Information Technology Services Reopening and Spring 2021 Plan

In accordance with the Alfred University COVID-19 Master Plan and aligned with the Academic Affairs Internal Report, ITS is recommending the following functional plan to ensure operational viability as we return to campus in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan seeks to achieve the following objectives in prioritized order:

  • We have to make our environment as safe as possible to protect our students, faculty and staff
  • We must provide a learning experience that is typically Alfred—immersive, experiential, and based on collaboration between students and faculty, in spite of the overarching need for social distancing
  • The plan has to be inspiring, exceptional, and fun, the principal hallmarks by which our alumni remember their experience here

This reopening and spring semester 2021 plan, is based on the following assumptions:

  • Students will return to campus and classes will begin on January 25
  • Social distancing of 6 feet is mandated and will be enforced
  • Campus events will be limited by the constraints of social distancing
The organization of this plan is functional segmented into ITS divisional areas: Helpdesk & Desktop Support; Instructional Technologies, Online Education & Audio Visual Support; Network Services Support; Web and Application Development; Administrative Support Services. Despite this organizational segmentation, this plan seeks to harness team work and organizational alignment which is the hallmark of ITS success.

Procedures for ITS Helpdesk Support

  • To decrease potential exposure, all modalities of remote support including email, phone calls, and remote desktop technologies should be utilized before on-sight support is applied
  • If direct in-person support is required, clients will call for assistance and will enter through the side door of Herrick Library. ITS will utilize the 24 hour lab as a direct meeting space. Based on the INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR OFFICE-BASED WORK DURING THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY, ITS should log all visitors to the 24 hour lab location.
    • A plexi-glass barrier has been installed in 24 hour lab for direct consultation
    • Equipment drop-off / pick-up from ground floor door in 24 hour lab space
      • Secure non-contact transfers
      • Personal Protective Equipment used
  • Equipment Lending
    • Equipment drop-off / pick-up from ground-floor, access door in 24 hour lab space
    • Personal Protective Equipment used
    • Secure non-contact transfers
  • Extended Help Desk hours during nights and weekends
    • Sunday: 2:00PM - 6:00PM
    • Monday: 8:30AM - 8:00PM
    • Tuesday: 8:30AM - 8:00PM
    • Wednesday: 8:30AM - 8:00PM
    • Thursday: 8:30AM - 8:00PM
    • Friday: 8:30AM - 4:30PM
    • Saturday: Closed

ITS Computer Lab Space Procedures

  • Based on social distancing directives, downsize onsite computer availability. Physical computers and printers/copiers need to be available for student/faculty use
  • To decrease density of computers in labs, ITS staff will remove keyboard and mouse. These machines will be powered-on for remote access for remote and quarantined students.
  • Remote Desktop accessibility for remote/quarantined students
    • To be determined by EULA on per software basis
      • Adobe
      • Solidworks
      • MatLab
      • Maple
      • Minitab
      • SPSS
      • ArcGIS
      • LabView
      • Mathematica
      • Office
  • VDI (Virtual Desktop) setup for remote software access

Helpdesk & Desktop Support Team General Operating Procedures

  • Email us
    • Our Team is monitoring our ticketing queue during normal office hours
    • Your request will be prioritized and handled in the usual manner
  • Call us: 607-871-2222
    • Our Team is able to receive Help Desk calls from our remote locations
    • Your request will be prioritized and handled in the usual manner
  • In-person appointments
    • If hands on assistance is needed an appointment to meet with a Technician is required
    • This can be accomplished through the communication methods above

Instructional Technology Recommendations

Situation: On-Campus Class with Some Remote Students due to Quarantine, Social Distancing, or Other Circumstances

Recommendation: The instructor can use video conferencing software with the use of screen sharing and audio to include remote students.

Strategies & Technology:

  • Video conferencing, using the screen share function
  • ITS will issue the faculty member a USB lavalier microphone (for their use only; no need for sharing)
  • PowerPoint can be used to share lecture notes and visuals; some classrooms will have the use of a document camera or Wacom tablet

*12 mobile video conferencing units are available in select instructional buildings. This may be a solution for those needing to use the board and share it with remote students. Mobile units will remain in the corresponding academic buildings; faculty may work with the division secretaries to schedule and deploy them.


Situation: Fully Online Class

Recommendation: The course should be taught using AU-supported tools such as Canvas, Ensemble Anthem, and Video Conferencing tools.

Strategies & Technology:

  • Course content, activities, and assignments are made available in Canvas
  • Video Conferencing tools (Microsoft Teams, Zoom) can be used for real-time meetings (if applicable)
  • Instructor-created lecture or demo videos should be recorded using Ensemble Anthem; video links should be available in the Canvas course

Situation: Remote Learning; Real-time Virtual Meetings in Place of On-Campus Class

Recommendation: The course must take place during a scheduled time (that is communicated with the students beforehand). AU-supported tools should be used.

