In addition to these FAQs for faculty, many of the FAQs for Staff also apply to faculty. Also please see this collection of DOC COVID-19 Resources for more information. If you have additional questions, you may submit them using this Google form. 

The College’s academic policies and regulations still hold. College graduation requirements will not be waived, and we would also expect major and minor requirements to be met regardless of whether students register for courses remotely or take classes on campus.

Academic Policies and Procedures

Can a student enroll in two different courses scheduled at the same time?

No. If a student were to do this, Carleton would be in violation of Federal standards for financial aid and accreditation.

May students audit courses in the spring?

Per our Campus Handbook, Carleton does not have an official audit option. Due to the continued challenges of the pandemic, students will not be allowed to informally audit courses in the spring. This decision applies to online-only courses in addition to courses with a classroom component (hybrid, mixed-mode, and face-to-face courses).

Can a student petition for an overload?

Yes; a student can petition to the ASC for an overload, who will consider it after first-year registration is complete.

Can special students enroll in courses this spring?

Yes; once registration is complete and only for online courses.

Can students register for a course held at St. Olaf?

Yes; the student must follow the St. Olaf as well as Carleton COVID campus guidelines in order to do so. More information about how the testing and covenant validations are coordinated between the two campuses will be forthcoming.

Carleton-Specific Definitions and Guidance for Planning Spring Term Courses

What is the spring term arrival and testing plan?

The College plans to continue with its current testing provider, which has been able to provide results from baseline and surveillance campus testing within 24 hours of the test dates.

  • All classes during the first week of spring term will be held online. 
  • All students, regardless of whether they have been on campus over spring break or not, are expected to stay on campus and limit their on-campus activities between March 27 and April 5, when in-person classes can resume.
  • Students who are living on campus over spring break will receive their first test on March 26. 
  • Students returning to campus will receive their first test on March 27 or 28, with the exception of those who will arrive after the Passover holiday. Those students will be tested upon arrival. 
  • Please anticipate that students who are observing the Passover holiday may not be able to participate in synchronous course activities on Monday (and possibly Tuesday) in the first week of the term. 
  • Faculty and staff testing clinics will take place on March 29 and 30. Faculty teaching in person (face-to-face, hybrid, mixed mode) will be automatically placed into the employee Group 2 and will be notified by email to schedule their tests. All Group 2 employees are required to participate in baseline and surveillance testing when they are notified to do so.
  • Faculty and staff who wish an earlier test can pick up a VAULT test from Security Services. 
  • Students’ second tests will take place on April 1 and 2, with results expected before April 5.
  • Faculty may start in-person teaching on April 5.
  • Until April 5, all meals will be grab-and-go.
  • Everyone will be expected to report daily symptoms and adhere to Carleton’s Covenant upon arrival to campus and throughout spring term, which specifies physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements.
  • See Student FAQs for more information

What will the spring term testing requirements be for faculty and staff?

Faculty and staff with any on-campus presence (i.e. faculty teaching face-to-face, hybrid, or mixed mode and staff in groups 1 or 2) will be required to test on either March 29 or 30. Faculty who are teaching remotely will automatically be placed into “Group 3” status, in which case they will not participate in testing or be allowed access to campus buildings (their OneCard access will be turned off). If faculty teaching online wish to have access to campus, they must complete the daily symptom tracker for the days they come to campus and participate in baseline and surveillance testing for the entire term. Faculty teaching online may request placement in Group 2 by completing this form. Faculty moving from Group 3 to Group 2 for spring term will have access to campus buildings beginning March 22.

What if a student in my class is quarantined, isolated, or ill?

When a student is isolated or quarantined, faculty will be notified of their change in circumstances and the duration of that change will be specified. To protect student privacy, faculty will not be told the reason for this change. Symptomatic students are tested and isolated. If they test positive, they remain in isolation; if they test negative, they are quarantined. A student may elect to tell you more specific details, but that is their choice. Here is a sample email that you can expect to receive:

Your student, HARRY POTTER, in class POTIONS 100, will be unable to attend classes in person until at least 01/18/2021. The student will be in touch directly about their availability to participate in online or asynchronous activities. The student is responsible to make arrangements for making up any coursework they miss.

· If you receive this notification, work directly with the student to create a plan for them to keep up with coursework. Do not assume that the student has tested positive for the coronavirus; they may be quarantining as a close contact of an infected student. Students who are not ill should be able to actively engage in your class.

