The most important part of your Continuation of Instruction Plan is your plan for communicating with your students. If you can't reach your students, you can't teach them. You need to make sure that all of your student contact information is always up-to-date, and that it is accessible in several locations.

Communication with your students will also be very re-assuring to them in an emergency situation. It will be good for them to hear a friendly voice and an assurance that their education will not be slowed down by an emergency.

1.1: Overview

To prepare a communications plan, you should complete the following steps for each of your classes:
  • You and your students should have an FDU e-mail account, and one other non-FDU account.
  • Keep all student contact information in both electronic and paper formats.
  • Keep paper copies of student contact information at home, in your office or department, and with your Department Chair or School Director.
  • Inform your students that if their contact information changes at any time during the semester, they must let you know immediately.
  • Maintain the accuracy of student contact information always.
  • Repeat these steps at the beginning of every semester.

1.2: E-Mail

To teach your students at a distance, you need to be able to contact all of your students via e-mail.The FDU Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan (DRBCP) coordinated by the Office of Information Resources and Technology (OIRT) will help ensure that all campus computer systems are accessible during an emergency. However, emergencies are unpredictable, and it is possible that you or your students will not be able to connect to campus systems.Therefore you and your students should each have an FDU Webmail account and one non-FDU e-mail account.
  • To create an FDU Webmail account, visit for instructions. You and your students should get Webmail accounts now as there is no guarantee that you will be able to create an account during an emergency.
  • For each course that you teach, an FDU class listserv (mailing list) is created for you and sent to your Webmail address. The listserv addresses are sent to you via FDU Webmail by the second week of the semester. The listserv is an easy way to contact all of your students at once. You should know your class listserv addresses and be able to use this resource.
    • If you do not know the addresses for your class listservs, contact the University Technical Assistance Center (UTAC) at 973-443-8822 (8822 from the Florham campus, #8822 from the Metro campus).
  • To create a free non-FDU e-mail account, visit or Click on "Sign Up." The system will step you through the process of creating a new account.
  • You and your students should regularly check your "junk" or "spam" folders on all accounts, to ensure that important e-mail is not ending up there. E-mail sent from free services often gets funneled into the "junk" folders.
  • You and your students should periodically access your non-FDU accounts as they will be automatically de-activated if they are not used.
  • You and your students should regularly delete unwanted mail from all accounts, as you will be unable to receive mail if you run out of storage space.

1.3: Student Information

While student contact information is stored in the University's Datatel system, the data is not always up-to-date. You should therefore collect contact information from all of your students.The Student Questionnaire linked below asks students for several ways to contact them in an emergency. If your students do not feel comfortable supplying certain information, reassure them that you will only use this information during an emergency.

Complete each of the following steps:

1.4: Faculty Information

Just as you need to contact your students, they will need to be able to contact you. You should let your students know how they can best contact you during an emergency.

Please complete each of the following steps:

  • Fill out the Faculty Information Form below for distribution to your students.
    • Some instructors may prefer not to share all contact information with students. Share as many details as you can while maintaining your privacy.
    • If you have a non-FDU e-mail account but want to keep it private, set up an additional free account just for emergency use.

  • Make sure that your students understand that your contact information is for use only during an emergency that closes the campus. Otherwise they should always use the contact method specified in your syllabus.
  • Be aware that students may try to contact you via one of your emergency contact methods, even when the University is not closed. You should check your non-FDU email account often to check if students have tried to contact you at that address.

1.5: Exchanging Information

Even in non-emergency situations, it is a good idea for students to exchange contact information in case they are absent and need to know about a missed assignment, or in order to ask each other for assistance. It is okay to distribute student FDU Webmail addresses to the entire class, but for any additional contact information to be disseminated, permission must be given by each student. The Student Questionnaire asks the students to provide permission to share emergency contact information.

Please complete the following steps:

  • Tell your students that you would like to create a student class directory containing contact information.
  • Explain to your students that the list will be used in case there is an emergency so that they can contact their fellow classmates.
  • Explain that the contact information can also be used when they need to contact classmates for other reasons during the semester.
  • You may include FDU webmail addresses in your directory even if students do not provide permission to release their contact information.
  • For students who sign the permission form, include all phone numbers and addresses provided.
  • Distribute the directory together with your faculty contact information to all students. Remind them to keep copies at any location where they might be during an emergency.
  • Keep a copy in your on-campus office, and keep a copy at home.
  • Give your Department Chair or School Director a copy of the contact list for each of your classes.

Step 2 - Course Preparation

You are now ready for Step 2 - Course Preparation.