COVID-19 Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Plans for Fall 2021

A. We are planning on welcoming everyone back to campus for fall 2021, with the course schedule that is in Banner. No changes to the schedule are anticipated. Classrooms will be at normal capacity, as they were in fall 2019. A review of the other public universities in Michigan indicates that all have adopted a similar plan. Additionally, about 14% of courses will be online this fall, compared to 4% in fall 2019.

No, classrooms will be set up as they were for the fall 2019 semester.

A. On August 6, 2021, GVSU announced that “GVSU will require all faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated by September 30. We urge you to get your vaccination now. There will be limited exceptions for medical or religious reasons.” Faculty, staff and students are required to record their vaccination status on their online self-assessment, along with uploading a photo of their vaccination card. Enforcement will start with reason and education, and then escalate if necessary, similar to our approach to face coverings.

A. Face coverings requirements will be tied to the university’s alert level.  For all levels except “Near Normal”, face coverings will be required in all indoor spaces, except for limited exceptions.  See the Face Coverings Toolkit for more information.

A. As of late June 2021, the plan is to continue to have the dashboard, but the frequency of updates has not been determined.

A. Faculty can, and should, discuss masks and vaccinations. We are counting on faculty and staff to help educate students about why our community’s health is dependent on us all following masking policies.

A. As of late June 2021, the plan is to continue to have a group convened to monitor COVID on campus.

When someone has COVID-19

A. As of June 28, 2021, the plan is to continue to notify faculty.

A. There will be contact tracing for students who were sitting near the positive student. Instructors should not dismiss the class or move to remote format. 

A. We have returned to normal attendance policies, as described in our Catalog, which includes the statement that “faculty members will make reasonable accommodations for students when an absence is excused”.

A. No. We have returned to normal attendance policies, as described in our Catalog, which includes the statement that “faculty members will make reasonable accommodations for students when an absence is excused”.

A. Faculty members should not come to campus if they are ill. In that situation, the faculty member should work with their unit head to arrange for a substitute, for temporarily moving to remote modality, or another solution.

Teaching Remotely

A. As many people across the university now have the need to contact students remotely (via phone or video-conferencing software), please verify that the person you are talking to is actually the student before discussing grades or any other personally identifiable information. The following are methods that are routinely used by staff in the Record’s Office to verify identities:

  • If you are using a video-enabled software and you don’t know what the student looks like, you could ask the individual to hold up their GVSU ID card or a government issued ID card.
  • If you are using audio, you can ask the individual several questions to verify their identity. Ask questions that you can verify by looking in Banner SSB, such as:
  1. What is your G#?
  2. What is one class you are taking this semester and what is the name of your professor for that class?
  3. What is one class you took last semester?
  4. What is the name of your academic advisor?

In general, avoid questions that a parent or someone closely related to the student would know (major, for example).

A. If students request additional participants (such as parents or partners) to advising appointments or any conversation regarding course performance, it is required that the student fill out the FERPA Permission to Release Non-Public InformationThis form is available electronically on the Registrar’s Office website. Students should fill it out, save it and send it as an email attachment prior to the advising appointment.

A. The expectation is that everyone sitting in on a class is formally enrolled as a student. To eliminate unauthorized remote visitors to online/hybrid classes, faculty may include a syllabus statement reminding students that participation in the class is limited to students who are officially registered for the course. In addition, making a statement at the outset of classes is also recommended. Visitors to classes are allowed only with specific faculty permission. If students persist in this behavior, faculty should address this with the student. If it continues, faculty should submit an Academic Integrity Violation report via the Dean of Students Office.

A. Please make such requests to your dean's office; that office will coordinate with Information Technology and vendors, as appropriate.

A. Grand Valley has a subscription to Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor, which allows you to proctor tests through Blackboard and from a distance. Information Technology has more information about Respondus on their website.

Disability Support Resources (DSR) can, on a case-by-case basis, consult with faculty on other test proctoring needs, including for non-DSR students. Please note that to accommodate a student with a documented disability requiring more time on tests, faculty can adjust the time allotted for a Blackboard exam for one (or more) students separate from the rest of the class. DSR can be reached at or 616-331-2490. 

