Coronavirus Information and Precautions

Dates at the end of each tab indicate the last time information was added or changed in that tab.

March 17, 2020

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility during these past few weeks.  We have worked together to safeguard the Washburn Community’s health and to ensure we can meet the educational goals of our students.  Ichabods are amazing and this COVID-19 pandemic response is no exception. Faculty, staff and students are working together to make the very best of our situation today.

My message includes important information about Washburn University’s next steps in this ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that this plan will provide some certainty as you plan for the remainder of the semester.  Please note that this letter is specific to the operations of Washburn University. A separate communication about Washburn Tech will be forthcoming.

As you know, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow both nationally and in our state. Public health officials believe this trend will continue. There are no known positive cases of COVID-19 presently at Washburn. We realize that limiting our contact with others is now more critical than ever to fight the spread of the virus. To this end, on Monday March 16, Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks in the state of Kansas.

In light of these facts and in order to continue to protect the health and safety of our community, Washburn University has made the difficult decision to continue online/remote instruction for all classes through the remainder of the semester. Face-to-face instruction in classrooms will not resume this semester. We will also take important, intentional steps in minimizing the necessity for the on-campus presence of Washburn faculty and staff wherever possible.

These developments are deeply disappointing to all of us at Washburn. We will all be doing our work in new and different ways in the coming days and weeks. It is important to remember that Washburn University is open and operating and ready to continue carrying out its mission.

Below you will find key information on what these decisions mean for Washburn University students, faculty and staff. Please look for a separate communication regarding Washburn Institute of Technology. We recognize that the following information will likely not address every question you may have and we are committed to rapidly sharing additional information as it becomes available.

Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek is working with academic leaders and faculty to prepare online and/or remote format for courses through the end of this semester.  She, along with others in Academic Affairs, will be working with faculty and staff to ensure continued delivery of academic programs and services.

Dr. Eric Grospitch will be providing updates to students, including continuing services for mental and physical well-being and housing.

Chris Kuwitzky and Teresa Lee will continue to keep you informed of our policies on pay and benefits, sick leave, telecommuting and more. Many communications will be sent through your area head, director, department chair and dean.  



Residence halls and dining centers

The university is in the process of determining how to address housing and dining. Residential Life will be communicating directly with residential students with move out instructions and information related to refund and accounts within the coming days.

Clinical training, on-campus laboratory research, and studios

Any student whose coursework requires clinical training, on-campus laboratory research, or studios should speak to their departments about plans for these educational activities.

International students and study abroad

International students and study abroad students and faculty should continue to work closely with the Office of International Programs, (785) 670-1051, as you make plans for the remainder of the semester, seeking their guidance on all matters.

Health Services

If you are seeking care for possible COVID-19 illness, call before you go to the health clinic, medical office or hospital emergency department. Speak to someone at the clinic or facility about your signs and symptoms so they may help guide your next step to getting the care or treatment you need. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: Fever greater than 100.3 degrees, cough, shortness of air or trouble breathing.

Student Health Services may be reached at (785) 670-1470 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you are calling after normal business hours, please call Health Connections at (785)354-5225. Health Connections is available 4:30 p.m. to 8 a.m..


Counseling Services

Counseling Services will continue to provide care to enrolled students. Effective Thursday March 18, all sessions will be provided by phone. As we are suspending face to face services, we are also temporarily suspending drop-in Wednesdays. To make an appointment, please call us at (785) 670-3100 – option 1 or e-mail us at We are working to secure telehealth options for your mental health care and hope to share information on this new model of care very soon. At this time, phone and telehealth counseling services may legally only be provided to clients who are currently in Kansas as that is where our providers are licensed. Case management and advocacy services may be provided via phone or telehealth across state lines. As a reminder, you will continue to have immediate access to a counselor around the round the clock by calling us at (785) 670-3100 option 2. Our “Option 2” service is for any level of need, and you may request services in any language.


We have made the difficult decision to cancel Washburn University’s May commencement ceremonies and events. We will be exploring opportunities to celebrate our graduating students and their accomplishments in the future. Details will be forthcoming.


I want to close this letter by taking a moment to honor the incredible efforts you have all made to ensure that we complete this semester in spite of the challenges we face. As we have prepared to make this transition from in-person to remote instruction, I have heard countless stories of the good spirits of our students and the creativity and commitment of our faculty and staff. This moment is historic and the Ichabod response has been heroic. As always, our motto Non Nobis Solum—Not for Ourselves Alone—leads the way and we each become the living symbol of that motto through the actions we take now.

Stay well and I will continue to be in communication as we move forward together.



Jerry Farley,

President of Washburn University


Washburn University sent a notice today to students living on campus that the university is closing its residence halls. However, the university will allow some students with special circumstances to keep living on campus with continued access to a limited food service.

“Following spring break, access to residence halls has been limited to those who received special approval to return to campus housing,” according to Eric Grospitch, vice president of student life. “As we continue to work to protect the health and safety or our community, we have decided to close our residence halls for the remainder of the semester and restrict living on-campus to a limited number of students who have no other option.”

Decisions are being made on an individual basis, but in general, students who will be allowed to remain on campus will have special circumstances, including:
  • Students whose permanent residence is outside of the United States, and the student is unable to travel to their home country.
  • Students whose academic department has deemed and verified their internship, clinical, or practicum will continue and requires the student’s on-site presence. In addition, the student must have accepted that arrangement.
  • The student has personal circumstances such as a student who is part of the foster care system, whose home community is quarantined or where returning home represents a health/safety threat.
“This has been a difficult decision in a period of change and uncertainty,” Grospitch said, “but we feel this is the best way to protect the health and safety of all our students.”

