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COVID-19 Assigned Seating and Attendance Tracking

Overview

As students, faculty and staff return to campus this fall, it is essential that the University be able to support our local health departments’ efforts to conduct contract tracing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. If a student in a particular course or courses tests positive, we must be able to quickly identify students and instructors who have been potentially exposed in those classroom settings and initiate further action. 

To support this important effort, on-campus course instructors on all WVU campuses will be required to do two things:
  1. Use assigned seating in each class.
  2. Take attendance and maintain assigned seating daily, whether attendance figures into course grading or not.
Once finalized, all seating charts will be submitted to a central location. It is critical that we have this information centrally available and can retrieve attendance records from instructors in a timely manner to facilitate contact tracing should it become necessary. If the information on file or your records are not correct, it is possible your whole class may need to be quarantined.

Every face-to-face class session on the WVU Morgantown main and Potomac State College campuses, irrespective of enrollment numbers, must follow the procedures outlined below. WVU Tech and Health Sciences campuses will follow their own established procedures for seating charts, but the requirements for taking attendance and ensuring compliance with the seating charts apply to all campuses.

Seating Chart Instructions 

(Morgantown main and Potomac State College campuses)


1. Accessing and Using the Seating Charts

Instructors can retrieve their seating chart using the following links:
These online Qualtrics forms include detailed instructions on how to retrieve and submit the seating charts.  Instructors will use the same online Qualtrics form to upload their final seating chart by the end of the day Sept. 2 . This deadline allows for adjustments in students’ schedules based on recent revisions to the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar , which include: 
  • The deadline for all students (regardless of program start date) to register for or add new courses to their schedule, make section changes or change their grading option to pass/fail or audit is Tuesday, Sept. 1.
  • The deadline for all students (regardless of program start date) to drop a class or to withdraw from the University is Friday, Nov. 20.
Instructors should note that any time a change is made to a seating chart, an updated seating chart must be submitted, whether that is once during the semester or multiple times.

2. Explaining the Expectations to Students

On the first day of class, instructors should inform students that they will be using a seating chart. This should be done in conjunction with explaining the COVID-19 syllabus statement on the use of PPE and COVID-19 classroom safety measures. (See COVID-19 and Ensuring Safe Classroom Behavior.) Explain to students that ensuring compliance with the seating chart is vital to contact tracing efforts, should it become necessary.
  • NOTE: Recognizing that there might be movement with adjusting schedules, through Sept. 1, instructors are not expected to submit their final seating charts until end of the day Sept. 2. However, it is crucial that instructors keep seating and attendance information for every class day to make contact tracing possible.

3. Assigning Seats

Instructors can either assign seats or allow the students to choose their seats. Either way, instructors should tell students that the assigned seats will be final after Sept. 2.

4. Completing the Chart

Starting the first day of class, instructors will need to complete a seating chart each day until the class seating is finalized. However, instructors do not need to submit it until it is finalized.
  • NOTE: Instructors should save all of their charts and roll sheets to facilitate contact tracing until the final seating chart is set and submitted. 
  • NOTE: Instructors teaching in a hybrid format should see below for additional details.

5. Submitting the Chart

Once the final seating chart is complete, instructors must submit it by the end of the day Sept. 2 using the online Qualtrics form listed in step 1.

6. Ensuring Adherence to the Chart

For each class period following the setting of assigned seats, instructors must ensure students are sitting in their assigned seats by checking them against the seating chart. If students are not in their assigned seats, instructors should ask them to move to their assigned seats. 
  • NOTE: For hybrid format courses, instructors should ensure students are attending on their assigned day. If not, instructors should ask them to leave the class and return on their assigned day. (See  COVID-19 and Ensuring Safe Classroom Behavior.)

Seating Charts for a Hybrid Class

For hybrid format courses in which only a subset of the class physically attends each day, instructors should complete a final seating chart for each unique day/subset of students and identify the day when submitting the chart(s).

For example, for a hybrid alternate day format for a class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays – and half of the students attend the Tuesday class and the other half attend the Thursday class – instructors should submit two seating charts using the online Qualtrics form listed in step 1.

Once assigned seats are fixed and the final seating chart(s) is submitted, instructors do not need to submit additional seating charts unless they make changes. If there are changes, please follow the procedure above to submit the new chart(s). 

Classrooms with Movable Chairs

In the case of classrooms with movable chairs, instructors should ensure that the chairs are arranged consistent with how they are depicted on the seating chart. Since close contact group work is to be avoided, there should be no need for chairs to be moved and/or arranged differently than they are depicted on the seating chart. If the chairs and desks do deviate from what is depicted on the seating chart, instructors should work with their students so that the depicted order is restored at the beginning and/or end of class.

Seating Chart Alternatives

Many courses on campus do not utilize traditional classroom environments for face-to-face instruction. This could include lab-based classes in which students are largely moving about in a laboratory setting and/or conducting work outside in a field setting. Instructors who feel that assigned seating and the utilization of a seating chart is not possible in their class should contact Amanda Debastiani (akdebastiani@mail.wvu.edu). She will make note of your course, identify a relevant contact in case contact tracing should be needed, and explore alternatives to assigned seating.
 

Taking Attendance and Tracking Seating

(all campuses)

Instructors must maintain attendance sheets and ensure compliance with the seating charts for every class meeting to facilitate contact tracing efforts if needed. Instructors are free to choose their own process for implementing these efforts.

Instructors who choose to use the CBORD Mobile ID attendance software should note that this will only be sufficient for taking attendance; CBORD users will need to implement a separate effort to ensure compliance with the seating chart.

For hybrid format courses, instructors should ensure students are attending on their assigned day. If not, instructors should ask them to leave the class and return on their assigned day.  (See  COVID-19 and Ensuring Safe Classroom Behavior .)