper justification
Will Faculty and Staff Receive Any?
We plan to provide two reusable cloth face coverings for every employee. Review the Return to On-Campus Work Guidelines for Employees to learn more.
What is the value of wearing a face covering?
Watch epidemiologists from Kent State’s College of Public Health, Tara Smith, Ph.D., and Christopher Woolverton, Ph.D., provide answers to some of the most-asked questions about face coverings, COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself and others.
Are face coverings required indoors and Outdoors?
- Face coverings always need to be worn indoors (except for private office or when eating/drinking).
- Face coverings should be worn outdoors while on campus. They can be removed when alone or with a family member/ household member in a green space area. Your face covering should be with you at all times and available to use should you come into close proximity to others.
- Face coverings need to be worn when walking in higher density areas including campus and downtown Kent.
- Even when wearing face coverings, keep outdoor gatherings small. When at an outdoor gathering, still wear a face covering.
How often should face coverings be washed?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that cloth face coverings be washed after each use. It is also important to always remove face coverings correctly. To do so:
- Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loop.
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
- Fold outside corners together.
- Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings).
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.
- Wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.
What should I use to cover my face during the COVID pandemic, a face covering or a face shield?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to help prevent transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. Some cities and states are mandating the use of cloth face coverings when in public spaces. Cloth face coverings are protective gear to help keep people from unknowingly transmitting virus to others. Cloth face coverings should completely cover a person’s nose, mouth and chin, with no gaps that would admit air to the nose, mouth or chin, to be effective. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to anyone who cannot wear a cloth face covering. Acceptable alternatives are available, including transparent face coverings and face shields. Be advised that for a face shield to be protective against transmitting the virus, it must wrap around to the ears and down past the chin where an obstructive modification is used to prevent virus from being exhaled out below the shield.
Traditional, transparent face shields are used in conjunction with a cloth face covering, surgical mask or N95 filter respirator. This face shield is used primarily by first responders and medical personnel, as the shield serves to block virus and debris from clogging the face covering and limiting its usefulness when used in areas of high virus load (hospitals, ambulances, etc.). It wraps around the face to the ear and down the face to approximately chin level.
One non-traditional face shield is available from Pam Fitzgerald (for faculty and staff) or Amanda Feaster (for students) for those who cannot wear something that directly covers the nose and mouth. Find their contact information in the university's online phone directory. This shield wraps further around the face, almost covering the ears and past the chin. Importantly, it has a chin shelf that folds up to prevent exhaled virus from escaping from behind the shield.
When selecting a face covering and verifying best practices for how to wear a face covering, please see this CDC web page. Per the CDC, bandanas are not suitable face coverings as they are too thin and too loose to provide the needed protection.
Are Traditional Face Shields Sufficient Protection for Instructors?
Traditional face shields do not provide sufficient protection to instructors because they are open at the bottom, and thus cannot be worn without a cloth face covering. To address the need of instructors to wear a face shield without a cloth face covering, we have worked on alternatives. One alternative is a modified plastic face shield that is enclosed at the bottom. This plastic face shield is approved by the university for use.
Instructors interested in using a modified plastic face shield should use the Pandemic Adjustment Form to request one. After completing your contact information, choose "I cannot wear a cloth face covering" and indicate that the plastic face shield is your preferred alternative. In the information box, you can simply write that the shield allows for better teaching. Additional information or documentation is not required, and you will receive a follow-up email from the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action about where you can pick up the shield prior to the start of the semester.
State and local Guidelines
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered that face coverings are mandatory for all public places in Ohio.
- It is important to note that on July 15, Kent City Council enacted a citywide requirement for face coverings to be worn by all in all public buildings within the city of Kent. The new city law also requires physical distancing of 6 feet inside and outside of all public locations in Kent. Additionally, face coverings are required outdoors in the city where 6 feet of physical distancing is not possible.
How do I order personal protective equipment (PPE) and protective gear?
Will departments need to pay for PPE AND PROTECTIVE GEAR for faculty, staff and student employees?
All PPE and protective gear supply orders will be centrally funded by the university when ordered through FlashTrack.
What types of Protective gear are currently available for departments to order for faculty, staff and student employees?
Washable face coverings, face shields (based on medical need), hand sanitizer spray mist, disposable gloves (plastic food-grade and nitrile gloves, based on risk), and sanitizing and cleaning products for workspaces, reusable microfiber towels, paper towels and other products with proper justification are currently available to order. Please note: All students will be provided with two cloth face coverings before the beginning of the fall term.
How much Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protective gear should I order?
With the potential surge in initial demand, we ask that you please be conservative with your initial order and only order what you anticipate you will need as your employees begin to return to campus in the coming months. Protective gear supplies will be continuously replenished and made available as needed.
When should I place my protective gear order, and how long will I have to wait to receive it?
We encourage departments, when possible, to place their initial order three to four weeks before their employees are scheduled to return to campus. This will allow us to coordinate all deliveries to be made directly to departments prior to employees moving back onto campus. This will limit employee exposure and ensure that supplies are available to employees as they return to campus. Subsequent orders should be placed when needed.
How will departments receive their protective gear orders?
All protective gear orders placed via FlashTrack will be delivered directly to departments. Mail Services staff will deliver orders for the Kent Campus. Regional Campus and College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) orders will be coordinated directly with a Regional Campus/CPM representative.
How do I order Protective gear supplies?
