January 29, 2023

AAUP Update: Nominations and Commencement

May 3, 2022

Colleagues:

I have decided that rather than sending all of you one very long update to send you two shorter updates, one this week and one next week.  This week’s update will focus on nominations for Chapter Officers for next year and Commencement.

This is a very busy time for all of us, the last week of classes, getting ready to give final exams next week and the massive and time-consuming grading of final assignments and final exams.  Adding to the stress we usually feel at this time of year is the fact that this has been a difficult period of time for all of us because of the COVID epidemic.  We are still adjusting to the return to campus, many of our families and our students’ families have been impacted in negatives ways by the COVID epidemic, and we are now having to adjust our work-life balance due to the increased emphasis on our return to campus plans.

Please make sure you take some time to take care of yourself and get away from your work.  

Nominations:

As was announced in an e-mail on Monday by our Treasurer Michael LeBlanc, nominations for all elected Executive Committee positions is now open and the nominating period ends on Friday May 6.  All positions are open because, according to our constitution, we each serve a one-year term of office.  The open positions include President, Secretary, Treasurer, VP-Germantown, VP-Rockville, VP-Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  If you are interested in knowing who is currently serving in each of these positions go to mcaaup.org and then click on the Executive Committee link towards the top of the page.  A brief description of the responsibilities of each Chapter officer is located in our Constitution and that document can be accessed by clicking on the Chapter Documents link on the Chapter webpage.

If you are interested in running for a particular office or if you are interested in nominating another faculty member for a particular office, please e-mail your communication to Julie Levinson, Counseling TP/SS.  Each Chapter officer must be a dues-paying member of the Chapter, and we will verify said membership before the faculty member is added to the ballot.

Our Executive Committee meetings typically occur twice a month on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30-5:00.  Some of the Officers receive ESH, and all Officers are expected to participate in various activities throughout the academic year.  The workload is usually spread out so that no one Officer feels overwhelmed. 

My involvement in the Chapter started in 2000 when I was drafted to be the Chapter’s Chief Negotiator.  I was sent to a summer training program that was organized by our National Office, and I had a full negotiating team to work with me throughout the negotiations process.  This was an enjoyable, while at times, frustrating experience.  I was then elected to my first term as the Chapter’s President.  Since that time, with the exception of a three-year period, I have either been the President or Past President of the Chapter.

I believe it is very important for the Chapter that others in the faculty ranks learn how to do this job and that now is the time for this change to take place.  I have informed the members of the Executive Committee that I am not going to run for office for next year.  I will still be involved with Chapter leadership and Chapter activities because I will still be a member of the Executive Committee but in a different role, the Immediate Past President.  I believe that due to the complexities of this role the person who replaces me should be one of the members of the current Executive Committee.  We definitely have several members of the Executive Committee who have the ability to take on this role and manage the Chapter’s affairs. 

Commencement:

This year’s commencement will occur on the Rockville Campus on Thursday and Friday May 19 and 20.  We have all seen the announcements and call for volunteers.  This is the time of year when we want to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and attending graduation is one way we can do this.  Several e-mails have been sent to the College community with a call for volunteers and notifications about commencement.  I encourage all of you to attend at least one day of graduation.  Whether you volunteer to assist with graduation or if you decide to march in your cap and gown, our collective participation will be appreciated by the students and their families. 

Closing Meeting:

On Wednesday, May 18, we will host our end of year meeting via Zoom.  A Zoom link will be sent to all of you as we approach that date.  Our meeting will start around 11:15, and we will open the Zoom room around 11:00.  We have worked with IT and can now host over 300 people in the meeting.  The Executive Committee appreciates all who attend and participate in these meetings, and we like hearing from the membership during these meetings.  As a faculty we only get together three times a year, so please plan on attending and participating in the meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Negotiations Primer- next week! Please join us!

Dear FT Faculty colleagues, 

Good evening! 

