We know that many of you are suffering from “Zoom Gloom” and can’t wait to get back on campus and into a classroom. Just a year ago COVID was declared a pandemic and plans for on-campus sessions turned into DIY virtual training. While leaving campuses happened quickly, returning to them will be much more measured. Currently there is no confirmed plan for reopening our campuses for in-person instruction. The District is guided by the color-coded re-engagement plan that LACCD Chancellor Rodriguez has shared and which is in the process of being vetted by constituent groups. To complicate decision-making, the County and State re-engagement grids use different algorithms to move from tier to tier.
The Guild is sticking to our reopening mantra: Testing, Tracing, Mitigation (e.g., social distancing, masks, face shields, goggles, 24-hour Clorox cleaning, hot water/soap/paper towels, hand sanitizers, plexiglass, etc.), Vaccinations, Ventilation, Accommodations. In addition, there are a myriad of re-engagement impacts that the Guild is monitoring. Be assured that Guild members will not return to in-person instruction until it is safe to do so.
As of March 1, educational workers statewide have been given priority for vaccinations, and we are hopeful that a majority of our faculty will take advantage of this opportunity to be protected. By May 1, everyone 18 years of age and older should be able to access a vaccine. There are over 400 vaccination distribution sites in LA County, most requiring appointments. See the flyer on the Guild website for more information.
We are also monitoring the significant enrollment decline for the 2020-2021 academic year. Fewer students mean fewer assignments for faculty. Faculty have faced numerous challenges – many adjunct faculty have lost assignments and some instructors live with those who have lost their jobs. Faculty with children at home have experienced problems with WiFi and learning loss, and some students in their classes disappear before the end of the semester.
While we work through the issues we know of and prepare for issues that have not yet surfaced, let’s help each other stay safe, stay engaged, and reach out to Guild leaders – especially your chapter presidents – with questions and concerns.
AFT 1521 President