Recognizing the significant work faculty and staff completed in preparation teaching prior to the 2020-21 academic year, the purpose of this revised and abbreviated guide is to communicate information relating to courses and academic work for Fall 2021. As conditions continue to evolve over the course of the term, please continue to visit this page and the Healthy Elon website for the latest information.


Elon’s Educational Commitments

Relationship-rich experiences are the foundation of an Elon education, as they are at residential colleges and universities across the country. Interacting with faculty, staff and peers in an active and challenging community of learners – in and out of the classroom – is at the very heart of teaching and learning at Elon. Those relational experiences are what draw our students – and us – to be here.

In the 2020-21 academic year the COVID-19 pandemic challenged faculty and staff to re-imagine how they could continue to provide opportunities for engaged, inclusive, rigorous, and interactive education. Since the availability of vaccines started last spring, our faculty, staff and students have demonstrated high vaccination rates. We approach the 2021-22 academic year with an awareness of what we learned over the last year and a commitment to offering in-person classes safely in compliance with CDC recommendations.


Support for Teaching and Learning

Elon University has received national distinction in teaching excellence. This is due to an institutional commitment to best practices in engaged learning and a reliance on the discretion, professional judgement, and creativity of excellent teaching faculty. Faculty are asked to continue to focus on helping students meet course and program goals and outcomes using engaged learning practices in the in-person learning environment. Faculty are encouraged to design a flexible approach best suited for their course learning goals, accounting for their own teaching styles, classroom assignments, curricular demands, and student needs, including equitable access to course materials and activities.

CATL, TLT, and Writing across the University will continue to provide consultations and resources for faculty planning courses and assignments for 2021-22. Additionally, the Flexible & Resilient Teaching website is an evolving online academic continuity planning guide to aid Elon faculty in the adaptation of course content for blended and remote learning during brief or long-term periods of disruption. The site includes pedagogical and technical guidance in one place, including ideas from other faculty.


Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodations & Accessibility

Can I still request an accommodation for COVID-19 purposes?

Standing health-related policies outlined in the Staff Manual and/or Faculty Handbook as related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continue unchanged. The COVID-19 accommodation process has ended. Please visit the Human Resources web page for additional information on these policies.

How can I get student notetakers for my class?

If a class would benefit from regular notetaking or student learning accommodations require it, faculty are encouraged to ask students to serve as volunteer notetakers or to collaborate on a shared electronic document. See additional resources related to this topic.

How do I request to wear a face shield instead of a mask?

Students or faculty who are unable to wear cloth face coverings due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability may wear an alternate face covering, such as a shield, and always maintain a minimum six-foot physical distance. Students who require accommodations must be registered with Disabilities Resources and contact Disabilities Resources (disabilities@elon.edu) for next steps. Employees can request a medical accommodation for a university-provided face shield through Human Resources.

Additionally, deans may grant a waiver to allow face shields in lieu of cloth face coverings for students and faculty in a specific class if requested by the faculty member and necessary to meet the curricular requirements of the course (e.g., theatre, voice, language instruction, etc.). In those classes, a minimum six-foot physical distance must be always maintained. If you have specific questions about this face-covering policy, please reach out to your dean, supervisor or Human Resources.

Attendance & Absences

A student said they can’t attend class for two weeks due to travel quarantine. Is this true?

Students arriving into the United States from another country may have a mandatory isolation period. Depending on a student’s date of arrival, he or she could be absent in early classes. Global Education Center staff are working with international students to assist with their arrival processes.

At what duration of absences should I report a concern? Who should get this health concern?

Faculty are encouraged to report more than two absences without documentation or communication from the student via the E-Warning system.

  • E-Warning is an electronic notice set up for faculty to voluntarily report any students with excessive absences, missing quizzes, lack of class participation, and other academic focused concerns.
  • The E-Warning submission link is included to the right of students’ names on the class roster found in OnTrack. E-Warnings are sent to the student, the student’s academic advisor, and the reporting professor.

For concerns regarding student well-being (which may include academic concerns, mental health, significant academic distress, physical well-being, financial constraints, and social integration, among others), please share your concerns using the online Student Care and Outreach Referral form.

  • When shared, a staff member will consult with you on how best to reach out and support the student involved.
  • Additional information on how to support students in distress is available on the Student Care and Outreach website.

How are attendance policies for courses set? Should I take attendance?

In the 2021 fall semester, general attendance policies continue to be created at the discretion of schools, departments, and/or faculty. Individual faculty have the latitude to enact attendance policies as they are detailed within their course syllabi.