Departments will place protective gear orders using FlashTrack. You can access detailed order instructions using this link or by going to this link: https://www.kent.edu/ufm/work-ordersflashtrack.
I need specialty Protective gear not listed on the order form in FlashTrack. Who do I contact to coordinate the order?
Please reach out to the Procurement Department via email at email@example.com for assistance with specialty protective gear products.
I have my own Face COVERING that I would like to use when I am back on campus. Do I have to use the face COVERINGS purchased by my department?
Per our Flashes Safe Seven principles, face coverings will be required. We understand that many employees may have their own face coverings that they wish to wear once they are back on campus. Employees may wear their own face covering as long as it follows the recommended protection guidelines specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
My office needs service counter protection guards (sneeze guards). How do I order those?
Requests for the installation of a service counter protection guard can be made by entering a work order through FlashTrack at https://solutions.kent.edu/flashtrack/ or by logging into FlashLine/Employee/Workflow and select Maintenance/FAMIS.
I see misting reusable spray bottles with hand sanitizer are being offered to employees. How do I obtain a refill of the product?
Custodial staff will refill the reusable hand sanitizer spray bottles. Employees can request refills by entering a work order through FlashTrack at https://solutions.kent.edu/flashtrack/ or by logging in to FlashLine/Employee/Workflow and selecting Maintenance/FAMIS.
Will departments be provided with adequate cleaning supplies for employees to use in their workspaces?
Yes, per our Flashes Safe Seven principles, all employees will be required to clean and sanitize their workspaces and common spaces throughout the day, between shifts and at the close of each day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones and keyboards. Departments will place protective gear orders, including cleaning supplies for employee use, using FlashTrack. You can access detailed order instructions using this link or by copying this URL https://www.kent.edu/ufm/work-ordersflashtrack to a web browser.
Your unit will supply you with face coverings and supply your office space with cleaning supplies and signage upon approval from your academic unit administrator to return to your office space beginning June 22.
The university will provide cleaning supplies for each unit. The person responsible for ordering for your department or campus will coordinate the ordering of these materials.
Researchers Returning to Work: Questions and answers
Will researchers return to campus?
Researchers/Artists whose Request to Return to Research form has been approved by the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs can return to campus.
Do all faculty need to fill out the research form or just those going back to labs and studio spaces? Do I have to fill out the form in order to go to my office?
- The Request to Return to Research form is only for those faculty wishing to return to labs/studios.
- You only need academic unit administrator approval to return to your office space beginning June 22.
University Libraries: How are they operating after Thanksgiving?
Will the library be open?
The University Library and the Kent Campus library branch locations (fashion, architecture, map and performing arts) will close to the public Nov. 21-28.
Beginning on Thursday, Nov. 19, the University Library will change its hours to close at 10 p.m. before closing for the holiday shutdown from Nov. 21-28. The library will have reduced hours following Thanksgiving break.
This schedule will remain in place until Dec. 18, after which the University Library will close until Jan. 11, 2021. The branch locations will remain closed until spring semester begins in January.
University Libraries supports academic success through exceptional service and access to our numerous resources, in adherence to the Flashes Safe Seven principles. Direct any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wellness and Mental Health Offerings for Faculty and Staff: Questions and answers
What physical, emotional and financial well-being resources are available for faculty and staff?
Just because we may be physically distancing, doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected, and make ourselves and our health a priority along the way. A wide range of faculty and staff wellness resources are accessible via our employee wellness web page.Take advantage of some of these highlighted resources, as well as others, which you can access from the employee wellness page:
- Calendar of Events - Displays all faculty/staff in-person and remote events, including faculty and staff Group X classes, well-being workshops, financial wellness and more.
- IMPACT EAP - Available counseling, legal, financial services available to all full- and part-time faculty and staff and their eligible dependents. Live, immediate assistance 24/7, 365 days. Includes a Stress Less Center and complimentary Mindfulness coaching.
- Be Well (physician-owned wellness partner) – Staffed by professionals experienced in patient care and education, including physicians, health educators, diabetes educators and certified wellness coaches. Complimentary telephonic and virtual coaching for all full-time faculty and staff.
- We are on Blackboard! If you missed one of our valuable workshops, we likely have recorded it. To see our previously recorded workshops, go to Blackboard, accessible through FlashLine. Once logged in, go to My Courses and select "Wellness Your Way" to view a variety of our workshops.
- Teleworking Guidelines – Resources to adjust to teleworking during a pandemic. This includes guidance on how to maintain your "work space" as well as vetted resources to support nutrition, physical activity and taking care of your mental health.
For Faculty & Staff: Business Operations
Accounts Payable and Electronic Signatures: Questions and answers
Will Accounts Payable accept an electronic signature for payment requests/invoices?
Accounts Payable will accept electronic signatures in the form of accept digital signature certificates and email approvals for payment requests and PO invoices.
How can I sign the payment requests/invoices electronically?
Details on the requirements for both types of signatures/approvals can be found on Accounts Payable’s Temporary Payment Procedures page.
What if I cannot sign payment requests/invoices electronically?
Hard copies of payment request forms and POs can be put in the drop box that is located on the back side of the Schwartz Center.
How often is Accounts Payable issuing payments? How long will it take for my payment to be made?
Accounts Payable is keying invoices every day and issuing payments every Monday and Thursday.
- Fully documented and signed payment requests that are received by 9 a.m. each Monday are paid on the next Monday, if the payees are established vendors.
- Fully documented and signed payment requests that are received by 9 a.m. each Thursday are paid on the next Thursday, if the payees are established vendors.
