How to Respond to Student Noncompliance

Communicate Expectations and Support 

UAlbany has actively communicated with students through a variety of mediums — including social media, emails, the COVID-19 website and signs across campus — to inform them of the important community expectations that everyone at the University are required to follow to maintain a safe and healthy educational environment.  

As an instructor, we encourage you to reiterate these messages and set a positive tone throughout the semester. Please start by updating your syllabus and reviewing the advice below.  


Use Consistent Language 

Using the same language when explaining the University’s expectations to employees, students and visitors ensures a firm, polite and compassionate message. 

On the rare occasions that you identify a student in your classroom who is not following these expectations, please use these guidelines to address the student’s behavior. 

Speak Firmly, Politely and Compassionately 

Politely ask the student to follow COVID-19 expectations for the sake of their health and the health of others. Most students will likely apologize and comply with your request. 

Some examples of this initial interaction include: 

  • “Hello Jordan, I see that you do not have a mask on today. To ensure the health and safety of everyone in the class, please put your mask on. I really appreciate your cooperation. Thanks!”  

  • “Hi Taylor, I see that you’re sitting in a seat that is marked off to ensure distancing. Please move to any other seat that is not marked. Thanks so much for helping me keep the classroom safe.” 

If a student is repeatedly not complying with classroom expectations, you may want to say something like this:

  • “Jordan, I really want you to be part of this class but, for that to happen, I need you to comply with the University’s expectation regarding wearing a mask in the classroom. Unfortunately, if you continue to not wear a mask, I am obligated to file a report with Community Standards in the interest of the health and safety of everyone in the class.” 

Offer Guidance to Help the Student Resolve the Issue 

If a student forgets their face mask, explain to them that, to ensure everyone’s safety, they need a mask to remain in the classroom. If they obtain a mask, they can return to class. 

Here’s an example of that interaction: 

  • “Hey Sam, thanks for letting me know you forgot your mask. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to be in class without a mask. Once you obtain a mask, you’re welcome to return to class.” 


Reporting Violations 

Students who comply with an instructor’s first or second request should not be reported. 

Filing a Report 

You may file a report online in the rare occasion that a student repeatedly does not follow your instructions to comply with the COVID-19 expectations or is disruptive to your class.

File a COVID-19 Complaint Form.

You can learn more about the form and our community expectations on the Report a Problem page.

The filed report will be sent to Community Standards, a unit within the Office of the Dean of Students. Staff will review the report, contact the instructor for clarification or more information, if necessary, and then follow up with the student. 

For a phone consultation with Community Standards staff, please call 518-442-5501

Reporting an Emergency 

If you feel that the situation is escalating to a point where the student is becoming aggressive or refuses to leave the classroom after being instructed to do so, you may contact the University Police by dialing 911 from any campus phone or dialing 518-442-3131 from your cell phone.