As you know, on January 14th, King’s University College administration announced the return to in-person class plan that begins on January 31st, 2022. Many of our members have expressed legitimate concerns over the last weeks and months about what is required for a safe return to campus, the disruption to pedagogy, and significant additional workload involved in switching course delivery mode (yet again) from online to in-person, and we have articulated these concerns to the administration. We hear you and share in your concern.
On Wednesday January 19, the KUCFA Executive was asked to meet with the VPAD and the VP Finance & Support Services to discuss the return to campus. We updated the membership about this meeting on January 20th and advocated for increased safety measures in the form of N95 masks and rapid testing for all, flexibility for faculty to deliver their courses in-person or online (or any combination) and raised numerous concerns about workload on faculty for students who should fall ill and are unable to complete their work in a timely manner (among other concerns).
Yesterday, January 25, we received a memo from the Academic Dean outlining course delivery policies from January 31 to February 28, 2022. KUCFA is aware that this memo inadequately addresses member concerns raised over the past several weeks and months.
We must underscore that KUCFA has not been consulted about any of these decisions made by senior administration. We have only been made aware of them after they have been made.
From the very beginning of the pandemic, KUCFA has maintained that principles of collegial governance outlined in our Terms and Conditions require that faculty members be consulted about and, more importantly, involved in decisions regarding pandemic issues inclusive of the return to in-person instruction. We will be steadfast in our commitment to this point.
It is our view that neither the KUCFA nor faculty members collectively have been consulted appropriately about returning to campus at any point in the pandemic. Despite this, the administration has repeatedly stated that they have been consulting with all relevant groups. The KUCFA Executive is extremely frustrated with this lack of consultation, disregard for principles of collegial governance, and lack of attention paid to our Terms and Conditions. This is not just a concern at King’s but in the broader sector, where university administrations have continuously made decisions about campus health and safety behind closed doors and through circumventing shared governance bodies.
In light of the announcement about resuming in-person teaching on January 31, and based on concerns raised by our membership, we ask that senior administration at King’s University College consider the following:
- Ensure all faculty can deliver their courses online until February 28th if they so choose.
- Provide Rapid Antigen Tests to faculty who choose to be on campus regularly as soon as they are available.
- To set up committee including all student and staff groups to determine the efficacy of mandating booster shots for COVID-19.
- Ensure that faculty have the autonomy to consult with their students and to decide whether their courses should continue online or in-person.
- Ensure Faculty Council and College Council hold robust discussions of the conditions required for a safe return to campus.
- Hold a town hall for all community members before February 14th to discuss pandemic measures and policies.
- Ensure that Faculty are meaningfully consulted on decisions related to a safe return to campus and our pedagogical duties; and until such time stop claiming consultation has taken place.
What can our members do?
We urge members to contact the Academic Dean with your views and concerns, and to raise relevant issues at Faculty Council and College Council.
We urge all members who have medical or family status concerns related to COVID-19 to submit Tier 4 Work Modification offered through the Academic Dean.
Please don’t teach, even online, if you are sick. There is no provision if the College is struck with mass sickness and inability to teach. The past practice is to adjust your teaching or schedule via a make-up class or two or three at some point in the remainder of the term as your syllabus allows. You wouldn’t have taught in-person when you were sick, so please do not set the precedent at this time, online.
Above all, know that WE HAVE COLLECTIVE POWER. STAY TOGETHER!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact KUCFA.