- Payments to vendors who have not completed the PaymentWorks onboarding process will be delayed.
Budget Implications of COVID-19: What is the expected impact for Fiscal Year 2021?
In April 2020, we initiated the Fiscal Year 2021 budget process with an emphasis on planning for the worst and working for the best.
On Sept. 16, 2020, the Board approved a balanced budget of $595 million in revenues and $595 million in expenses, which is $65 million, or 10%, less than the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
Departmental Deposits: Where do I drop them off?
Deposits should be placed in the outdoor drop-box in the Schwartz Center. The outdoor drop-box is located across from the parking booth. There is an envelope slot (5 in. by ¼ in.) that does not require a key and can accept envelopes with a small amount of checks. Please do not use paperclips in your envelope since they can cause the envelop to get stuck in the slot. the Cashier’s Office will process deposits on Mondays and Thursdays. Please contact cashiering at email@example.com or via phone 330-672-2757 if you have any questions about deposits.
Extra Costs and Reimbursement Relating to COVID-19: Questions and answers
How do I code additional costs incurred related to the COVID-19 crisis?
It's important to use account number is 72033 "COVID-19 Related Supplies" when purchasing COVID-related supplies directly from a vendor. Account 72033 was created in order to track supplies purchased related to the COVID-19 pandemic purchased directly by departments such as specialized cleaning solutions for sensitive laboratory equipment, specialized face coverings for clinicals, etc.
Additional Expense Management Information: For COVID-19 related purchases of $10,000 or more from a single vendor and a university approved contracted supplier was not used for the purchase, departments must obtain two quotes. This is a federal regulation that Kent State University must follow. Departments must retain the two quotes through FY2027 in the event the expense is reimbursed and subject for audit. If the expense is audited and we cannot provide the necessary documentation, we will need to reimburse the funding agency as we will be out of compliance with federal regulations. It is also important that purchases at this level be made through a purchase order via Flashcart. Access instructions on processing a purchase order.
I am using my personal printer print documents. How will I get reimbursed for the use of paper and toner?
We encourage employees to convert documents to PDFs and utilize Adobe to add comments their documents just as they would if they had the paper in front of them, see link for more information about adding comments to .pdf document https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/commenting-pdfs.html. In cases where a document must be printed, employees should utilize their network printer that is currently mapped to their computer and either coordinate for pickup of the documents or process the document once the employee is back on campus. If an employee does not have access to a network printer from home they will need to coordinate to access an on-campus printer in their building to print their documents.
Mail Services and Department Deliveries: Questions and answers
Is Mail Services processing on and off campus mail?
Mail Services will resume normal business operations starting Aug. 24. On-campus mail and COVID-related supply orders through Flash Track will be made between 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Not all offices will have an on-campus presence this fall. However, if your office is planning to have an on-campus presence between 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday-Friday, we ask that you use this link to provide your date of return. Mail Services will begin delivering your office mail and COVID-related supply orders made via Flash Track beginning on/after Aug. 24. You can also access this link directly on Mail Services website at www.kent.edu/mailservices. If your office was using Mail Services’ shipping address for orders, please change the default address on future orders.
Offices that will not have an on-campus presence between 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday-Friday, and Regional Campuses can pick up their office mail and COVID-related supply orders made via Flash Track directly from Mail Services during normal business hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Can we have supplies shipped directly to employees’ homes?
Purchases with university funds can only be delivered to university buildings. See above for more information about on-campus deliveries.
Payroll Processing: Will I get paid on my regular schedule?
Current payroll processing periods and benefit coverages will remain in place.
Hourly employees working from home will be allowed to report hours on a weekly basis to their supervisors, who will confirm such hours for pay purposes.
Resources and Technology: What is available for remote work and how do I safeguard university property, data and documents?
Resources and Technology Available
The Division of Information Technology has created a hub of information to facilitate working from off-site. Access that information, as necessary.
Working from Home
In the event you have been approved to work from home during the current period that Kent State is taking precautionary measures to mitigate the Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are steps that should be taken to safeguard university property, data and documents.
Working from Home with IT Support
Faculty/staff are expected to work with local IT support to verify that your computer is up-to-date and set up to enable you to be productive remotely and that data remains secure.
- Any software you may need, such as Microsoft Office and Teams
- Email access
- Access to shared resources, such as file shares, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive
- FortiClient VPN to access some university resources and data (Many systems such as Blackboard Learn, email and Microsoft Teams do not require a VPN for access.)
Please address these items before beginning to work remotely. The current public health situation is a new experience for Kent State and working remotely is unfamiliar to many faculty and staff members. Supervisors should be clear in stipulating work expectations for any of their remote employees and communication should occur no less than weekly between supervisor and their remote-working employee(s). Email communication is sufficient.
To support technology-related questions, the university has assembled a Working from Off-Site website that includes best practices and information about tools and resources available to you. For general questions related to university operations for faculty, staff and students, see the FAQ’s located within this COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) information page for Kent State.
Supervisor Time Approval: What are the guidelines and how do I access Empower off campus?
Supervisor Time Approval Guidelines
- Supervisors now have the ability to enter hourly employee hours from off-campus via https://ksuwfm.kent.edu, as if you the supervisor were on campus.
- Employees do not have the ability to enter their time into empower from off campus.
- Employees who do not have hours entered will not be paid. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to enter their time.
