Falcons Forward

Academic Instruction

We remain committed to providing you the support needed to be safe, healthy, and successful. We will keep you updated here, by email, and on social media with resources to help you prepare for the 2020-21 academic year.

At the present time we are anticipating using the regular fall semester schedule of Sept. 2-Dec. 14, 2020. Any changes to that, including decisions about Thanksgiving Break, will come later.   

For fall 2020, more courses will be offered via online (distance) format where content and pedagogy are appropriate. A hybrid format will be used for most other courses, with fully face-to-face format only where content and pedagogy demand this. Hybrid courses (also referred to as blended or mixed face-to-face) are courses in which instructors interact with students in the same physical space for less than 75% of the instructional time, with the remainder of the instructional time provided online or through other distanced methods. Face-to-face engagement activities, including as part of hybrid courses, will be managed using physical distancing, PPE and other appropriate health and safety measures.

Students should check their ESIS accounts to see adjustments to their schedules. If a student wants to revise their schedule, they should speak with their adviser.

For fall 2020, and in consideration of changing the delivery mode of courses from face-to-face to an online format, UWRF will continue to charge the online fee for courses that were already scheduled to be delivered online. Courses moved to an online format but in which no students had yet registered will also be charged the online fee – this primarily affects new students. The fee will not be charged for courses moving online that already had students registered – this primarily affect continuing students.

Face-to-face engagements will necessarily require use of physical space on campus. Through Facilities Management, classroom capacity numbers will be adjusted to reflect physical distancing needs. Classrooms will have up to 50% normal occupancy numbers and in most cases less. Extra furniture will be removed from those rooms with movable desks, tables and chairs to maintain revised capacities, and the remaining furniture appropriately spaced. Classrooms with fixed furniture will need special considerations. In addition to regular classrooms, other spaces across campus, such as in the University Center, will also be evaluated for occupancies as classrooms for fall 2020. The four dean’s offices will work with the Registrar’s Office in the rescheduling of spaces across campus to accommodate those courses needing face-to-face engagements.

Centralized Attendance Tracking System

UWRF has developed a Centralized Attendance Tracking System (CATS) to allow each employee, student or visitor to record their attendance/presence in a campus space using a web form.

  • A QR code and instructions will be posted in each classroom or space that has COVID-19 occupancy drawings created. QR codes can be scanned by any mobile device and will take individuals directly to the online form; individuals without a mobile device can still submit their attendance via the form on the website.
  • The data collected through the scanning of QR codes will be used by the UWRF Contact Tracing team to assist in the interview of students and employees who report testing positive. By proactively, and timely, providing this data we can decrease alerting individuals not in contact with someone that is positive while at the same time targeting communications to those that were.
  • More instructions are provided on the website.
  • QR codes can be obtained from the Contact Tracing Team for department meeting rooms, events,  offices, service counters or other spaces.
  • Goal is to reach 100% submission rate wherever feasible. The more people voluntarily register their attendance in specific locations on campus, the more effectively we will be able to support contact tracing and efforts to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
  • Data is retained for 30-days from the time of submission and then will be destroyed.  Data is only used for contact tracing purposes and has no bearing on academic performance.

The Centralized Attendance Tracking System (CATS) is a Google Form that submits data to a central repository for the Contact Tracing team to access. Signage and use of the CATS will be provided centrally, please do not create new systems, processes or signage not consistent with the standardized system.

Student Attendance Tracking

  • Students are expected to submit their attendance at each class session via the CATS tool.

  • Attendance tracking signs will be posted at the front of each classroom with instructions.

  • Attendance tracking will begin by scanning a QR code and completing a quick form to indicate they present at that location.

  • One scan per physical session meeting where student is present, no need to “sign out” of the room.

  • Online students should NOT scan or submit attendance in which they are not physically present.

  • Students without smartphones can retroactively submit their codes via by noting the actual date and time on page 2 of the form. They can note each code they encounter throughout the day and follow up later that day.

  • Students that do not wish to submit their presence through the QR code system can maintain a journal of their locations manually.  However, they will not receive proper notifications if they do not use the system.

Faculty Attendance Tracking

  • Faculty are asked to remind face to face, physically present, students to submit their attendance at the beginning of each class period.

  • The faculty member of record in eSIS for a course will be presumed present for contact tracing purposes. However, the additional submission of the central attendance tracking by that faculty member will aid contact tracers in verification of which faculty was indeed present at a given point of time.

  • Other faculty, aids, guests/visitors, etc. must complete the submission to the central contact tracing each session.

Examples Where a QR Scan is Not Needed

  • Custodian emptying trash or doing a quick cleaning in a space.
  • A facilities technician is working alone in a space on a project for an extended period.
  • You are using a conference room by yourself for a quiet space.
  • A lab tech is setting up for the next class, without anyone in the room they are working.
  • When physical distancing is maintained, and the time is less than 15 minutes over a 24 period.

Examples Where a QR Scan is Recommended

  • Two people are working together in a conference room for 2 hours, regardless of distancing. (more than 15-minute rule)
  • All students and any staff or faculty that are not on eSIS instructor of record.
  • Sitting face to face with someone while eating lunch and talking.
  • A staff member visits a residence hall room. (Enter in location code manually and make tracing note who and why visited.)