· Do not assume that your entire class will need to quarantine if one student tests positive. We are expecting faculty to conduct classes so that students will not come within six feet of one another for more than 15 minutes, accumulated over the entire class session. This means that the student’s classmates are not close contacts by virtue of attending your class.

· If there is more than one student isolated or quarantined in your class, you should assume that the cases are unrelated to your class sessions, unless you are contacted and told otherwise. To aid with contact tracing, please request that your students report their seat assignments in your course moodle page during the first in-person class session.

· If the contact tracers believe that your class is a source of transmission, an Associate Dean from the Dean of the College office will consult with you regarding possible course adjustments.

What are our definitions for different teaching modes?

  1. Face-to-Face: in-person, classroom-based instruction (only students physically on campus can enroll)
  2. Hybrid: a course that combines both required face-to-face and online instruction (only students physically on campus can enroll)
  3. Mixed Mode: a course in which some students participate virtually and others participate in person (can enroll students both on campus and remote), e.g., a course is offered on campus either in-person or hybrid, but students who are not on campus can also enroll and take the course remotely. This is a particularly challenging mode for ensuring that the remote and in-person students have equitable experiences.
  4. Online (primarily synchronous): a web-based course that meets primarily at specifically-scheduled times (can enroll students both on campus and remote)
  5. Online (primarily asynchronous): a web-based course that may have occasional scheduled meeting times but is primarily offered without real-time, scheduled interaction (assignments are generally due with specific deadlines and exams may be conducted at specific times) (can enroll students both on campus and remote)

What are the expectations for spring term teaching?

Our intention is to always maintain Carleton’s academic quality regardless of the teaching modality used. In an online teaching environment, synchronous and asynchronous work with students will replace in-person contact hours.  In addition, faculty will assign offline homework comparable to what they would have assigned for an in-person version of their course. Adding together synchronous and asynchronous activities, as well as required homework, student work over the term should constitute a minimum of 150 hours for a six-credit course.

What are the College’s expectations for the number of course hours?

Any combination of face-to-face, hybrid, mixed mode, or online synchronous and asynchronous activities, as well as required homework, must constitute a minimum of 150 hours of academic work for a six-credit course. This is the same expectation the College holds for a six-credit course held on-campus. In addition to attending class and doing readings or other homework, academic work could include, but is not limited to, exams, interactive tutorials, attending an assigned study group, or contributing to Moodle discussions.

What are the expectations for faculty presence on campus and holding office hours online?

This spring, we will not expect faculty to be physically present on campus four days a week. But the issues related to scheduling of department meetings and committee or other administrative work, etc., that led to the four-days-a-week policy will apply even though many people will be working remotely. We will expect faculty to be engaged and available whether on campus or remotely for those normal College activities. As the policy lays out under normal circumstances, faculty can still block off one day a week for research, in coordination with their departments/programs. The expectation (as outlined in the Department Chair handbook) that faculty will hold office hours on a regular basis to support student learning remains in place. Office hours or meetings should take place in spaces that have been vetted by the RTC team (occupancy signage on the door will signal the physically-distanced usage of that room), or virtually. Please see the LTC FAQ “What should I do for office hours?

How would tutorials be incorporated into department/program planning?

  1. Tutorials are intended to substitute for upper-division electives that may be canceled due to the need for additional sections in high enrollment, lower-division courses, or upper-division courses required for the major.
  2. Faculty accrue tutorial teaching credit based on the collaborative research model {teaching credit = (# students x # credits)/36}. This credit would be an overload beyond the normal teaching load for faculty. The overload will carry forward until the faculty member accumulates a 1.0 course overload, at which point the faculty member would be eligible for a course release, to be granted in consultation with their department chair and the Dean of the College.
  3. Tutorials would enroll fewer than six students. Once the tutorial has an enrollment of at least six students, it would become the equivalent of a standard upper-division elective course with comparable credit.
  4. Departments can propose more than one tutorial, focused on different topics, that range from 2 – 6 credits.
  5. Tutorials would be given the 293/393 course numbers and different sections within a department would have different topic names and instructors (similar to comps).

What will the class schedule be?

The passing periods will be increased to 20 minutes, and the final period of each schedule type (6a and 5-6c) will be moved to the evening, beginning at 7:00 PM. In addition, it will be possible to teach a 105-minute-length class, beginning at 7:00 PM in the evening, on a Monday/Wednesday schedule. Please see the linked schedule that shows class times and class period lengths. Sports and ensemble practices are expected to be scheduled between 3:45 and 6:15 PM.

