What we know about winter term reopening

Colleagues,

Here’s what we know:

  • Accommodations for faculty (health status, caregiving needs) remain the same as last term.

  • The Academic Council meets today to potentially update classroom policies; we know that faculty can no longer remove masks under the public speaker exemption.

  • Booster mandate details are forthcoming.

  • There are conversations about our testing capabilities.

Members of your Executive Council expressed your concerns about reopening to our bosses and we continue to do so. We are waiting to hear about the recommendations from the Academic Council and other updates from central administration, which should be forthcoming by week’s end if not sooner. If their response does not deliver what our members need, please know that we will continue to pursue all options in front of us to advocate for what’s best for you.

Our strength, our “pressure,” is a result of our individual energies and commitment collectively harnessed. But I don’t know where that energy is. I’ve personally heard from a couple dozen faculty members. Maybe another couple dozen reached out to other UA channels. But I also wonder how many of us are good with wanting to be back in the classroom. My students told me in no uncertain terms that they want in-person classes. And I’m able and willing to do that. I cannot begin to imagine what kinds of stress so many of them are under. My students this term are all first-generation college students. My allegiance will always be to what they need. It’s not only my job, but it’s how I choose to serve. 19 of us are in a classroom suitable for 30. We’re masked up and hungry to take on our work. Only two students have missed class this week. Our conditions on the ground, so to speak, are ideal given the terrain. Those young people are grateful to be in class despite all that’s going on. I have to honor that. I know my situation, including my health and responsibilities beyond myself, is also an ideal situation given what’s what. But I know that’s not true for all of you. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if our class was the exception to what’s become the start of our Winter term.

Email me or [email protected], or use this anonymous google form, and let us know what you want and we’ll do what we can so we can get back to our work in a manner best for us, our students, and all our loved ones.

In Solidarity,

Avinnash