GTFF’s Demands for a Safe Campus

These demands were made by GTFF’s COVID Strategizing Committee, a member-run space focused on campus safety which meets Fridays at 10:30am on the GTFF Zoom. According to a temperature-check survey sent out to members before the Fall term and at the very beginning of Fall term, our earlier demands incorporated the concerns of 92.4% of respondents. These earlier demands were updated to clarify some points and reflect new or adjusted concerns we’ve heard from members since reopening, resulting in the revised demands below.

Due to the wide variety of ways UO’s policies are inadequate, we have numerous demands, broken down into three categories, reflecting the need for proper on-campus protection, increased flexibility and accessibility, and consistent contact tracing & reporting. Click each of these categories below for more details.

Proper on-campus protection

All instructors should be required to wear masks in indoor classrooms, regardless of distance from students. (See the CDC’s current guidance on indoor transmission, maskless transmission, potential transmission from over six feet away, and Delta variant transmission from vaccinated people.)

Classes should only be held in rooms with sufficient ventilation and/or filtration, the filtration map should include all classrooms, and ventilation reports should be posted visibly in all classrooms monthly.

N95s, KN95s, or KF94s should be provided to every GE and student with instructions on how to wear them (UO already has some mask programs and just needs to expand them).

Asymptomatic testing programs should be expanded to allow more accessible, frequent testing on campus.

The philosophical exemption for vaccines should be removed (Institutions like Lane Community College and the University of Washington already removed this exemption).

Increased flexibility and accessibility

All large (50+) classes need to offer increased flexibility for instructors and students alike so that nobody is made to come into large classes when sick or concerned about safety.

Very large (100+) lectures should be hybrid or remote, allowing smaller classes to take place in more spacious rooms with adequate social distancing.

In all classes, GEs and professors should be free to post recordings online. GEs and professors should also be free to (but not required to) make course components hybrid or remote for safety concerns. UO’s prohibition of online content in most circumstances is counterproductive to making our classes safe and inclusive, and incentivizes sick students to come to class.

People who have medical exemptions to the vaccine mandate and people who share a household with a person who can’t get the vaccine need the option of going remote.

GEs should easily be able to indicate that they need to work remotely; this should not be a labyrinthine, months-long process.

Students who are exposed to COVID-19 need options and leniency so they aren’t incentivized to come to class sick.

The extra labor need to support such students should not lead to GE overwork; UO needs to plan with our FTE hours in mind if they expect a full-capacity term to work safely.

University-wide grading policies should not punish students for taking time off due to illness. This should not vary by professor and department; we’ve already heard of students coming to class or to in-person quiz proctoring sessions with a GE even if they have symptoms.

Consistent contact tracing & case reporting

UO needs more stable, transparent, and safety-minded definitions for a “close contact” so we know people are being reached out to if they were with someone with transmissible COVID.

UO should notify GEs and post notifications when someone in our workspaces tests positive for COVID-19. This would be in accordance with OSHA guidelines, which require a notification process whenever “their employees were within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more as well as affected employees – those who work in the same facility or in the same well-defined portion of the facility (such as on the same floor or in the same building within larger complex).” This process should include notifications for GEs when a student in their classroom has COVID-19.

Professors and students should be encouraged to reach out to contacts if they or someone in the classroom test positive for COVID, to maximize safety and transparency. Currently, UO discourages this cautious and courteous behavior.

UO needs a contact tracing app like OSU’s so people can easily report their COVID status and contacts.

UO should report cases daily and make sure their COVID reporting chart is clear. Currently, with a weekly and delayed case reporting system, the chart tends to present numbers that appear deflated for the most recent week, then it is updated later. This misrepresents current COVID trends on campus and makes it hard to safely plan our work.