Message from the Provost | Student Compliance with Testing Protocol

Dear Colleagues, 

As we begin the second month of the Spring 2021 semester, please know that you have my gratitude and the gratitude of the Chancellor, the Deans, and others for all of the effort that you have put into educating and supporting our students under challenging conditions. Know too that the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff have been and remain our primary focus.  

Since the announcement of a change in operational posture from High Risk to Elevated Risk on February 19, we have received questions from faculty regarding processes in place to ensure students’ compliance with our testing protocol.  Undergraduate and graduate students need to be tested twice a week if they meet any of the following conditions: living on campus; taking or teaching in-person classes, labs or studios; working in a research lab; or working in an on-campus job.

Undergraduates who do not access campus but live in the immediate area are also required to be tested twice a week, because they are likely to be in contact with on-campus students. Graduate students living in the area but not coming to campus are strongly encouraged, but not required, to be tested. Testing is, of course, free. 

As the February 19 announcement conveyed, the campus is instituting even stricter measures to validate students’ compliance with public health requirements, particularly compliance with twice-weekly testing. Students in compliance with the required testing protocol will have a green check mark in their Health Hub. If instructors would like, they can ask students to show their green check mark before allowing students to participate in an in-person class, lab, or other activity.  For further information, see my February 19 message.

Students out of compliance with the testing protocol will receive multiple notifications and interventions, in this order: (1) an email from the Public Health Promotion Center informing them that they are out of compliance with testing; (2) an email from the Dean of Students Office (DOSO); (3) a personal phone call from the DOSO Student Conduct and Community Standards department, which could lead to the initiation of a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.  Students will also receive an Informational Notification regarding their non-compliance with the testing protocol whenever they log into our Learning Management System (LMS – Moodle or Blackboard).  No student will be removed from a face-to-face class or lab or lose access to the LMS for fully remote courses unless they are found to be in violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Instructors will be informed when this sanction takes place, and they are not required to provide accommodations to the student to make up missed work, as this is considered an unexcused absence.   

Cutting off a student’s access to in-person and remote classes is a serious penalty, but it is in keeping with the seriousness of the offense, an offense that jeopardizes the health and safety of our University community. Under the process described above, non-compliant students will have multiple opportunities to become compliant, or to explain why they are not subject to the policy (e.g., because they have moved out of the area). It is my fervent hope as an educator that it will never be necessary to impose this penalty, but we will do so if necessary. 



John McCarthy

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs