Black Lives Matter

The Lane Community College Education Association (LCCEA) expresses deep sadness about the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky; Ahmaud Aubery in Brunswick, Georgia; and so many others. We stand in solidarity with those demanding swift justice and with the Black community, affirming that Black lives do matter. We are committed to advocating for the well-being of our colleagues, students, campus, and community members who are victims of racism, violence, and oppression, as well as supporting the eradication of institutional racism, inequity, and injustice in all their forms.

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Important Working Conditions Updates

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

We are writing with news of a bargaining agreement on working conditions, safety, and other impacts due to COVID for Fall 2021 through Summer 2022.

In addition, we have critical updates for all faculty regarding the vaccine requirement implementation and updated timeline for requests to move remote for Fall.

New Deadline – Faculty may still make a request to move instruction to remote format for one week from the date the new MOA was signed, which was late last night (Saturday 9/18). Please contact your dean and fill out the HR request form at:  https://www.lanecc.edu/hr/flex-workplace-arrangements as soon as possible if you wish to request to teach remotely for the Fall term.

Vaccine Requirement Implementation Delayed

As you are likely aware, the Board of Education provided clarification to the Administration at their work session on September 1 that: proof of vaccine status must be required; documentation of medical or religious exemptions must be provided to and reviewed by LCC; and the philosophical exemption should be disallowed.

After the announcement to all campus on September 2 of these changes, the Administration paused the process by which students and employees were to submit the vaccine self-reporting form. The Administration also cancelled the vaccine implementation team meetings and cancelled all but one COVID Advisory Committee meeting.

The LCCEA and LCCEF Bargaining Teams continued to meet with the College on safety and working conditions negotiations; however, on Tuesday, September 14, the College cancelled the bargaining session. Administrative representatives explained that they anticipated that they would ask the Board of Education in a closed Executive Session to revisit the vaccine implementation with specific questions and concerns around the elimination of the philosophical exemption and the timing of implementing the vaccine requirement. During the public September 15 Board meeting, the Board of Education made clear that they do expect that the College will continue with plans as directed on September 1 to: require proof of vaccine status, allow only the legally-required medical and religious exemptions, and require documentation and a review process for the exemptions. The Board also indicated that the Administration must take action to implement the vaccine requirement, which had been delayed, by October 24 in time for winter registration, which begins November 1.

We anticipate that an announcement about changes to the vaccine requirement implementation timeline to all campus via the Weekly or Titan Download is still forthcoming. Until then, please know that the requirement process is delayed but must be fully implemented in advance of Winter term registration.

This means that, outside of specific programs (e.g. Health Professions, LCC health clinic) that have external vaccine mandates and/or requirements for clinical locations for faculty, classified, and students, other students and employees on campus are not required to submit forms regarding vaccine status until the new implementation system is developed. We anticipate the system will be available by mid-October and no later than October 25.

Given the postponement of the vaccine implementation, your LCCEA Bargaining Team jointly with the LCCEF negotiated that faculty and classified employees will have one additional week to make a request to move classes or other work to remote format for the Fall term.

For faculty who intend to seek a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine requirement, the forms are not yet finalized, but it is likely that the College will use existing OHA forms for this purpose. Please see below for examples of the types of forms that may be required, but please wait until there is a formal announcement about required forms. Please do reach out to LCCEA for any support needed with the process once announced.

Reopening Working Conditions MOA for Fall 2021 through Summer 2022 Summary

With many confirmed changes to the vaccine implementation with implications for Fall working conditions after last Wednesday night’s Board meeting, the LCCEF-LCCEA joint teams scheduled two bargaining sessions with the College Friday and negotiated for many hours and into the evening. We provided our final offer to the College at 9 p.m. Friday, and the College accepted yesterday and signed last night (Saturday). (See MOA Below.)

The agreement is comprehensive in its protections for faculty, classified, and the broader campus community. You will find one joint section that applies to both faculty and classified as well as sections with specific provisions for each employee group. We encourage all faculty to read the MOA in full.

