COVID-19 and faculty members

We will continue to update this page as we learn more about the University’s response and the ways in which our members are affected by that response. Also see: The archive of all FAUW emails about COVID-19.

On this page: Resources | Member concerns

Last updated November 27, 2020. 

Resources: Where to find information and support

PUBLIC HEALTH: The University's coronavirus website has links to major public health sites (under "Important links" on the main page). If you want information faster, consider following those organizations on Twitter.

UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS: Visit the News section of the Universty's coronavirus website for past messages to students, staff, and faculty, or the repository of mass communications to students and instructors on the Registrar's Office website.

REMOTE COURSE DELIVERY: Visit the Keep Learning website for options. You can direct questions about teaching not answered there to your associate dean.

WORKING REMOTELY: Visit the IST knowledge base for information about connecting to the campus network, your email, voicemail, and colleagues from home.

SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS: If you are struggling and need support, we encourage you to use the Employee & Family Assistance Program. Counselling is available by phone and online.

If you need help with your working conditions, contact our Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee. We will respond to your emails in priority order, starting with issues that impact many of you. Please note that we might not respond to individual-level concerns very quickly right now.

Member concerns

Here's what we know about how the pandemic is affecting our members.

Also see: the CAUT COVID-19 and the Academic Workplace question-and-answer page and the archive of our emails about COVID-19.

Unanswered questions

We are looking into a number of other issues, many of them regarding the fall term. Here are some of the questions we've asked the administration but don't yet have answers to. 

  1. Who is ultimately responsible for decisions about course delivery and related support?

    1. Who decides on the mode of delivery for specific individual courses (remotely, in person, or in combination)?

    2. Recognizing that some synchronous opportunities are vitally important for student engagement, even if they are optional, will decisions about synchronous/asynchronous delivery for the fall term be brought to Senate via its Graduate and Undergraduate councils?

  2. How will faculty health and equity issues flowing from decisions about course delivery be handled:

    1. What happens to in-person courses if there is a second wave of the virus and campus closes in the middle of fall term? Answered: The President's Virtual Town Hall Q&A states: "if government regulations and public health advice require us to cancel in person course activity partway through the term, we will need to shift these courses online."

    2. What forms of personal protective equipment will be required of faculty and students attending classes in person? Who will provide and pay for the equipment and cleaning? What recourse will faculty have if a student refuses to comply? [We haven’t formally posed this set of questions yet.]

    3. What is the method for refusing in-person instruction for faculty who reasonably believe that they or someone they live with/provide care for are at risk?

    4. How can we ensure that administrators (chairs, associate chairs, deans, associate deans) are educated about how to handle increased faculty physical and mental health concerns, expressed both formally and informally?

    5. What happens if a faculty member is unable to complete teaching their course(s)?

    6. How will the University monitor and respond to the disproportionate health and workload effects experienced by faculty who are members of equity-seeking groups under the Ontario Human Rights Code?

  3. What kind of access to technology can faculty expect of students studying remotely?

    1. Are students and faculty being told about baseline technology requirements, such as the one used by CEL?

    2. Can instructors make additional requirements for particular courses?
    3. What is the University’s position on students who cannot meet technological requirements – should any or all such students be accommodated, and what is the specific role of faculty in accommodating? Is the answer the same for the Spring and Fall terms?
    4. If faculty are expected to make technological accommodations for students, how will faculty be supported in terms of expertise and time required to do so?

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