Within this purview, faculty are encouraged to take attendance in order to be aware of student absences that may indicate the need for an e-warning or a student care and outreach report, while still maintaining student health privacy and ensuring compliance with FERPA and other medical privacy laws.

For assessment purposes, schools/departments and individual faculty are encouraged to view attendance holistically—perhaps as “presence” or engagement—and as encompassing both physical attendance as well as other forms of participation and engagement in learning activities. Attendance policies also should acknowledge and plan for the possibility of students being required to quarantine because of COVID-19, including international students quarantining upon entering the country.

A process of notification has been developed to address continued academic engagement during potential illness and quarantine/self-isolation.

NEW How should I accommodate students who say that they are not coming to class because they have symptoms?

  • Faculty members have authority to make decisions about how to best work with students who are ill depending on learning goals and outcomes for their courses, as well as specific circumstances (see guidance below).
  • Faculty are encouraged to make themselves available virtually to meet with students who are absent due to quarantine or illness.
  • Faculty can direct students who feel ill to the Health and Wellness page on this site for explicit guidance, depending on the specific situation regarding symptoms, close contact with a positive case, and vaccination status (see guidance below).
  • Students are encouraged to stay in touch with their faculty members, take ownership of their own learning, and work proactively to address any concerns relating to attendance or illness. Students may need support in arranging for note-takers (from among current classmates as opposed to through Disabilities Services) when absent and/or accessing course materials.

NEW What should I do if students ask me for Zoom access to my course while they are in quarantine?

Guidance to students reminds them that instructors will take different approaches to supporting student learning during absences, due to different course learning outcomes or pedagogies.

Faculty members have autonomy in making arrangements with their students to address learning goals and outcomes within the residential model of undergraduate education at Elon. Despite complexities in dealing with the ongoing situation, many students and faculty are successfully working together in-person learning environments.

NEW Where can I find guidance for addressing class absences?

  • The Faculty Handbook provides information relating to class absences.
  • If your academic department/school has a centralized attendance policy, you may want to consult with your colleagues about whether adjustments to those policies are needed at this time.
  • Faculty can also point students to the Student Guide Related to Quarantine due to COVID-19 that provides some guidance.

Contact Tracing, Testing & Quarantine/Isolation

How are faculty and staff notified if a student in their class has been placed in quarantine?

Instructors will find a notification in their course rosters on OnTrack in cases when a student has a longer-term health-related absence due to COVID illness or quarantine. Note that due to privacy laws details of the specific health issues cannot be provided. When a student is placed in quarantine due to a positive test or has been identified as an unvaccinated close contact, they will be instructed (with both written and verbal instructions) to notify their faculty and make the necessary arrangements to stay current in the class. Students are expected to complete all coursework included in the course syllabus, and to make arrangements to access class notes, engage with course material, complete class assignments outside of class and submit their work. If a student is unable to complete the course requirements, the student may be eligible for an Incomplete, individual course withdrawal, or a medical leave of absence.

How does a faculty member tell their class they aren’t feeling well/are self-isolating and need to teach online?

Faculty, staff, and students who are unwell should stay home and follow the instructions in the “If You Test Positive/Quarantine and Isolation” section of the Healthy Elon Health & Wellness page. Instructors should communicate with students about class instruction. Specific ways to address instruction will depend on the nature and severity of the illness. Faculty members needing assistance will coordinate support with their department chair. If canceling class, faculty members should notify their department chair. If a faculty member has been asked to quarantine by a physician or health department, they should follow the process outlined by on the Healthy Elon Health & Wellness page.

How long is the quarantine for an infected student, those considered direct contacts and those in the expanded contact group (including student employees)? Can faculty/staff members insist students quarantine for 14 days?

Length of quarantine is a decision made in consultation with medically-trained staff.

Should faculty or staff who are not on campus all semester (for example, faculty on sabbatical) but intend to be on campus, at least occasionally, take the university-provided COVID-19 testing?

All community members are encouraged to upload their vaccination documentation. Those who have not submitted vaccination documentation will be required to participate in regular testing. When on campus, all community members are expected to follow mask policies.

What are the expectations for working with students who must quarantine or isolate?

Students should contact their faculty members about official quarantine. Faculty members can then work with students on how to best complete coursework, just as would have been done pre-COVID. Faculty members will determine how they wish to work with and include students, what expectations should be set, pedagogical needs, etc. Faculty may use classroom technology to support virtual participation by students in quarantine/isolation, but providing virtual instruction is not required.