The AAUP negotiating team will be sponsoring a “Negotiations Primer” to be held on Zoom on Wednesday May 4 from 3-4:30 pm, with Monica Owens, a trainer from AAUP National. Monica is joining us to discuss both traditional and interest-based methods of bargaining, the process of negotiation,  and strategies to increase effectiveness at the bargaining table. This primer will be a good introduction to the work of the negotiating team.  We are moving rapidly towards the negotiation of the full contract in fall 2023. To that end, we will be expanding membership on the negotiating team over the next year, so if you have ever thought about, or been curious, about negotiations, please join us at this forum! 

A zoom link/invitation will be sent out with a reminder later this week. Please let us know if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you at our final AAUP forum for this spring 2022 semester. 

Thanks as always for your continued support and trust as we represent you in collective bargaining for our union contract. 

For the Chapter, 

The AAUP Negotiating team- 

Sharon Piper, Lead
Tito Baca
Carrie Fitzgerald

AAUP Update: Testimony to Montgomery County Council

Montgomery County Council
FY28 Operating Budget Public Hearing
Testimony of Karl Smith, MC F-T Faculty

April 19, 2022

Dear Council Members,


My name is Karl Smith. I’m a professor of history and political science at Montgomery College. I’m here today as a representative of the Montgomery College Chapter of AAUP.

I came to Montgomery College in 2004 for the work and the career opportunity. I stayed for the remarkable students and the chance to be a part of an institution that shapes lives and is an essential part of the community.

To be at MC is to be immersed in a sea of student success and diligent, persevering faculty and staff. Stories of student maturity and development abound. One such story is a former student of mine who went from MC to UMBC to Virginia Commonwealth University where she got her MS in genetic counseling and is now an investigator of clinical trials at NIH. She and her husband recently bought a house in Bethesda. I can’t tell you how energizing it is to see that kind of growth; from a student taking 100 level courses to a career professional, contributing to the health of our community and the county tax base. Or, there’s the student who went from MC to UMD to study pharmacy, and after working in Maryland for several years, is now working at an elder care facility in California. I have seen a former student wearing the MoCo police uniform. He joined the force about 10 years ago. Further, I have had several wounded veterans from Walter Reed/Navy Medical facility in my classes at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.

These successes are facilitated by the work we do at the college. For years I have taught in the honors programs. Students doing honors work elevate their academic status, and as a result they become strong candidates (and often winners) of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship for transfer students. These students are applying for and getting accepted to places like Cornell, Colombia, UMBC, Howard, Smith College and many more. Right now three of my former students are at Smith College. As far as I know, at least two are planning to return to the DMV when they are done.

Incidentally, I have lived in Montgomery County for about 16 years. I am struck by the number of my neighbors who have taken classes at MC, couples who met at MC, or have family member studying at MC. I believe a few members of this council have also taken classes at MC. This kind of community reach is deep and transformative.

All this success has not wavered in the face of the pandemic. On the contrary, I see all around me faculty, staff and, most importantly, students, who show grit in the face of overwhelming difficulties due to covid. To their credit, they persist.

With all these achievements in mind, I think this is a good time to express gratitude for the Council’s prior financial support of Montgomery College. I sincerely hope that the council will continue to support the college in the future and fully fund MC‘s FY23 operating budget and fund pay raises for AAUP members and all faculty and staff. With full funding we can continue to be an instrument for achievement, growth and personal success in Montgomery County.Thank you for your attention.

Professor Karl Smith
Montgomery College Faculty
Humanities Department

AAUP Update: Removal of the Student Vaccine Mandate

Colleagues:

On behalf of the three union Presidents, I am writing to inform you that Management has decided to remove the requirement that students be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus to attend classes at Montgomery College or any on-campus services.  The administration will encourage students to be vaccinated against the virus, and students will be told that they are expected to upload their vaccination information. However, no unvaccinated students will be dropped from classes and all unvaccinated students are now welcome to take classes at MC. Meanwhile, staff and faculty remain vaccine-mandated.

The three union heads, Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union), Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500), and Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union) met with the Senior Vice Presidents last week and were formally told of this decision.  We expressed our displeasure with the decision and also with the fact that we were not consulted in advance. The decision has not yet been communicated to the employees of Montgomery College.  

