Important YUFA Updates on COVID-19 and Fall 2021-Winter 2022 Planning

Since our July 26th, 2021 communiqué on YUFA Guidelines for Fall-Winter 2021-2022 Return Plans, the York University administration provided responses by email to some of the questions raised by YUFA. We wish to share the employer's responses here, and to direct your attention to the following important items:

Mode of delivery of Fall-Winter 2021-2022 year-long courses

In response to YUFA’s July 26th, 2021 Guidelines on whether faculty members with year-long courses could be compelled to switch from alternate mode of delivery in Fall 2021 to in-person in Winter 2022, the administration takes the position that a faculty member and/or their unit would have agreed to the in-person switch in Winter 2022 since the mode-of-delivery was posted in the “Notes/Additional Fees” column of the electronic course timetable. These notations could be accessed via the York Courses Web Site.

Some examples of these notes include:

“This course will be offered through remote/online delivery for the Fall 2021 Term with synchronous class sessions: the delivery will be on the Day(s) and Start Time listed here. This course will meet in person for the Winter 2022 Term in the Location listed here.”

“This course will be delivered remotely for the Fall 2021 Term and in-person for the Winter 2022 Term at the time and location assigned.”

“This course or a portion of this course will meet in person in the location assigned. The lecture and tutorials 5 to 8 will be delivered remotely/online for the Fall 2021 Term and may meet in person for the Winter 2022 Term.”

We strongly recommend that faculty review the “Notes/Additional Fees” section for each of their courses. If a faculty member and/or unit did not agree to an in-person switch in Winter 2022 but the “Notes” section of their course timetable indicates in-person mode of delivery for Winter 2022, please contact YUFA immediately.

Ventilation and Water Systems

Faculty members have expressed concerns about the adequacy of the ventilation and filtration, as well as the water systems in York University buildings on Keele and Glendon campuses. In collaboration with other university sector unions in the GTA, YUFA circulated a Health & Safety Checklist for University Re-opening. While we share the responses YUFA has received from Faculty Relations for your information, YUFA is also strongly recommending that faculty members view the interventions made by Lassonde School of Engineering faculty member Professor Marina Freire-Gormaly at a recent COVID-19 York Townhall.

Defending the rights of units and faculty members

 COVID-19 remains a serious public health concern and in the present context of continued uncertainty, the Employer’s expectation that faculty members could simply pivot from remote course delivery to in-person delivery, or in-person to remote, undermines the rights and established practices of units and faculty members to determine the mode of course delivery in accordance with pedogogic and academic judgment. During the course of the pandemic, faculty members shouldered exceptional and inequitable increases to workload, and those requiring workplace accommodations, including on the basis of family status, continue to face unreasonable delays, and in some cases, told to wait until closer to September. YUFA is strongly committed to defending the rights of its members and has filed a grievance against the Employer on August 4th, 2021.

On mandatory vaccinations

Many members have expressed support for a mandatory vaccination policy to help ensure a safer return to campus for all York University faculty, staff, and students. The YUFA Executive is currently reviewing the matter of mandatory vaccinations and plans to issue YUFA’s position shortly. In the meantime, YUFA will continue to address and press the Employer for greater health and safety measures for the York University community.