We demand safe & effective higher education in WA state during COVID-19

We demand safe & effective higher education in WA state during COVID-19

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Dear Governor Inslee, Presidents and Provosts of Washington State Institutions of Higher Learning,

In light of the current state of the pandemic in which:

  1. A far more transmissible variant has entered our community and has exponentially increased the rate of infection,
  2. Our healthcare systems in Washington State are rapidly reaching capacity,
  3. Children and young people are increasingly impacted by the delta variant,
  4. Actions by our institutions have public and personal health implications for our campus community, and also for our families and the larger campus-adjacent communities,
  5. Our nation’s public health directives are based on the cutting-edge research and clinical work done at our institutions,
  6. Policymakers and the general public look to institutions of higher learning for leadership and guidance in matters of public health, medicine, mental health, and nursing,

Our institutions of higher learning must ensure the safety and welfare of faculty, staff, students and the larger adjacent communities. We demand that our institutions lead by implementing practices that reflect the cutting-edge research and clinical knowledge they produce, rather than simply following the most basic state COVID-19 mandates.

During the pandemic and until such a time that COVID-19 no longer poses a significant risk to public health and the integrity of the healthcare system, the undersigned faculty, staff, students and concerned community members are demanding that institutions of higher learning are required to:

  1. Provide high-quality education while protecting the health of our students, staff, faculty and adjacent communities as well as the integrity of our healthcare infrastructure by:

    a. Utilizing remote education as much as possible, recognizing         that online education is far safer and more accessible for many people during the pandemic (e.g., people with disabilities, people with underlying conditions that put their health and well-being at risk during the pandemic, and people living in close proximity to vulnerable and potentially unvaccinated family and community members).

    b. Recognizing that some exceptions should be made for clinical practica and other fields where licensure or specific tasks necessitate in-person activities.

    c. Ensuring that, when exceptions are made, all participants are vaccinated (or have documented medical or religious exemptions), engage in universal masking, and practice physical distancing, and all activities are in compliance with federal, Washington State and other local public health and institutional directives.

    d. Guaranteeing universally available accommodations, including the option of remote learning and work, for faculty, students and staff who are themselves at-risk, have at-risk and/or unvaccinated (due to age < 12 yo or documented medical or religious reason) household members, or must provide home instruction or care to children.
  2. Utilize a shared governance model, wherein administrators, faculty, staff, students, public health experts and other key community stakeholders have shared input into institutions’ COVID-19 policies and their implementation.
  3. Institute regular campus-wide COVID-19 testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and provide transparent reporting of these statistics through a campus-specific dashboard. These statistics should be monitored and benchmarks established to guide campus-wide initiatives for community safety, depending on the changing infection and hospitalization rates. 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!