On this page, you will find updated information to guide and support your teaching practices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Options for dealing with instructor absences | Masking and vaccinations for instructors and students | Modality of teaching | Recording classroom activities | Adjusting your syllabus | Structure of classes | In-term concessions | Faculty of Education resources | UBC resources | References
Options for dealing with instructor absences
Updated: January 7, 2022
As the Faculty of Education commences the term with a period of online instruction, we expect some instructors will become ill and unable to carry out teaching responsibilities on occasion. The online mode of delivery allows instructors to plan for continuity of the student learning experience in coursework or across student programming in the event of instructor absences.
Here are options for dealing with instructor absences:
- On January 5, 2022, Dr. Teresa Dobson, Associate Dean, Academic and Innovation, announced additional GAA/TA funding for major units. GAAs can be assigned on an ad hoc basis to facilitate synchronous activities such as group discussions around class readings in the absence of an instructor. We have requested more funding for this purpose from the Provost’s Office.
- Asynchronous or independent days can be planned for and scheduled if an instructor is ill. ETS has designed a suite of asynchronous activity templates that can be easily modified to align with different course content. To offer three simple examples, students may:
- engage in group discussion about an assigned reading or viewing (either in a Canvas forum or in Zoom breakout rooms) and report on their findings;
- research and prepare a short summary on a key topic in groups and discuss findings; or
- engage in peer editing related to an assignment.
ETS is ready to assist instructors in preparing for online teaching, including planning one or two asynchronous days in case of illness. Please contact ETS for assistance or to schedule an appointment. Resources for preparing for January online teaching are also available on the ETS site, including the asynchronous teaching templates.
Masking and vaccinations for instructors and students
Following the guidelines published by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer in British Columbia, instructors and students at UBC must wear a mask in all public indoor areas, including classrooms, labs, hallways and elevators [1, 2].
All students, faculty and staff must complete an online, confidential declaration of their vaccination status . If a student or instructor does not provide proof of vaccination to the university, they must regularly be tested for COVID-19 [4, 5]. Currently, vaccination is not required to attend in-person classes, seminars or tutorials at UBC. Additionally, instructors cannot ask students about their vaccination status, as it is a breach of privacy.
Instructors can access resources outlining ways of navigating different hypothetical scenarios related to masking and vaccination in classrooms .
Modality of teaching
The modality of each course (i.e. online, face-to-face or blended) should be determined on a case-by-case basis, and must be agreed upon with the support of the Head of each department in the Faculty of Education. Courses from the Bachelor’s of Education program must be in-person, as mandated by the BC Ministry of Education .
Information regarding teaching modality must be included on the course syllabus . See also Item 4, below.
Recording classroom activities
Instructors wishing to record classroom sessions can use software such as Zoom, Kaltura or Panopto, which have received PIA approval . LT HUB and UBC IT Audio Visual have developed documentation to ensure clear guidelines are available .
If instructors decide to record their classroom activities, they should review UBC Principles for Classroom Recordings , which discuss privacy, security and distribution, among others.
Instructors can identify classrooms with recording capability in the Find a Space website . Look for the “Media Capture” functionality.
Adjusting your syllabus
UBC Senate has specified that changes to the structure of a course must be included in the syllabus . If courses combine in-person and online instruction, the syllabus should include details about the schedule and expectations for students’ in-person and online participation.
Documents are available that include examples of statements that can be included or adapted for course syllabi based on COVID-19-related safety guidelines and issues, including COVID safety in the classroom, personal health, instructor health and alternate assessment application .
Finally, instructors in the BEd program must include the following statement in their syllabus: “If you are sick and need to be absent, please refer to the “Attendance Policy” section of the BEd program policies, and submit an absence report form, a copy of which should be forwarded to the instructor. We can then discuss how you may need to make up any work you have missed.” 
Structure of classes
Classes must never exceed the allotted time in the Calendar schedule. To enable students to transition between classes following COVID safety guidelines, it is recommended that you allow additional time for class transitions .
Breaks should be scheduled in longer classes with ample time to allow students to eat or drink because it is not advisable that students remove their masks to do so in the classroom. Instructors should also consider that public facilities—such as eating spaces and washrooms—may take longer to access given social distancing requirements, and plan breaks accordingly .
It is expected that there will be an increased request for in-term academic concessions. These concessions can consist of a request for a later deadline for an assignment or a make-up test . Instructors should develop and include in their syllabi a plan to handle in-term concessions .