Brief Summary of Provisions for All:

o   College to follow most protective public health guidelines in effect according to CDC, OHA, OSHA, and/or Lane County Public Health

o   Vaccine implementation process to be implemented such that students may not register for Winter without providing documentation of vaccine status or exemption request, which must be reviewed and approved prior to permission to register

o   Employees must complete vaccine documentation process within 5 working days of notice that the system will accept documents for upload

o   College to make reasonable efforts to ensure that individuals working or learning on campus in person in Fall have approved exemptions or vaccination status

o   A weekly testing protocol will be established primarily for unvaccinated students and employees. Tests will be provided at no cost for Fall. If costs will be assessed in future terms, the College must provide notice during the term prior to implementation

o   Campus vaccination rate to be published weekly

o   Face coverings provided to anyone who needs one at any time they are required

o   N95 masks provided for Health Professions whenever indicated by external public health guidelines or industry safety standards, and KN95 masks provided for at-risk individuals

o   MERV 13 filters installed in HVAC systems throughout campus with daily outdoor air flush. (Evaluation of HVAC systems is ongoing. Please see Ventilation Report below for current issues to be remedied before next analysis takes place.)

o   HEPA filters available upon request for classrooms and shared offices

o   Opportunity for employees to request flexible workplace arrangements or remote work. Staggered scheduling, distancing, and other measures to be implemented when remote work is not possible. Option to utilize paid or unpaid leave if remote work not possible

o   For Winter through Summer ’22, flexible workplace arrangements may be limited as COVID conditions improve.

o   No loss of salary if leave is exhausted for COVID illness, quarantine, or isolation

o   Confidentiality maintained for employees reporting illness or COVID-like symptoms

o   Daily cleaning of high touch surfaces throughout campus

o   Campus child care space available to employees after students. Employees pay costs

o   Hardware and software provided for remote work as needed

o   Weekly flush of water system on campus for safe conditions (e.g. avoiding legionella bacteria)

o   Outdoor tents with tables and heaters for both student and employee use

o   Employees not required to attend meetings in-person; virtual meeting options available

For Faculty:

o   One week extension for faculty to request remote work for Fall effective immediately

o   College to prioritize assigning in-person instruction to faculty who wish to teach face-to-face

o   Microphones available to in-person instructors upon request

o   Curriculum development ($30/hr) compensation for part-time faculty at the rate of 1.25 hours for every 1 hour every week of asynchronous instruction for courses not taught in remote or online format previously. Faculty must have participated or participate in professional development through ATC to be eligible for funding. Options include: ATC workshops, teaching pairs, OSCQR training, or pre-pandemic online teaching experience at LCC

o   Compensation at regular hourly rates for both PT and FT faculty or equivalent release time for FT faculty who must teach extra hours if course sections are split into subgroups due to social distancing

o   In-person proctoring services shall be restored in the Instructional Testing Services as soon as reasonably possible. COVID conditions may reasonably limit service hours and offerings

o   Faculty shall make reasonable efforts to support student success (e.g. make-ups, alternative assignments) when students cannot attend in-person

o   Faculty right to move a class outside (if feasible) or cancel class session due to student noncompliance with mask or other safety requirements

o   No required in-person office hours

o   No limits to faculty access to campus

o   Classes scheduled in rooms with windows that open whenever possible

Highlights of Provisions for Our Classified Colleagues from LCCEF:

o   Protection against outsourcing for vaccine implementation system

o   Rights to request remote work and same one week extension of deadline for such requests

o   Expansion of remote delivery options for enrollment and student services, among other provisions

Overall, we find this agreement to be exceedingly strong in its protections for faculty and believe that the new safety measures required will help mitigate risk of COVID exposure on campus and contribute to public health broadly in the community.

It has been a great honor to work together in solidarity with our classified colleagues from LCCEF, including Frankie Cocanour, Buck Potter, and Fiora Starchild as well as AFT-O consultant Bryan Lally. We are truly stronger together, and we look forward to more collaboration in the future.