Seating Charts

  • When proper physical distancing is not observed for more than 15 minutes, contact tracing will need to identify those points of contacts.
  • Whenever possible, you should sit in the same seat in the same class or cohort group meeting every time. Reducing your network of contacts is key.
  • FFIT had originally indicated that seating charts would be required. However, due to refinements in the contact tracing process, and increased reliance on the Centralized Attendance Tracking System (CATS) tool, seating charts will not be required in most cases
  • If classroom occupancy floorplans are not followed as posted, then a seating chart must be submitted to the Contact Tracing Team.
  • Some laboratory spaces may not comply with the 6’ apart guidelines.
  • In any space where individuals are less than 6’ apart for more than 15 minutes, a seating chart and attendance tracking is required.
  • Seating chart submissions
    • If you require the same seating for each cohort group, submit a single seating chart at the beginning of the semester for each cohort.
    • If you do not require same seat seating from session to session, you will need to submit a new seating chart each time.
    • Suggested methods of recording seating: clearly write W#’s on seats, scan the document to PDF or using Adobe Acrobat enter in name and W# information on each seat.
    • Send information to with email including a roster of who was included on the seating chart. This will allow for easier data searching when needed.
    • After submitting a seating chart, you may destroy it unless you would like to keep it for your own use or records.

Due to concerns for health and safety of students in physical settings, as well as their level of access to online (distance) delivery of course materials, instructors are asked to relax any policies in which strict attendance is used as part of grading policies.

Face coverings shall be required in all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, and strongly encouraged outside when physical distancing is not possible.

Reasonable accommodations will be made for individuals unable to wear a face covering. Requests for reasonable accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis. It is the responsibility of the individual requesting the accommodation to contact the appropriate office below to obtain an approved reasonable accommodation.
• Employees requesting a reasonable accommodation, should contact Human Resources and complete the Reasonable Accommodation request form located here.
• Students requesting a reasonable accommodation due to disability, should contact Ability Services and may find more information here.
• Students requesting a reasonable accommodation for a reason other than a disability, should contact the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Excellence & Student Success.
Students with an approved reasonable accommodation will receive an approved accommodation form from the Ability Services Office and must present that upon request to a university official or instructor. Return to Campus-COVID 19 Policy, Page 3 A student or employee who has been granted a reasonable accommodation by the university is not required to explain to others the underlying basis for the accommodation.

Individuals who do not adhere to the face covering policy directive (and do not have an approved accommodation) may be asked or directed to leave campus. Students and employees who choose not to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Please use this form for submitting concerns relating to violations of UW-River Falls' policies and directives regarding COVID-19.  (Do NOT use this form to relay concerns that you or someone else has COVID-19.)

Examples of what to report include: failure to wear a face covering, failure to physical distance, failure to quarantine or follow contact tracing policies or other violations (intentional or unintentional) related to COVID policies etc. 

If you would like to discuss an incident with the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, please contact Thomas Pedersen, Director at 715-425-4507 or email The official policy is AP-06-121.

Textbook Services has modified book issue to provide a safe environment for you to collect the textbooks for your courses.  To promote physical distancing and limit the potential spread of COVID-19 we are having a no-contact book issue.

Prior to Getting Your Textbooks

  • Finalize your class schedule so we can be sure to get the correct items for your Fall courses.
  • Log into the Textbook Pickup form to reserve a pickup time. Students will need to sign up for a pickup time at least 24 hours prior to getting their books so staff has time to pull, check out, and bag your items. 
  • Textbook distribution starts August 17th with the following schedule: 
    • August 17-21: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • August 24-28: Monday to Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • August 31-September 4: Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • On September 8th Textbook Services will start its fall schedule of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment. 

Picking Up Your Books

  • Show up at Hagestad Hall as close to your scheduled time as possible.  Bring you campus ID and wear a face covering. 
  • A staff member will check your ID and direct you to the appropriate table where your books will be checked out, bagged, and waiting for you. 
  • Once you have your bag, head to the back where another staff member will make sure the correct bag is paired with the correct person.
  • If you need to reschedule your appointment, the confirmation message sent to your UWRF email has a link to modify or cancel your reservation. 

Not on Campus?

Still Have Spring or Summer Items?



Frequently Asked Questions

You do not have the ability to transition yourself to all online learning. If your classes are offered online, this causes no problems. If you are signed up for a face-to-face or hybrid class, you have to make sure that your instructor has provided an online option. Please check with your instructors for these courses to make sure that option is available to you. This option is not available for all courses.

There are multiple ways to try and connect with your instructor. You can connect with them via email, through Canvas, dropping into their virtual office hours, or scheduling an individual appointment with them. If your instructor is unresponsive, you can contact the Department Chair.

First, please make sure that you have clearly communicated to each of your instructors that you are in quarantine and/or isolation to make sure they know you need extra accommodations. Each instructor has a lot of flexibility on how they can do this. Some examples include having students virtually join a lab session, or reviewing the materials after the session has completed.

We understand this can be frustrating. DoTS has been working hard to select and utilize one common platform around campus. Faculty may be using platforms that they feel more comfortable utilizing so they can continue to provide you with the best experience possible. As an institution, we are encouraging faculty to use Canvas as much as possible because it has many great features and benefits.  
We also encourage you to let your instructors know if you are having issues with using different platforms. You can do this through an email at the end of class or leaving comments on the mid-semester or end of semester evaluations. Instructors might not know you are having issues accessing the materials and this can be really helpful feedback.

Yes! Please visit our Tutoring Services website to schedule an appointment or get your questions answered.
The Online Writing Lab is fully accessible in our virtual environment.

You should reach out to your academic advisor if you are considering withdrawal. You will need to work with the Registrar's Office and the Student Billing Office to discuss your options and for recovering any potential tuition costs.

No, all classroom safety procedures will remain the same. Those procedures are noted above or can be found in the COVID-19 Reference Guide.

The important thing is that you get tested first. We have asked all instructors to be flexible and understand that you may have to be late to class or might need to miss a day until you get your test completed.

Instructors are reviewing the current state of their course delivery. Some may choose to return to a face-to-face format. Instructors will be reaching out to students if there will be any changes. At this time, face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume October 5.