Spring 2022 Return To Campus (Important Update)
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Author
Michael Sheetz

SENT ON BEHALF OF AFT LOCAL 1828, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR, TY GARDNER.  If you have any questions/concerns about this information, please contact Ty at tyaft1828@gmail.com.

 

Dear Faculty, 

On Thursday Dec 30th Chancellor Gillespie sent an all-faculty email addressing changes to our return to campus developed at a meeting of the Chancellor’s cabinet that morning. It would have been nice to have anticipated this change, but with pressure to return to campus for the start of Spring 2022, AFT is pleased that the district pivoted when the data came in. Unfortunately, the district was unable to meet today, but we will be meeting Tuesday January 4th or Wednesday January 5th to discuss changes to the MOU. AFT has not received a proposal from the district yet, so we cannot provide any insight into negotiations at this time. AFT will support a safe Spring 2022 and ensure that remote work policies are fair and transparent. Under the Chancellor’s suggestion, both instructional and student services areas will be impacted. Most classes will shift to online instruction for 2 weeks (through January 21). Student services will move to a mix of on-campus and remote services (work from home), hopefully this week, and remain in that status until January 21. Faculty concerns regarding these changes will be addressed, along with other COVID-related safety concerns, by AFT in negotiations. 

The January 21st date was selected by the Chancellor. AFT would have preferred a later date. We will work to ensure that local COVID levels are monitored and will advocate for a return only if rates decline as expected. We have not yet been able to see detailed plans from all campuses, but have shared our concerns about the plans we have seen with local managers and will continue to do so.

For now, a few items that AFT is seeking to clarify from Greg's email due to the number of emails/texts coming in from faculty:

  1. Spring classes will be mainly remote for the first two weeks of the semester (January 10 through 21) with exceptions for classes requiring in-person instruction.  Faculty should contact college Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs for exceptions. There does not yet appear to be a standard for this. Each campus is sending out their own information. This will be addressed in negotiations, as we are in a state of flux with the County of Ventura COVID data, and we also need a succinct, cohesive plan for each campus. We know that faculty need to prepare now, so we recommend that all classes prepare for online instruction, using zoom if currently scheduled as an in-person class, unless you have heard differently from your dean or department chair. If you have concerns that you are being forced to offer your course on campus (in-person) during this time, please contact me directly at tyaft1828@gmail.com .
  2. Only vaccinated employees and students, and those with an approved exemption can be on-site.  All health and safety protocols currently in place will continue including daily screening, the wearing of face masks, and twice-weekly testing for those with medical or religious exemptions. Detailed information is available at VCCCD COVID-19 Information. This is simply a clarification of the existing MOU. Vaccinated and exempt employees and students have access to campus. Face masks must be worn indoors, as the County Public Health Department has not made any changes to this guideline. The CDC recommends wearing masks outdoors in crowded settings and when in close contact with unvaccinated people. 
  3. If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, please get tested. Testing sites are located throughout Ventura County. Seeking clarification as federal and state laws do not match. More details forthcoming after we meet with the district. 
  4. Beginning Monday, January 3, supervisors will work with their employees to establish a balance of remote and in-person work to reduce the number of employees on-site.  The colleges and district office will maintain enough in-person staffing to assist students needing on-campus help for counseling, financial aid, registration, and other services.  This will continue through Friday, January 21 with ongoing review and adjustment when needed. Supervisors had experience with scheduling remote work (work from home) in Fall 2021. While it may have been difficult (but not unreasonable) to schedule remote work starting on January 3rd, our expectation is that it will start this week once AFT meets with the district.

We know that the start to Spring 2022 brings uncertainty. Whatever happens with COVID numbers in the next few weeks, AFT will be monitoring and working to maintain a safe working environment while providing classes and services to our students. Know that we try our best to serve all faculty and please continue to reach out to us with your concerns.

In unity,

Ty Gardner, AFT Local 1828 Chief Negotiator

Announcement Date
04 January 2022