Classroom Guidance for Fall 2021

August 18, 2021

Dear Faculty:

As we return to the classroom next week, we want to ensure that each of us has a healthy and safe learning experience within courses that involve in-person contact. All students, faculty members, staff, and visitors are required to adhere to all University rules and expectations, as outlined on the University’s COVID-19 website. Below are some additional guidelines to assist faculty with classroom specific expectations.

  • Everyone is required to wear a mask whenever indoors, including in classrooms, regardless of vaccination status. Review UAlbany's mask mandate.

  • Faculty may remove their masks to teach if they remain six feet away from anyone else throughout the class. They should have their mask on when they enter the classroom and put it back on right after they are done teaching. If they cannot maintain six feet of separation, they must remain masked in class.

  • Students who are not wearing a mask should be instructed to leave the classroom and not return until masked. Students who forgot a mask may obtain one at the Campus Center Help Desk and the Academic Support Center in LI36. Repeat violators will be referred to the Dean of Students for discipline.

  • Faculty can require a student to leave the classroom if they refuse to wear a mask. This policy falls under the existing UAlbany policy regarding disruptive classroom behavior and student conduct.

  • No food or drink will be allowed in the classrooms for students. While teaching, faculty may drink from water bottles. 

  • If a student tells you they have received a positive diagnostic test result, please ask them to review and complete these "Instructions for Students." If the conversation is happening via email, do not forward or include anyone else in your messages, as this is sensitive information. If there is a student in a class who tests positive, contact tracing will be conducted to the best of our and the County Health Department’s ability. 

  • If contact tracing determines that anyone else might be at risk, the County Department of Health will notify any impacted individuals. Vaccinated individuals who are not symptomatic do not have to quarantine if they come into contact with a positive case but they should get tested within three to five days. Instructors who remain at least six feet away from students in the classroom would not be at risk from a positive case. 

  • Faculty should take no further action if they learn that a student in their class has tested positive, unless they are instructed to do so by the University's Offices off Risk Management, Emergency Management, Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Studies, or Human Resources, or by a county Department of Health. Faculty must not mention that a student has tested positive or identify the student to the class, as this is personal health information. Only the appropriate University officials or county Department of Health may discuss a positive case with anyone.

  • Absence accommodations and/or illness: During these unprecedented times, we ask that instructors use their best judgement when accommodating student absences or missed assignments. Instructors should provide appropriate and reasonable accommodations consistent with existing policies. We recommend recording your lectures in the event a student needs to be accommodated because of illness.


Carol H. Kim, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kevin C. Wilcox
Associate Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance
Chief Risk and Compliance Officer
Ethics Officer
COVID-19 Safety Officer