- For hourly employees at home working remotely–Supervisors should enter the total number of hours scheduled as University Business. Keep in mind for full time employees, the number of hours to be worked each week is 40 hours of University Business. For part-time hourly employees, enter the number of hours that the employee works as University Business.Hourly employees who are working on-campus should use Empower to clock in and out as they normally would.
- Overtime for hourly employees (over 40 hours in a week) is not permitted during this period and should not occur. (However, if for some reason an employee in fact works more than 40 hours, the employee should be paid for the actual hours worked.)
- Hourly employees who are working should continue to record exception time (vacation, sick and personal leave) as they normally would.
- Salaried employees are responsible for accurately reporting the number of leave hours (vacation, sick and personal) taken and submitting them for approval in a timely manner. Leave is to be reported by the employee through the Banner Leave Reporting channel in Flashline.
- Salaried employees who are working should continue to record exception time (vacation, sick and personal leave) as they normally would.
- Employee are expected to be available to work – and to the extent possible perform work – during their normal scheduled hours. Supervisors should regularly interact with employees to help them stay engaged.
- Employees not available to work are expected to use accrued leave time for the hours unavailable.
Supervisors: Access Empower Off Campus
- Go to: https://www.kent.edu/it
- Select: Download Software
- Search for: FortiClient
- or scroll down the page to find: Network > Fortinet > FortiClient VPN
- Download the correct version for your computer.
- macOS/OS X
- Download the correct version for your computer.
- or scroll down the page to find: Network > Fortinet > FortiClient VPN
- Note: You will need to log into the FortClient VPN prior to logging into Empower (ksuwfm.kent.edu)
Travel Guidelines: Questions and Answers
Temporary Guidelines Related to University-Sponsored Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Guidelines for university-related travel are described in Administrative Policy 7-02.8. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the following additional guidelines are in place:
- Where possible, university-related travel should be replaced by a remote event/meeting and only conducted if required and critical for the job position. In evaluating the necessity of travel, employees are asked to use good judgment.
- If it is necessary to conduct university travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are expected to adhere to the Flashes Safe Seven principles throughout the duration of the travel.
- Any travel should adhere to CDC and state guidelines, including expectations for quarantine following travel. Travel should not be conducted to locations (state, county, country) with a stay-at-home order.
- Faculty and staff travel related to research, creative activities or professional development is allowed if funded through external sources, faculty incentive accounts or faculty startup accounts.
- Any university travel is subject to supervisor review and approval.
student group travel
Access guidelines and expectations related to student group travel.
For students, employees and visitors, it is important to note that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15% or higher. Anyone traveling from these states to Ohio is advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. The Ohio Department of Health is also recommending against travel to these states with high positivity.
Any travel out of state and beyond must be reported to the COVID Response Team prior to departure. This requirement was initiated because of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Oct. 8 announcement of Portage County’s COVID-19 Risk Level 3 Red status. The Kent Campus resides in Portage County, and as such, must adhere to the state's guidelines for counties at a COVID-19 Risk Level 3 status.
Kent State GUIDELINES
Kent State requires university community members to contact the COVID Response Team in certain instances. Please get familiar with Kent State's COVID-19 reporting guidelines.
I handle the budget for my department. how do I address travel cancellations?
The first step is to ensure that the traveler has exhausted all measures to obtain a refund or credit/voucher toward a future trip. If the traveler receives a refund and the traveler has been reimbursed (i.e., airline tickets, first night’s hotel deposit, etc.) by the university, then the traveler owes the university. Please seek reimbursement from the traveler.
If the traveler receives a refund and the traveler has not been reimbursed, there is nothing else you need to do.
Please note that most airlines are providing transferable vouchers if the travel was canceled, but this differs greatly by the airline and the circumstances related to the travel cancellations. Most if not all hotels will refund for the first night’s deposit.
If your traveler used one of the university’s preferred travel providers, the agency will work with you and provide information on unused vouchers. One of the advantages to using one of the university’s preferred travel providers is the support provided with cancellations and the visibility to unused tickets/vouchers.
If the traveler receives a voucher or credit toward a future trip and the original purchase was not through one of the university’s preferred travel providers, you will need to keep track of it to determine if there could be a use for a future trip either for that traveler or another traveler within your department (if it is a transferable voucher). Currently, airlines are allowing for transferability with some future vouchers. Please keep in mind, there is an expiration date on the airline vouchers.
If the traveler receives a voucher and has not yet been reimbursed, the traveler should seek reimbursement and ensure use on a future trip. If the traveler has been reimbursed, the voucher still needs to be tracked for future use.
If the purchase was made via a department P-card, the same steps apply with respect to receiving and tracking a voucher for future trips.
Holiday Break Travel
Those traveling out of state for Thanksgiving break need to be aware that when you get to your holiday destination, health officials there might require you to quarantine for 14 days upon your arrival, depending on whether Ohio, at that time, is considered a high-risk state, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Conversely, those returning to campus after Thanksgiving break need to be aware that if they are returning from a high-risk state, they will be expected to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Ohio. Currently, the states in that group include South Dakota, Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa, Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas, Nevada and Utah. Weekly updates on travel advisories for returning to Ohio can be found at the Ohio Department of Health.
Anyone traveling out of state should notify the COVID Response Team at 330-672-2525 upon their return to campus.
For travel within Ohio, you will need to monitor the COVID-19 risk level for the county where you are heading. Currently, Portage County is one of 38 Ohio counties at Red Level 3, however, it is possible that you could be going to a county that is at Purple Level 4, where it is advised that people stay home and only conduct necessary travel. Anyone traveling to a Purple Level 4 county is asked to use the utmost caution in their activities, wear a face covering at all times and do not attend gatherings.
