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Update on Covid, Safety, and Spring 2022


Dear FSU Members,

A quick report on the FSU survey and discussions with the Administration about Covid, Safety, and Spring 2022.

Survey Results: Slightly over 400 members responded to the survey.   A substantial majority want the semester to start on time; and a substantial majority (63%) want it to begin remotely.  Close to 90% believe the university should supply N95 masks, and nearly 70% believe they should be required for everyone on campus.  Over 80% of members believe the university should implement social distancing policies (which would be a first for UMB).  Over 70% believe more classes should be offered remotely to reduce social density on campus, and nearly 70% would like the option of teaching remote.  Almost 60% of members responded that the campus should be closed to the public during Spring 2022.

University Position on Spring 2022 Return:  The FSU talked with the upper administration yesterday, just prior to the release of the Chancellor’s email, presented the results to the survey, and communicated the union’s most basic position: that given the Omicron spike the university should bargain the terms of returning to campus with the campus unions.  We reiterated our commitment to finalizing an MOU requiring the booster (which flows out of the earlier MOU mandating the vaccine mandate), but also argued that a booster requirement should be part of a larger bargaining package – that the semester should start remotely, that N95/KN95 masks should be required and supplied, that everyone should be tested on campus prior to the start of the semester (like UMass Amherst is doing), that some sort of regular mandatory testing should be implemented in order for us to have a real sense Covid rates on campus, and that social distancing policies need to be developed and implemented.  There are other issues, but those are a starting point.  The Administration’s position is that with a vaccine mandate, the current mask mandate, and a booster that we will be sufficiently safe to open campus on time and in-person for Spring 2022 (see Chancellor’s email for details about the university encouraging, but not requiring, testing before returning and better masks).  This broad position is not surprising given that it seems to be the position of the UMass System as a whole:



FAQs:  The University recently updated its FAQs with respect to Covid.  They are worth reviewing here.  Of particular interest is #41, which outlines what a faculty member does when a student in their class tells them they tested positive, and #44, which explains whether faculty are (or are not) informed when a student in their class tests positive (this has been a source of some confusion – as many faculty thought university policy was to inform faculty whenever a student in their class tested positive).

The FSU will continue to bring your concerns to the Administration and keep you informed as we return to campus in Spring 2022.


Steve Striffler                                     Caroline Coscia

FSU President                                     FSU Vice President

Director, Labor Resource Center    Senior Lecturer II

Professor, Anthropology                  Political Science

For information on the FSU, links to our contract and bargaining updates, and a calendar of events, see the FSU webpage