I trust you are well. As we prepare for the start of the spring 2023 semester, I write to share some details about The Ohio State University’s policies and guidance regarding accommodations related to students’ faith, religion, or spiritual belief systems. In addition, guidance is below for situations involving weather or other short-term university closings and alternatives for in-person proctoring.
It is important that all instructors review this guidance and include language in their syllabi that makes clear the accommodations that are available for students. Details about each are included below, as well as sample language for inclusion within course syllabi.
All instructors must reasonably accommodate students’ needs based on faith, religious or spiritual belief system in regard to examinations, other academic requirements or absences. Examples of accommodations can include, but are not limited to, rescheduling an exam or presentation, or giving flexibility in due dates or research responsibilities.
Instructors are to discuss this with students and include language in their syllabus:
Our inclusive environment allows for religious expression. Students requesting accommodations based on faith, religious or a spiritual belief system in regard to examinations, other academic requirements or absences, are required to provide the instructor with written notice of specific dates for which the student requests alternative accommodations at the earliest possible date. For more information about religious accommodations at Ohio State, visit odi.osu.edu/religious-accommodations.
The University Interfaith Council has a helpful, but non-exhaustive, religious holiday calendar to promote awareness and understanding of observances. For example, Ramadan — the Muslim holy month observed through fasting, prayer and reflection — coincides with the end of the semester and second-session classes, and students and instructors should be mindful of requests made for final projects and assignments.
(Note: A previous version of the message incorrectly stated that Ramadan coincided with the final exam period.)
Weather or other short-term closing
Following Policy 6.15 (Weather or Other Short-Term Closing), faculty are to notify students of alternative teaching methods when in-person classes are canceled. Alternative teaching methods can include virtual synchronous class meetings or asynchronous activities, including but not limited to videos, podcasts, supplemental readings, or discussion posts.
It is at the discretion of the instructor as to which alternative method of teaching will occur when in-person classes have been canceled under the Weather or Other Short-Term Closing Policy. Instructors teaching multiple sections of the same course are to consult with their TIU head to ensure consistency with the course continuity plan.
Communication begins the first week of the new term. Faculty are to discuss their continuity plan with students and include language in their syllabus. Examples could include the following:
Should in-person classes be canceled, we will meet virtually via CarmenZoom during our regularly scheduled time. I will share any updates via [CarmenCanvas, email or other mode of communication].
Should in-person classes be canceled, I will notify you as to which alternative methods of teaching will be offered to ensure continuity of instruction for this class. Communication will be via [CarmenCanvas, email or other mode of communication].
[For faculty teaching online, you are encouraged to include the following: “Unless otherwise announced by the university, online or distance-learning classes will occur as scheduled.”]
In-person proctoring alternatives
If using Proctorio or other online proctoring tools in your course, you must provide in-person proctoring options for students as well. Potential options include the Student Testing Center, Consortium of College Testing Centers, an Ohio State regional campus, Clark County Extension Office, OSU Extension Operations (Caldwell Office) or certified proctors. More proctoring information can be found here.
Faculty are to discuss these procedures with students and include language in their syllabus. An example is provided below:
Students may request an in-person proctoring alternative to Proctorio or other online proctoring tools. The student is expected to contact the instructor as soon as possible to coordinate the accommodation. Students will not be permitted to take remotely proctored exams in their homes or residence halls unless they are willing to conduct a room scan. By choosing to take the exam in their home or residence hall, the student is consenting to the room scan of the area in which they take the exam.
Disregard if you do not use Proctorio or other online proctoring tools in your course.
Thank you for all you do to advance academic excellence at Ohio State, and I wish you a successful, enriching, and productive spring semester.
Melissa L. Gilliam
Executive Vice President and Provost