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UD Professors Want Assurances For Safe Return Amid COVID-19

UD says it has included faculty in its reopening plans but one group says it didn't go far enough.
UD says it has included faculty in its reopening plans but one group says it didn't go far enough.

A group of University of Dayton professors have joined a growing number of educators nationwide who are concerned about re-opening plans for the fall. They plan a Tuesday news conference to ask for an administration response on the items that most importantly deal with health and safety.

UD Political Science Professor Joel Pruce says a petition has been circulating for weeks and so far has more than 200 signatures. Under the "Health and Safety" category, it asks for the following:

  • Faculty or staff who choose to complete duties remotely should not be penalized on that basis
  • Complete sets of personal protective equipment and sanitizing supplies
  • On-campus rapid testing at no cost to students and employees
  • Upgrades to indoor ventilation and airflow filtration systems
  • Two weeks additional paid leave in the event of exposure to COVID-19

"The petition itself is really the culmination of those weeks and months of conversations of colleagues, staff and faculty of all ranks and rolls and our primary focus in the document is health and safety," Pruce says.

Here's the university's response to the petition and claims faculty have been left out of the decision making process:

“The University has been engaged in a highly collaborative process to draft and implement return to campus plans. It is patently untrue that the voices of faculty and staff have been ignored during this process: More than 100 faculty, staff and students from across campus have been and continue to be involved in creating and implementing our Return to Campus plans through working groups. The University's formal shared governance bodies have been respected and actively engaged, and financial scenarios for the coming year have been discussed with the campus regularly. Additionally, all faculty and staff have been able to share their concerns and ideas via multiple modalities. This includes multiple virtual town hall meetings, some attended by up to 1,000 employees, where everyone had the opportunity to ask questions directly to administrators and members of the working groups, and provide feedback on the plans as they were drafted. More than 1,650 students also responded to a survey seeking their input. We will continue to listen to faculty, staff and student perspectives. Our plans, which are shaped by expert scientific and medical advice including from Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County and the distinguished UD COVID-19 Medical Advisory Panel, are flexible and will continue to evolve during the summer and through the fall to respond to changes in conditions and medical knowledge.”

University of Dayton professors aren't alone in their concerns.

Miami University staff issued an open letter to administratorsin June.

It says faculty, staff and students should have the right to teach, learn and work remotely, among other things.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.