Students who are moving out of the residence halls are required to make an appointment with the Office of Residence Life to retrieve their belongings. Move out will begin on March 20 and conclude no later than April 1. Students arriving without an appointment will not be given access to the residence halls and they will be limited to no more than two guests to assist in the process.

Students moving out of residence halls will receive a pro-rated refund for both room fees and their dining plans. Details on that refund are still being finalized.



On March 12, out of abundance of caution, Washburn University suspended face to face classes through March 20. Classes will resume using our distance learning systems following March 20. Students are instructed to remain home and not return to campus.

We acknowledge that there are some students whose circumstances are such that need to live on campus during this time period. If you are one of these students, and only one of these students, please register here by this Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m. and we will provide you with further information. As part of the social distancing construct, no roommates will be allowed. Residents who need to be on campus may be relocated to individual spaces as necessary. 

There will be dining options though they will be limited. If you are currently on campus and have alternative housing options, please make arrangements to leave campus by no later than this Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m.

This situation continues to be very fluid and Residential Living will work to provide updates and information as quickly as we are able. Students should check their Washburn email account and the University webpage for additional information. 

Residents who would like to come to their room to pick up necessary items such as medications, textbooks etc. can do so between Sunday, March 15 at 9 a.m. and Monday, March 16 at 5 p.m. Students who are unable to come during this time, should contact their Residence Life Coordinator to make other arrangements (Lincoln Hall -  Kaylianne Weber at; LLC - Jack Van Dam at; Washburn Village – Mindy Rendon at

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this situation.


With the situtation surrounding COVID-19 rapidly changing, please go to KDHE's COVID-19 Resource Center webpage for the latest information.

For latest information from the Shawnee County Health Department, click here.

A Safer at Home Order has been issued for Topeka and Shawnee County. Beginning Thursday, March 26 at 12:01 a.m., residents will be directed to stay at home to help limit the spread of COVID-19. This order is in effect until April 26.

Campus Events

Due to Shawnee county's safer-at-home order, events on campus have been canceled through April 26. Events of 50 or more scheduled after April 26 will be reviewed at that time. 

Questions? Please contact University Scheduling at or 785-670-1725. The office is continuing services remotely.


Due to the safer-at-home order issued on March 24, Washburn's physical campus services are severely limited through at least April 26. Many services are being offered remotely as faculty and staff work off-campus. 

 If you have questions about a department or service not listed here, please email


Counseling Services

Counseling Services is now serving students electronically. To request a telehealth (aka videochat) session by phone, call 785-670-3100, option 1 and leave a voicemail. Students may also email Be sure to include your phone number, so we can call and get you scheduled. Virtual office hours are  Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Counseling by phone is available 24 hours a day, call 785-670-3100 and select option 2. Translation services are available in more than 200 languages. 

Dining Facilities
Chartwells dining facilities are going cash-free as a preventative measure. Credit/debit cards and iCards are accepted. Dining hours/facilities are changing as residential changes are happening, please check back here for current availability.

  • Lincoln Dining Hall
    • Open Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29
    • 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
    • Dinner will be available for pick-up along with lunch.
  • Corner Store
    • Hot food options are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    • Students can use Lincoln meal plan swipes and dining dollars at the Corner Store. Lincoln swipes are not limited during these altered operations.
  • Union Market
    • Closed until further notice

Health Services

Student Health Services is offering appointments Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Students can call 785-670-1470 to schedule an appointment or discuss any concerns.

Ichabod Shop

Closed until further notice.

Online ordering is available at and Orders will be processed Monday-Friday and can be shipped or picked up curbside for free. For questions, email

Mabee Library

Closed through April 26

All current loaned materials are being automatically renewed until May 1. Should you receive a notification recalling materials, please email Electronic interlibrary loan service continues, dependent upon the accessibility of materials from lending libraries.

Librarians remain accessible 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Monday - Friday. They can be reached by telephone, email, Zoom, and live chat.

Mulvane Art Museum

The Mulvane Art Museum is closed through April 26. The Art Lab is closed until further notice.

Student One Stop

The best way to contact the One Stop is by email: sos@washburn.eduWe are monitoring this account and will respond promptly. Email allows us to distribute questions to multiple staff members, and provide answers more efficiently.

If a student wishes to speak with us by phone, we are receiving phone calls remotely, but emailing and requesting a call back would be more reliable (there have been technical issues with the phone forwarding system). If no one is able to answer a student’s call, the student will be able to leave a message. That message is forwarded to email, and we will call them back. 

Student Recreation and Wellness Center and Athletic Facilities

Closed through April 26


Help protect yourself by adhering to some simple precautions. Follow CDC guidelines no matter the situation or where you are located.

The CDC urges each of us to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as that is the route of transmission for many viruses and bacteria.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow, or alternatively with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
In response to the expanding global disruption caused by the spread of COVID-19 and the responsibility we owe to our students, faculty, staff and community, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all Washburn University study abroad programs scheduled to depart in May, June & July with immediate effect. The latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. and foreign governments have led us to take this action.

We know that, for some, this end to ambiguity will come as a relief, and that for others this will be truly awful news. We, too, are disappointed that programs are canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must put the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff and community above all other concerns, and we believe that this is the best path forward at this time.

The OIP will refund the WU Study Abroad Application fee for participants and work with the Business Office to refund additional fees where possible.  We will work with the Endowment & VPAA to apply scholarship awards for students who have incurred non-refundable fees.  For students who have not incurred fees we will defer scholarships for future program participation where possible.

We are asking our faculty who are leading programs to contact the travel providers to see what refunds are possible. For credit-bearing courses, we are asking faculty members to design alternative course requirements.