While it is true that over 90% of our Montgomery County community has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, Senior Management has just opened the doors of MC to the unvaccinated community. They have made the decision to make our very safe environment less safe for all of us. During a time when other colleges and cities are bringing back their mask mandates, our senior leaders have decided to toss the student vaccine mandate out the window. 

As a result of this unwise decision to change a system that was working well to protect all of us, we sent the following message to the Dr. Williams and the Senior Vice Presidents this afternoon. 

The three unions heads, Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union),Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500) , Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union) respectfully request that the College immediately cease all communications and processes around the removal of the student COVID vaccine mandate and we request that you immediately reinstitute the student vaccine mandate.  

We are deeply concerned about the impact this decision could have on the health and safety of both our constituents and our college students.  We are also deeply concerned that the unions were not consulted about the decision to remove the student vaccine mandate in advance, despite the fact this this impacts our workplace safety and that a key legal role of the unions is to help promote a healthy workspace for our constituents.  Management clearly understands the safety implications of this decision, as they maintain a vaccine mandate for all employees.

By ceasing all processes around the removal of the student mandate and reinstituting the student vaccine mandate, we hope that adequate time might be granted for the unions to properly research the topic on behalf of our constituents, to speak with our constituents about the impact this will have on them, and to begin the conversation with the administration that should have been conducted before this decision was made.

In Solidarity,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union) 
Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500) 
Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union)

We will keep all of you informed if and when we receive a response to our request.

AAUP: Strategic Plan Meeting (3/2/22)

AAUP Update: Letter of Concern (2/18/22)

Dear Full-Time Faculty Colleagues,

For several weeks, Lori Ulrich, President of the MC staff union (AFSCME Local 2380), Victoria Baldassano, Director of the MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500), and myself, have been discussing and analyzing the Board of Trustees’ decision to hire Dr. Jermaine Williams as MC’s next president despite a public letter of discontent critical of him. The letter was “signed by the elected leaders of the faculty unions, department chairs, and Academic Senate” from Nassau Community College where Dr. Willams had served as president.

In the process of our deliberation, we have more carefully analyzed the letter of discontent, listened to testimony by Nassau Community College faculty members critical of Dr. Williams, reviewed public comments by the BOT that correlate serious views of union leaders with those of “disgruntled employees,” and discussed in general the process undertaken by the presidential search committee.  

In the attached letter signed by the three of us, “we have reached consensus that the process resulting in the selection of Dr. Williams was flawed.” While the selection of Dr. Williams as MC’s president is not going to change, we felt it important to assert that this process resulted in a decision that is unsatisfactory to the unions at MC.

I ask all of you to read the letter linked here and decide where you stand.  Thank you!

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update:  Ratification of our Tentative Agreements, Executive Committee Activities, Workday, and More.

February 2022

Welcome back:

I hope all of you had a restful and healthy holiday break and that you have had a smooth start to the spring 2022 semester.  It was very nice seeing so many of you at our opening meeting last month and we look forward to seeing many of you during the spring semester at additional Chapter related meetings. 

Tentative Agreements Ratified:

I am pleased to report that our membership overwhelmingly voted to ratify the tentative agreements we reached with Management during last semester’s negotiations.  Also, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify the agreements at their January meeting.  The signed Memorandum of Agreement has been posted in the Chapter documents section of the AAUP Chapter website, mcaaup.org.   Lobbying by members of the College community will commence later this semester with visits to members of the County Council and testimony at the County’s operating budget hearings later in April.  A final vote by the County Council on our operating budget will occur later in May and that is when we will know whether we will actually receive the raise we negotiated.  If asked by our Governmental Relations Office, a member of the Executive Committee will testify at these hearings on behalf of our membership. 

Executive Committee Activities:

The end of last semester and the beginning of this semester was a very busy time for members of the Executive Committee.   We worked collaboratively with the other two union groups, SEIU which represents the part-time faculty and AFSCME which represents the bargaining unit staff, to communicate our concerns with the process that led to the selection of Dr. Williams as our next MC President and to voice our discontent with the return to face-to-face instruction during a period of time when the COVID variant was on the rise.

