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Hello Local 237 Members
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This has been a week of constantly changing messages from the government, the health professionals, and our College because the information they are getting continually changes. The people in authority at this time are reluctant to impose any Draconian measures.  But our common sense and the knowledge about what has happened in other countries is telling us that without a complete provincial/Canada wide shutdown it will be impossible to stop the community transmission of COVID-19.  No one knows when we will be shut down; we just know this is likely to occur.

In the meantime, faculty have put in many hours to be ready to deliver their course(s) remotely. It is important to clarify that it is not possible to change a course into an effective online course in one week and the College is not expecting this, either. If we were not in a crisis driven pandemic emergency, we would not even consider teaching without being face to face with our students. This is also illustrated by the practical courses that have been suspended until April 6, 2020.

I want to reassure you that the College is aware that remote teaching will be “low tech,” in most courses. For some this may only be PowerPoints with attached notes.  Because we have a limited time to convert the courses, the Chairs have made faculty aware that they only need to cover 80% of the learning outcomes, to complete the requirements of the course.  The Chairs have also stressed the importance of converting the remaining evaluations into a format that can be completed and submitted online. Faculty have shared many creative ways to do this. One example is a faculty who changed presentations scheduled for the end of the semester to a PowerPoint presentation, only. Chairs have also advised faculty that there are resources including training and laptops to support them. 

Other supports can be found on the College’s main page, which is continually updated. At the top, click on the red banner; then click on the COVID-19 information page link. On this page, scroll down to the Employee Information Page title, and open Faculty Winter 2020 FAQs. This is where you will find answers to your questions.

If you have any other questions, please share them with me or your steward by phone or eMail. Your Union will forward the questions to the College. The College has committed to updating the FAQs, as necessary. Both Unions have regularly scheduled remote meetings with the College. Our next meeting is on Monday March 23, 2020. In addition, Shelley Scheck (VP of HR) and Barb Kelley (VP of Academics) are available to the Union, by email. The collaboration between the College and the Union has been focused on your wellbeing and meeting the needs of our students.

This week faculty have had a challenging workload that required many hours revising courses, while managing children and other responsibilities in their family. It is important for you to allow yourself to be flexible and have a work/life balance that does not put your health or your family’s health in jeopardy. I am also asking you to be rigorous in practicing social distancing. Listen to the warnings to stay at home. 

In Solidarity.

Lana-Lee Hardacre

OPSEU Local 237 President

In solidarity,
Lana-Lee Hardacre
CAAT-A President
OPSEU Local 237
Conestoga College
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