This cancellation decision does not apply to any Washburn University study abroad programs that have already departed, although we strongly encourage those on current programs to return home as soon as feasible. Travelers are urged to keep current on the spread of the virus and the latest travel advisories by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

During this time the campus community should also stay apprised of the extent of the virus and the most current travel advisories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at


Washburn University's Mabee Library created a resource center to help you find factual sources regarding COVID-19 and recognize false information and unreliable sources when you see them. 

Click here to visit Mabee Library's COVID-19 fact page.



We will update this page regularly but if you want additional information about the situation on campus, you can email and we'll get you an answer as quickly as we can.

In addition, you can consult:

            For general information about the outbreak from a health viewpoint:

                        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (


Information for help with managing mental health:

How to care for yourself and/or others:

Information for cleaning:


            For information specific to Shawnee County health issues:

                        Shawnee County Health Department (

            For information specific to travel abroad:

                        United States Department of State Travel Advisories (

D2L Training and Access:




Skype for Business - Phone Service


Zoom Training:


Password Management


ITS Training Resources Webpage


  • Accessibility
  • Accounts & Passwords
  • Argos Reporting
  • Banner
  • Check out Equipment
  • Classroom Technology
  • Hoonuit Virtual Training (users must login using their email and password to access the training)
  • Multimedia Production
  • My.Washburn
  • Network
  • Office365
  • Outlook Email and Calendar
  • Online Education & D2L
  • Phones & Skype
  • Printing Services
  • Security
  • Windows 10
  • Wireless (WiFi)
  • Zoom Video Conferencing

Telecommuting is an approved work arrangement, for a specified time, in which some or all work duties are performed remotely at an off-campus location (e.g., home) by an Employee. Either the Employee, the Department or Administration, may initiate a request to telecommute. Telecommuting arrangements are not permanent and subject to change.

Employees approved to telecommute are expected to adhere to the following:

  • Will comply with all Federal, State, Local and/or University, policies, regulations and procedures that would apply if the Employee were working at the regular University worksite;
  • Will review the University’s Information and Technology Services regulations and procedures as described in the WUPRPM, Regulations and Procedures, section BB. Information and Technologies Services prior to or at the start of telecommuting;
  • Hours of work, compensation, record keeping (e.g., time sheets) meal periods, breaks, requests for leave (e.g., personal and/or sick) will be followed as if the Employee were working at the regular University worksite. Non-exempt Employees will receive prior approval from their supervisor before performing any overtime work while telecommuting;
  • Will establish an appropriate remote work environment to ensure reasonable safety and health standards. Any costs associated with the setup of an off campus site will be the responsibility of the Employee. Additional telecommuting costs, which may be required by the University, will need pre-approval prior to purchase. Duties will be performed in an appropriate and safe work environment. Employees will be covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries/illness which occur in the course and scope of employment while telecommuting and are expected to follow appropriate procedures when reporting a work related injury/illness or seeking treatment;
  • Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor of any problems with connectivity and technological access needed to perform work duties.
  • Ensure the protection of University property, including equipment and data. This may include, but is not limited to, locked files, regular password maintenance and other procedures necessary for the job and the environment;
  • Responsible for the same performance and conduct expectations, including communications with supervisors and/or Employees whom they supervise, as if they were working at the regular University worksite and will notify supervisor promptly if there is not a sufficient amount of work to perform while telecommuting.

For additional telecommuting resources, visit: Human Resources offers further online training for those who supervise telecommuters. For more information contact or call 670-1538.

Download Telecommuting Guidelines PDF

Washburn Tech Specific


Washburn Tech’s campus is closed with only essential personnel on site. Classes are now online and will continue until further notice. All students should be monitoring their email daily and are required to log in to Washburn Tech’s online instruction platform, D2L, at Instructors will provide program information and guidance.

Our main goal is to stay connected to our students and to keep them engaged in the learning process.

Program Completion:

Working with our instructors, our management team has identified several programs that can be completed this semester using D2L. Students, both high school and post-secondary, will be notified through their instructors.

Several programs, however, cannot be completed online due to a hands-on component of the coursework. Washburn Tech is working on plans that will enable students to complete those competencies once the campus reopens. At this time, we anticipate the possibility of lab instruction sometime during the summer. Setting a timeline, at this point, is not possible.

High school students, unable to complete their program by the end of the semester, will receive “incomplete” grades which will be changed once they have completed their program. We are working with high school counselors and state educators to ensure these grades have no effect on a student’s educational standing in the fall.

A listing of all programs and their completion status will be distributed by the end of the week.


Our admissions team is looking at various testing options and enrollment requirements for students wanting to attend Washburn Tech for the 2020 Fall semester. More information will be distributed soon.


Washburn Tech students will not be participating this year in SkillsUSA Kansas competition, originally scheduled for the end of April. This difficult decision has been made with the health and safety of our students and instructors in mind.


All spring events on the Washburn Tech campus have been canceled. Among those events are Recycled Rides, Spring Career Fair, Washburn Tech Car Show and commencement exercises.

Ichabod Shop:

The Ichabod Shop on the Washburn Tech campus is closed but the online store is open at Orders will be processed Monday through Friday and can be shipped or picked up curbside for free. Curbside pick up is available Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. on the Washburn University campus. For further instructions, email

Resource Guide:
If you have questions, help is often just an email or phone call away. Refer to our resource guide that can help you connect with professionals both at Washburn Tech and in our community.



Washburn Tech is developing plans to help as many students as possible complete their programs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To stay within the parameters set forth by the Kansas Governor’s Office and CDC guidelines, Washburn Tech is moving all courses online beginning Monday, March 23.

