We are aware that TUFA members may be struggling to keep up with the evolving guidance and protocols in advance of the return to in-person teaching later this week. The Employer has posted a comprehensive FAQ, here.
Any member who has not already done so should register their vaccination status as soon as possible (i.e. tonight if you can). This is information that the Employer is required to collect and so even if you have no need to be on campus this fall, you should still register your vaccination status. You can reach the registration page by clicking on the Barney-purple viral icon on the quick launch bar of your myTrent homepage.
On any day that you plan to be on campus you will need to complete the COVID-19 screening before arriving. This is true for all faculty, staff, and students regardless of vaccination status and is the first routine protocol in place to keep everyone safe.
If there are any students in your classes with medical or human rights accommodations excusing them from masking or observing any other COVID-related protocols, you will be informed of these accommodations by SAS. We pointed out to the Employer that members need some additional guidance on what they may do to keep themselves and others safe from risky behaviors in their classrooms. The employer has promised to clarify this matter, but for now TUFA’s recommendation to its members is that – with regard to classroom safety — you should remember the 4Rs. REQUEST the individual follow the rules (masking, not eating in the classroom, etc.). If unsuccessful, REQUIRE that the individual leave the classroom. Failing that, REMOVE yourself from the classroom and invite everyone else to leave with you. Finally, REPORT the offending individual to your Dean and explain the actions taken.
When you arrive at your classroom, you should find cleaning supplies available to permit you to sanitize high-touch areas to your own satisfaction before lecturing. We suggest that members also sanitize those same surfaces after each class as a courtesy to the colleague who will be teaching in that space after you. This is the second routine protocol to keep everyone safe.
We asked if members were permitted to remove masks when lecturing at a distance from students that is greater than two metres, but were told that the Province confirmed this morning that no exception would be made for faculty in regard to classroom masking.
We asked if members and/or students could briefly remove their masks to hydrate during lectures, but were told this too should be avoided. Members are instead urged to offer more breaks during scheduled classes and encouraged to use drinking straws to maintain the required face covering. Since not everyone is likely to have a sufficiently rugged straw for this purpose, we contacted GreenUP Peterborough and placed an order for 300 metal ones. It may take a little while, but we’ll get these out to all members as quickly as we can. Consider it a gift from your union – and a memento of the COVID era . . . when even hydrating sucked.
Moira and Marcus