You might also consider open book exams or other assessment activities that do not require proctoring. Contact the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center to consult with someone on alternative assessment activities.

A. Faculty and staff should reach out to Heather Hardy in IT Technology Supply Office ( for all equipment purchases. 

A. Yes. There are several resources provided by the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team including information about building online assessments and proctoring an exam online. When thinking about using Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor for proctoring an exam, you should consider that students need to download and install the software, and the software requires specific levels of technology on the student’s computer such as a webcam.

In addition, the eLearning staff and Disability Support Resources staff are available to help problem solve individual concerns, and provide recommendations for alternative assessments such as: papers, projects, quizzes, and student presentations as video assignments through Panopto, or shared live through Blackboard Collaborate. 

A. The question of course recordings lies at the intersection of technology, faculty discretion, and FERPA. Face-to-face and online course meetings can be recorded by the faculty member (using the option in Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom or via Panopto, for example) and posted to the specific Blackboard course site. Videos that include student voices or images should be deleted at the end of the semester.

For videos that include students’ images/voices, here are student consent scenarios:

Students do not have the right to record classroom lectures and discussions without securing prior permission from the course instructor, but do have the right to take written notes (or typed notes on a computing device). There may be some cases where students with documented learning or physical disabilities need such electronic assistance; in these cases, the student would have documentation from Disability Support Resources (DSR), be in touch with the instructor well ahead of time to arrange appropriate accommodations, and have signed an agreement with DSR not to share the recordings. DSR has included other information about such requests in their FAQ for faculty and staff.

Faculty members are encouraged to use their syllabi to indicate whether or not they are giving students permission for electronic recording during class. Past history suggests that Grand Valley students tend to ask before recording lectures. If an instructor is faced with such a request, they can decide what is best for them and their class. They may want to consider what will happen with a student’s recordings once they’re made, and whether additional policies or practices are appropriate – such as requesting that the student turn off the recording device during sensitive classroom discussions or if other students express concerns with being recorded.

To obtain consent to record class meetings, use the FERPA Recording Consent form (located on the Registrar’s webpage under Student Forms).

Regarding storage limits for recordings:

  • Zoom
    • Cloud storage is available with no limit per month.  Recording are auto-deleted in 30 days, which can be changed when setting up the Zoom meeting.
    • Recordings under Zoom should be saved to the cloud and directed by faculty to the Zoom cloud storage location for viewing.
    • Please remove recording as soon as possible to ensure adequate cloud storage is available for GVSU community.  Zoom is limited to the overall GVSU cloud storage of 18TB.
  • Bb Collaborate
    • No limits
    • No additional costs
    • No uploads, already connected to Blackboard.

A. To set up Zoom sessions correctly to prevent Zoom bombing or gate-crashing:  Students who disrupt online sessions, or enable others to do so, are subject to sanctions under the Student Code (STU 2.3.3).

During online sessions, students should use the name they have on the GVSU system.

Work Outside of the Classroom

A. Yes, as long as they are consistent with Shared Governance policy 3.04 (Instructional Policies), “Members of the faculty are expected to publish office hours. For a standard teaching load, instructors should be accessible to students for a minimum of one hour per week for every three credits taught.  Availability can be a combination of in-person office hours and on-line communication, including virtual office hours. Each instructor must be reasonably available to meet with students in person.”

A. Other than personnel meetings, decisions about unit and college meetings can be made locally. During summer 2021, ECS decided that for faculty governance meetings, the committee can decide on the modality.

In late June, the Board of Trustees agreed to a permanent change to faculty personnel policies, as recommended by UAS: “Unit meetings will be conducted in person unless the Dean, after consultation with their faculty governance body, decides to approve the use of technology for synchronous, remote meetings.” The Dean’s decision would apply to all units in the college and can be revisited annually. Along with this change, the Office of the Provost has published a “Protocols and Details Regarding Unit Personnel Meetings” web page, which addresses a variety of details for both face-to-face and virtual meetings. The new web page is part of the Faculty Personnel Actions Workbook.