Washburn Tech offers more than 40 programs but not all lend themselves to web-based learning due to hands-on components of the curriculum. Assessment of program delivery is currently underway with the goal of identifying coursework that can be completed this semester or at a later date and how that applies to students, both high school and post-secondary. Determinations will be announced soon.

“Our goal for every student is to complete his or her program,” said Dr. Gerald Bayens, dean of Washburn Tech. “Our plan of action might include mixed-mode learning, providing modules for coursework that has a hands-on component. We are truly proceeding in uncharted territory.”

In addition, Washburn Tech has temporarily closed the Little Learners at Washburn Tech as well as the Washburn Tech Academy of Cosmetology Salon at 109 SW 29th St. Commencement exercises scheduled for May are being postponed.

Washburn Tech students are required to log in to Washburn Tech’s online instructional platform, D2L, on Monday, March 23. Guidance is available at Washburn Tech’s COVID-19 update site at A link is also provided on Washburn Tech’s homepage, All updates on the COVID-19 situation will be shared on this link.



Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Washburn Tech in-person classes are cancelled from March 16 through March 22. On March 23, all classes will move online and continue until further notice.

This plan of action is designed to minimize in-person exposure to align with the estimated COVID-19 incubation period. The decision to close for at least two weeks was made after the Shawnee County Health Department ordered the closing of Shawnee County schools.

Washburn Tech Students:

Please monitor your email daily!

Washburn Tech instructors and staff have started transferring instruction to online and other formats.

On Monday, March 23, students are required to log in to Washburn Tech’s online instructional platform, D2L, at Your instructor will provide program updates and share the institution’s plan of action. If you need help in navigating D2L, go to If you have problems, please call IT Support at 785.670.3000.

Laptops for students who don’t have access to a computer are available, but in limited supply. To learn more, contact Washburn Tech’s manager of user and network operations at

Advising appointments will only be held via phone or email. For scheduling, call 785.670.2010 and press 0 or email

If you have other questions, please call 785.670.2010 and press 0.

Future Students: All testing appointments for Accuplacer, Pearson Vue or other testing have been cancelled until March 30. For more information, contact Washburn Tech Student Services at

Campus visits will not be scheduled until March 30 at the earliest. Please make an appointment by calling Washburn Tech Admissions at 785.670.2200 or email

If you have other questions, please call 785.670.2200.

Summer Enrollment: The summer course schedule is still under consideration. Please check this site for more information.

Campus Remains Open: We encourage all students and prospective students to stay home and not visit campus. Current operations include limited staff and building access.

Continue to consult Washburn University’s COVID-19 update site for additional information and guidance.

Continuing Education and Custom Training Classes: Our Continuing Education Custom Training classes will take place as currently scheduled.

Events and Outreach: All events on the Washburn Tech campus with participation of 50 or less through April 4 will take place as currently scheduled. We’re taking enhanced precautions due to the COVID-19 outbreak to postpone or cancel events involving 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.

We encourage all visitors to campus to exercise appropriate judgment and consider the potential risks to themselves and others.

Precautionary Measures Please continue to follow CDC guidelines no matter the situation or where you are located. Help protect yourself by adhering to some simple precautions. Follow CDC guidelines no matter the situation or where you are located.

The CDC urges each of us to:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as that is the route of transmission for many viruses and bacteria.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow, or alternatively with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Information for Faculty

Dear Washburn University faculty, 

You all received a message from Dr. Farley this afternoon outlining Washburn University’s plan of action in response to the spread of COVID-19.

I want to emphasize to faculty members our gratitude for the work you are getting ready to do to move your in-person classes to a remote delivery model.  We also know that this endeavor will look different for individual faculty members and will depend on the course you teach. Some of you have taught your classes online before, and can easily change your mode of instruction midstream. Others may be very familiar with D2L and Zoom and will able to post readings, videos, and assignments with no help. Still others may never have taught online or used these tools much, if at all. 

We recognize the need for support will vary from faculty member to faculty member and we are prepared to meet your needs.  If you need assistance taking your course content online, please plan to attend the following trainings. As we become aware of specific needs, additional training opportunities may be developed for later in the week. 

Desire2Learn (D2L) Basics

Monday March 16 9:00-10:30 in Henderson 108 OR Tuesday 1:30-3:00 pm in Henderson 108

This session will cover logging in, finding your course, general navigation, announcements, emailing, uploading files, sharing links and videos, and setting up and managing the gradebook. 

Getting Started with Zoom

Monday March 16 2:30-4:00 in Henderson 108 OR Tuesday 10:00-11:30 am in Henderson 108

This session will cover logging in, downloading software on personal computers, scheduling meetings, using the chat, sharing screens, recording meetings, and how to add a recorded meeting to Desire2Learn or get a link to send via email.                       

If you are wanting to get started right away, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the following:

  • The “email classlist” feature on D2L. This is the surefire way to email all of your students quickly.
  • Zoom for meeting “in real time” with your class, or recording lectures for posting.
  • Faculty information as it becomes available on this site.

While Washburn faculty and staff will continue to report to work as usual for the foreseeable future, we ask you to prepare for the possibility of needing to work from off campus. For this reason, we suggest you follow ITS instructions on connecting to the campus network while off-campus, so you can access your network files from home. 

In addition to university-wide trainings, your deans will be letting you know of one or more faculty members in each academic unit who may be help you if you are not familiar with the features of D2L and Zoom. They may hold additional trainings or simply be available to you for help. 