In the B.Ed. program, student requests for concessions should first be directed to instructors. If an arrangement cannot be agreed upon, consult the program coordinator or manager in the Teacher Education Office [18, 19]
Faculty of Education resources
Educational Technology Support (ETS): Unit in the Faculty of Education that supports the design, development and deployment of innovative teaching practices
Compilation of Main Return to Campus Guidelines & Resources: Resources and guidelines compiled by the Educational Studies department
Digital literacies: Freely accessible course that seeks to build and expand participants’ knowledge and application of digital competencies
Maintaining Our Mental Health: Mental health resources for instructors, students and staff
Mental Health Literacy: Two freely accessible online courses for students and instructors about the foundations of mental health literacy
Anti-racism: Freely accessible course about implicit and explicit forms of historical, systemic and institutional racism
UBC COVID-19 website: Latest news about UBC response to COVID-19
Keep Teaching: Resources for instructors to support their teaching practices
UBC IT: Technical support for UBC instructors in their return to campus
UBC Facilities: Information about safety and ventilation conditions in UBC’s learning spaces
UBC Safety and Risk Services: Latest information regarding UBC approaches to COVID-19 safety services
- BC Post-Secondary Institutions & BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (2021, October 25). COVID-19 return-to-campus guidelines. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/COVID19-return-to-campus-guidelines-web.pdf
- Government of British Columbia (2021, November 8). Post-secondary studies during COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/post-secondary-education/institution-resources-administration/studying-during-COVID-19
- UBC (n.d.). COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://rapidtesting.COVID19.ubc.ca/
- UBC (n.d.). UBC Health guidance and vaccines. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://COVID19.ubc.ca/health-guidance-and-vaccines/
- UBC (2021, September 22). BC’s proof of vaccination requirements. Retrieved from https://students.ubc.ca/campus-life/campus-safety/proof-vaccination-requirements
- UBC Associate Deans Academic & Associate Deans Students (2021, September 2). Guidance for start of term teaching and mentoring activities. Retrieved from https://educ.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2021/12/3-Guidance-start-of-term-teaching-mentoring-activities-Sept2-20213.pdf
- UBC Faculty of Education (2021, September 1). Faculty of Education Guidance for Term 1 In-person Teaching. Retrieved from https://educ.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2021/12/Faculty-of-Education-Guidance-for-Term-1-In-person-Teaching.pdf
- UBC Senate (2019). UBC Senate Policy V-130. Retrieved from https://senate.ubc.ca/sites/senate.ubc.ca/files/downloads/Policy-20190207-V-130-Syllabus.pdf
- UBC Human Resources (n.d.). UBC remote work guidelines. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://hr.ubc.ca/remote-work-guidelines
- UBC Learning Spaces (n.d.). Recording and Streaming in Classrooms. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://learningspaces.ubc.ca/recording-and-streaming-classrooms
- UBC (2021, October). Principles for Classroom Recordings. Retrieved from https://ctlt-act-2020.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2021/10/Principles-ClassRecordings.pdf
- UBC Learning Spaces (n.d.). Find a Space. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://learningspaces.ubc.ca/find-space
- Template—COVID statements for syllabi (2021, September 5). Retrieved from https://edst-educ.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2021/09/Covid-statements-for-syllabi_Science_5Sept2021.pdf
- UBC Faculty of Education—Teacher Education Office (n.d.). Absence report form. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://teach.educ.ubc.ca/students/forms/absence/
- UBC Student Services (n.d.). Academic concessions. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://students.ubc.ca/enrolment/academic-learning-resources/academic-concessions
- UBC Faculty of Education—Educational Technology Support (n.d.). Assessment for Online Education. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://ets.educ.ubc.ca/assessment-for-online-education/
- UBC Faculty of Education—Educational Technology Support (n.d.) Past workshops. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://ets.educ.ubc.ca/category/resources/past-workshops/
- UBC Faculty of Education—Teacher Education Office (n.d.). Academic concessions and accommodations. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://teach.educ.ubc.ca/bed-guidelines/academic-concessions-accommodations/
- UBC Faculty of Education—Department of Educational Studies (n.d.). Compilation of Main Return to Campus Guidelines & Resources. Retrieved October 26, 2021 from https://edst.educ.ubc.ca/compilation-of-main-return-to-campus-guidelines-resources/