In addition, we are grateful for the tremendous support of faculty throughout campus who, together with classified employees, voiced their opinions through letters and statements to the Board of Education, advocating for better safety precautions and for the work of our Action Team in coordinating organizing efforts over the past month. We would also like to acknowledge the support of Cynthia Campos, our OEA consultant, as well as OEA-appointed attorneys, Aruna Masih and Margaret Olney of Bennett Hartmann Attorneys at Law, for their advice.

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team

Kelly Collins

Adrienne Mitchell

Nancy Wood

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UPDATE regarding Vaccine Requirement Implementation


A legal opinion provided to LCCEA confirms that LCC must offer medical and religious exemptions to vaccine requirements. However, LCC and community colleges throughout Oregon are not legally required to allow philosophical / personal exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Please see attached memo from Aruna Masih of Bennett Hartmann Attorneys at Law. {See Memo Regarding Vaccination Exemptions below]

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Best,

Adrienne

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LCCEA President’s Update: Important Fall Faculty Info

Dear Colleagues,
I am writing with a very brief update.

Fall Plans And Staying Up-to-date

Please review your email frequently and regularly before Fall term. As COVID conditions have continued to worsen in Lane County, it is increasingly likely that changes and announcements will be provided to the campus community. Please communicate with your colleagues to ensure they are up-to-date as well.

Vaccine Implementation and Campus Safety
Thank you to the countless faculty who have written to the Board to express concerns with LCC’s plans for safety on campus this Fall. A special thank you to Wendy Simmons and Peggy Oberstaller for their work as Action Team Co-Chairs, coordinating faculty organizing efforts.
At their work session last night, the Board of Education members expressed concerns about: campus safety for Fall, including the lack of proof required for the vaccine mandate, questions on whether students who come to campus in Fall are required to fulfill the requirement or not, the inclusion of the personal/philosophical exemption, the lack of documentation required for exemptions, rising cases and full hospitals in Lane County, and the volume of in-person classes scheduled for Fall under these external and internal conditions. At the same time the Governor’s office is engaging community college and university leaders regarding safety and vaccines in higher education.

It is likely that new changes to the vaccine requirement will be announced at LCC, statewide, or both. It is also possible that LCC will seek to move additional courses to an online format. 

Important Deadlines for Faculty (For Now, Subject to Change)

September 7 — Deadline to Request Moving Remote: faculty members may request to move scheduled in-person Instruction and other Faculty Work to Remote Zoom instruction. Per Provost Jarrell, the process for making requests is: 

  1. Notify your Division Dean of the request you will be submitting so that they can begin processing this request.  There is a lot that goes into looking at consequences, and adjusting schedules, so the sooner they know, the quicker they can resolve.

AND

  1. Fill out and submit the request form provided by HR.  The form can be found at https://www.lanecc.edu/hr/flex-workplace-arrangements.  Employees with existing approved requests for Fall term do not need to resubmit.  

September 14 — Deadline to submit vaccination form for all College employees, regardless of whether working on campus or not. All faculty should complete the form at:  https://etcentral.lanecc.edu/#/form/347

September 15 — Deadline for OEBB insurance mandatory enrollment, required for all insurance-eligible faculty, including faculty who have double coverage and choose a monthly stipend in lieu of insurance. You can find information about open enrollment at: https://www.lanecc.edu/hr/benefits/open-enrollment and complete the open enrollment process at: https://myoebb.org/oebb/!pb.main

LCCEA representatives will work to support faculty in their requests to move online and should any other changes or requirements come about. 

My best,
Adrienne

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FAQ: College Plans for Vaccination Requirements, Exemptions, Ventilation, Contact Tracing

FAQ

In order to ensure transparency, LCCEF and LCCEA provide this FAQ to members of the campus community.

What vaccine exemptions are allowed at LCC?

The College accepts medical, religious, and personal/philosophical exemptions.

What documentation is required for medical and religious exemptions?

None.

What review process does the College currently use for medical or religious exemptions?

None.

What documentation is required for the personal/philosophical exemption?

Students electing the personal/philosophical exemption are asked to watch an educational video but are not required to provide documentation that they have done so. They must submit the form acknowledging that they have watched the video.