We know this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your students. We also know our faculty members care deeply about students and about providing the best learning experience possible no matter the circumstances we are experiencing today. So, thank you again for your dedication and we so much appreciate the effort you will put forward in attempting to get through this with as little disruption as possible. 

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your department chairs, deans, or me. 

My sincerest thanks, 

JuliAnn Mazachek, Ph.D.
Vice President for Academic Affairs

  1. Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don't have a plan in place yet, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Desire2Learn (WU’s learning management system), so you can get them more details soon.
  2. Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction: What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? Do you just want to keep them engaged with the course content somehow?
  3. Review your course schedule to determine priorities: Identify your priorities during the disruption—providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself a little flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.
  4. Review your syllabus for points that must change: What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes, they will appreciate details whenever you can provide them.
  5. Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary. If a closure is caused by a local crisis, it may be already taxing everyone's mental and emotional energy; introducing a lot of new tools and approaches may leave even less energy and attention for learning.
  6. Identify your new expectations for students: You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
  7. Create a more detailed communications plan: Once you have more details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with more information about how they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). A useful communication plan also lets students know how soon they can expect a reply. They will have many questions, so try to figure out how you want to manage that.

Instructions for Students

If you will be using Zoom to host live sessions, you can provide your students "Zoom Tips for Student Use" to help them prepare to use Zoom.

Option 1: Run Your Class Live With Zoom

This option works especially well when trying to move online quickly. 

The Tech Side: 

  • Schedule your class sessions
  • Be sure to test your audio, video and equipment well before the start of class and do not conduct these tests from a classroom. If you are facing a low bandwidth signal, shutting off your video will help. If you are experiencing connectivity issues, there are always call-in number options (with international options).
  • Record your class so students can review the session and have captioning available
  • Use the chat feature to answer questions or share learning resources
  • Share your screen to show slides or other materials and ask students to share their screens to present
  • Poll your students to check for understanding
  • Annotate and mark on the screen, or draw on a whiteboard
  • Break your class into groups for discussions or projects using the Breakout Rooms feature
  • Host virtual office hours
  • Engage with small groups or project teams

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Use slides and screen sharing within Zoom to make sure discussion questions are visible to students who may have a slow Internet connection or who may struggle to hear the audio for the initial question. (Look for “Share Screen” at the bottom of your Zoom call.)
    • On your first slide, display an agenda at the start of the class session so that students know what to expect of the shared time together.
  • Use the chat (See In-Meeting Chat).
    • Moderate discussion, i.e., “call on” a student with a comment to speak, to help them break into the conversation. 
    • It may be worthwhile to ask a student (or two) to take on special roles as “chat monitors” to voice if there are questions that arise that the instructor has missed.
    • You might use the chat to troubleshoot technical problems. For example, if a student is having trouble connecting via audio or video, the chat might be a space for you as the instructor or for fellow students to work together to problem-solve. This may be an opportunity to assign a student to a special role, especially if you have students eager to help on the technical aspect of things. 
  • Use Zoom Breakout Rooms to help students talk in smaller groups (just as they would do break-out groups in a larger class environment). See Managing Video Breakout Rooms
  • Rethink your classroom activities to make the class more interactive even if Zoom students don’t have ideal connections and aren’t able to hear and see everything perfectly.
    • Have students write and comment together on a shared Word doc. 
    • Try using Polls to collect student responses, and then share results. 
  • Consider making discussion questions available in advance in Desire2Learn, etc. so that students can access the questions if screen sharing does not work. If sharing slides in advance to Desire2Learn, share as PDFs, they typically load quicker. 

A Few Troubleshooting Tips: 

  • If your microphone is not working, use the phone number listed in the Zoom invitation when you set up a Zoom call. You can use your phone as the microphone and audio source for your call rather than your computer’s built-in microphone if necessary. 
  • If your Internet connection is slow or lagging, consider temporarily turning off your video stream and only maintaining the audio stream. Sometimes, running the web camera on your computer will use up the Internet’s bandwidth in a way that might make communication challenging. Turning off the video should improve communication quality and consistency. 
  • If you have earbuds or a headphone set, wear them! Wearing earbuds or headphones will reduce the amount of noise that your computer will pick up during your quality, which will make it easier for your students to hear you. Similarly, you may want to advise your students to wear earbuds or headphones during the call. 
  • Advise students to mute their microphones if they are not speaking and unmute the microphones when they wish to speak. Students may be joining Zoom calls from all kinds of different locations, many of which may create background noise that could be distracting. Encourage students to mute themselves if they are not speaking to minimize unnecessary or distracting background noise.
  • Check the “chat” space for student questions and contributions. Some students may not have working microphones and, therefore, may be unable to contribute via voice. The chat room is a good place for students to contribute, ask questions, and be involved.
  • Check the Zoom Help Center 

Accessibility Suggestions: 

  • Automatic live captioning is not available in Zoom. Record your session to the Zoom cloud and an automatic transcript will be generated. You can then add that recording and transcript to your Desire2Learn course. (See Using Zoom to Record and Caption Lectures.)
  • For students who are blind or have low visibility, narrate the material that you’re displaying visually on the screen. Just as you might read materials aloud in class, read screen material that you share on-screen just in case students are not able to see essential text.

Option 2: Pre-Record Your Lectures

If you are not comfortable presenting live, another good option is to pre-record any lecture material and put the link to them in Desire2Learn.

