UPDATE: Faculty Association Negotiates with SIU on In-Person Learning, COVID-19 Policies | UES

The SIUC Faculty Association, the Non-Tenure Track Union and Graduate Associates United met with administrators on Monday to negotiate the impact on reopening conditions for the spring semester amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases .

Southern Illinois University Carbondale announced on Dec. 22 that it would begin tenure Jan. 10 in person, but with mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Leaders met from 10 a.m. Monday for impact negotiations.

Anne Fletcher, president of the Faculty Association, said the unions made proposals to the university during Monday’s meeting.

They will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, but Fletcher is hoping to hear something before then.

In a statement to The Southern, the Faculty Association previously said its members hope to continue using interest-based negotiation, in which the parties determine a shared / mutual interest, and work together to find solutions. In this case, they said they wanted to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the safety of the community.

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“The FA is hoping that the administration will follow the science, explore other college and university plans, and work with the FA (and other unions directly related to education and student counseling) to reopen the most. possible security. We look forward to the administration’s continued communication regarding policy developments (COVID-19) throughout the current crisis. Our mutual concern must remain the well-being of the entire Saluki community – health and safety first, ”said Fletcher.

In a statement on Monday, SIU spokesperson Kim Rendfeld said they continued to monitor the situation and looked forward to a conversation with the association.

“As we have done since the start of the pandemic, we have made safety our top priority, and we have followed the science, relying on advice from the CDC, IDPH and local officials of the public health. We continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our plans as necessary, taking into account all factors. We look forward to collaborative discussions with the Faculty Association, “said Rendfeld.

In a Dec. 22 email to campus, SIU Chancellor Austin A. Lane said the university would require testing for all students, faculty and staff, even those who are completely vaccinated against COVID-19.

On December 30, the SIU announced it was adding a day for COVID testing to address the need to test all employees and students on campus. The testing schedule for the first two weeks of January is as follows:

  • Week of January 2: Monday, 8 am-6pm; Tuesday, 8 am-6pm; Wednesday 6 am-2pm
  • Week of January 9: Monday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, 8 am-6pm; Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For fully vaccinated employees and students, this will be a one-time test to return to campus. Students will receive a $ 5 Starbucks gift card after your campus test. Employees and students who are not fully immunized will continue to undergo weekly testing, as per the governor’s decree.

Hourly employees must take the test on campus. If the on-campus testing is causing a significant inconvenience, SIU asks you to email [email protected] for instructions on downloading an off-campus test.

The on-campus testing will be performed by Reditus Laboratories at Grinnell Hall in a larger room with multiple testing stations.

“If you prefer to test outside, Reditus staff will welcome you. To pre-register, which will speed up the process, visit the testing page of the COVID website,” the university said.

The test will be performed at no cost to the student or employee, but the individual will be asked for insurance information so that Reditus can bill the insurance company.

“If the insurance company denies coverage, you don’t have to do anything. Our deal with Reditus prevents the company from billing you,” the university said.

Lane’s initial email said the policy stems from a nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases.

Illinois State University and University of Illinois Chicago announced earlier that the first two weeks of the two schools’ spring semesters will be held remotely, with all classes being conducted remotely, with a return to learning on campus scheduled for January 24.

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign will be offering a week of online instruction to start the semester starting January 18.

Previously, Rendfeld said the university will remain flexible in how education is delivered to students.

“If the situation dictates the need to switch to distance education, we will do it as we have done in the past,” she said.

The university reports that 77% of students and 84% of all employees are fully immunized. A vaccine booster clinic is scheduled for Jan. 19-20 on campus.

Spring semester classes at SIU are scheduled to start on January 10.

Andrew B. Reiter