WSU faculty union asks university for more flexibility in teaching this semester

Aug. 19—The Wright State faculty union is asking the university for remote teaching options and social distancing measures in classrooms for the fall semester. The union is also asking the university to require all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated.

The letter by the American Association of University Professors-WSU was sent to WSU president Sue Edwards Thursday morning, according to members of the union's executive board.

In the letter, the faculty union noted the faculty and administration worked together in the spring of 2020 to get the semester together and make sure students were able to learn.

The faculty union pointed out that the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on countries around the world and has caused surges in some U.S. states, mostly where people have not been vaccinated.

"If we don't plan for this surge in COVID now, we will find ourselves in a worse position than in Spring 2020, because this time, on top of having to pivot to remote teaching, we will have sick students, sick staff, and sick faculty; we will have students disenrolling because they cannot risk exposure due to health problems or living with or caring for vulnerable people; we will have staff and faculty seeking accommodations mid semester," the letter, from the executive committee of the AAUP-WSU, said.

Wright State has not mandated that students get a vaccine but has issued a mask mandate for the entire campus. The university says it is "strongly encouraging" students to get a vaccine against COVID-19. The university held a walk-in clinic on Thursday as freshmen moved in.

Greene County Public Health is partnering with Student Health Services at Wright State Physicians to provide the vaccines.

All students, faculty, staff and visitors must wear a mask when inside all buildings on Wright State's campus, except when actively eating or drinking or working alone in a closed space.

The university has also said several times they are planning to have most classes in-person this semester.

A spokesmen for the university said Edwards had received the note and forwarded the union's concerns to the Wright State COVID Task Force.

"The university's approach to addressing the ever- changing variations of the COVID situation has been and will continue to be guided by the advice and recommendations from various health professionals and regulatory agencies at the local, state and federal level," Edwards said. "We have had in place a COVID-19 Task Force since the beginning of the pandemic whose work is to continue to assess and develop strategies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the Wright State community."