On December 21 Victoria Baldassano, Director SEIU, Lori Ulrich, President AFSEME, and I met with the BOT Chair Mike Knapp and Steve Cain, Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer, to discuss the process that led to the selection of Dr. Williams as our next President. 

On January 10 we sent a letter of concern to senior managers voicing our concern with the return to face-to-face instruction.  Subsequent to that communication we were invited to meet with the three Senior Vice Presidents to discuss our concerns about this issue. 

On January 14 we sent a letter to the Senior Vice Presidents after we met with them, and on January 21 we sent a memo to the College community outlining our position on the College’s return to campus plans.  Each of these communications have been posted on the Chapter webpage. Please take some time to review these communications so that you can fully understand the extent of our advocacy work on behalf of the membership.

Workday:

Recently I have had several conversations with faculty members and received e-mails from a number of faculty members regarding problems they are encountering trying to process their EAP requests, prepay requisitions, and reimbursements.  HRSTM the Office of Business Services (OBS) is offering a number of zoom sessions to help everyone better understand the new processes we need to follow since the implementation of Workday in early January.  I encourage all of you to take advantage of these training opportunities.  Please see the message below that we recently received in the Employees Matters newsletter.

HRSTM and OBS Host Virtual Office Sessions for Assistance with New EAP Process in Workday

As of January 3, 2022, employees have been  able to initiate the Educational Assistance Program (EAP) request process in Workday. To support employees with this new EAP process, the Offices of Human Resources and Strategic Talent Management (HRSTM) and Business Services (OBS) have been hosting virtual office sessions this month. The next upcoming sessions are listed below:

Register to receive the Zoom meeting invitation. Once you join the Zoom meeting, you will be placed in a waiting room and receive personal assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. Please have your prepay requisition and/or reimbursement documents (i.e., invoices, receipts) saved and ready for review and to be uploaded into Workday. As a reminder, all EAP Travel is reimbursement only and therefore not eligible for prepay. Please refer to the Workday training website for more information and resources.

Below is a link to an EAP Quick Reference Guide that you also may find helpful.

https://info.montgomerycollege.edu/_documents/offices/information-technology/workday/hrstm-and-payroll/educational-assistance-program-quick-reference-guide.pdf

AAUP Strategic Planning:

As an organization made up of a small group of mostly volunteers, we take our jobs very seriously and we recognize the importance of planning for the future of the Chapter. The pool of Chapter leaders is rather small because so few people volunteer to take a leadership role in the Chapter.  Succession planning is vital for our continued strength and success as a Chapter.  I have often said at our faculty meetings that I have been doing this job for a long time and I can’t continue in this role forever.  My continuing in this role isn’t good for the Chapter. Others on the Executive Committee have also served their role for many years.  Succession planning is something that we talk about in our Executive Committee meetings on a regular basis.

Tito Baca, Secretary for the Chapter, submitted a grant application to our National Office with the hope that they would provide us with some funding to help us as we create a strategic plan for the Chapter.  I am pleased to report that the National office accepted our application and agreed to provide us with a $20,000 grant which we will use to help cover the costs we incur as we develop a strategic plan. Training for future leaders of the Chapter, revisions to our Constitution, succession planning, and training in negotiation techniques are a few of the topics that will be covered in as we plan for the future of our Chapter.  The first Faculty Forum we will sponsor will occur on Tuesday February 22 from 5:00-6:00.  An e-mail was sent to all of you earlier this week by Carrie Fitzgerald.  Please see the information below and I hope to see many of you there.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/99973869445

As the semester progresses, I encourage you to watch for more information on how you can become a more involved member of the Chapter and become a future leader in the Chapter.  If you are interested, I am sure we can find a role for you in Chapter leadership or on one of our future committees.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update: AAUP Online Faculty Forum (2/22/22)

