Last week PSU-AAUP sent the following letter to President Percy:
Dear President Percy and PSU Administration:
In your recent all-campus email, you stated that we will be continuing to return to campus, citing student desires for learning in person. While many of us also enjoy teaching and learning and working in person, we are also in the midst of a new virus wave, predicted to be the largest surge thus far.
We know many faculty and staff are deeply concerned about the push to increase in-person presence winter term, especially with many returning from travel and gatherings. PSU Administration has a responsibility to look at the bigger picture when making decisions. Governor Brown is also encouraging state employers to stay remote for now.
With a new threshold of increasing in-person work during a surge, we need greater safety measures on campus and more information about what is planned in the event we have a large number of cases on campus. Below we’ve outlined questions and requests to help keep our PSU and Portland community as safe as possible.
Immediate needs to make us safer:
- Continue free on-campus COVID Tests for faculty and staff. The SHAC website states that “as of 01/01/2022, only currently enrolled PSU students may be tested at SHAC.” If this is a capacity issue, find an alternative way to provide on campus access to testing for employees.
- Cloth masks don’t cut it anymore. We need a wide distribution of better quality masks: KN95 for all faculty, staff, and students. The cost of these can be high, especially for students. By providing these higher quality masks, we can help reduce costs for students to stay safe.
- Require booster shots for everyone on campus. Similar to initial vaccines, hold booster clinics on campus to provide greater access. Boosters have been shown to have greater effectiveness with Omicron and both OSU and U of O are requiring boosters.
Questions that need to be addressed:
- What is the plan for a quick pivot to remote if there is a large outbreak on campus or in the Portland metro area?
- What is the new threshold for determining when to go back to fully remote?
We urge PSU to follow public health guidelines and prioritize the safety of students, faculty, and staff over profit and outside pressures.