Ensure basic COVID-19 precautions for campuses now

On September 7, 2021, by way of regulation, the Ford Conservatives exempted the provinces’ Universities from the current, Stage 3, public health COVID-19 rules that require physical distancing and capacity limits indoors for all in-class instruction.

They made this decision without meaningfully consulting with workers and student organizations. And they made this decision without acknowledging that the Delta variant is extremely contagious and can spread and infect even the vaccinated.

The reality is that while Ontario’s post-secondary institutions have mandatory proof of vaccination and masking policies, these measures alone are not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. We need additional measures, like physical distancing requirements, capacity limits, and enhanced funding to improve ventilation and improve cleaning standards, to keep students and the 30,000 CUPE Ontario support and academic workers on campuses safe.

Dear Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop,

After more than a year and a half in the grips of the COVID-19 crisis, there’s greater clarity than ever about what people need to stay safe. We’ve come to learn that COVID-19 is a systemic problem requiring comprehensive and layered solutions, especially in light of the Delta variant which is extremely contagious and can spread and infect even the vaccinated.

As such, it’s disappointing to hear that the measures in place for Universities and Colleges simply don’t match the seriousness of the threat. Mandatory proof of vaccination and masking polices alone are just not good enough measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in crowded classrooms and labs.

Students and CUPE Ontario’s 30,000 members working in administrative, food service, research, and teaching assistant positions on 17 campuses deserve better.

It’s time to restore additional measures, like physical distancing requirements, capacity limits, and enhanced funding to improve ventilation and improve cleaning standards, to truly ensure safety on campuses.

Sincerely,

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