For Faculty: Academic Information
Academic Continuity & Technology for Courses: Questions and answers
What is academic continuity?
Academic continuity refers to the continuation of courses (programs, degrees). In the case of an on-campus emergency (weather, pandemic), academic continuity for classes on campus may not be able to be ensured unless other teaching modalities, including remote delivery, are considered.
Where do I access resources related to academic continuity?
The Office of Continuing and Distance Education has developed a set of resources for additional information.
Who do I contact with questions related to academic continuity and instructional support?
- Information on remote instruction for students, including access instructions and technology resources, is at www.kent.edu/keeponlearning.
- For technology issues, contact TechHelp by either submitting a support ticket or via Live Chat with support staff. You can also call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 330-672-HELP.
Technology for Courses: What if I have questions or need support
- Reach out to your professor quickly if you are experiencing difficulty with technology or course content. If you have issues directly related to your coursework, contact your instructor.
- Regularly check the Blackboard page for your course because it is the primary platform used to help you stay current in your coursework is Blackboard Learn (learn.kent.edu). Most all of the instructions and tools you will need to complete your course will be housed in Blackboard.
- If your instructor decides to hold live videoconferencing (synchronous) class sessions, these will be held at your scheduled class time. The link to the videoconference room will be posted in Blackboard. Collaborate Ultra will generally be the software used. You should check with your Blackboard course for instructions on communication from your professor. Please remember that your course in Blackboard is a work-in-progress. You should check-in regularly to view updates. Unless otherwise instructed, Kent State email will be the preferred means of communication
- Find information on how to use these tools.
- Additional resources for courses delivered through remote instruction are available on the Keep on Learning website
- You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org for any other issues you may have.
- If you have technical problems, contact TechHelp by either submitting a Support Ticket or by talking with our support team via LiveChat at support.kent.edu. You can also call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 330-672-HELP.
Emergency funding for technology-based needs:
- Kent State understands the financial hardships this pandemic has inflicted on some of our students, and since spring, we have supported thousands of students to address their personal hardships via the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund. We are excited to announce that students can use this emergency funding for technology-based needs, whether to purchase a computer, a hotspot or another technology-based item to help students succeed in the classroom. If you qualify and demonstrate financial need, these emergency funds may be used to purchase the equipment.
- The fund is open to degree- or certificate-seeking students currently enrolled in the Fall 2020 Semester who have been affected by the pandemic and have emergency needs. Fall 2020 Semester grant fund applications now include a specific option to choose technology assistance.
Committees: Will my work on department, college and university committees continue?
I serve on several departmental/college/university committees. Will this work continue?
Academic administrators, faculty governance bodies, and other committees have been asked to assess and prioritize their essential work with a focus on student success and maintaining personnel and other processes on which the university depends (e.g., some work may continue as planned; some work may be modified or slowed; some work may be temporarily suspended).
Faculty are encouraged to continue to participate in their service responsibilities via appropriate virtual environments provided by the department/school, campus, college and university, to the extent possible.
Given the unique challenges created by the COVID-19 disruption, the Ad Hoc Academic Continuity Committee recommends a holistic approach to the evaluation of faculty in the performance of their service responsibilities to both the university and their disciplines which acknowledges both the challenges and the successes of each faculty member’s role in in these activities.
Expectations for Students: Illness-related questions and answers
Student or Family Illness Due to COVID-19
How do I handle a student illness due to COVID-19 pandemic?
Earlier during Spring 2020 Semester, we provided guidance for instructors to be flexible in requesting documentation for a student absence when students are ill.
Due to COVID-19 and the impact on students and families, we continue to ask instructors to be flexible in requesting documentation around student absences when a student is ill and also apply that same flexibility in other academic situations. For example, when students request an incomplete for extenuating circumstances, they also need to provide appropriate documentation; however, appropriate documentation is at the discretion of the instructor and academic unit, and an email from the student or the student’s caregiver may be sufficient in most situations.
What Do I Do If Students Are Too Sick to Participate?
Flexibility will be key in helping students while the campus is closed and/or classes are remote. Even though the student does not have to physically come to class, they still may be too ill to fully participate in the virtual class.
Student illness should be handled according to existing university policy, with the acknowledgment that this is an extraordinary event and additional consideration may be warranted. Visits to the doctor to get documentation may be difficult to obtain. You may want to consider changing, delaying or even canceling some assignments and/or tests.
How Should Instructors Work With Student Requests to Stay Home from Class Due to a Minor Illness?
Instructors are encouraged to use flexibility and judgment when considering whether to request documentation when students indicate they have the flu or a virus. Find information from the Center for Teaching and Learning related to how to handle student absences due to a minor illness.
What if a student indicates they have to take care of a family member due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this affects classwork?
Due to COVID-19 and the impact on students and families, we continue to ask instructors to be flexible in requesting documentation around student absences and also consider the impact that other family responsibilities may have. For example, K-12 and daycare closings and family illnesses may have a negative impact on students. Instructors should apply flexibility in other academic situations. When students request an incomplete for extenuating circumstances, they also need to provide appropriate documentation; however, appropriate documentation is at the discretion of the instructor and academic unit, and an email from the student may be sufficient in most situations.
Find information about COVID Response Team occurrences, reporting and testing at Kent State.