What if I have had close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19?

As part of Elon’s contact tracing protocols, students, faculty and staff who test positive are asked by quarantine staff to share names and contact information of any individual at Elon who may have been exposed during the period when the individual was contagious. You are considered a close contact if you have been within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for 15 minutes in a 24-hour period (cumulatively) or have been exposed to respiratory secretions of a person with COVID-19.

  • Vaccinated individuals who have been a close contact of a positive case but do not have symptoms not directed to quarantine but are required to mask and monitor symptoms for 14 days.
  • Unvaccinated individuals who have been a close contact of a positive case will be required to quarantine for up to 14 days after last contact as determined by health care professional and guidelines from health officials, and should consult with their primary care provider.
    • Students: Contact Student Care & Outreach by emailing quarantine-support@elon.edu.
    • Employees: Contact Human Resources and supervisor/department chair.

What if I test positive?

Those who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive for COVID-19 with an antigen test may be given a PCR test to confirm presence of the virus, and will be advised to isolate pending the outcome of the PCR test. Those with a negative PCR test result will be released from isolation; those with a positive PCR result will be required by the county health department to undergo a period of isolation.

Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive for COVID-19 with an antigen test are considered positive and do not need a PCR test. They will be required to undergo a period of isolation.

  • Students: Student Care & Outreach, Residence Life and Student Health Services will coordinate care, housing and health precautions.
    At home, over-the-counter, & off-campus tests: Students who test positive with an over-the-counter or at-home COVID test are required to attend symptomatic, walk-in testing in Student Health Services to verify the test. Report positive test results from an off-campus testing facility or over-the-counter/at-home test results to Student Care & Outreach by emailing quarantine-support@elon.edu.
  • Employees: Contact the Office of Human Resources at 336-278-5560 for guidance and to report positive test results. Primary care providers and the county health department will direct the isolation/quarantine process. Human Resources will also assist faculty and staff members through the process.

What information does a student receive if they have been placed in quarantine?

As part of the process, students will be instructed to contact their professors and work supervisors in order to identify ways to complete their coursework and cover work shifts while in quarantine. Students will also receive the following via email:

Classes: You can continue to work on your course requirements remotely while in quarantine. Your faculty will NOT receive a direct notification that you have been placed into quarantine. However, the OnTrack course roster will have a notation indicating that you have been placed into quarantine. It is essential that you reach out to your faculty ASAP to let them know that you have been placed into quarantine, will not be able to attend class, and to request a virtual meeting to discuss how you can complete the coursework while you are in quarantine. Please stay in regular communication with your professors during this time to ensure that you are keeping up with your coursework and to make sure that you understand the primary themes involved. Most faculty have regular office hours for a phone or internet chat.”

The quarantine system will automatically update the course rosters when a student is contacted for quarantine, if quarantine end dates change, and upon release from quarantine. These updates occur hourly, so rosters have current information. When a student is released from quarantine, the quarantine notation is removed. Faculty members will not receive an email for each student who enters quarantine. The prior emails were manual and static and therefore created greater confusion (listed one end date but did not reflect updates to shortened/lengthened quarantine periods; sent out many hours after quarantine start/end; etc.). The automated roster process provides faster and more accurate updates regarding quarantine status and end date.

NEW Where can I find information on official student quarantine and isolation?

Refreshing your OnTrack class rosters will give you the most updated information on students’ quarantine/isolation status. These pages are updated every hour.

Policies & Procedures

How should instructors communicate expectations about masks?

All members of Elon University are expected to adhere to official university policies and directives, failure to do so may be a violation of the Elon University Honor Code. Faculty members should talk about class expectations, broadly, during the first class-session and normalize mask wearing. The campus community should recognize that many individuals may choose to wear masks for a variety of reasons.

Instructors may want to emphasize that university mask policies will likely change over the course of the semester and that classroom expectations will be consistent with those policies. Instructors should not develop classroom policies that differentiate between students based on face coverings, in terms of seating assignments, group assignments or other classroom practices.

If Elon’s indoor mask policy were to change, and I’m nervous about meeting with someone without wearing a mask, what can I do?

Employees should always feel comfortable adding the extra protection of wearing their own mask. That’s the first and best step. Being honest also goes a long way. Saying something like, “I’m nervous about meeting unmasked, would you be willing to wear masks or meet outside?” is a good straightforward approach.

