Pedagogical Continuity is planning for times when you, individual students, or the entire class are not able to attend class but can still participate through alternative means of online distribution!

There are a wide range of emergency and health-related situations that are best handled by planning before instruction begins. This includes determining course policies, communication channels, and emergency procedures.

The most likely disruptions result in instructors and/or students not being able to access the physical classroom (due to anything from illness, to power outage, to fire, etc.). It is highly recommended to have:
1) A clear communication plan in your syllabus in cases where access to the classroom is limited.
2) A determination of when you intend to use Zoom (or other synchronous alternatives), recorded lectures, or other options to handle the disruption.

Given the possibility of more severe personal emergencies, it is strongly recommended to designate a trusted colleague to have access to your course materials, including your Canvas page or the equivalent, in case there is the need for a colleague to temporarily take over your course.

Given the possibility for loss of internet or specific applications, it is recommended to have plans for loss of access to core technologies in your course.

Additional Suggestions for Individual Situations

In the case of short-term instructor absence due to illness, fire, or other unforeseen occurrences, some suggestions include:

  • Determine when you will use substitute lecturers, Zoom sessions, or pre-recorded material and make the necessary arrangements.
  • Clearly communicate to students the expectations ahead of time.
  • Provide students with information on how changes in class delivery will be communicated.

In the case of short-term student absence due to illness, fire, financial issues, or other unforeseen occurrences, some suggestions include:

  • Design attendance and assessment policies to handle “sick-leave,” e.g. allow for a certain number of dropped assignments.
  • Determine what materials, if any, will be available to students in case of short
    -term absence and how such materials will be accessed.

Additional Suggestions for Campus Situations

Living in California, we need to be prepared for a range of contingencies that could lead to individual classroom or campus-wide emergencies.

These include, but are not limited to; fire, power outages, and classroom flooding.

This could potentially result in a campus switch to remote instruction, and/or individual classroom shutdowns.

To prepare for these:

  • Have a clear communication plan established on the first day of class, including a primary and secondary mode of communication.
  • Determine contingency modes of instructional delivery, e.g. synchronous Zoom, recorded lectures, other?
  • Plan for course schedule disruptions, especially in cases of disruptions that impact internet access.


When possible, additional planning should include:

  • Having  backups to weekly learning content in case technology is not working properly.
  • Having your weekly content organized somewhere other than Canvas in case Canvas is down.
  • Having pdf versions of websites in case a website is down.
  • Having recorded lectures saved in more than one platform in case a specific platform is down.
  • Using  multiple communication channels as access to technology might be limited during emergency situations.
  • Posting emergency messages on Canvas, sending through email, having TAs distribute, etc.

What Faculty Should Communicate With Students:

  • Alternative methods of communication.
  • Alternative modes of course material delivery, including lectures.
  • Changes in assignment due dates.
  • If relevant, alternative class meeting links when Zoom is down (Ex. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.).
  • Emergency resources / support / hotlines.
  • What to do if the internet goes down:
  • Where to go for help in a variety of emergency situations.
  • What to do before, during, after different disasters:
  • Who to contact in case of emergency if faculty is unavailable.

Additonal Resources