Updated and Revised Policies for Remote Instruction Effective Saturday, March 14

March 13, 2020

Dear Faculty, Instructors, and GSIs,

We write to you today following the Chancellor’s earlier message to the campus, to inform you of some additional changes that will be made to the manner in which we will be delivering instruction for the remainder of the Spring Semester. 

The decision to make these changes has not been made lightly; we realize that significant adjustments by instructors will need to be made. Please understand that we have tremendous appreciation for your dedication and hard work and we ask for your understanding and support to implement the measures discussed below.

As you adjust your pedagogy, and your syllabi, there are a few concepts that can guide this work: 

Consider what are the essential concepts and ideas you want students to know: what is core? And what are the key approaches that will allow you to convey, and they to learn those core elements? If this is a course that underpins another course or is part of a sequence, what is critical for that next stage of learning?

None of this is easy and we do not expect perfection. We do want to keep our students engaged and to create for them, and with them, meaningful learning. 

Although, as noted, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus at this time, we wish to take steps, in accordance with recommendations from local, national, and global public health officials, that will help slow the rate of transmission, which will help to protect our community. Consequently, the campus is implementing the following changes related to course instruction. These changes will remain in place through the remainder of the Spring Semester.


  1. As announced by the Chancellor earlier today, the campus will be offering nearly ALL instruction through alternative (not-in-person) modalities (e.g., ZoomPro, course capture, etc.) through the remainder of the Spring Semester. Courses with laboratories, clinics, fieldwork, performance, and physical education components, etc., that are remote-learning ready should proceed to go online as soon as possible. While it is possible that there will be a resumption of in-person instruction later in the semester, this instruction would serve as a complement to remote access. 

  1. Exceptions to remote learning: If you are an instructor of a course whose pedagogical objectives cannot be accomplished without in-person instruction, please contact the chair of your department or dean of your professional school by Monday March 16. Chairs and Deans should then send any requests for exceptions to EVCP@berkeley.edu for approval. Exception requests will be considered and instructors will be notified by Thursday March 19 and will then be responsible for communicating this approved exception to their students and student services staff. 

  1. Course syllabi may need to change, in a short period of time, in light of the significant pedagogical changes resulting from remote instruction and assessment. Instructors with concerns should consult with their department chairs or curriculum committees as well as seek assistance as outlined below.  

  1. Exams and assessments: To facilitate social distancing and improve accessibility, effective immediately, all examinations and assessments are to be conducted via alternative (not-in-person) methods. 

  1. Attendance: Starting on Monday March 30, but not before, instructors are allowed to take attendance in classes and to use participation as a metric for academic performance. Instructors are encouraged to be flexible in their attendance requirements; communicate those requirements proactively to their students; and accommodate students who are ill, those who are located in a different time zone, and those who may have limited remote access. Please see the resources for strategies to address the latter two issues.  


  1. Laptops for students: Please remind students that a limited supply of laptops are available through the library and efforts are in place to secure more laptops for students who do not have computing resources. 

  2. Disability accommodations: DSP will continue to partner with instructors to ensure students' disability accommodations are provided.The following are email addresses that instructors and students can contact for DSP-captioning and ASL (dsp-captioning@berkeley.edu) accessible formats (dspamc@berkeley.edu), proctoring (proctoring@berkeley.edu), and note taking (dspnotes@berkeley.edu). Please contact dsp@berkeley.edu for additional questions or assistance regarding student accommodations.  Faculty should work with DSP to ensure that all content is accessible to their students with disabilities before the content is posted. To ensure accessibility, it is very important to use UC Berkeley provided platforms, such as bCourses and Zoom. Posting videos or other content via non-supported tools that make that content open to the public and present accessibility barriers (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) is prohibited.

  3. Instructional Resilience Resources
    The Center for Teaching & Learning’s Instructional Resilience resources page has best practices, details on daily webinars on how to use Zoom and Courses, tips and resources. As resources and ideas for instructors will continue to be updated during the coming weeks, we encourage you to visit this site regularly.

We are most grateful to the extraordinary efforts we have witnessed over the past two weeks from staff, students, and instructors to help maintain and preserve the instructional missions of our campus. We thank you for your dedication and hard work and encourage you to practice empathy for our community during this difficult time. 


A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

Oliver O’Reilly
Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate

Catherine P. Koshland
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education

Lisa García Bedolla
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division

This message was sent to all UC Berkeley faculty, instructors, and GSIs