Monthly Archives: March 2020

UFE/TESC COVID-19 Working Conditions MOU Update

March 30, 2020

Hola Stewards Council. The United Faculty of Evergreen and Evergreen are pleased to have collaborated on the attached memorandum of understanding https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19_TESC_UFE-MOU-V2.2-signed.pdf. This document responds to the current pandemic and its implications for our work during the spring quarter, 2020.  The agreement, signed tonight, is in effect immediately through the remainder of spring quarter, and addresses the following main topics (as well as others):

·        Course planning and student course evaluations;

·        Faculty reviews;

·        Faculty working conditions; and

·        Professional travel and development awards.

Given the current crisis, such an MOU is unprecedented. While our MOU is unique to TESC, the UFE’s response is in solidarity with our sister unions, the United Faculty of Washington State (Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University).  In essence, we strive to honor the collective work of the faculty, staff and administration in support of our students. With everything moving so fast, I feel the MOU addresses some of our most urgent working condition concerns this quarter. I will keep you all informed of other concerns as we work closely with our colleagues and administration this quarter.

In solidarity,

Grace Huerta

UFE Chair

__________

COVID-19 Faculty Planning Days–March 17, 2020

Greetings UFE Members. I hope you and your loved ones are well. I wanted to write and let you know what the UFE and Provost Drake have been working on with the “Keep Teaching” team over the past few days.

First, the UFE requested from the administration a faculty release for week 1 of the spring quarter. The administration initially offered two days. Registration and financial aid expressed they needed time to support students during this crisis. Together, we were able to agree upon 3 days of release to help support faculty curriculum planning during week 1 and also support staff as they assist students during a complicated transition to the spring quarter.

Secondly, given the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic and Governor Inslee’s state of emergency declaration, the UFE’s position has been that TESC offer remote faculty trainings exclusively. We appreciate Provost Drake and the “Keep Teaching” team support of this position. Our ongoing concerns have been that because the COVID-19 virus presents no initial symptoms, even after several days, practicing social distancing remains critical to limiting its spread. Therefore, as colleges and universities move to online teaching this spring, the UFE stresses safe working conditions for all students, staff and faculty. We maintain that any faculty and staff who do not feel safe in such face-to-face settings, that remote options be made available. We also encourage our staff colleagues to work with their unions to continue to address safe working conditions.

Lastly, the UFE understands that together we share tremendous challenges as we all balance our work duties, fatigue and personal safety during this crisis. The UFE also suggested that the remote faculty trainings be offered during spring break (in shorter segments, video-taped, etc.) which would provide staff and faculty more time to prepare, and more importantly, support the health of our larger community. The UFE expresses their appreciation of our collective efforts to maintain safe working conditions for all.

Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues.

Sincerely, Grace Huerta, UFE Chair, Jon Davies, Co-Chair, Laurie Meeker, Communications Coordinator, Gary McNeil, WEA Higher Education Organizer

Governor Inslee outlines restrictions for Higher Ed, moving instruction to on-line learning

In a press conference today, Friday March 13, Governor Jay Inslee announced restrictions to educational activities on college campuses related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Governor indicated that higher ed institutions will be restrict in-person instruction from Tuesday March 17 through Friday April 24. The first possible day back will be Monday April 27, the beginning of week 5 in the Evergreen academic calendar.

You can watch this section of the Governor’s press conference here, (2:52 through 3:57). The transcript follows:

“Second, we are also going to restrict activity at all statewide public and private universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical schools, and private career schools, and apprenticeships. The restriction will essentially say that there will not be in-person education happening on their campuses. The same dates we are using for the K-12 school closure will also apply to the higher education closures as well* – although I don’t think actually we should call them closures when it comes to colleges because they will be able to continue robust on-line learning in many cases. Labs and clinics may continue if social distancing, six feet, is imposed and a person is designated by the college or institution to ensure implementation of social distancing. We also will permit continued core functions, including administration, safety, continued use of dorms, food service, research and medical clinics.” 

See the full Proclamation 20-12 of March 13, 2020 document here.

*Closure dates were announced earlier in the press conference as Tuesday March 17 through Friday April 24. First day back will be Monday April 27 which is the beginning of week 5.)