Smeal Update: August 29, 2020

Smeal’s “Mask Up or Pack Up” video viewed by hundreds

A new Back-to-Smeal video, starring Smeal faculty members, debuted last weekend. Meant to supplement the University’s Mask Up or Pack Up campaign, the video implores students to do their part in keeping the campus and Business Building safe this fall. For those who haven’t yet viewed it, or shared it with classes you teach, the video can be found here.

Business Building remote learning room availability now featured on Penn State GO app

  • Students can now learn how many seats are available in Business Building remote learning rooms on the Penn State GO app. Click on “Academic Colleges,” “Smeal College of Business,” “Learning at Smeal,” then “Remote Learning Rooms.”
  • Starting next week, students should use their smart phone to scan a QR code posted by the door of each remote learning room when they enter, and when they exit. Those steps are essential to ensuring the accuracy of the information that appears on the app. Students should understand that while the information may not be 100 percent accurate, it is a great way to understand whether there are seats available before proceeding to rooms.
  • Smeal is the first college at Penn State to offer this feature on Penn State GO.

Dozens volunteer to facilitate virtual question-and-answer stations

Nearly 40 people from the Smeal community volunteered this week to field questions submitted from students at three question-and-answer “Sheldon” stations in the Business Building Atrium. In a nod to the popular character on the TV show “Big Bang Theory,” volunteers answered a handful of questions. The low volume of queries is a testament to the effectiveness of the college’s efforts to communicate expectations and information via the Smeal tab of the Penn State GO app and other communication channels.

Some Frequently-asked Questions for PSU Faculty

If students have visible flu-like symptoms in a face-to-face class setting, are instructors able to ask them to leave?

If a student is exhibiting symptoms in a classroom, the instructor is empowered to ask the student to leave the class and to see a health care provider. The student should not return to class until they are no longer exhibiting symptoms or have been cleared by a health care provider and can provide proof of clearance to the instructor. If the student refuses to leave, the instructor should follow the guidance in the classroom guidance document.

What resources are available to me to help me with technology related to remote instruction?

Tech TAs are available to help faculty with technology related to Zoom and other remote instruction platforms. Faculty can complete an intake form. Demand is high and additional TAs are being hired. Other resources to assist faculty with technology include Virtual Office Hours and Tech Tutors.

Other news of importance

  • An updated “Instruction, Universal Masking and PPE Recommendations” document has been posted that includes guidance about neck gaiters, cleaning procedures for clear masks, and recommendations for performance settings (music/vocal/theater).
  • Faculty have a number of resources available to them during these challenging times. Resources include the Employee Assistance Program and an Employee Assistance Fund.
  • President Barron welcomed students via a video message and reminded all Penn Staters that they each have a responsibility to help keep the University community safe.
  • Penn State has begun a randomized COVID-19 surveillance testing program to identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 across all campuses.
  • Penn State launched a publicly-accessible COVID-19 dashboard to share data on its COVID-19 surveillance testing program as well as the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine. The dashboard can be accessed here.
  • Penn State students and employees should continue to take precautions against COVID-19, such as wearing face masks, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face, and avoiding contact with those who are sick. This article offers guidance about what to do if you are sick or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19.