DFA Calls for POV on First Day of Winter Term

November 22, 2021

Sent via email to Dr. Frank Harvey, Provost & Vice-President Academic, Dalhousie University

RE: Memorandum regarding “COVID update: Winter term updates and more”

On Friday November 19, we met with you to discuss your draft memorandum regarding the winter term, which you provided to us at 9:00 pm the previous night.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, the DFA has repeatedly stated that meaningful consultation must take place. Indeed, we have referenced Arbitrator Knopf’s clear statements in that regard. At our meeting, it was apparent that you have engaged others in consultations and have included the DFA in discussions at the end of the process after you had finalized your plans about the winter term. This is unacceptable.

Despite the lack of meaningful consultation with our Members, we have met with the DFA Executive Committee and provide this response to your proposal for the winter term.

i) Health & Safety concerns - In your memo you highlight the necessity for a return to in-person delivery of courses to ensure “a strong and consistent student experience on campus.” It is true that most of our Members would prefer to teach their courses in an in-person format. However, in-person teaching should only occur in conditions where our Members can safely deliver their classes or perform other related duties.

ii) “Transition to proof of full vaccination requirement” – The Campus Check process has not proven to be a reliable measure of safety on campus. Rather than enforcing the system, the administration has chosen to eliminate the requirement to provide testing in lieu of full vaccination as an indication of safety on campus. Dalhousie has now chosen to require vaccination to be on campus in the winter term but has not given any indication exactly when that will be enacted or how it will be enforced. We are concerned that our Members will be required to be in class with unvaccinated students not required to self-test, potentially exposing them to COVID, for some indeterminate period of time in the winter term during the transition period. This is unacceptable.

iii) DFA Response – In order to ensure the health and safety of our Members in the performance of their duties in the winter term, the DFA demands that proof of vaccination be required for students enrolled in “in person” classes on the first day of class in the winter term. Should the proof of vaccination not be provided by that date, DFA Members will have the flexibility to perform their duties remotely, including teaching.

Yours truly,
Dr. Tara Perrot
President, DFA
c. Ms. Marlo Shinyei, Acting Director, Academic Staff Relations, Dalhousie