Faculty Evaluations: Questions and answers
How are thesis and dissertation defenses being conducted?
They are being conducted remotely through Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other platforms. For guidelines please also see https://www-s3-live.kent.edu/s3fs-root/s3fs-public/file/Temporary%20Guidelines%20for%20Thesis%20and%20Dissertation%20Defenses_1.pdf
How will SSIs be used this semester?
Because of the highly unusual circumstances under which everyone is operating this semester, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee has decided that we will continue to deploy SSIs; however, only instructors will receive SSI results. SSI results shall not be part of the evaluation for personnel decisions including but not limited to reappointment, tenure, promotion, renewal of appointment, and merit (hyperlink to document from faculty senate exec)
I am a pre-tenure tenure-track faculty member. Will I be able to extend my tenure clock due to the disruption of my research activities?
Kent State University recognizes that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about major disruptions in the lives of our faculty that may temporarily prevent or interrupt their scholarly productivity and achievements. This problem is especially acute for those faculty members in their probationary period who are working towards tenure. Therefore, the university is making available an extension to the tenure-clock by one academic year, for eligible tenure-track faculty members.
Office Hours: Questions and answers
Office Hours & Expectations: How Are They Impacted by COVID-19?
Your students must have the opportunity to meet with you to discuss any issues, concerns, or questions they may have. University Policy 6-18.101. While the policy specifies that instructors teaching face-to-face should hold in-person office hours, in these special circumstances, it is recommended that you hold office hours remotely. You should offer office hours in person only if the Flashes Safe Seven principles can be followed. If you are teaching remotely, you are strongly encouraged to hold at least some remote office hours. In general, you should meet remotely with any student who prefers that modality.
How do I hold remote office hours?
When you hold office hours remotely, students must be able to communicate with you synchronously. At a minimum you could be available to receive and respond to student emails in real time during regularly scheduled times. For more direct communication, you can make yourself available to students by phone or in a virtual office using BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another similar platform. This may be done during regularly scheduled times or using an appointment system, provided the required minimum number of hours of availability is maintained.
How do I hold office hours in person?
Instructors must model safe behavior for students by observing the Flashes Safe Seven principles during class and office hours. In particular, you should hold office hours in person only if all of the following conditions apply:
- The office space is clean and sanitized.
- Physical distancing must be maintained in all offices. A minimum distance of 6 feet is required between all individuals in the office. In particular, instructors sharing offices should coordinate their schedules so that physical distancing can be maintained.
- All individuals in the office must wear cloth masks or other university-approved face coverings. While you may remove your face covering when you are alone in your office with the door closed, you must put it on before anyone else enters the room.
If your office does not meet these criteria, you may try to reserve an alternate space on campus to meet with students or hold your office hours remotely.
Proposals: IRB and grant questions and answers
Can I still submit IRB proposals?
Yes, the Office of Research Compliance and Institutional Review Boards are operating as usual within the guidelines set by the university. Response time may be slower than usual; we appreciate your understanding.
Please use the self-determination form if you think your study may be a level I/exempt project. The online form and guidance can be accessed under the applications tab at https://www.kent.edu/research/office-research-compliance/irb-forms. The use of this form will greatly improve handling and processing time.
Please email your IRB application to the IRB reviewer in your college/department for review.
Questions may also be directed to email@example.com.
Is the office of Sponsored Programs open to assist with grant proposals?
The physical offices in Michael Schwartz are empty, but Sponsored Programs remains fully staffed and available to assist with your proposal submissions and post-award requests. The entire staff continues to work full time remotely. We will respond to your phone calls and emails.
The best way to contact RASP is by email. If you are planning to submit a proposal, please contact Diane Skok at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post Award questions should be addressed directly to Beverly Robertson, Associate Director for Post Award at: email@example.com. If you have been working directly with a Sponsored Programs Administrator you may reach out to that person directly. Everyone is closely monitoring email. When working directly with a particular Sponsored Programs staff member on a time sensitive proposal submission you may be provided with alternate contact information in order to facilitate communication.
Most agencies continue to adhere to their proposal submission deadlines – and we continue to work with investigators to meet those deadlines. If RASP learns of a deadline change they will let you know.
The RASP internal deadline policy for proposal submission has not changed:
*Notify Sponsored Programs 10 business days prior to the agency deadline (earlier is even better!)
*Complete budget and KUALI tasks 5 business days prior to the agency deadline
*Submit all proposal narrative documents in near final form 2 business days prior to the agency deadline.
Remote Course Content, Requirements and Support: Questions and answers
What is the best way to document the changes I made to my course content and requirements?
It is important that you document changes that you make to your course and provide students with a revised syllabus as soon as possible. You should also send any changes you make to your syllabus to your chair, director, or dean.
How does the Kent State Library support remote teaching?
- Ask Us Chat Service for immediate assistance.
- Search our digital collections through Discovery@KentState.
- Find journals or journal articles through our databases.
- Contact Course Reserves for help providing required course readings.
- Schedule a research consultation with your subject librarian.
- Discuss options for online library instruction.
- Schedule a statistical consulting appointment.
Check University Libraries’ COVID-19 Support Page for more information.