Faculty & Staff Options

A. We are planning on welcoming everyone back to campus for fall 2021, with the course schedule that is in Banner, and no changes to the schedule are anticipated.  A faculty member should work with their unit head if developments arise that would prevent following the schedule on Banner.

A. According to the updated alert levels, if the university moves to Level 4, then “Nearly all courses offered remotely.”  For lower levels (and we are currently at Level 2), “Reduction of face-to-face instruction may be considered in isolated/specific situations.” 

A. Faculty on-campus responsibilities outside of the classroom may include office hours, face-to-face committee meetings, and other service.  Beyond those responsibilities, faculty members may decide on their whereabouts.

A. A faculty member would have to discuss this possibility with their unit head.  At the same time, we are planning on welcoming everyone back to campus for fall 2021, with the course schedule that is in Banner, and no changes to the schedule are anticipated. 

A. Any faculty leave request would following Board of Trustees policy, which is the section on faculty benefits. Details on policies for leaves by staff can be found on the Human Resources Time Off/Leaves webpage

A. In that situation, the faculty member should work with their unit head to arrange for a substitute, for temporarily moving to remote modality, or another solution.

Academic Policies

A. Yes, the Student Code of Conduct has been updated to include language specific to the safety of our community. GVSU will enforce compliance with health and safety expectations including at events and activities that take place off-campus.

Student Support

A. Your first step should be to communicate with your professor about any struggles or concerns you have. Additional resources include online academic coaching (please call 616-331-3588 for support), the Student Academic Success Center and Tutoring. In addition, your professional advisor will help you determine your best path for successful completion of the semester. You can call or make an appointment online.

A. Students experiencing on-going issues should notify the dean to whom the faculty member reports. Please send the faculty member’s name, course number, and section. Colleges and contacts can be found here. If you are unsure where to send your e-mail, please contact the Office of the Provost at

A. No, most courses do not.  For students who want a fully online schedule, adjustments to academic plans may be necessary to accommodate this modality. Students should work with their assigned faculty or professional advisor to see if this is possible.

A. Students should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid for assistance on all financial needs. GVSU remains committed to supporting students because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and is available to help students in times of financial need. Financial Aid has several different options, including Hardship funds. Hardship funds are available to assist in paying for the following expenses and can be accessed by students who are not receiving traditional financial aid:

  • GVSU account balance
  • Textbooks, Course Materials, and Supplies
  • Food
  • Housing costs (rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.)
  • Internet Access
  • Technology (computer, tablet, etc.)
  • Healthcare costs
  • Childcare expenses

All financial aid options offered, including loans, must be utilized prior to offering additional grant funding.

Special Circumstance & Financial Hardship Requests:


A. See the Information Technology website for the latest information about hours and locations.

A. Universities across the state are creating wifi access points in parking lots. GVSU has two “drive up wifi” sites: Lot B in Allendale, and the in the Eberhard Center parking lot in Grand Rapids. Grand Valley Students can access the campus network from their cars, and visitors from other institutions can use The Eduroam network at either site. (The Eduroam network is available at most universities and can be accessed using GV sign-in credentials.) In addition, the Michigan Public Service Commission is compiling public drive-up wifi location information. The interactive map is located here:

A. Historically, the university has posted signs in selected areas, such as computer labs, where eating and drinking is banned, but campus-wide rules for classrooms have never been established. Individual faculty have the authority to allow or ban eating and drinking in their classrooms, with advice to consider the length of the class and the scheduling of breaks. (For example, three-hour classes are scheduled so that two, 10-minute breaks are included.)

During the COVID pandemic, there is no change to this approach, but the requirement of face coverings adds new concerns. Included in the university’s Face Coverings Policy is an exemption: “In other public indoor locations, face coverings may be removed briefly for eating and drinking.” Classrooms and other academic areas are considered public locations. An acceptable example of “briefly” is to remove one’s mask, take a few sips of water, and then re-mask. Spending twenty minutes unmasked in a classroom or other public, non-dining space to eat a meal is not acceptable.