COVID-19 Update – August 27th, 2021

COVID-19 Update – August 27th, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I’m sure most of you have seen President Hall’s statement early this evening about the fact that an agreement was reached “with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and our partners at BC’s research universities to implement a program of rapid testing and vaccine status self-declaration for the fall.”

https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/notices/2021+notice-president-statement-covid-testing+notice?fbclid=IwAR0Eirvag2FpPr5bgDI9Qb40grVtzSFIxD37n5y4-8eRtik52pp7CGy5E3E

As you are aware, the Faculty Association has been advocating for some time for a program that requires either vaccination or the alternative of regular rapid testing for all members of the university community. We are very pleased that this agreement has been reached, as we know that it will help to keep our members, and all members of the university community and their families, safer as we embark on face-to-face teaching for the fall.

We appreciate the work that President Hall has done in engaging with the government and advocating for the UVic community on this very important matter.

I would like to thank all of our members who signed and circulated our petition and who wrote to me with suggestions and references regarding this matter.  Our Law Faculty colleagues have also done important work on this campaign.​ I am very grateful for the skilled contributions of our staff, and of FA officers and executive members, particularly Victoria Wyatt and Patricia Cochran.

I am also very pleased that we were able to work together with other campus unions, particularly CUPE 4163 and 951, and PEA, and with the UVSS and GSS, in advocating to make our campus safer for us all.

As President Hall has noted, there are still a lot of details and logistics to be worked out regarding this new program. We look forward to hearing from the university over the coming days as they develop plans to implement rapid testing and vaccine status self-declaration for all members of the university community.

The Faculty Association will be consulted on matters related to this program that impact our members. For those of our members who cannot be vaccinated, or have reasons not to be, the Association will be working with the administration to determine how the alternative of regular rapid testing will be administered.  We will work to ensure that any processes to monitor adherence to the new program will be done in a fair manner that respects our members’ rights and upholds our Collective Agreement.

Again, thanks to everyone for your work on this matter.  We might have hoped that the government would have come to this place sooner, but at least we are here now.

I am off on an end of summer kayaking holiday for the next few days, and will be back on September 1st. In the meantime, if you have any questions on these matters, please contact membership services staff Reuben Kellen, msofa@uvic.ca or Ben Johnson, advisorfa@uvic.ca, or our Vice President, Monica Prendergast, vicepresfa@uvic.ca.

I hope that this announcement has given many of you more peace of mind as you prepare for the coming term.

All the very best,

Lynne

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