Teachers Continue to Call for More COVID-Related Accommodation


In injunction, some ASU professors try to block legislation preventing promulgation of masks and vaccines warrants

Several Arizona education groups, as well as some ASU professors, are plaintiffs in an August 12 injunction filed against the state in an attempt to prevent the adoption of COVID-related clauses in projects reconciliation bill later this month on September 29.

Four of the state’s budget bills ban masks and vaccines in state schools and universities in the state. In Monday’s oral argument, the plaintiffs said the warrants did not follow the state’s constitutional rules, according to the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.

Throughout the pandemic, ASU faculty and staff have raised awareness of their demands for stricter enforcement of mask mandates, a school-wide vaccine requirement, and other work which they have explained in letters and petitions published throughout the past year.

United Campus Workers of Arizona (UCWA), the end-to-end union representing faculty, staff and other campus workers, plans to hold a “public safety funeral” to “mourn the death of health and Security at ASU ”on 11 September. 30.

READ MORE: ASU workers announce they are forming a union

most recent letter UCWA sent to ASU President Michael Crow, university deans and other leaders on August 9, called for masks to be mandatory campus-wide and that all community members be vaccinated with bi-weekly testing for those who needed exemptions. He also called for a risk premium for all in-person workers and alternatives to participating in teaching, learning or working on campus.

Professors and university workers said the university administration encouraged them to speak directly to a supervisor if they had concerns about COVID-19 and needed additional accommodations.

Richard Newhauser, an English teacher and plaintiff in the lawsuit, said he faces health risks on a daily basis due to his old age. On campus, he said he had not seen students wearing masks as diligently outside the classroom as inside a classroom, and so was taking his life. in hand.

Some professors are not as comfortable publicly criticizing the decisions the University has made regarding COVID-19. English instructor David Boyles said it comes down to who has tenure and who doesn’t – he said by the time teachers get a permanent position they’re almost too comfortable to express oneself.

“Full professors can talk to you, be on The State Press criticizing Michael Crow as much as they want and legally the University can’t do anything about it,” Boyles said.

READ MORE: How professors make “ASU” work in the fall semester

Before joining the union following its creation, the ASU Community of Care Coalition began efforts to secure better housing on campus in response to COVID-19 ahead of the fall 2020 semester.

Addressed to President Crow and the Arizona Board of Regents, the group’s first letter sent in the summer of 2020 requested a postponement of in-person classes and encouraged testing and the provision of accommodations for those who requested them.

Laurie Stoff, Barrett, The Honors College faculty member and union organizer, said coalition members joined the union because it has more resources to deal with “other issues like fair pay and fair, benefits, working conditions, contracts, things that are beyond the scope of the COVID pandemic. “

The union plans to continue advocating for an academic environment that supports and protects the community as a whole, regardless of the role an individual plays.

“We must keep in mind that this is the first time in American history that laws are passed prohibiting good health practices,” Newhauser said. “Now is the time to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the entire University community.”

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