FOR THE AFTERNOON OF
September 18, 2023
COVID-19 Protections on Campus
MUNFA Executive has heard from members who are concerned about the ongoing COVID pandemic and the growing reports of a resurgence of infections.
On August 29, an email was sent on behalf of MUNFA Exec to Chief Risk Officer Greg McDougall outlining several specific concerns that MUNFA members have expressed and a set of specific asks for the university’s administration to implement.
These asks included:
- A universal masking mandate with KN95 masks or better in all campus indoor spaces and when individuals are close to one another outdoors; or at least to allow instructors to mandate in their course outlines universal masking in their classes while teaching. This follows public health guidelines as “Some employers may require masks for their staff and visitors.”
- To explicitly ask members of the campus community to stay home when sick, so they can isolate and recover fully before returning to campus and provide adequate workplace accommodations to make this possible.
- The regular scheduling of free and easily accessible flu and SARS-CoV2 vaccination clinics on campus.
- To make available and distribute face masks (KN95 or better) and RATs for free to the members of the university community.
- The immediate implementation in all campus buildings of the regulations stipulated in ASHRAE Standard 241-2023 (Control of Infectious Aerosols) in accordance with Article 26 of the MUN-MUNFA Collective Agreement; the deployment of additional, mobile HEPA filters/Corsi-Rosenthal boxes in all teaching spaces; and the continuous, transparent monitoring of CO2 values in the indoor air of each teaching space, as well as the public real-time display of the CO2 values.
- The regular testing and monitoring of all measures to improve indoor air quality on campus as required by ASHRAE Standard 241-2023 (Control of Infectious Aerosols) and the transparent sharing of all test, service, and maintenance reports with the campus community.
- The immediate reinstatement of the now defunct “COVID-19 Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) working group” and urges MUNFA participation in this group.
On September 5th, McDougall sent a response that boiled down to saying that the university is following public health guidelines, monitoring what other universities across Canada and North America are doing, and indicated no further actions on COVID-19 protections. This was entirely insufficient and MUNFA will continue to advocate for more as outlined above.
In the interest of supporting a safe and healthy community on our campuses, MUNFA Executive urges members to:
- Follow public health advice here and here.
- Contact your unit head and Chief Risk Officer Greg McDougall (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any COVID-related concerns you may have. Please feel free to CC MUNFA Executive: email@example.com
As a place of higher learning, Memorial University must hold itself to the highest possible standards and serve as a model to the community at large.
Professor of Geography and MUNFA President