What documentation is required for vaccination status?

The College requires individuals to self-report the type of vaccine, vaccine date, and whether or not the vaccine was received in Oregon. No vaccine cards or other documentation are required. Administration representatives have explained that they do not wish to require copies of vaccine cards because it is possible that they could be falsified.

Is it a violation of HIPAA for LCC to require vaccine documents?

No. LCC routinely requires that students submit medical documents when seeking to drop a class past the deadline or when making a financial aid appeal, for example, utilizing SoftDocs — the very same secure system used for the vaccine self-reporting from.

What exemptions are required by law?

Medical and religious exemptions.

For students already registered for Fall, what will happen if they do not submit a vaccination or exemption self-reporting form?

Students will receive reminders, but they will be able to attend in-person LCC activities without completion of the form in Fall term, and they will not have any holds on registration until Winter term registration.

For new students not yet registered for Fall, what requirements will they have to complete?

New students will be required to complete the vaccine or exemption self reporting form in order to register.

Is the College doing contact tracing?

Yes. Contact tracing includes notification to individuals with “close contact” defined as spending 15 minutes or more at a distance of less than six feet with an individual who has tested positive for COVID 19. 

Will the College notify an employee who has come into contact with a positive case if there is no “close contact?” 

No. The Administration currently says they will not agree to provide notice to individuals if they have not been within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for more than 15 minutes. 

Why are there concerns about ventilation?

Some rooms and buildings on campus have a history of poor airflow. So far, the Administration rejects LCCEA-LCCEF proposals that the College commit to follow its own Covid ventilation plan, including, “Perform daily flush before occupied hours to achieve 3 fresh outside air changes, minimum 2 hours.” In addition, shared spaces such as offices and classrooms may have increased demands when occupied with multiple individuals or classes scheduled back-to-fack even with social distancing in place. In addition, the Administration does not yet have results from a firm contracted to study airflow and outside air exchange for the HVAC system, including areas on campus known to be problematic. Portable HEPA filters should be provided to serve such areas, especially classrooms and shared offices, many of which have no windows or windows that cannot be opened.

What will happen if personal/philosophical exemptions are eliminated?

It is possible that this could happen at LCC or statewide. Since full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine was announced, many employers are requiring vaccination with medical and religious exemptions allowed. Governor Brown has indicated the possibility of extending the K12 and healthcare worker vaccine mandate to higher education. As more vaccination requirements are implemented statewide and nationwide, the likelihood that the requirements in higher education in Oregon will become more stringent, increases. At LCC, faculty report exceedingly high rates of vaccination with 4% indicating in April that they were not planning to get the vaccine. Should new requirements come about, LCCEA will support individual faculty members with the process and any requirements for legitimate exemption requests.

Why are LCCEA and LCCEF working together? 

The unions represent all classified and faculty at LCC and have common interests and responsibility in ensuring that the working and learning conditions at Lane Community College are safe and promote public health. We are stronger together when working in solidarity for the benefit of the campus and community beyond. 

What can you do if you do not feel that the College’s plans for Fall are adequate?

Write to Board of Education members and President Hamilton 

Board Chair Lisa Fragala: fragalal@lanecc.edu

Board Vice Chair Rosie Pryor: pryorr@lanecc.edu

Mike Eyster: eysterm@lanecc.edu 

Austin Folnagy: folnagya@lanecc.edu 

Holli Johnson: johnsonh@lanecc.edu 

Steve Mital: mitals@lanecc.edu 

Angela VanKrause: vankrausea@lanecc.edu 

President Marge Hamilton: hamiltonm@lanecc.edu 

With copy to:

lcceaaction@lanecc.edu and president@lccef.org, vporganizing@lccef.org, and cope@lccef.org 

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Important Update for Faculty: Vaccine “Requirement” Implementation and Fall Safety

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

Lane County Emergency Advisory

As you are likely aware, COVID cases are surging in Lane County and throughout Oregon. Given the dearth of available ICU beds, Lane County passed an emergency advisory, which includes recommendations as follows

  • Unvaccinated adults should stay home, not go in public, and get vaccinated;
  • Employers should encourage remote work;
  • In addition to indoor masking regardless of vaccine status, all should wear masks outdoors whenever 6’ distance is not reliably possible (also mandated by Governor Brown to take effect this Friday); and
  • Individuals should avoid activities that may cause injury due to lack of hospital capacity, among others.

