Teaching & Learning Resource Guide

                                                                                                                                 In-Person Courses

                                                                                                                                                Fall 2021

The health and safety of our campus community is a priority, as we return to campus and in-person learning this fall semester. This resource has been developed to help ensure a safe and supportive return to in-person teaching and learning. The Fall 2021 semester will be a period of both excitement and transition for our community, and a semester like no other.  Staff and students are returning to campus with varying degrees of comfort, and we ask all to invoke kindness, compassion, and respect for each other as we teach and learn together this fall.


Teaching and learning in-person this semester with COVIDSafe protocols may be a new experience for academic staff, graduate teaching assistants, teaching support staff and students. We recommend that teaching teams (including course instructors, graduate teaching assistants and instructional support staff) engage in conversations around how to ensure a healthy, safe and inclusive learning environment, as well as with students on the first day or first week of class. Below are some resources that can help set up and maintain a positive learning environment.



Overview of COVIDSafe Campus


  • Non-medical face masks must be worn in all public indoor areas on University of Calgary campus where physical distancing is not possible. This includes classroom, laboratory, clinical teaching and study spaces. Please note that if physical distancing can be maintained, face coverings are not required. 
  • Academic staff, teaching assistants and teaching support staff may remove their mask while teaching, as long as they are able to maintain physical distancing from others. If removing masks when teaching, be cautious of maintaining physical distance at all times and when possible increasing distance to account for aerosol droplets that may travel through voice projection. Please use a microphone when possible to minimize voice projection.
  • All UCalgary students, faculty, staff and others who are unwilling or unable to be vaccinated must participate in a rapid testing program before coming to campus or attending in-person activities. Those who are fully vaccinated and attest to this are exempt from the program.


Providing false information either on vaccination status or a Covid-19 test result is considered serious misconduct under the University’s Code of Conduct and the Student Non-Academic Misconduct Policy, and individuals will be subject to discipline for providing a false attestation.


UCalgary is committed to establishing an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible campus that is free from harassment, bullying and discrimination. It is important to acknowledge that discriminatory behaviours towards members of our community may be present when perceptions of non-compliance are addressed.  We encourage members of the University community to remove barriers for equity-deserving groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, visible/racialized minorities, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S+, and to reinforce actions that reflect our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.   For more support you can access resources through Protected Disclosure, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Indigenous Engagement.


Preparing for Fall 2021 Term

  • Connect with the members of your teaching team (co-instructors, course coordinator, teaching assistants, teaching support staff), to discuss the COVIDSafe Campus measures.
  • Develop a plan for situations that may arise through the term including supporting students and staff who may become ill and strategies for managing issues that can arise during classes, tutorials and labs.
  • Connect with students ahead of the first day of class to share information and expectations related to COVIDSafe Campus measures including mask protocols, in-class engagement and interactions with you and your team.


Beginning of Term

  • Review COVIDSafe Campus protocols with students at the beginning of term, establish clear classroom/lab expectations around these protocols.
  • Include links to resources available through the Student Wellness Services and the Student Success Centre, where students can seek additional help and support throughout the semester. 
  • Ensure students are aware of what to do if they are ill and/or experiencing COVID symptoms.
  • Share with students how in-person learning activities will be structured throughout the term, including what kinds of learning activities students can expect, and how safety and accessibility will be maintained.

Strategies for addressing issues

Academic staff, teaching assistants and teaching support staff play an important role in setting expectations and maintaining a positive, inclusive learning environment. At times that may include addressing challenging behaviors that arise during a class, lab or tutorial. Planning ahead is key to prevention and de-escalation of situations. As with any other classroom management issue, if challenging circumstances arise that substantially disrupt the learning environment, or pose health and safety concerns, you may request assistance from Campus Security.


  • Ensure all members of the teaching team understand safety regulations and protocols, and have strategies for addressing safety concerns.
  • Ensure students understand classroom and lab safety requirements including mask requirements and understand how safety concerns or disruptive behaviors will be addressed.
  • Provide regular reminders of the need follow safety procedures including wearing a mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Also remind students that some individuals may be exempt and will need to maintain physical distancing at all times.
  • Let students know that if any member of the teaching team (course instructors, GATs, support staff) believes that the health and safety of the class is at risk for any reason, they may choose to pause or cancel the class, tutorial, or lab.
  • If a disruptive situation emerges during a class, tutorial or lab including, disrespectful or confrontational behavior or non-compliance with health and safety measures we advise:
    • Take a moment to collect yourself so you can respond to the situation thoughtfully and use strategies planned out ahead of time.
    • Invite the disruptive student(s) to speak with you privately to discuss the situation. This might require pausing the learning activity or stepping outside of the room with the student(s).
    • Start a conversation from a place of wanting to learn more about cause of disruptive or confrontational behavior and how it can be resolved.
    • Avoid calling out an individual student or group of students in front of the class
    • Avoid making judgements and assumptions about the cause of the behavior. Beginning with this premise can help de-escalate situations in the moment.
    • If the situation is disruptive to other students’ learning you may ask the student to leave the learning environment.
    • If the situation is immediately threatening to the safety of others, you may pause or cancel the learning activity, and call Campus Security (403-220-5333) if needed. Please note that this should be a last resort measure.
    • If there is a disruptive or confrontational situation, please reach out afterward to the course instructor (GATs, instructional support staff) or academic leaders for support.


Academic staff, teaching assistants and teaching support staff are not responsible for enforcing compliance of the mask requirements and/or procedures related to COVID19 rapid testing or vaccines. If a situation of concern arises, contact the course instructor (for GAT and support staff) or academic leader (program director, department head, associate dean, dean).


student in mask during covid-19 pandemic

Steps if someone develops symptoms in class or tests positive for COVID19


  • If a student or member of your teaching team experiences COVID19 related symptoms while on campus, and does not need immediate medical assistance, the individual should immediately return home and review procedure for next steps.
  • Ensure students that experience temporary disruptions in their learning during the semester, including requirements to self-isolate, are aware of what they should do to maintain learning continuity in the course. 
  • If a student is experiencing a sustained illness or disruption, where they are unable to return to the classroom for the semester, connect them with Student Accessibility Services (https://www.ucalgary.ca/student-services/access)
  • If you develop COVID19 related symptoms on campus or during the semester, contact your academic leaders who assigns teaching to discuss plans for teaching and learning continuity in your course.
  • If a student or member of your teaching team experiences a medical emergency requiring immediate medical assistance, call 9-1-1.
student in mask during covid-19 pandemic

Creating a safe and positive learning environment is a shared responsibly. Thank you for all of your continued efforts.