In an open letter to Principal Patrick Deane, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) 901 said Queen’s is not doing enough to protect employees, students, and the Kingston community.
Released on Sept. 1, the open letter demands Queen’s make four changes to its COVID-19 strategy, including maintaining ventilation standards, having access to vaccination clinics on campus, distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and rapid tests, and providing accommodations for community members dealing with long COVID.
“The fact that Queen’s has basically put in no protocols in order to protect the community from COVID is very concerning to us,” PSAC 901 President Astrid Hobill said in an interview with The Journal.
“Given what we’ve seen over the last couple of years, it seems incredibly foolhardy and imprudent.”
The letter alleged Queen’s has inadequate ventilation standards, saying “some systems were using filters still in their plastic packaging,” per information Hobill said came out of a Unity Council meeting between the Queen’s worker unions.
“A response from the Provost [to the open letter] basically said that masking is a choice, and [Queen’s] won’t be implementing anything else, and that vaccine clinics will just be done through the province,” Hobill said.
The letter was published by PSAC 901 after an internal membership survey found less than half of respondents felt safe returning to campus.
According to Hobill, a “fair portion” of the membership submitted responses to the survey.
“I know of a number of departments where they’re already starting to get smaller outbreaks. I think we need to kind of try and deal with [COVID-19] as proactively as possible rather than kind of being on the back foot.”
There are currently PSAC 901 members seeking accommodations for long COVID symptoms, such as fatigue.
The PSAC 901 is the worker’s union which represents 2,000 graduate students, workers, and postdoctoral fellows on Queen’s campus.
“We think that Queen’s should be doing everything it can to ensure that we can have access to in-person learning […] but so that in-person learning is as safe as it possibly can be,” Hobill said.
Employees, PSAC 901, Queen's, union
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