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Responding to COVID-19

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

The Protect Purdue page is an important resource for information related to COVID-19, personal protection, and precautions in place on campus. All Lamb School actions will be taken in line with University and College of Liberal Arts policies. This page is intended to help Lamb School faculty, instructors, staff, and students sort through the tremendous amount of information to find information relevant to their work, as well as connect them to Lamb School-specific resources.

In all things in the Lamb School, we strive to act in ways that are grounded in our values of open communication and excellence in communication scholarship and teaching, all while supporting the holistic wellbeing of our entire Lamb School community. Our response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is no different. On this page, we will share decisions we’ve made about our response to COVID-19 (in line with CLA and University decisions) as well as resources to help you, as members of our Lamb School community, to act responsibly. We ask that you remember that although this pandemic has created less-than-ideal circumstances, we want to continue to unite as a school to protect the vulnerable in our community and demonstrate professional flexibility as we work to continue to strive for openness in communication and excellence in communication scholarship and education.

Information and Resources for Instructors

As of Fall 2021, all courses should be in-person learning. The instance in which a remote option should be offered to students is to a quarantining student while they are quarantining. The University-level decision is that it is safe and important to return to our residential (in-person) learning experience.

We will support you.

We are actively developing ways to support our Lamb School instructors. In addition to university resources like this helpful page from the Center for Instructional Excellence and the experts in that office, we have assembled a team of people in the Lamb School who are willing and able to answer your questions about the Learning Management System (Brightspace) and other online instruction resources like WebEx and Hot Seat. Reach out to that team here.

COM 114 and COM 217

The course directors for COM 114 and COM 217 are available to support you should you need to offer remote options to quarantining students or troubleshoot unexpected circumstances. Please do not develop your own solutions. It is important that the course experience be as similar as possible across sections in these courses. Dr. Jen Hall, Director of COM 114 and COM 217, and her teams will communicate their expectations and plans to you directly.

Brightspace

Beginning with summer 2020 courses, the new official Learning Management System for the University (which is replacing Blackboard Learn) is Brightspace. Using Brightspace for your course is something that we encourage you to start thinking about now, even if you’re not teaching until Fall. There are a number of ways you can prepare for this transition.

Recorded Class Meetings and Student Privacy

If you are recording lecturers or using previously-recording class periods to supplement your class resources, it's important that you consider important issues relating to student privacy. Here is how you can responsibly manage class recordings while respecting your students' right to privacy:

  • If the recording will not be shared or reused, you should still provide notice for your students. Something similar to this statement would be best: “Some or all of the lectures may be recorded for the instructor’s sole use. The recordings will not be re-used or shared without permission.”

  • If the recordings will be shared or reused, even if it is for future educational purposes, and students' identities are clear in the recording, please provide and collect signed release forms from your students. This form was provided by the office of the General Counsel to be used for this purpose. 

If you have other questions or concerns about student privacy, including questions about how to record lectures in a way that does not include identifying information about students, please reach out to our response team. It's possible others may have the same question or that we haven't considered the issue you may raise. Reaching out is an important way that we can help each other engage in best and promising practices for teaching! 

Personal Care and Responsibility

The health and wellbeing of our Lamb School faculty, lecturers, staff, and students is our utmost priority and responsibility. Below we’ve included resources and expectations to help us all support each other during this pandemic and beyond.

Personal Care: Mental Health and Wellbeing

An important part of protecting and prioritizing your mental health during this time of uncertainty that is taking a toll on all of us is honoring your breaks. Whether “breaks” for you means the end of the working day, your weekends, or even the summer if you have an academic year appointment, please prioritize your wellbeing. We know that can be hard to think about or navigate, especially as much of life goes back to pre-pandemic "normal" but infection rates have not dropped as we had hoped. We also know that that may look different for each of us. Some of us may prioritize our well-being by unplugging completely when we can. Some of us may prioritize our wellbeing by reducing uncertainty and completing all planning that is possible to complete as soon as it’s possible to complete it. If you need help coming up with a plan to help yourself rest, reset, and practice self-care as it relates to your work and your role in our school, please reach out to our response team.

If you need extra mental health support, explore the following mental health resources that are at your disposal:

  • In-person counseling services for Purdue employees are available at the Center for Healthy Living (765-494-0111).
  • LiveHealth Online offers online therapy and psychiatric services. (You can read about how this interacts with and complements counseling at the Center for Health Living here.)
  • Woebot is a free mental health app developed by psychologists from Stanford. It delivers Cognitive Behavioral Therapy coaching to help you manage and prioritize your mental health.
  • If you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start in seeking the right kind of help for you, contact our response team.

Personal Responsibility: Excellent Communication

As communication students and scholars, we know that what we say and how we say it is just as – if not more – important as the actions we take. In times of uncertainty, it is especially true that we have a responsibility to be excellent communicators. Already during this outbreak, we have a number of examples of how inaccurate and unclear messages can cause confusion and panic and can even lead to discriminatory and racist assumptions and actions. You can be a responsible communicator about COVID-19 during this outbreak by fact-checking information before sharing it and speaking out when someone is spreading false or misleading information or discriminatory stereotypes online and in person.

Personal Responsibility: Physical Health

The most powerful and effective way to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19 is for each of us to take responsibility as individuals, making sure that we’re taking common-sense disease prevention actions.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or, when possible, with a tissue that you then immediately dispose of.
  • Avoid touching your eyes nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (Pro tip: Spread Boilermaker spirit, not infections! The chorus of Hail Purdue takes about 20 seconds to sing.)
  • When a sink and soap is not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay home when you are sick (or even if you've experienced any symptoms in the past 48 hours), even if your symptoms are mild. Remember, you may not be susceptible to a serious case of COVID-19, but others in our community are. Even if you are vaccinated, you are still able to spread COVID-19 to others, even if your own symptoms are mild. The only reason you should leave your home when you are feeling ill is to visit a doctor’s office. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep enough food and supplies at your home to last for about a week. If you find yourself feeling sick and unprepared to stay home and away from others, consider using a grocery delivery service (or a friend who is willing to do a grocery run for you!).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces including tabletops, desktops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, tablets, and keyboards and your computer mouse.
  • You must wear a face mask if you are inside on campus.
  • Follow state, local, and campus guidelines for social distancing.
  • If you haven't yet been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, take advantage of this free and powerful option for reducing the likelihood of infection and preventing serious infection. Help stop the spread!