Although students will receive official notification of alternative modes of instruction, it is up to you, as the instructor to communicate changes within your course. The following items may adjust and need to be communicated to students:
In short, communicate clearly and often with students.
If the situation calls for remaining online for a while, such as an outbreak of a pandemic disease or a natural disaster that has damaged classroom space, you may need to adjust your class schedule. With online instruction, you have two choices: synchronous or asynchronous teaching.
Synchronous - If you want to continue meeting at the same time as your scheduled class, you can do so online but meet virtually through Google Hangouts or YouTube Live. Set expectations with students that they still need to attend class at the same time but will do so online.
Asynchronous - If you would like students to read/watch course content and complete assignments at their own pace, you would design your course to be asynchronous. This does not mean the course is self-paced with no hard due dates. You can set due dates, a weekly pace, but allow students to work on coursework at the time they choose, instead of the scheduled class time.
Blended - You can also have a blend of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Some online courses have live office hours once a week or require a few live class sessions while the rest of the course is asynchronous.
Communicate your plan for the adjusted course schedule early and often. Students will need to be highly directed during the first steps of moving online.
Set virtual office hours where students know that you are available. Facilitating off-campus office hours can be as simple as being available via email or phone for a set timeframe. In other words, students know they'll get a quick email response or call back if they contact you within that timeframe. Or, having a Google Hangout virtual meeting available for students to join.
Canvas announcements is the fastest way to communicate with all students in a course. Please see these guides on how you can send announcements:
You can create a non-graded Q&A Discussion Board in your Canvas course. This provides a place for students to pose questions and for you to respond. The main purpose of responding to student questions in a public place is for all students to see your response instead of you having to reply to several emails asking the same question. All students can benefit from your answer and you can save time!