August 26, 2020 – update

Highlights:

  • Faculty returning to campus who want to have an orientation to their workspace should contact their supervisors immediately. All faculty should feel prepared and safe working in their work spaces.

  • The College is developing a ‘tip card’ with important information for faculty returning to campus.

  • This Re-opening Committee has begun discussions on the fate of this committee as we enter the fall semester.

  • Many self-guided documentation relating to Return to Campus is available on the College’s website. Faculty may also go to their managers directly with their concerns.

  • The College is preparing a “Plan B” regarding ventilation. To date, following Public Health guidelines, the College has no plans to change the current ventilation system.

  • Faculty with childcare concerns should raise the issue with their supervisors.

Site-Specific Training:

The Union raised concern regarding the denial of faculty’s request for site-specific training, and reminded management that the employer must do everything possible for the safety of the worker. The Union’s expectation is that the supervisor would conduct an orientation of the space where faculty will be working and ensuring that faculty understand the safety precautions that have been put in place, and mitigating possible hazards.

The College responded stating that certain areas of the college do have unique needs, and that they are working together with Health and Safety and the relevant Associate Deans to ensure faculty are properly trained. Such training would be mandatory for relevant faculty members. Outside of said identified areas, if faculty feel they require training in their specific workspaces, please notify your supervisor and Health and Safety. The College would like to ensure all employees have all the health and safety information that they need.

Information Card for Faculty:

As faculty prepare to return to their classrooms, the College is preparing a tip card with important information. The goal of this card is to provide an action plan of how to respond to situations that may occur on campus, and who to contact. The college plans to have this card ready for faculty when classes begin in September.

Plans for the COVID-19 Recovery Readiness Steering Committee (CRRSC) and its subcommittees (including this Union/Management subcommittee):

The CRRSC and its subcommittees were intended to be time-limited, action-focused groups, preparing the College for re-opening in the summer and fall. As the fall semester begins next week, we are evaluating the next steps for our committee. Initial discussions within this group seem to be in consensus – that the duration of the committee will depend on the execution of the overall plan, and how the fall re-opening unfolds. Further discussion on this issue will continue in the upcoming weeks.

Communication:

The College has provided a lot of self-guided documentation on the re-opening process that employees should find useful – via communique, email, and their website. With the information publicly available, the College hopes managers will respond to employee inquiries in a consistent manner across the College. 

The Union brought forth 2 main concerns: 

  1. Some employees find the information overwhelming — too much too quick, means that employees are not reading and digesting all of the information. If individuals are not directly involved, the significance of certain information may be missed.
  2. Some employees prefer the information be shared more directly by the manager – such as through synchronous training rather than reading literature. It would also offer employees the chance to ask questions directly and receive responses immediately.

The College is encouraging managers to contact all staff, and invite them to discuss their questions and concerns directly with them.  

Ventilation:

Over the past few months, the Union has brought numerous concerns regarding ventilation to the College. With the knowledge of COVID-19 being a “moving goal post”, the Union asked whether the College has a “Plan B” if ventilation requirements should change in the near future. The College responded that they currently do not have a Plan B, however they are working on it.

The Union also raised the issue of how faculty can be assured that orphaned rooms are receiving the proper amount of ventilation and conditioned air. Orphaned room may be the only rooms used in the area that are served by a specific HVAC system, and they may not have a controller located in that specific room. The College will look into the issue and report back.

Childcare:

The Union has received several enquiries from faculty regarding their responsibility to the college versus childcare duties. For example, TDSB will begin school September 18, while the College will begin classes September 8. The College responded that faculty should speak directly to the manager and see if a possible solution can be developed. If accommodations are needed, faculty should contact Hiren Patel (the Local recommends that you contact us prior to contacting Hiren). If a satisfactory solution is still not reached, faculty may bring the issue up with their respective HR Business Partner.

Second Wave:

The Union has requested for a guest speaker from the COVID-19 Watch subcommittee to speak next week regarding plans/protocols in place, should a second wave occur.