Should an instructor require masks in their classroom as a syllabus policy?

No. Classroom policies regarding masks should be consistent with university policies.

Should an instructor require seating arrangements or group assignments based on student masking?

Instructors should not develop classroom policies that differentiate between students based on face coverings, in terms of seating assignments, group assignments or other classroom practices.

What is our Intellectual Property Policy?

Although faculty may choose to supplement in-person instruction with online materials or videos, they are not required to do so. When posting written or recorded information, it is important for all members of our community be familiar with Elon’s Intellectual Property Policy.

What is our policy on recording classes?

Faculty are advised to address Elon’s policy on “Recording Video and Audio, Streaming Video and Audio, or Photography in Classes” in course syllabi and, if needed, during discuss of class expectations at the start of the semester. Additionally, as the existing policy states:

“No matter what the course policy, recorded classes may not be used in any way that denigrates and/or decontextualizes the instructor or any student whose class remarks are recorded. Any information contained in the recorded class may not be posted, published or quoted without the express consent of the instructor or speaker, and if permission is granted, must be properly cited. All recordings of class lectures or discussions are to be erased at the end of the semester.”

What pass-fail policies are in place for the 2021-22 academic year?

There are no special pass-fail policies in place for 2021-22. Faculty should utilize the standard Faculty Handbook Grading System (X27V).

Will faculty and staff have access to health-related information that affect a student’s or colleague’s masking?

Faculty and staff will not have access to private information, such as vaccination status, medical history, health conditions, or religious beliefs, that may potentially affect a person’s ability or requirement to wear a mask. All members of the Elon community are expected to follow mask policies that are established by the institution with the understanding that, even when masks are not required, community members may choose to mask up.

Resources & Support

How do I request to wear a face shield instead of a mask?

Students or faculty who are unable to wear cloth face coverings due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability may wear an alternate face covering, such as a shield, and always maintain a minimum six-foot physical distance. Students who require accommodations must be registered with Disabilities Resources and contact Disabilities Resources (disabilities@elon.edu) for next steps. Employees can request a medical accommodation for a university-provided face shield through Human Resources.

Additionally, deans may grant a waiver to allow face shields in lieu of cloth face coverings for students and faculty in a specific class if requested by the faculty member and necessary to meet the curricular requirements of the course (e.g., theatre, voice, language instruction, etc.). In those classes, a minimum six-foot physical distance must be always maintained. If you have specific questions about this face-covering policy, please reach out to your dean, supervisor or Human Resources.

What if I am sick or feel ill (have respiratory symptoms)?

Those experiencing symptoms are encouraged to wear masks if attending class or meetings on campus. Because variants can present differently, it is encouraged that those feeling ill or experiencing cold or flu symptoms, wear a mask, distance from others and contact a medical professional for evaluation before returning to class or work:

Students, faculty, staff or visitors who may need to access an off campus testing site can use the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ “Find My Testing Site” online tool(Note: Use the university’s zip code – 27244.)

What if I test positive?

Those who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive for COVID-19 with an antigen test may be given a PCR test to confirm presence of the virus, and will be advised to isolate pending the outcome of the PCR test. Those with a negative PCR test result will be released from isolation; those with a positive PCR result will be required by the county health department to undergo a period of isolation.

Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive for COVID-19 with an antigen test are considered positive and do not need a PCR test. They will be required to undergo a period of isolation.

  • Students: Student Care & Outreach, Residence Life and Student Health Services will coordinate care, housing and health precautions.
    At home, over-the-counter, & off-campus tests: Students who test positive with an over-the-counter or at-home COVID test are required to attend symptomatic, walk-in testing in Student Health Services to verify the test. Report positive test results from an off-campus testing facility or over-the-counter/at-home test results to Student Care & Outreach by emailing quarantine-support@elon.edu.
  • Employees: Contact the Office of Human Resources at 336-278-5560 for guidance and to report positive test results. Primary care providers and the county health department will direct the isolation/quarantine process. Human Resources will also assist faculty and staff members through the process.

What resources are available to help employees with child and eldercare concerns?

In-person instruction is the expected norm for this academic year. Faculty members who experience challenges relating to childcare or illness of family members should work closely with their department chairs to maintain high-quality instruction and availability to students.

In addition, all employees looking for assistance identifying childcare options may contact the Elon University Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through MYgroup. You may contact the EAP via phone at (800) 633-3353 to request a list or use the online Child Care Provider Locator. To access the locator, click on the My Portal Login tab and then the Work-Life tab to sign in (Note: Sign-in information is available on the MYgroup EAP Flyer). Click on the parenting tab and then the childcare tab. From there, you can click on the “Locate Providers” link, where you will be able to search for childcare options by location and type.