The Tech Side: 

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Test your microphone to make sure that you have good sound quality. Consider using a headset with an external microphone to capture better audio.
  • Consider ADA compliance. Automatic closed-captioning is not perfect. Speak clearly and not too quickly to make the content as accurate as possible. If using a tool other than Zoom for recording your lecture, consider uploading your videos to YouTube to take advantage of their automatic closed-captioning. And, when time allows, correct any errors in the captions.
  • Keep videos short and lively. It is often harder to focus on a video than on a person! Check out some tips for creating lively short online videos from online educator Karen Costa.
  • Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Desire2Learn discussion board with some specific questions, using a quiz, or setting up a chat session for a text-based live discussion. 

Option 3: Skip the Video

If you are not sure you have the right equipment and are uncomfortable with the tech setup, this might be a good option, at least for the short-term.

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Annotate your slideshow with notes and share this with students using Desire2Learn or email.
  • Set up a discussion for students in Desire2Learn. Use specific, structured questions, and let students know expectations for their responses. See our recommendations on "Written Discussions" in the Other Use Cases section below. 
  • Share links to outside resources. Encourage students to watch videos, read articles, etc. 
  • Use Chat to have a live, text-based chat session with students. See our recommendations on "Chat" in the Other Use Cases section below.

You can set up virtual office hours to meet with students using Zoom, share your computer screen or collaborate using the whiteboard feature. If you are more comfortable, you can also give students your phone number to call, or you can set up an online chat ("Chat" in the Other Use Cases section below). 

Pedagogical Recommendations 

  • Keep the link to the Zoom room you’re using for your students in a central place on your course Desire2Learn site. The main factor to consider when holding office hours or conferences with students via Zoom is your accessibility as an instructor. Make sure they know how to find your “office” (just as you might offer them directions to your office on-campus). 
  • Encourage students to share their screen with you. Screen sharing is possible not just for the instructor in Zoom, but for students too. Help your students navigate towards a screen sharing option so that they can show you their written work on their screen.

Using Desire2Learn for Announcements, Sharing Material, Collecting Assignments, and Grading

Many instructors already use Desire2Learn regularly for tasks like sending announcements to their courses, sharing course materials, collecting assignments, and giving students grades and feedback. 

If you’re not already using Desire2Learn for some or any of these functions, this might be a good opportunity to become more familiar with the platform. 

    1. Click the Content link in the course menu
    2. Click the arrow to the right of the word "Syllabus" in the top center of the page
    3. Choose Add an Attachment
    4. Click the My Computer option
    5. Click the Upload button
    6. Find and open your syllabus (PDF is best)
    7. Click the Add button
  • Keep your students up to date by posting Announcements in Desire2Learn. Suggest that students check their Desire2Learn notification preferences to make sure they are set to receive announcements via email. 
  • Create an Online Assignment to allow students to submit files through Desire2Learn.
  • Upload your course content to Desire2Learn using the Files tool.
  • You can manually enter and edit grades in the Gradebook.

Written Discussions

To remove technical hurdles and to ensure that students are able to engage with peers and each other in a discussion-based class (even without a strong Internet connection), you might choose to move student discussion to an asynchronous format. Create a D2L Discussion as a place to facilitate communication, encourage students to interact, ask questions and respond to discussion prompts.

Pedagogical recommendations:


You may not currently use a chat function in your class, but it can be a useful tool, especially for student office hours or for students who may be more comfortable asking questions via chat compared to by phone or video calls. 

In Desire2Learn, there is a Chat tool available (in the course Resources menu) that functions as chat room.  When you create a new Chat, you can choose if it is meant to allow the whole class to enter and contribute (General Chat) or if it is going to be a one-on-one chat (Personal Chat).

Students access the chat through the Resources menu as well.

Pedagogical Recommendations: 

  • If students are sharing their presentations asynchronously
    • Ask students to record themselves at their screen, using a web camera, the built-in microphone on their computer, and screen sharing software combined to capture both their faces/persons as well as the slides on the screen. 
      • Zoom and Screencast-o-matic can be used for audio/video recording in this capacity, as can Quicktime (on Mac only). 
        Voiceover narration in slidedeck creation software can also be used via PowerPoint (Mac or PC), Keynote (Mac), or Quicktime (Mac).
      • Students can save their final recording file and upload it to 1. Washburn Video Server dropbox (must be set up in advance) or 2. YouTube (unlisted) and the link shared to a Desire2Learn Discussion or Assignment
        • Washburn Video Server dropbox or YouTube link to a D2L Assignment, the file will only be visible to the instructor.
        • If students submit the YouTube link via Desire2Learn Discussions, the file will be visible to the full class community. 
      • If students do not have access to a laptop computer or webcam, they can also use the voice memo feature on a phone to record audio, save audio files, and upload the audio files to Desire2Learn.
  • If students are sharing their presentations synchronously: 
    • Ask students to use Zoom to give a live presentation for their peers. See the section on Strategies (above) "Option 1: Run Your Class Live With Zoom" for suggestions and technical tips for using Zoom to this end.

Student-Facing Language for Students Giving Live Presentations

Your instructor will provide the link to the Zoom session. Simply click the link or paste into your browser of choice to open the meeting.

  • Audio and Video Setup 
    • After launching the Zoom meeting from the meeting URL, you will be prompted to join the room’s audio. Click “join audio by computer.” Zoom allows audio participation through your computer’s internal speakers, a headset, or a phone line. 
  • Mute Yourself/Stop Webcam 
    • To mute, click the microphone icon in the bottom-left corner. To unmute, click the microphone icon again. Follow the same process to turn the webcam on and off. 
    • Background noise can be minimized if you mute yourself when you’re listening.

Share Screen 

Participants are able to share applications or documents using Share Screen. After selecting “Share Screen”, Zoom will present a list of all active applications and available desktops on your computer. You may also choose to share a whiteboard or iPhone/iPad. When the screen is shared, the bottom navigation menu will move to the top of the screen. To reposition the menu, simply click and drag. 

