Faculty Quick Start Guide:

Preparing to Continue Instruction During an Emergency

This resource was developed to help faculty members prepare to continue to teach their classes in the event that their classes need to be cancelled for a short time, due to personal illness or short-term university closure. While this plan has been in existence for several years, we are once again asking faculty to take the steps recommended in this guide to prepare for the possibility of a flu outbreak on campus during the 2009-10 academic year.

The CDC has recommened a number of steps for colleges and universities to take in preparing for and preventing a flu outbreak on campus. These guidelines are available in a number of locations, but one excellent summary is available here:


Among the most important recommendations you should note are that the CDC is requesting that faculty consider liberal absence policies, to prevent students who are ill from coming to campus and spreading the flu among other students. For exmaple, the CDC requests that faculty not require a doctor’s note to validate an illness, as doctor’s offices may very well be overwhelmed with such requests and may not be able to provide them in a timely fashion.

CDC also recommends that faculty consider the use of distance learning methods to address several scenarios. For example, if the severity of the illness should increase over this past spring’s outbreak, high-risk students should consider staying home if there is an outbreak on campus. These individuals may be quite able to continue to their studies from a distance, and the CDC recommends that universities consider this option. It is also possible that sutdends will be required to stay home to care for a sick child or other family member. Should “social distancing” (i.e., preventing large gatherings of individuals) be recommended, CDC also recommends that classes continue in a more widespread manner via the use of distance methods.

Fairleigh Dickinson University takes these recommendations very seriously. It is strongly recommended that a Continuation of Instruction Plan as outlined in this Guide should be prepared for each class at the University. This plan should include communication with your students, having materials ready to deliver the class from a distance, preparation for at least two delivery modes (use of Webcampus, and one other delivery mode), and sharing of information with your Department Chair, School Director, and/or Dean of your College.

The most straightforward way for most faculty to continue to teach will be to use our Webcampus resource (Blackboard). However, an outbreak of illness or an emergency that closes the campus may have effects on our campus computer systems that are difficult to anticipate. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you become familiar with all of the different delivery modes described in this Guide, so that you can be prepared for a variety of emergency scenarios (for a list of delivery modes, see step 3). This Guide will help you prepare your course materials so that you can teach using any of the given delivery modes.

To start preparing your plan, click on "Step 1 - Have a Plan for Communication" in the left hand navigation area.

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