Skip to main content


Instructors may need to quickly adapt their courses to teach and support students who may be remote or otherwise unable to travel to campus. Academic disruption due to unforeseen events can impact students’ abilities to engage with planned course activities and complete existing assignments. In your instructional role, consider how the following approaches can mitigate disruptions ranging from several days to a few weeks spent away from campus:


  1. Stay informed about the nature and duration of the disruption.
  2. Communicate often and share resources.
    • Update students as you make (or plan to make) any revisions to the course.
    • Share with students how to keep in contact with you (e.g., email, online office hours, phone) and when you are available to support them.
    • Expect that more frequent communication—via a variety of channels—may be required compared to on-campus class sessions.
  3. Identify which course adjustments must be made immediately.
    • Delay due dates of assignments for which you have the flexibility to do so.
    • Prioritize readings and learning activities which are central to the course.
    • Where possible, offer multiple options for students to express what they’ve learned related to course learning objectives.
    • Outline how these changes impact elements of the course and remaining assignments.
  4. Help students navigate changes to your course.
    • Share how to access campus and library resources when students are off campus.
    • Introduce any tools which are new to your course by offering students opportunities to practice using them.
    • Invite help from students who can assist peers in learning to use the tools.
    • Remind students of revised deadlines and grading criteria to help them remain oriented to the flow of the course.
  5. Anticipate that your teaching and your students’ experiences will be different during the disruption.
    • Adjust your expectations for student participation and communication given that they may lack power, internet access, or shelter, or may need to address personal safety, family care, illness, or safety concerns.
    • Be ready to handle requests for extensions and adjustments to coursework equitably.

COVID-19 and Students Needing Accommodations: As classes move online, some students with disabilities or medical conditions may encounter challenges that may not have been apparent in in-person classes. Students making these known to you should be encouraged to self-identify with Accessibility Resources and Service as soon as possible so that appropriate accommodations for these current circumstances can be determined and remain in legal compliance.

Explore the Strategies and Resources sections to identify which campus-supported tools you may need to use.
(Material adapted with permission from