18 March 2020

Dear Faculty,

 

Managing through turbulence is challenging, and even more so when remaining focused on offering support to our colleagues, learners, and other stakeholders across the College. However; you are part of our network—our community—and despite the challenging times we are facing, BVC Faculty Association remains committed to you and to our core purpose: to provide faculty safe working conditions, healthy, and productive workforces and communities. 

 

There is no denying that we have all been impacted by COVID-19 in the last few days. In the coming weeks and months ahead, the information will change to ensure we are all safe, healthy and returned to meaningful productive work. Although the Prime Minister is urging Canadian citizens to stay home, Post Secondary Institutions across Canada are taking a variety of approaches to respond to COVID-19. Specifically to BVC Faculty, management issued information providing direction towards shifting the majority of courses to online classes and modified working conditions. BVCFA strongly supports the College’s decision to end all in-person class activity for this term. 

 

We believe that social distancing is the right move for the College and the broader community at this time and encourage our members to embrace this approach. We want to remind you that our faculty members, generally, are protected by our Collective Agreement which restricts unapproved overtime for contact hour type work and a maximum 36.25 hours of daily work. Your contracts should not be altered without your consent and should change arise, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Ensure that you are consenting to work within your contract terms. 

 

As of March 18, 2020, here are the changes to our working conditions as per the announcement made yesterday by Bow Valley College.

 

1.       Please request approval from your supervisor if you can work from home. All eligible employees who can work from home should work from home. Instructor training can now be done from home.

2.      There are some positions at the College whose functions may not be possible for you to work from home. Your supervisor will notify you if you are in one of these roles.  If you do need to remain on campus for work, please know that we will continue to enforce all social distancing and healthy habits protocols with increased cleaning and disinfecting to provide as safe an environment as possible for everyone.  

3.      If you are unable to work from home because you do not have the training or equipment you need, you are able to stay home and not work the remainder of the week of March 16, 2020.

4.       If you have young school or daycare-aged children, or other reasons that you have discussed with your supervisor, on why you cannot work at this time, please stay home for the remainder of the week of March 16, 2020.

5.       If you are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough and difficulty breathing and have travelled outside Canada or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, do not come to work and call Health Link 811 and follow their recommendations. Please note, there is a COVID-19 online self-assessment available through AHS.  

6.    50 people at the max are to meet at any one given time. 

7.      Changes to Employment Standards will allow Faculty to take 14 days of paid job-protected leave. This leave covers the self-isolation period recommended by Alberta Chief Medical Officer. The process is not yet confirmed, however, there is coding in Agresso that can help facilitate this requested time off. 

You may be eligible if you are: 

    • Required to self-isolate
    • Sick or caring for a loved one with COVID-19
    • Returning from a location outside of Canada 

To be eligible, faculty:

    • Will not be required to have a medical note 
    • Do not need to have worked for the employer for 90 days.

 

Although during this time, we may be supporting you remotely, our intention is to continue to provide the same service you have grown to rely upon.. For our part, ALL BVCFA events are postponed including the upcoming Wise & Well events until further notice. We are working to move meetings online including the Spring Annual General Meeting. Our faculty office will be closed for face-to-face meetings but will still be available for over the phone, conference calls or video conference calls. Voice messages will be cleared daily to support you and you are welcome to send a message to the general faculty email:  bvcfa@bvcfa.com or to Kim Smith, our Labour Relations officer at labourrelations@bvcfa.com if you require any assistance. 

To support you from an office to home transition, here is a checklist: 

Checklist 

  • Pack your belongings 
  • Identify office supply needs 
  • Document processes and changes 
  • Make sure you have a working laptop
  • Ensure all programs and devices are operational
  • Convert all in-person meetings to online
  • Forward all calls to remote locations 
  • Make sure all files are accounted for
  • Make arrangements to meet daily with colleagues and Supervisors (keep communication lines open) 
  • Documents challenges and concerns 
  • Stop deliveries 
  • Cancel travel arrangements and conferences
  • Make a list of contact information
  • Send out a communication to those affected by the changes
  • Water / pack up plants 
  • Lock up confidential documents
  • Disconnect unnecessary appliances

 

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy return to normal activities. Please ensure you keep up to date with information daily. Our response must be flexible in order to adjust as new information and threats emerge.

Sincerely,

 

 

Bow Valley College Faculty Association

 

 

 

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