Early studies demonstrate there are benefits to being vaccinated against COVID-19 including, preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. As we return to campus this autumn, the APUO encourages all members who are able, to get vaccinated.
The Central Administration recently announced that as of September 7, everyone returning to campus must be vaccinated and has since updated the Coronavirus section of its website to include an online COVID-19 Vaccination Declaration Tool and a Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
In spite of our repeated efforts to obtain information, the APUO has received very few details about how the Central Administration plans to enforce its mandatory vaccine policy. It is not clear, for example, how it will distinguish between those who are or are not vaccinated while physically on campus, or how it will protect members’ right to privacy regarding their medical information. Given this ongoing lack of detail, we encourage members to direct their particular questions and concerns to QuestionsCOVID19@uottawa.ca and to copy (cc) the APUO at email@example.com so that we can ensure proper follow-up.
To ensure proper workplace accommodations are in place, we encourage members who are exempt from being vaccinated for health-related reasons or for reasons recognized under the Ontario Human Rights Code, to communicate with the APUO.
At the time of writing this communication, the APUO has not been informed about any workplace accommodations that will be put in place for unvaccinated members who do not have a medical or recognized human rights exemption. This said, the APUO has an obligation to assist members who may chose for any reason not to get vaccinated, and despite our recommendation to get vaccinated, we remain available to do so. We advise any member in this situation to include the APUO in any communication regarding their vaccination status with their Dean or any other representative of the Employer.
Other Health and Safety Concerns
The Employer has a responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for everyone. We remain in the dark about any measures being put in place to ensure classrooms are adequately sanitized and properly ventilated, and how public health guidelines, such as frequent hand sanitization and the use of personal protective equipment, will be enforced.
We are troubled by the Ontario government’s recent announcement that two-meter physical distancing is no longer required on university campuses but remain cautiously optimistic that the Central Administration will honor its commitment to safety and will maintain physical distancing directives. Members who are required to come to campus and who have concerns for their health and safety are strongly encouraged to communicate with the APUO.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise, public health guidelines will undoubtedly continue to change. The APUO will continue to closely monitor the situation and is prepared to engage the Central Administration to ensure your safety and wellbeing.