Instructors: Classroom guidance

Approximately 80% of courses are being taught in person this fall. There are currently no caps on the number of students allowed in a classroom beyond normal room capacities, although some larger lecture courses are being conducted remotely (with their discussion sections being held primarily in person).

The following resources are aimed at easing the transition and providing practical guidance for instructors in the classroom:

More on these guidance documents is provided below. (Also see UCLA’s faculty BruinPosts from Aug. 30 and Sept. 17 and our faculty town hall from Sept. 20.)

Protocols for fall instruction

UCLA’s Academic Personnel Office and COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force have prepared a fall 2021 instruction protocols document (PDF) that outlines UCLA’s approach to teaching in the fall and answers a variety of questions instructors might have, including:

  • Can a course scheduled for remote instruction move to in-person?
  • What if I would rather teach my course remotely?
  • If I am isolating, quarantining or traveling, can I teach my class remotely?
  • Under what health–related circumstances might a class pivot to remote instruction?
  • Should I use a seating chart for my class?
  • What are the rules on masks, eating and drinking in class?

FAQ: Managing your classroom

UCLA’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force has produced a detailed FAQ for faculty members teaching in the fall that addresses questions that are likely to surface as in-person teaching resumes, including:

  • Will I know if students in my class have been vaccinated?
  • What if a student refuses to wear a mask or comply with other protocols?
  • What if I get sick? Can I teach my class remotely?
  • What if I have difficulty communicating because of my face mask?
  • What happens if students in my class test positive for COVID-19?

Accommodating students who can’t attend class

With the return to primarily in-person instruction, there is likely to be an uptick in students missing class due to isolation and quarantine protocols or because they haven’t been cleared by the daily symptom monitoring system. It is important that these students have the opportunity to participate in remote learning and continue to have access to academic support services. Instructors are encouraged to consider the following approaches to accommodate those who are unable to attend class:

  • Class recordings
    Video or audio recordings of course lectures can be made available to students not in attendance (or to the entire class via CCLE or Canvas). Instructors may also decide to stream lectures by Zoom (making sure to turn on real-time automatic captioning). Check to see what audio-video recording capabilities your classroom has, or reach out to the Center for Advancement of Teaching about alternative options.
  • Attendance
    Absences resulting from isolation, quarantine or a symptom monitoring system instruction to remain off campus should not count against a student’s final grade. If class participation is a factor in grading, instructors should provide ways for students who have been absent to make up for lost opportunities and should outline these alternatives in their course syllabuses.
  • Assessments
    Students to who miss an assessment (midterm, final, presentation, etc.) because of isolation, quarantine or a symptom monitoring system instruction to remain off campus should be given the opportunity to make up the assessment once they are cleared to return to class. It is recommended that instructors design class assessments that can easily be completed by students who were absent and that can be transferred to a remote environment if remote instruction becomes necessary.

Further instructional guidance and details on accommodating students who cannot be in class can be found in the Academic Senate’s Aug. 30 message to instructors.

Instructional modalities: Resources and recommendations

UCLA’s Cross-Campus Teaching Innovation Group has assembled a Teaching Resources and Recommendations guide that covers a variety of different instructional scenarios and incorporates lessons learned from teaching during the pandemic to help instructors advance effective learning and equity in their courses.    

Note: Any general change in instructional delivery would be based on advice provided by the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force to senior campus leadership.

Pivoting to hybrid or remote instruction

Significant changes in the public health landscape could require UCLA to make changes to instruction during the fall quarter — including adjusting classroom density or enrollment limits or shifting to hybrid or completely remote instruction. Our COVID-19 Pivot Plan and Decision Matrix (PDF) describes the criteria that will inform possible changes in our operations.

Dealing with violations of health and safety guidelines

UCLA is focused on education and the development of a collaborative community of compliance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Instructors should remind students in their classes to complete the daily Symptom Monitoring Survey, to wear masks at all times in class and to follow other campus protocols. Those students who might arrive at class without a mask should be offered one.

There may be times when students, after being reminded, still refuse to comply with campus health and safety protocols. Instructors should report these violations to the Office of Student Conduct at or 310-825-387. In addition, reports of violations may be made anonymously through UCLA’s whistleblower hotline at 800-403-4744.

Reports of violations will generally be processed within one business day, and a determination will be made whether the violation was willful or not. Students with willful violations, repeated violations or violations believed to have resulted in COVID-19 infections will face disciplinary measures up to and including exclusion from campus.

In general, instructors should do what they can to de-escalate situations of noncompliance, but it may be necessary at times to ask a noncompliant student to leave the classroom. If a student refuses to leave, instructors can consider ending the class or shifting to remote instruction for the day, although they are reminded to consider whether the risk posed by a noncompliant student justifies the learning disruption. All such instances should be reported, as above, to the Office of Student Conduct.

If faculty members or TAs demonstrate repeated noncompliance with health and safety protocols, a complaint can be made to the instructor’s department chair, divisional dean, academic personnel officer or the dean of students.

For full details of UCLA’s protocol on compliance and violations, see Compliance With Safety Measures (PDF).

Recommended COVID-19 resources

For journalists

UCLA faculty members are available for interviews with news media on a wide range of topics related to COVID-19, including public health and epidemiology, virology and vaccines, mental health, education, law, politics and the economy.

UCLA COVID-19 experts UCLA COVID-19 news stories

Have a comment about the information on this site?Send us a message