You should have received an email earlier today from Rutgers’ Chief Operating Officer Antonio Calcado announcing that Spring semester will start with remote instruction through January 30, all students and employees without an approved exemption will be required to have a vaccine booster, and any employee who can telecommute should do so through the end of the month. We are relieved that the administration responded to the new surge of the pandemic with the urgency that our union called for last month.
Though a return to remote instruction is the only responsible decision given the dire circumstances of the new pandemic surge, we understand the burden this will put on all of us. Those teaching classes will have to revise their curriculum plans and arrange for any necessary technology. Please contact our union at email@example.com if you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities. Those of you with caregiving responsibilities will face special challenges. We’re continuing to press the administration to provide support for caregivers, including subsidized backup childcare.
The letter from COO Calcado promises further information on the booster requirement later this week, including, presumably, a deadline. We urge any of you who have not yet received a booster vaccination to get one as soon as possible. The booster is not a guarantee against being infected, but it at least typically reduces the severity of COVID and the risk of hospitalization.
Late last month, the administration finally promised free weekly COVID testing for any employee who is required to be on campus—something our union has been demanding since last summer. COO Calcado’s email promises access to testing through the end of January. We will demand that the administration continue providing weekly testing whenever in-person instruction and work resumes.
COO Calcado’s email does not address what will happen after January 30. Given the uncertainty about the pandemic’s course, our unions will remain prepared to press for further measures to protect our health and safety. But we’re glad that the administration has taken the steps that it has. If you have questions about what we’re doing or suggestions about how to better protect our community, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know many of you will have a lot to do to make the switch to remote instruction—our students benefit from your commitment to them, even in challenging circumstances. We hope you will get a bit more rest before the semester starts. Keep yourself, your family, and your community safe!
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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