- University Libraries: https://www.library.kent.edu/
- Ask Us: https://www.library.kent.edu/ask-us
- Discovery@KentState: https://www.library.kent.edu/
- Journals: http://www.library.kent.edu/journals
- Journal articles: https://libguides.library.kent.edu/az.php
- Course Reserves: https://www.library.kent.edu/about/departments/course-reserves
- Research consultations and online instruction: https://www.library.kent.edu/subject-librarians-directory
- Statistical consulting: https://apps.library.kent.edu/scheduler/scheduler_event_schedule_calendar_view_weekly.php?eventTypeDisplayLimit=7
- Libraries’ COVID page: https://www.library.kent.edu/news/2020-03-16/kent-state-university-libraries-covid-19-support-page
What are the minimum faculty expectations for teaching remotely?
All courses carrying university credit require instructors/student interaction which is appropriate to the discipline and the course. The minimal expectation of instructors/student interaction should be analogous to the amount of instructors/student interaction that takes place during the course when it is delivered in a synchronous environment (i.e., “face-to-face”). Instructors may implement one or more active instructor/student interactive methods in a remote platform, including but not limited to:
i. synchronous or asynchronous lectures and/or discussion;
ii. student communications via email, open forums or discussion boards;
iii. sessions for synchronous or asynchronous demonstrations;
iv. collaborative team/group work;
v. simulations; and/or
vi. Q&A sessions.
Instructors should select and implement remote platforms which are appropriate to the discipline and the activity for these interactions, including but are not limited to:
i. chat rooms,
iii. open forum and discussion boards,
iv. audio and video conferencing applications,
v. web conferencing, and/or
vi. other synchronous or asynchronous collaboration tools.
What if I am ill and cannot continue to teach remotely?
If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, you should immediately inform your chair/director/dean. While you may be able to teach through the symptoms, you want to prepare for the possibility that you will become too ill to continue teaching remotely. If you aren’t using BlackBoard to enter your grades, you should send an updated copy of your gradebook and syllabus for each class to your chair/director/dean. If you have class assignments or exams that have not already been shared with your students, post those to BlackBoard or send a copy to your chair/director/dean. If possible, recommend to your chair/director/dean a colleague who would be qualified to take over your course.
What if I am asked by my chair/director/dean or a colleague to take over a course for a colleague who has become too ill to continue teaching remotely?
If an academic unit determines that an instructor is needed to cover a course for another instructor, instructors who may be interested in accepting such an assignment will be informed about the assignment and then decide whether they are willing and able to take over the course. If you decide that you are not willing or able to cover the course, inform your academic unit administrator of your decision immediately.
While it is not uncommon for instructors to agree to cover a course for a short period of time for a colleague who is out of town or ill, being asked to take over a colleague’s course who has become too ill to finish out the semester is a significant departure from this usual practice.
Instructors agreeing to take over another instructor’s course for a substantial period of time (more than 2.5-3 contact hours) should be suitably compensated. (The same is true where taking over a course for a short period would require extensive preparation on the part of the substitute instructor.) Academic units should first consult their Faculty Handbooks for guidance concerning these situations. The workload section and/or other sections of Faculty Handbooks may provide established parameters and processes for how academic units should handle such situations and how to calculate appropriate compensation for substitute instructors. In the absence of guidance in the Faculty Handbook, compensation could include but not be limited to: overload pay, revised responsibilities, or workload credit that can be used at an agreed upon time. In all situations, compensation for additional assigned responsibilities must comply with the terms and conditions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements and other employment contracts.
Do I need to keep the same schedule for my course if I teach a course originally scheduled face-to-face, or can I adjust my schedule?
If you are holding synchronous class sessions via BlackBoard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other similar platform, those meetings must be held during the time originally scheduled for your course. Scheduling synchronous class sessions for any other times is likely to conflict with your students’ other classes and personal commitments.
Can I just deliver all of my course content asynchronously?
Faculty may deliver all or part of their course content asynchronously. Asynchronous delivery has many advantages for students, including avoiding technological issues that can happen “in the moment”. In addition, it allows students to review material as often as they need to do so in order to learn what is being covered. It is still highly desirable to establish a connection with students in the course. This may take many forms, such as sending encouraging emails, sharing videos and other ways to show concern for students’ wellbeing and to decrease psychological distance.
Remote Exams: Questions and answers
What are the options for delivering exams?
There are many options for delivering exams and assignments (see the Keep On Teaching: How Do I page at www.kent.edu/onlineteaching/how-do-i for further information). One of the most common options is to create an exam in Blackboard. Exams in blackboard may be proctored using Proctorio (see www.kent.edu/proctoring). If a faculty member is delivering short answer or essay questions, they may wish to consider creating an assignment in Blackboard. This allows the instructor to collect all written exams in a central location, to grade these questions in the same location within Blackboard and, if selected in settings, to use SafeAssign to compare student work with an extensive database to prevent plagiarism. Another option for delivering exams include distributing take-home exams and asking students to return them by email.
Do I still need to give a final exam?
Consistent with Policy 3-01.4, every course requires a final examination. Final examinations can take various formats including a final paper or student presentation. If you are changing the final examination in your course, please ensure that (a) all students are well informed about the changes through a revised syllabus, (b) the change is not negatively affecting any students in the class, or if it potentially affecting some students negatively consider an alternative arrangement for the students who are potentially negatively affected. The Department Chair/School Director should be consulted in making changes to the final examination.
Do I still give my final exam at the original time scheduled?
Consistent with Policy 3-01.4, Final examinations scheduled during Final Exam Week should occur at the time they are scheduled. Thus, if you are giving a synchronous final exam during Final Exam Week, this exam should occur only at the time the exam is scheduled.
What other aspects should I consider when giving a final exam?