  • NOTE: By default, screen share opens in full screen. If you have the participants list and chat windows open (they will display on the right-hand side of the meeting), the windows will be hidden in full screen. Either click “Exit Full Screen” in the upper right corner or re-enable the windows by clicking “Manage Participants” and “Chat”. The annotation toolbar allows participants to draw and make comments on the shared screen. Your instructor may choose to disable this feature. To end the screen share, choose “Stop Share”

Check back often, we update training regularly...

Rethinking Assessments for an Online Setting

Friday, April 3 10:00-11:30 Online - Register Here

This session will cover a variety of alternative assessments for teaching online. If you are rethinking how and whether you will test students as you teach remotely, this session will help you think through your options.


Zoom Training

Zoom Quick Reference

Zoom has many recorded and live webinars available. We recommend the “Zoom Meetings for Education” option, however the “Getting Started with Zoom Meetings” would be helpful too (there is overlap between the two options). Use the Washburn Specific Zoom Information hand in hand with the information presented in the webinars hosted by Zoom.


C-TEL Peer Coaching for Online Teaching 

For any faculty who have specific questions or would like more personalized help as they begin to teach online, you can view information and a contact schedule of Washburn faculty who have volunteered to help. These faculty have experience teaching on-line and have volunteered to hold "virtual office hours" making themselves available for questions and support. Please note the list includes the best way(s) to contact each coach as well as their areas of expertise. Please contact CTEL with any questions (


D2L Basics

Watch the Recording
This session covers logging in, finding your course, general navigation, announcements, emailing, uploading files, sharing links and videos, and setting up and managing the gradebook.

Assignments & Discussions in D2L

Watch the Recording
Tuesday 3/31, 2:00-3:30, Online - Register Here
In this session we cover how to create and score assignments and discussions in Desire2Learn.

Quizzes in D2L

Watch the Recording
Wednesday 4/1, 9:30-11:00, Online - Register Here
In this session we cover how to create and score quizzes in Desire2Learn.

Grades in D2L

Monday 3/30, 9:30-11:00, Online - Register Here
Friday 4/3, 1:30-3:00, Online - Register Here
In this session we cover how to set up your gradebook and enter grades in Desire2Learn.


Friday 3/27, 10:00-11:30, Online - Register Here
Come with your questions about Desire2Learn. Sue Taylor-Owens will answer questions and give advice regarding using any of the D2L features.


Free Online Offerings from Outside Sources

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

  • Keeping Students Engaged in a Transition to Online Learning
    Watch the Recording
    View the Presentation Slides

    As educators across the country and at all levels rush to shift their teaching to a virtual environment, their first focus is content and delivery—rightly so. Faculty also need to know how to identify online at-risk student behaviors that, if mitigated, can lead to better course outcomes and satisfaction for faculty and students, alike.

    This session will help you identify ways to proactively keep your students engaged in an online environment (course) and understand what data you can use to help mitigate attrition.

  • How to Survive Your (Hurried) Switch to Online Delivery Using UDL
    Watch the Recording
    View the Presentation Slides

    In this webinar, we will discuss how to survive the process of converting your on-ground course to an online course, and even improve the course by applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is an educational framework that seeks to remove barriers by providing multiple means of engagement, representation and action and expression.


Communicate with students

Keeping in touch with students is vital during any changes to your class(es)—whether a planned absence on your part, or because of a crisis impacting all or part of campus. You'll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety, and save you dealing with individual questions.

Keep these principles in mind:

  • Communicate early and often: Let students know about changes or disruptions as early as possible, even if all the details aren't in place yet, and let them know when they can expect more specific information. Don't swamp them with email, but consider matching the frequency of your messages with that of changes in class activities and/or updates to the broader crisis at hand (for example, the campus closure is extended for two more days; what will students need to know related to your course?).
  • Set expectations: Let students know how you plan to communicate with them, and how often. Tell students both how often you expect them to check their email, and how quickly they can expect your response.
  • Manage your communications load: You will likely receive some individual requests for information that could be useful to all your students, so consider keeping track of frequently asked questions and sending those replies out to everyone. This way, students know they might get a group reply in a day versus a personal reply within an hour. Also, consider creating an information page in Desire2Learn, and then encourage students to check there first for answers before emailing you.

Distribute course materials and readings

You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving.

Considerations when posting new course materials:

  • Make sure students know when new material is posted: If you post new materials in Desire2Learn, be sure to let students know what you posted and where. You might even ask that they change their Desire2Learn notification preferences to alert them when new materials are posted.
  • Keep things phone friendly: In a crisis, many students may only have a phone available, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats, PDFs being the most common. Consider saving other files (for example, PowerPoint presentations) to PDFs, which are easier to read on phones and tablets, and keep the file size small. It is fairly easy to reduce the size of PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, and there are online tools that do the same thing (for example, search Google for "PDF file size").

Deliver lectures

Depending on your course, you may need to deliver some lectures to keep the course moving along. Be aware, though, that a 45-minute live lecture sprinkled with questions and activities can become grueling when delivered online without intellectual breaks. Here are a few suggestions to improve online lectures:

  • Record in small chunks: Even the best online speakers keep it brief; think of the brevity of TED talks. We learn better with breaks to process and apply new information. To aid student learning, record any lectures in shorter (5-10 minute) chunks, and intersperse them with small activities that give students opportunities to process the new knowledge, make connections to other concepts, apply an idea, or make some notes in response to prompts. Smaller chunks also lead to smaller files, especially when using voiced-over PowerPoint presentations.
  • Be flexible with live video: Lecturing live with Zoom is certainly possible, and it best approximates a classroom setting, since students can ask questions. However, a crisis might mean some students won't have access to fast internet connections, and others may have their schedules disrupted. So, record any live classroom session, and be flexible about how students can attend and participate.
  • It's not just about content: If a crisis is disrupting classes, lectures can mean more than just providing course content; they also establish a sense of normalcy and a personal connection. In online courses, we talk about the importance of "instructor presence", and that's just as true during short-term online stints. So, consider ways that you can use lectures to make students feel connected and cared about: acknowledgement of current challenges, praise for good work, and reminders about the class being a community. This affective work can help their learning during a difficult time.