Strategies & Technology:

  • Meetings should be held with Microsoft Teams (Microsoft Teams integrates with Canvas) or Zoom
  • Breakout rooms in Zoom allow for small-group discussions
  • Course content, activities, and assignments are made available in Canvas

*Conferences may be held in Canvas using Big Blue Button. However, the quality may suffer due to traffic.  Zoom and Microsoft Teams are more reliable options.


Recommended Resources

Recommended Equipment:

  • 12 mobile video conferencing units
  • 60 Samson XPD2 USB lavalier microphones
  • 25 Wacom or other tablets for drawings and diagrams
  • 40 Document cameras
  • 25 Web Cams
  • Green screens (for loan by secretaries...one/building)
  • 80 USB headsets with mics

Safe Operating Procedures

Classrooms

General Upkeep & Installations (projector bulbs, etc.)

  • ITS will temporarily discontinue service/support to classrooms not being used (due to inability to create social distance).
  • To limit exposure, ITS will deploy a single staff member to maintain and service individual classrooms
  • Classroom technicians will wear masks
  • Jobs requiring two people will be done during low-traffic times; perhaps after hours to limit contact with others (work will be prioritized based on location and usage)

Troubleshooting/ Assistance Requests

  • ITS will conduct initial classroom support via telephone
  • Users needing assistance will be asked to supply as much information as possible and may be asked to send a photo of the problem
  • If time sensitive issues cannot be resolved via phone, ITS will deploy a staff person following appropriate social distancing, utilizing PPE and following procedures
  • For computer issues, users will be referred to the ITS Helpdesk
  • If non-urgent maintenance is required, it will be done when the room is empty, during low-traffic times

Holmes Auditorium

  • Approximately 1/3 occupancy will be allowed, with staggered seating, 6 feet apart; safe seats will be marked
  • Custodian will clean the booth in the morning; ITS staff will clean the booth in the afternoon
  • The sound and light boards will be wiped between operators
  • The podium, mics, headsets, and other equipment (touched by speakers or technicians) will be wiped between users
  • ITS will appropriately social distance the two staff members who normally occupy the Holmes Auditorium office.

Training/ Faculty Development/ Instructional Design

  • All trainings, faculty development, and meetings will continue virtually for the remainder of the fall semester
  • 306 Perlman will be temporarily de-commissioned as training space, and will be used as office space/ equipment storage

Campus Events

  • Request for assistance must be scheduled at least one week in advance
  • Users must contact the ITS Helpdesk to schedule
  • If social distance of 6 feet between technicians and others cannot be guaranteed, or if the situation is deemed otherwise unsafe, technicians may decline service, and/or recommend a location that will accommodate appropriate social distancing among all participants
  • All equipment will be wiped before and after use
  • All technicians (including student workers, if applicable) will utilize PPE and will maintain appropriate social distancing

Video Conferencing

  • Users will host their own meetings using their own accounts for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom
  • Users needing troubleshooting assistance should contact the ITS Helpdesk (requests will be routed to technicians as needed)
  • To decrease potential exposure, initial assistance will be provided over the phone. If the issues cannot be resolved via remote technologies (phone, remote desktop sessions), an appointment can be scheduled with appropriate social distancing and proper procedures.
  • If (virtual) assistance is needed for special virtual events (admissions events, orientation, celebrations, recruiting), it must be requested at least two weeks in advance; requests must be sent to the ITS Helpdesk

Third Floor Perlman Hall

  • Room 302 conference room will not be available to the campus community; it will be repurposed as temporary office space and storage
  • All shared surfaces (kitchen, copier, door handles, etc. will be wiped between users)
  • Room 306 will be temporarily de-commissioned as training space, and will be used as overflow office/ storage space for ITS
  • Network Services Support will have two team members working remote and two team members working on campus. Who is on-campus and who is remote will rotate based on need.
  • The network administrators will be split up so as to not use a shared office. One will remain in that office and one will use a spare room on the ground floor of Herrick.
  • Network Services Support will be utilizing video conferencing to do as much face-to-face interaction as possible
  • Any time we need to do work in other buildings on campus, we will use masks whenever inside the building and potentially gloves as well if working in a high traffic area. Gloves will be discarded following exiting the building. If gloves are not used, hand sanitizer will be used upon entering and exiting the building.
  • Given the nature of the work, Web development can be accomplished remotely, decreasing the possibility of staff exposure. Web application staff members will take turns returning in one week increments.
  • Project-based communication can be accomplished with email and video conferencing
  • PPE will be needed in Web and Application Development
  • Given the nature of the work, Administrative programming can be accomplished remotely, decreasing the possibility of staff exposure. When directed, any staff members will need to come to campus based on the directive of the supervisor.
  • Project-based communication can be accomplished with email and video conferencing


Based on the evolving situation and institutional needs, any or all parts of this plan may change at any time.