Are there changes to college academic policies due to COVID-19 or online learning?

No, all of the college’s academic policies still hold. Exceptions to these policies can be made in the usual way.

What should I do if a student requests course accomodations related to COVID-19?

Some of you have received requests from students to accommodate them to work remotely and/or asynchronously, in order to take your course. We don’t anticipate these requests diminishing over the next few months. Faculty are not expected to change the mode of instruction for students. All requests of this type should be directed to Disability Services ( If an accommodation is deemed necessary, DS staff will contact affected faculty on an individual basis. The process for students to obtain academic accommodations is described at this link.

What will the grading policy be for spring term?

The college’s usual letter grading policy will be in effect this spring.

How do I present a professional demeanor in an online environment?

Review and agree to appropriate norms and behaviors with students at the beginning of the course. Join the course in a quiet place. Ensure that the environment behind you is not distracting. Turn on your video. Mute your microphone unless you are speaking. Close browser tabs not required for participating in class.

What In-Person Teaching Will Look Like

Will there be outdoor classrooms during spring term?

Reservable outdoor classrooms will again be available during Spring Term. These are: the Anderson Amphitheater (20 students); the Music and Drama Patio Tent (30 students); and the Chapel Lot Tent (relocated from the Boliou/CMC Patio, 15 students). The tents will have a whiteboard or chalkboard and a speaker/microphone; students will have chairs with lap desks. There is no other technology in the outdoor classrooms. In addition, two reservable tents at the Weitz Center will be erected–one in the Class of ’61 Courtyard and one on the East Lawn. These will have no permanent furnishings. Depending on the weather forecast, the tents will be erected on or around midterm—May 4. At this time, any faculty or staff member in group 1 or 2 may reserve the outdoor classrooms for any class, department/program, or group activity taking place during the second half of Spring Term, either through the EMS portal or by emailing

Does six-foot physical distancing mean that people can never come within six feet of one another?

No, six-foot physical distancing is important when people are near each other for 15 minutes or longer. Although incidental interactions of less than six feet are unlikely to spread disease, they can add up. The 15-minute time is cumulative, so it is important to be aware of and track the frequency of such incidental interactions.

What is Face-to-Face teaching?

In-person, classroom-based instruction (only students physically on campus can enroll)

What COVID-19 precautions apply to in-person classes during spring term?

All faculty, staff, and students who will be on campus during spring break and/or spring term are expected to adhere to the guidelines in the Carleton Community Covenant, including participating in weekly surveillance testing. Students, staff or faculty who are newly on campus in spring will need to sign the Covenant and provide evidence of receiving a flu shot.

What are they physical constraints for in-person teaching?

We will continue to implement six-foot physical distancing in classrooms and other teaching spaces. This approach is subject to any updated guidance we may receive from the MDH.

What are the classroom capacities with six-foot physical distancing?

The capacities of most classrooms will be about 40–60% of their normal capacity. Tiered classroom and auditorium capacities are further reduced, to about 25 –40% of normal. See this chart with capacity estimates for six-foot distancing in the shared classrooms on campus.

What are the plans for sanitizing classrooms during the term?

When community transmission (e.g. in Northfield and the Twin Cities) is low, classrooms will be thoroughly sanitized at least once per day and sanitization supplies will be provided in each classroom for individual use. The frequency of classroom cleaning will be increased if the level of community transmission increases. We plan to flexibly schedule the classrooms to create opportunities for additional sanitization throughout the day.

Is there a maximum size for in-person classes?

Following the American College Health Association Guidelines, a maximum of 30 students in a class is an appropriate limit for planning purposes. It is possible that this limit would be increased, though that would depend on public health conditions.

Can classes with current enrollment caps of 30 or fewer be split into two or more sections?

As a general rule, no. However, there are situations where splitting a course into several sections will be necessary and appropriate. Departments should consult with the Dean of the College if they want to alter enrollment limits or split courses into multiple sections.

What are the possible classroom layouts with six-foot physical distancing?

Here is a presentation showing different types of layouts for Anderson 323,which normally holds 24 students. As you can see in the presentation, more students are accommodated in lecture and break-out group discussion layouts (16) than in whole-group discussion layouts (14). In addition, more students are accommodated using tablet armchairs than using tables and chairs.

Can I have guest lecturers or other visitors in my course?

You should assume that visitors will not be allowed on campus. It is best to plan for these experiences to take place virtually.

Can I take my class on field trips?

