When professors get COVID

Much of the discussion surrounding COVID-19 on university campuses is centered around students and what they experience, with little attention being paid to what happens when a professor falls ill. 

Mary Carver, mass communications department chair, said that faculty and staff are empowered to take necessary actions to ensure the safety of themselves and their students. 

“The current protocols allow faculty to decide the best way to instruct based on their own health concerns, the subject matter of the course, and what they feel is best under the circumstances,” Carver said. “I believe most faculty have done their best to work with students who are ill, yet still provide instruction for the entire class. The options provided for UCO’s staff have been safe and helpful in doing their part as an institution with safety as a priority.” 

Carver also mentioned the flexibility being provided for professors who happen to become sick.

“I know we have had situations where we allowed a very sick staff member as much time as was needed for them to be well enough to return to work,” she said. “With faculty, it’s potentially more complicated because of their classes.” 

Dr. David Macey, interim dean of the college of liberal arts, said the morale and safety of staff and faculty is a priority during the pandemic.

“These past two years have been the most challenging in many faculty and staff members’ careers,” Macey said. But our faculty and staff remain committed to supporting and engaging students. The pandemic has demanded – and catalyzed – a wide-range revisioning not just of what we do, which is to provide transformative teaching and learning experiences, but of how we do it. We have adapted to a variety of new instructional formats. We have had – as a faculty and as a university – to become more creative in building a sense of community in the virtual spaces in which we now spend so much time.” 

More information regarding COVID-19 protocols and mandates can be accessed at uco.edu and cdc.gov. 

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