Foster communication and collaboration among students

Fostering communication among students is important because it allows you to reproduce any collaboration you build into your course, and maintains a sense of community that can help keep students motivated to participate and learn. It helps if you already had some sort of student-to-student online activity (for example, Canvas Discussions) since students will be used to both the process and the tool.

Consider these suggestions when planning activities:

  • Use asynchronous tools when possible: Having students participate in live Zoom conversations can be useful, but scheduling can be a problem, and only a few students will actively participate (just like in your classroom). In such cases, using asynchronous tools like D2L Discussions allows students to participate on their own schedules. In addition, bandwidth requirements for discussion boards are far lower than for live video tools.
  • Link to clear goals and outcomes: Make sure there are clear purposes and outcomes for any student-to-student interaction. How does this activity help them meet course outcomes or prepare for other assignments?
  • Build in simple accountability: Find ways to make sure students are accountable for the work they do in any online discussions or collaborations. Assigning points for online discussion posts can be tedious, so some instructors ask for reflective statements where students detail their contributions and reflect on what they learned from the conversation.
  • Balance newness and need: As with any changed activities, you will need to balance the needs and benefits of online collaboration with the additional effort such collaboration will require on everyone else's part. Learning new technologies and procedures might be counterproductive, particularly in the short term, unless there is clear benefit.

Collect assignments

Collecting assignments during a campus closure is fairly straightforward, since many instructors already collect work electronically. The main challenge during a campus disruption is whether students have access to computers, as anyone needing a campus computer lab may be unable to access necessary technologies. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Require only common software: Students may not have access to specialty software located in on-campus computer labs. Be ready with a backup plan for such students.
  • Avoid emailed attachments: It may be easy to collect assignments in small classes via email, but larger classes might swamp your email inbox. Consider using the tools below instead. Balance what is simplest for students with what is easiest for you to manage.
  • State expectations, but be ready to allow extensions: In the case of a campus closure or other crisis, some students will undoubtedly have difficulties meeting deadlines. Make expectations clear, but be ready to provide more flexibility than you normally would in your class.
  • Require specific filenames: It may sound trivial, but anyone who collects papers electronically knows the pain of getting 20 files named Essay1.docx. Give your students a simple file naming convention, for example, FirstnameLastname-Essay1.docx.

Assess student learning

It is fairly easy to give small quizzes to hold students accountable or do spot-checks on their learning, and this might be ideal to keep students on track during class disruptions. Providing high-stakes tests online can be challenging, however; they place extra stress on students, and test integrity is difficult to ensure. If you know there is a date for resuming on-campus classes, consider delaying exams until you return.

General tips for assessing student learning during class disruption:

  • Embrace short quizzes: Short quizzes can be a great way to keep students engaged with course concepts, particularly if they are interspersed with small chunks of video lecture. Consider using very-low-stakes quizzes to give students practice at applying concepts—just enough points to hold them accountable, but not so many that the activity becomes all about points.
  • Move beyond simple facts: It is good to reinforce concepts through practice on a quiz, but generally it is best to move beyond factual answers that students can quickly look up. Instead, write questions that prompt students to apply concepts to new scenarios, or ask them to identify the best of multiple correct answers.
  • Check for publishers' test banks: Look to see if your textbook publisher has question banks that can be loaded into D2L. Even if you don't use these questions for your exams, they can be useful for simple quizzes. Some textbooks also have their own online quizzing tools that can help keep students engaged with the material.
  • Update expectations for projects: Campus disruptions may limit students' access to resources they need to complete papers or other projects, and team projects may be harmed by a team's inability to meet. Be ready to change assignment expectations based on the limitations a crisis may impose. Possible options include allowing individual rather than group projects, having groups record presentations with Zoom, or adjusting the types of resources needed for research papers.
  • Consider alternate exams: Delivering a secure exam online can be difficult without a good deal of preparation and support, so consider giving open-book exams or other types of exams. They can be harder to grade, but you have fewer worries about test security.

Run lab activities

One of the biggest challenges of teaching during a building or campus closure is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space.

Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:

  • Take part of the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work), and save the physical practice parts of the labs until access is restored. The semester might get disjointed by splitting up lab experiences, but it might get you through a short campus closure.
  • Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). Those vary widely by discipline, but check with your textbook publisher, or sites such as Merlot for materials that might help replace parts of your lab during an emergency.
  • Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure.
  • Explore alternate software access: Some labs require access to specialized software that students cannot install on their own computers.
  • Increase interaction in other ways: Sometimes labs are more about having time for direct student interaction, so consider other ways to replicate that level of contact if it is only your lab that is out of commission.

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If you need technical help, please contact Support at or 785.670.3000.
If you need teaching or pedagogical help, please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning at or 785.670.2835.

Health and Safety for Washburn Students

You will have access to the student health center while on campus. Services include treatment of ailments and injuries, with referral to other medical facilities as necessary.

Washburn University also has its own police force, to keep our campus safe and secure. Your student can sign up for iAlert, an emergency notification system.

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