In evaluating the length of the exam, particularly in situations where you are using proctoring software (e.g. Proctorio) ensure you allow sufficient time for set-up and for student ID checking.
If exams in your face-to-face class were proctored, and you are now considering an alternative to a proctored exam, please discuss these alternatives in your academic unit before proceeding.
In requiring a student ID, consider that all students have a KSU ID but not all students may have a different type of photo ID. Make sure students are aware well in advance they need to show an ID for the exam and ideally provide multiple options of ID.
If you are changing the final examination in your course, please ensure that (a) all students are well informed about the changes through a revised syllabus, (b) the change is not negatively affecting any students in the class, or if it is potentially affecting some students negatively consider an alternative arrangement for the students who are potentially negatively affected.
In making any changes/modifications to examinations check with SAS about potential accommodations students in your class may need.
What specific aspects should I consider for proctored exams?
If you are delivering a proctored exam in Blackboard with Proctorio consider creating a low-stakes or no-stakes practice quiz with Proctorio for practice and tech troubleshooting prior to a high-stakes exam. Also, consider sharing the following information to prepare your students prior to their first Blackboard/Proctorio assessment.
Top 5 Tips For Your Proctored (Proctorio) Online Exam to Share With Students
- Tech Check! Prior to the test/quiz/exam, ensure that Chrome and the Proctorio Extension are installed and current.
- Reboot & Refresh. Reboot your computer right before the testing session.
- Get the Most from Your WiFi! Because of the larger numbers of Internet users at home, connectivity may be slower than usual at peak times. Right before a test, run a bandwidth test. If your bandwidth test reports a speed below 1mbps, ask other members of your household to refrain from heavy internet activities (streaming video, downloads, etc.) while you take your test. If it has been a long time since your WiFi router and/or cable modem has been rebooted, a reboot can help improve connectivity as well. Being physically close to the WiFi router often helps too.
- During the Exam. When in an exam, allow a few extra moments for graphics and videos to download.
- Help & Support! If you need any help with Proctorio, click on the Proctorio extension in Chrome and choose "Live Chat" or visit proctorio.com/support for chat and email support.
Remote Work Locations: Compliance, access and cybersecurity questions and answers
Since I am working remotely, and I can do that anywhere, am I required to stay in town?
No, you are not required to stay in town. During this time, if you are fulfilling your University responsibilities (e.g., teaching courses, research commitments, service commitments) and other university duties remotely, you are not considered absent from campus. However, if you travel for any reason out of state (or even to known hot spots in the state), please notify your chair/director/dean.
Can faculty and students come into their lab right now?
Faculty or Staff that have been approved as essential personnel by your College Dean and VP for research have lab access. If for any other reason you need access for essential reasons (e.g. obtain research materials that were left in the lab), please contact your Department Chair or School Director. Building access to obtain access to research labs requires approval from your Department Chair/School Director, College Dean, and VP for Research prior to building entry and will only be provided in critical and emergency situations.
ARE THERE CYBERSECURITY PRECAUTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED WITH REMOTE DELIVERY?
Yes. It is recommended that faculty use their University issued machine to conduct classes. If using a personal computer, please do not save any sensitive data to your home devices. When interacting with services, such as Banner, that contain sensitive data please use the University's VPN. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an uptick in phishing, hacking attempts, and other malicious behavior. Please be mindful of this. Do not open attachments you are not expecting and do not share your login information with anyone. For more information, please check out this site.
IS MY ONLINE MATERIAL HIPPA AND FERPA COMPLIANT?
Blackboard Learn and Collaborate Ultra platforms do meet the FERPA requirements. Please see here for the details. LMS platforms, generally speaking do not meet HIPAA guidelines as they should not be used to house patient data. This is the case for Kent State University’ version of Blackboard Learn and the primary vendors: Learn Ultra, Canvas, and Desire 2 Learn. Blackboard has a statement on HIPAA in section 10.b of this page. Most video conferencing platforms are not HIPAA compliant. Microsoft Teams and the Health Care version of Zoom are HIPAA compliant.
Technical Support and SAS: Questions and answers
If I run into technical difficulties, who do I contact?
If you run into technical difficulties, please visit www.kent.edu/it or contact firstname.lastname@example.org in addition to contacting your college or campus instructional designers and IT support staff for assistance.
Where do I send students for technical support?
If students need technical support, they should contact the HelpDesk (330-672-HELP), submit a request for support or use the Live Chat available at www.kent.edu/it.
How do we account for students with SAS accommodations in a remote environment?
SAS staff are working remotely during regular business hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students or faculty can email email@example.com to set up an appointment or to arrange a phone consultation. There will be no face-to-face proctoring during the period of remote instruction, and all meetings will be conducted by phone or Microsoft Teams. Students can update or send their course accessibility letters using Access KSU using the typical process. Faculty should continue using relevant accommodations, such as extended testing time. SAS will continue to provide interpreters, transcribers, alternative media, and captioning services for students with those accommodations. If you have questions related to student accommodations in your class or if you are unsure of which accommodations will apply to remote instruction, please contact SAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am worried about being able to access online materials because I don’t have reliable internet access at home and/or have a limited data plan. What should I do?
If you do not have internet at home, please do the following: If you are at a regional campus please speak with your Dean first to see if there are options available to you from your technology team at your campus. If not, or if you are at the Kent Campus, the Division of Information Technology has a limited inventory of Internet Hotspots for students and faculty in need. Please submit a request at https://www.kent.edu/ineedtech