You may request to take classes on outdoor field trips, by completing the Permission for Outdoor Event/Gathering form. Activities should be supervised by Carleton staff and/or faculty and governed by the following principles:

  • they would take place outdoors
  • because they would be supervised by Carleton faculty and/or staff, they could exceed the 15-person limit
  • those that require transportation could take place, following MDH school transportation guidelines on pp 21-22 of this document
  • eating outdoors, physically distanced and from individually-portioned food (i.e. box lunches, bottled water) would be allowed
  • no alcohol is served

After your request is reviewed, you will receive an email from Gretchen Hofmeister, which may include follow-up questions. Activities that are not student-focused will generally be denied.

Will we have self-scheduled exams?

There is no space on campus that, with six-feet physical distancing, could accommodate testing the number of students necessary for running self-scheduled exams. Therefore, you should assume that self-scheduled exams will not be offered.

How will students be able to work together and in-person on a project, while remaining physically distant from each other?

Students can work together in classrooms, labs, studios, study spaces, and the library, provided that they come within six feet of one another for fewer than fifteen cumulative minutes over a 24 hour period. In other words, all periods of contact that are less than six feet over a 24 hour period would be added together to determine whether students working together would be considered close contacts of one another.

What Hybrid Teaching Will Look Like

What is Hybrid teaching?

A course that combines both required face-to-face and online instruction (only students physically on campus can enroll).

Is there a minimum number of in-person hours required in this option?

Any combination of face-to-face and online work is acceptable. In all cases, the combined work for the course must equal 150 hours of academic work for a six-credit course; this is the same expectation the College holds for a six-credit course held on campus.

What Mixed-Mode Teaching Will Look Like

What is Mixed Mode teaching?

A course in which some students participate virtually and others participate in person (can enroll students both on campus and remote), e.g., a course is offered on campus either in-person or hybrid, but students who are not on campus can also enroll and take the course remotely. This is a particularly challenging mode for ensuring that the remote and in-person students have equitable experiences.

What classroom technology will be available to support mixed-mode courses?

ITS has equipped selected classrooms with cameras that allow professors to record their lectures for remote students to watch asynchronously and/or permit remote students to listen to lectures and to participate in Q&A and even discussions via Zoom. The sound can be challenging, so the LTC strongly encourages faculty to adopt multiple approaches for providing remote students with equitable access to the course, including (for example) recording lectures, assigning remote and in person students to work together in small groups outside of scheduled class time, using shared Google Docs for collaborative note-taking, and running asynchronous discussions via Moodle forums.

Please find a full list of classroom technology with instructions online. For additional information, faculty are welcome to contact Wiebke Kuhn (Director of Academic Technology) and Victoria Morse (Director of the Learning and Teaching Center) to discuss a range of technological and pedagogical approaches to integrating in person and remote students into a single class.

How can I know who in my class is remote?

This information is now available on the Hub under Course and Photo Rosters. You may need to survey your students to find out what time zones they are in, and whether they are experiencing or expect to experience any limitations on the availability of technology. There are more resources available on the LTC Resilient Pedagogy site concerning the limitations some countries place on the technologies we use for teaching and other concerns that might affect remote students, both domestic and international.

What Online Teaching Will Look Like

What is Online teaching?

Online teaching may be primarily synchronous or primarily asynchronous or any combination of the two. By Online (primarily synchronous) we mean a web-based course that meets primarily at specifically-scheduled times (can enroll students both on campus and remote). By Online (primarily asynchronous) we mean a web-based course that may have occasional scheduled meeting times but is primarily offered without real-time, scheduled interaction (assignments are generally due with specific deadlines and exams may be conducted at specific times) (can enroll students both on campus and remote).

What are the expectations for synchronous and asynchronous work?

As you prepare your courses and think about the balance between synchronous and asynchronous approaches, please consider foreseeable challenges. Asynchronous approaches are generally more reliable methods for providing course content, especially when internet performance and equity issues concerning students in different time zones make synchronous work difficult or even impossible. Please endeavor to supplement courses that are mostly asynchronous with synchronous elements that allow for a personal connection between students and faculty, in keeping with our tradition of close faculty-student interaction.

If two roommates are enrolled in two different online classes scheduled at the same time, how can they both participate in synchronous activities from their shared room?

Students may reserve classroom space on Monday – Friday between 7 AM – 10:30 PM. They can do so via the College’s Room Reservation portal using these portal instructions. Classrooms are not available for drop-in use Monday – Friday before 10:30 PM. Enclosed student study spaces in the Gould Library and Anderson Hall are available on a first-come, first-served basis. As a courtesy to others, please use study spaces for only one class period at a time on Monday – Friday between 7 AM – 10:30 PM.

