The Coalition for Academic Justice at the University of Arizona released an open letter to the University of Arizona administration expressing their concerns about reentry in the fall.
Their plan for reentry highlights four parts, the first part according to the open letter is, “Staff who have shown they can adequately work from home should not be pressured to return to on-campus activities.”
Nick Halsey, a member of the CAJUA Health and Reentry Action Group, explained that being able to return in the fall might be the right decision, but there should be flexible work arrangements for staff.
The second part according to the open letter is, “The university should allow flexibility for both instructors and students with regard to course modalities.”
Halsey explained that there are most likely several students and instructors who do not feel comfortable returning to campus because they might have pre-existing conditions or live with someone who does.
The third part according to the open letter is, “Movement through instructional stages should be based on clearly identified public health metrics.”
Halsey explained that the decision for reentry in the fall should be based on the public health data that is available at that time. He explained that the public health data should be publicly available and that it should be made transparent about what metrics are used to determine whether classes will be in-person or remain online.
The last part according to the open letter is, “Proof of [COVID-19] vaccination (or documentation of a vaccination exemption) should be required for all on-campus employees and should be required for all students--either prior to submitting an application for on-campus residence or, for those living off-campus, prior to registration.”
Halsey said that proof of the COVID-19 vaccination is to ensure maximum safety for a return to campus. He also explained that it will help because fewer classes will be split where some students are online and some are in-person.
“If I am teaching a class and I know that everyone in that class is vaccinated, I am not going to worry so much about the virus. I am going to focus on my teaching and the students will be able to focus on their learning,” Halsey said.
Halsey explained that they hope the university continues to make responsible decisions and recognizes that reentry needs to be done based on the conditions closer to fall rather than what they hope the conditions will be. He also explained that they wrote this open letter to the administration because they think the reentry plan for fall should have more flexibility.
“We have seen throughout the course of the pandemic that much can change. We are certainly hopeful that the conditions in mid-August will be favorable enough that we can make a return to campus,” Halsey said. “But at the same time, we don’t feel like it should be treated as a foregone conclusion. We understand that there needs to be some planning ahead, but there should be some flexibility built into that planning.”
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