The Alamance County Community YMCA also offers after school and holiday camps.  Elon employees receive a discount on YMCA memberships. Please visit the YMCA website for more information.

Will Elon continue providing information to the community about the pandemic during the 2021-22 academic year?

Yes. Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Jon Dooley, will continue to send weekly campus email updates, including campus guidelines, policies, and information from local officials and three campus teams that continue to meet (The Healthy Elon Committee, Infectious Disease Response Team, and Data Team). Updates are also posted regularly to the Healthy Elon website, which includes our public COVID dashboard (updated weekly), social media channels, Today at Elon, and direct communications to help keep our Elon community informed, safe and healthy.

Teaching & Learning

Can an instructor shift to remote instruction based on requests from students?

We are returning to in-person instruction for all classes during Fall 2021. Instructors should not adjust to remote instruction for courses based on requests from students.

If remote instruction is needed due to illness of the faculty member, individuals should work closely with their department chair. In cases where the faculty member has a confirmed, positive Covid-19 test, they should also follow the process outlined on the Healthy Elon Health & Wellness page.

Has the grading system for the 2021-22 been modified?

No. Courses taught in 2021-22 should utilize the standard Faculty Handbook Grading System (X27V).

How can I get student notetakers for my class?

If a class would benefit from regular notetaking or student learning accommodations require it, faculty are encouraged to ask students to serve as volunteer notetakers or to collaborate on a shared electronic document. See additional resources related to this topic.

How does a faculty member tell their class they aren’t feeling well/are self-isolating and need to teach online?

Faculty, staff, and students who are unwell should stay home and follow the instructions in the “If You Test Positive/Quarantine and Isolation” section of the Healthy Elon Health & Wellness page. Instructors should communicate with students about class instruction. Specific ways to address instruction will depend on the nature and severity of the illness. Faculty members needing assistance will coordinate support with their department chair. If canceling class, faculty members should notify their department chair. If a faculty member has been asked to quarantine by a physician or health department, they should follow the process outlined by on the Healthy Elon Health & Wellness page.

How have classrooms been assigned for fall 2021?

Over the summer all classrooms were reset to allow students in fully enrolled courses to attend in person at the same time. Classroom assignment is a complex, multi-stage process requiring input and goodwill from many constituencies. Your patience and forbearance will help our colleagues and community navigate the complexities of this process.

The Office of the Registrar makes changes when it receives faculty requests for classroom adjustment. However, the complexity of establishing a workable teaching schedule for all faculty at the institution may impact the ability to make changes, especially during peak class times. Several outdoor teaching spaces are available on campus for occasional use.

I often move furniture in my classroom for learning goals. How will classrooms be set up? Can I still do this?

Yes, faculty members can move furniture in the classrooms to support learning goals, but faculty should remember to reposition furniture upon the completion of class. Classroom furniture has been reset this year to meet industry standards. Moving furniture from planned layouts is not required for physical distancing.

Should I continue using online assignments and exams?

While online assignments and exams continue to be flexible options for many courses, faculty members should design assessments that best evaluate student progress on reaching learning goals and outcomes. Moodle Safe Exam Browser allows instructors to lock-down the testing environment.

What pass-fail policies are in place for the 2021-22 academic year?

There are no special pass-fail policies in place for 2021-22. Faculty should utilize the standard Faculty Handbook Grading System (X27V).

What technology is available in my classroom?

25Live provides detailed classroom information, including available technology and seating capacities. The cameras and microphones previously installed in classrooms remain, and faculty have complete control of video and audio in each space to bring in guest speakers, record class, or broadcast live using their Zoom, Teams, or WebEx accounts.

Where can I find information on faculty office hours and advising?

Office hours (X33N) and academic advising (X23C) support the relational components of our educational approach and appear in the Responsibilities for Teaching Faculty section of the Faculty Handbook. As you plan your courses for the 2021 fall semester, please include information on your syllabi detailing how students should expect to have these interactions and instructions for making appointments.

Will classrooms have cleaning supplies? Will there be hand sanitizing stations on campus? How often will classrooms be cleaned?

Each classroom will have a sanitation station with cleaning products provided near the entrance to the room. Hand sanitizing supplies will be available on campus. Facilities management cleans classrooms daily.