Interact with students outside of class time

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Covid-19 icon.png FREQUENT UPDATES: This article contains guidance related to COVID-19 that is subject to change. Check the COVID-19 Response at WSU site for the latest information and direct all questions about this article to TLT (

This fall, it will be possible to interact with students outside of class time in person, as most of them will be living in Winona. This includes interactions such as office hours, advising appointments, and even chance meetings as you walk across campus. Let your students know how you would like to handle those interactions.

Office hours and advising appointments

In-person, in your office

If you can maintain a three-foot physical distance and are wearing face coverings, you can invite students to meet with you in your office. Remind them to maintain physical distance while they are waiting outside your office.

In-person, in a larger room

If you cannot maintain a six-foot physical distance in your office, are meeting with a group of students, or would rather meet in a larger space, you can reserve one through the Campus Room Scheduling System. Many classrooms and conference rooms are empty this spring and can be reserved for academic purposes, perhaps for the entire semester. Be sure to tell your students not to come to your office and remind them to wear a face covering. If you have back-to-back appointments or are meeting with a group of students, be sure to remind them to maintain proper physical distance while in the room, as well as when they enter and exit.


The availability of outside tents this fall is still being discussed and more information is forthcoming. If and when tents are available, you will be able to reserve them through the Campus Room Scheduling System. Weather and other factors will probably make this a just-in-time decision. Remind students that face coverings are required for outdoor meetings.



If you decide to host your meetings online in Zoom, be sure to provide students with the meeting link, ID, and password, as well as any other security information. Consider creating a persistent Zoom session for each class that you can use for the entire semester. You might also create a separate, persistent Zoom session for advising. The waiting room feature in Zoom can help you control the entry of students into these sessions.


If you are using Teams to communicate with students, you can initiate an online meeting from the chat tool. Students can also initiate an online meeting with you.

Other considerations

Book meetings

Use the method for scheduling student meetings that is most comfortable for you. Remember that all students have access to Outlook and can use it to schedule meetings with you. Microsoft Bookings allows students to reserve an open time on your calendar without using Outlook directly.

Exchange physical materials

If you exchange paper, books, or other physical objects during an in-person meeting, you and the student should avoid touching your faces and wash your hands following the meeting.

Questions just before or after class

Let your students know how you would prefer handling individual questions just prior to the start of class and immediately after class. Should they ask those questions from their seats versus coming up to the front of the classroom? Should they make an appointment with you or ask the question online? Consider creating an open discussion topic in your Brightspace course for students to post questions and perhaps encouraging them to use the Chat feature in Teams to communicate with you.

Other class activities

If any of your class activities (e.g., study sessions, capstone presentations, group meetings, service learning projects, student teaching, clinical experiences) require students to interact with you and others in-person outside of class time, guide them as needed. At a minimum, university guidance should be followed. If your students are working with an outside organization (e.g., Mayo Clinic, Winona Area Public Schools), make sure you and your students understand their policies and remind your students to follow them.

Social events

If you have any planned social events this semester during which you will be interacting with students in person (e.g., holiday parties, recognition ceremonies), be sure to allow for extra planning time and consult with TLT ( and others early. Inform your students and others attending these events how you would like to proceed.

Informal meetings

Let your students know how you prefer to interact with them when they encounter you informally outside of class or off-campus (e.g., walking around the lake). If you are comfortable with them stopping you to ask a question or you would prefer that they contact you online, let them know.

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