NASA President Jillian Pratt has sent the following letter to President Bill Flanagan and Board of Governors Chair Kate Chisholm outlining NASA's concerns related to current campus health and safety measures.
On November 21, our AASUA colleagues passed a motion at their AGM requesting the university reinstate the indoor mask mandate and provide transparent, evidence-based criteria under which a mask policy can be modified or suspended. The university has since rejected this request, but did commit to restart regular information meetings.
November 22, 2022
President, University of Alberta
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Chair, Board of Governors, University of Alberta
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Dear President Flanagan and Chair Chisholm,
Like others in the university community, the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA) is increasingly concerned about the measures that are currently in place on campus to ensure the health and safety of NASA members in the workplace.
While we appreciate that throughout the pandemic university leadership has largely followed the direction set by provincial public health authorities, administration has in the past implemented more strict precautionary measures based on the unique circumstances that exist on campus. With reports of increased rates of COVID, along with seasonal influenza and respiratory viruses, NASA believes it is time for the university to reassess if additional safety measures are now appropriate on the University of Alberta campus.
Specifically, we are calling on the university to update its Institutional COVID-19 Hazard Assessment (which was last updated at the end of August) to determine if additional measures—such as the reinstatement of mandatory masking in high-traffic common areas—is appropriate given the current circumstances. In the absence of leadership from the current provincial government, we also feel it is appropriate to restart regular meetings between university leadership, campus unions, and student leaders to share the latest information and assessments and discuss appropriate measures related to health and safety on campus, as was done throughout much of the pandemic.
We recognize the complexities which exist around COVID mitigation and concerns around enforcement of additional measures should they be deemed necessary on campus. However, we believe it is incumbent on university leadership to use a transparent, evidence-based approach in making decisions about appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of university staff, students, and others on campus.
I look forward to your response and to continued conversations on this important matter.