Aside from those with approved medical or other exemptions, all PSU employees and students are to have attested to their Covid-19 vaccination before returning to campus in the fall. Although this means that the vast majority of us will have been vaccinated, the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus is raising new concerns among our members that the return to campus will not be as safe as we had hoped. As you assess the risks to yourself and those in your household, keep in mind the following protections in the 2021-24 collective bargaining agreement:
- Faculty members who believe that their office or classroom assignments endanger their health may request a temporary reassignment. The University must respond promptly and make every effort to accommodate your request. (Article 24, section 4) This applies to any health endangerment, but the contract also explicitly references covid-19 concerns as availing faculty of this right. (MOA Covid Impact #20)
- Academic Professionals may request alternative work arrangements, including remote work, for concerns related to COVID-19 as well as those that are unrelated. These requests are made in writing with your supervisor, who should respond within 10 working days, although requests may also be expedited in emergency situations. (Article 17, section 9)
- If campus reopens as anticipated, members who do remain concerned about covid-19 may work collaboratively with their supervisors to assess options for remote work. Supervisors are expected to be flexible in providing these alternative work arrangements. If your supervisor determines that all or part of your work cannot be performed remotely, you can request a flexible schedule and/or partially remote work. If a mutually agreeable arrangement cannot be found in collaboration with your supervisor, consult with HR. You may also ask that your supervisor’s decision be reviewed by your department chair or manager, and ultimately by the labor-management committee. (MOA Covid Impact #20)
- Although your supervisor is generally expected to give your five days advance notice that you are to return to on-campus work, the required notice has been extended to three weeks through December 2021. This is in recognition of the difficult transition many of our members are likely to face, especially those with caregiving responsibilities. (MOA Covid Impact #21)
See Article 24, section 14 on what counts as remote work (and what doesn’t), as well as other procedural guidelines and requirements.