Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Problems Encountered Last Week by Faculty

Date Published: August 30, 2021

Dear Main Campus Faculty,

Thank you for your hard work and the care and patience you’ve shown in our return to in-person teaching. We are aware of and sincerely regret the difficulties that many of you encountered in a number of classrooms. We are writing to describe what is being done to remedy the problems and to provide guidance for handling these problems going forward.

We would also like to acknowledge the challenges that many of you have had with classroom technology. Our Classroom Educational Technology Services (CETS) team has been overwhelmed with the volume of requests. We are actively working on solutions so this group can better serve our faculty and students.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems and Water Problems

While we have assessed our heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to ensure that they meet or exceed CDC COVID-19 standards for mitigation of viral transmission, we have received some reports related to temperature and other conditions in classroom settings. We have mobilized the resources of our energy partner and our building services contractor to further support the University. Managers, supervisors and subject matter experts are on campus now, mobilized to help us resolve recent issues. We have also hired additional HVAC contractors, tasked to repair and upgrade specific systems around campus. We will also be doubling the size of our contracted custodial and maintenance staff in various areas around campus to address reported issues.

Instructional Continuity During Classroom Air Handling Difficulties

When the temperature and/or the ventilation in a classroom are not conducive to teaching and learning, faculty are free to exercise their judgment and move classes online until conditions are improved.

To report difficulties with classroom operations such as air handling, mechanical equipment, operable windows, etc., please contact the Work Management team at 202-687-3432 or by submitting an online ticket.

Finally, over the weekend we had requests for further clarification of public health measures and classroom teaching. You will soon receive an email from Dr. Ranit Mishori with further information on classroom-based COVID-19 procedures and contact tracing procedures.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Groves, Provost

David B. Green, Interim Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Lori M. Baldwin, Vice President of Planning and Facilities Management