Directed by a Stewards Council motion passed on April 1st, the YUFA Executive is issuing a statement of concern regarding the employer’s recent community update announcing its decision to “pause” York University’s vaccination mandate and masking protocol, effective May 1st.
The pandemic is now entering its 6th wave in Ontario with surging COVID-19 infection rates attributed to the provincial government’s lifting of public health restrictions. The chart below measures the recent rise of infectious agents related to the drop of public health restrictions.
There is not a single evidence-based reason for removing mask requirements at this time. There has been no change to the virus or to our understanding of how it is transmitted. Reasons of preference (you would rather not wear masks), convenience (you don’t want to be bothered wearing masks), or political expedience (we want to pretend the pandemic is over for strategic reasons) are not legitimate public health guidelines. Nothing about the virus will be different on May 1st, infection rates are not dropping, and masks remain a critically important tool to fighting its spread.
YUFA strongly urges the York University senior administration to reconsider its plan to lift the vaccination mandate and masking protocol. YUFA finds York University’s senior administration’s decision to be premature, arbitrary, and dismissive of evidence-based data provided by the science table, Ontario doctors, and its own faculty experts.
YUFA calls on York University’s senior administration to protect and prioritize the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff, and all members of the York University community. At Brock University, the grievance procedure was successfully used by the Brock University Faculty Association to extend the university’s vaccination and masking mandates. We applaud BUFA’s action and the outcome of their grievance. YUFA will follow their lead in advocating for the continuation of public health measures at postsecondary institutions.
In the meantime, YUFA continues to support the vaccination mandate, urges its members to wear masks in the classrooms until it is scientifically and medically safe to remove masks mandates for indoor, congregate settings. Contact YUFA if you find yourself in unsafe working conditions and/or continue to require COVID-19 workplace accommodation.