How do I set expectations for students in an online setting?

You can set appropriate expectations in the syllabus and in an “Introduction to This Class” video.  As in face-to-face courses, guidelines about all aspects of course-related behavior should be discussed with students and agreed to by all course participants. Please see the LTC Resilient Pedagogy webpage for more information and guidance on this topic.

Can student workers still be employed in fully online courses?

Yes, student workers can still be employed, and they can work remotely to provide teaching support. Prefect sessions will be held via videoconferencing (either Google Hangouts Meet or Zoom). Details are still being worked out.

How Can I Get Help for Spring Course Planning?

What support is available for spring term course planning?

Please consult the Perlman Learning and Teaching Center Resilient Pedagogy website and the LTC events calendar for workshops, book groups, and discussion opportunities. Don’t hesitate to contact Victoria Morse (Director, Learning and Teaching Center) with questions.  For detailed information about Carleton’s various instructional technologies, consult ITS’s Academic Technology pages including guides, recordings of workshops, and information about contacting the Academic Technology team for more in-depth consultation.

What technologies are available and supported by the College?

A list of key technologies is available on the Resilient Pedagogy website. Please sign up for Academic Technology drop in hours for help!

Where can I find information on video conferencing?

PEPS offers support for video conferencing.

Where can I find information about using Moodle to organize my course?

There are several documents and a Moodle course available to provide key skills and helpful tips, especially since Moodle has recently been ungraded. Carly Born also maintains a channel on Slack where she highlights new features; for Carleton’s use of Slack, see the FAQ.

I am concerned about equity in the online classroom — what resources are available to me?

Please watch the LTC events calendar for a workshop later in August. The blog post Student Experiences from Spring Term captures some helpful information.

Faculty Reviews

You may find information here about changes to reviews due to COVID-19.


How can I purchase iPads, styluses, or portable doc cameras?

You may request additional equipment for online teaching by submitting a ticket to the ITS Helpdesk.

Can I use my PDA to funish my home office?

You may use your PDA for technology equipment such as a monitor, camera, microphone, etc. to allow you to work remotely. This is Carleton-owned equipment, which should be returned to campus if you are no longer using it at home. These funds cannot be used for items involving the physical space, such as home office furniture or internet access.

Will there be a “Take a Faculty Member to Lunch” plan in spring term?

The “Take a Faculty Member to Lunch” program encourages student interaction with faculty outside of the classroom. Due to social distancing requirements, the “Take a Faculty Member to Lunch” program will be suspended during spring term.


With the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, how is the College mitigating against disease transmission in the classroom?

We will continue testing at the highest rate (over 600 people per week) for at least the first three weeks of Spring Term to account for the new variants (and particularly the B.1.1.7 variant).  This highest testing level assumes a 95% probability of infection entering the on-campus population every week and was initially recommended based on high case rates but now holds given the increased transmissibility associated with some of the Variants of Concern.

Regarding the indoor air levels and classroom transmission; we used an equivalent Outside Air rate of 40 CFM per person, which is over five times greater than current ASHRAE standards for lecture halls and classrooms (see chart).

The B.1.1.7 variant is thought to be between 43-90% more transmissible than more commonly circulating strains.  Even with this increased transmissibility, with the 5X Outside Air supply in classrooms (or bipolar ionization in some classrooms), the use of masks, and physical distancing, the risk of in-classroom transmission is very low. 

What happens if a faculty member gets sick?

If a professor gets sick they should seek medical care. They should also notify The Dean’s office and their department chair/program director. Faculty can request medical leaves; they can also request FMLA leaves in the event of family medical issues.  These can be for a full term or short term. In cases where a faculty member becomes ill after the start of the term, there are several options for handling their course(s). The Dean of the College will consult with the department chair or program director to determine the best way to handle the class in the instructor’s absence. In many instances, colleagues have stepped in to help keep their courses going, especially in the case of short-term medical leaves. In the case of longer medical leaves, sometimes colleagues have been able to take over the course. In other instances, we’ve hired faculty from outside Carleton to take over a course. In cases where these options haven’t been workable, we have granted students partial credit – e.g., credit for the portion of the course that was offered and completed, with a grade calculated for that portion of the grade. If a professor is ill and can’t teach, we would work out the appropriate response based on the circumstances.