See the full Emergency Advisory Guidelines.

Vaccine Implementation

The College has provided more information about the implementation of the vaccine “requirement.” In addition to concerns that no proof of vaccination status is required and the option of a philosophical exemption, the Administration has explained that for the approximately 5,000 students who are already registered for Fall, there will be only “soft holds” added to their accounts in Banner. These “soft holds” will not affect student registration for Fall, nor will the holds impact student attendance in-person in Fall. Students will receive reminders that they need to complete the vaccination form, but if they do not do so, they will continue to be enrolled for Fall. “Hard holds” will be implemented at a later date such that students already registered for Fall will not be able to register for Winter until they complete the form. 

For students not yet registered for Fall, “hard holds” will be added to their accounts so that they cannot register for Fall until they complete the vaccine form. However, these “hard holds” are not yet implemented, so a new student registering today will have only a “soft hold” as described above.

In addition, while other institutions have developed processes for verifying medical and religious exemptions, there are currently no plans for a review, verification, or approval process for medical or religious exemptions requested by LCC employees or students. 

More on Fall and Bargaining over Safety and Working Conditions

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team met with the College again today and, together with LCCEF, advocated for better processes in implementing the vaccine requirement in accordance with the Board of Education vote that the mandate take effect for Fall term. However, it is clear that the Administration does not intend for the requirement to be implemented in a manner that requires proof of vaccination status nor requires students who attend in Fall to complete and submit the form without affecting their registration status until Winter term.  At the same time, the unions’ joint proposal and the College’s proposal are the same in that both require vaccines or approved exemptions by the beginning of Fall. 

The disconnect between the College’s written proposal in bargaining and the College’s actual plans for the vaccine “requirement” implementation is both surprising and deeply concerning, given the implications for the health and safety of the campus and entire community.

In addition, the current MOA in effect for faculty for Summer term requires the College to notify faculty if a student who attends their in-person class tests positive. The LCCEA and LCCEF have jointly proposed that such notice continue in Fall and beyond for in-person exposure to classified or faculty employees, but the College has indicated they do not accept the proposal and wish to make notice only when there is “close contact,” currently defined as less than six feet distance for 15 minutes or more. This means that, for example, a faculty member teaching a class with social distancing in the classroom where a student tests positive would receive no notice.

The College has also rejected the LCCEF-LCCEA joint proposal to provide portable HEPA filters for shared offices and classrooms upon request. Ventilation and air filtration are important strategies to mitigate risk of COVID transmission. For instance, see: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2779062 (Thank you, Chemistry faculty.) While many areas on campus are now served by MERV 13 filters, not all spaces and classrooms have windows or efficient airflow from the HVAC systems. The federal government has allocated $27 Million to LCC, specifically to address costs resulting from the pandemic, which can be used for these relatively minor expenses.

The College has also proposed that unvaccinated employees and students be subject to periodic testing but cannot commit to paying for the testing at this time.

The parties also discussed a mask and social distancing requirement for Fall term. Even though both the College and the LCCEF-LCCEA joint proposal tie safety measures to the most protective public health guidelines, the College had removed language requiring masks and social distancing for Fall. After considerable advocacy on the part of both unions, the College agreed to restore the mask and social distancing requirement specified in the proposal.

While the parties’ agreement that masks and social distancing be required in Fall represents some small step toward agreement, the number of unresolved issues is significant as are the substantial and direct impacts to not only the health and safety of faculty, but also for the entire campus and broader community. 

Please stay tuned for more information and joint communications from the LCCEF and LCCEA Action Teams.

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team,

Kelly Collins

Adrienne Mitchell

Nancy Wood

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