Dear Faculty,

Our chapter of the AAUP is looking for passionate faculty members (like you!) to share thoughts and ideas on how we can make our union/labor group the best it can be as we develop a Strategic Plan that benefits us all. We’d love for you to join us during our first Faculty Forum of the Spring 2022 semester. We will use the time to discuss your visions for our future as well as what actions we can take to make our workplace more satisfying, equitable, and meaningful.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/99973869445

Meeting ID: 999 7386 9445
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AAUP Update: Union Dissent on Face-to-Face Instruction

From: Baldassano, Victoria A
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2022 10:21 AM
To: Full-Time Faculty <Full-TimeFaculty@montgomerycollege.edu>; Part-Time Faculty TP/SS <Part-timeFacultyTP_SS@montgomerycollege.edu>; Part-Time Faculty GT <Part-timeFacultyGT@montgomerycollege.edu>; Part-Time Faculty RV <Part-TimeFacultyRV@montgomerycollege.edu>; Takoma Park Staff <TPStaff@montgomerycollege.edu>; Rockville Staff <RVStaff@montgomerycollege.edu>; Germantown Staff <GTStaff@montgomerycollege.edu>
Cc: Collette, Sherwin A <Sherwin.Collette@montgomerycollege.edu>; Brown, Monica R <monica.brown@montgomerycollege.edu>; Rai, Sanjay K <sanjay.rai@montgomerycollege.edu>; Anne McLeer <mcleera@seiu500.org>; Tropin, Mitchell J <mitchell.tropin@montgomerycollege.edu>; Edwards, Cynthia A <cynthia.edwards@montgomerycollege.edu>; Wilson, Priscilla M <priscilla.wilson@montgomerycollege.edu>; Sawyerr, Elizabeth M <elizabeth.sawyerr@montgomerycollege.edu>; Benton, Elizabeth M <elizabeth.benton@montgomerycollege.edu>; Weston, Charmaine L <charmaine.weston@montgomerycollege.edu>
Subject: Union Dissent on Face-to-Face Instruction
Importance: High

Dear MC Colleagues,

Over the past two weeks, representatives of your Full-Time Faculty Union (AAUP), your Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500), and your Staff Union (AFSCME), have been talking with members of the administration regarding our concerns about a return to face-to-face instruction this semester. We presented our issues via email and in two Zoom meetings with three representatives of the administration: Sherwin Collette, Senior Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, Monica Brown, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, and Sanjay Rai, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.  

To protect MC students and employees from the very contagious Omicron variant, we requested that the college convert most of its face-to-face courses to structured remote for a limited period at the beginning of the spring semester, perhaps 1 to 4 weeks, before gradually easing back into face-to-face instruction. Local universities and several major school systems around the country are trying this approach, including MCPS. We conferred with our union Executive Committees, and we polled our members during union meetings held Jan. 18. Although a vocal minority disagreed with our approach, an overwhelming number of members of all three unions supported our proposal

Unfortunately, the administration rejected our request.  We have read the directive from Interim President Charlene Dukes. We understand the administration’s rationale and will comply with the decision. However, we respectfully disagree.  

While we can all celebrate the recent decline in cases in Northeast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C., it would be a mistake to think that Omicron is about to disappear. This dip in case numbers is happening even as Omicron continues to produce “more than 800,000 new infections” each day, the New York Times Coronavirus database reported. “About 150,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized nationwide, more than at any previous point in the pandemic” while…“1,900 deaths are being announced each day, a 50 percent increase over the last two weeks.” 

We would also caution our colleagues not to embrace the notion that Omicron is a “mild” form of COVID.  As Katherine J. Wu noted in the Atlantic, “That the variant is less of a danger too often gets misconstrued as the variant is not a danger at all.” A healthy, vaccinated and boosted MC instructor who recently contracted the virus remarked that it seemed like having a mild form of the flu. He was looking forward to getting back in the classroom. But Montgomery College has a very diverse workforce, and Omicron has created an unfortunate dichotomy between younger and older employees, and between those who are relatively healthy and those who have (or whose family members have) medical conditions that could make exposure to Omicron dangerous or fatal.  

At the very least, we think the administration should show more flexibility toward employees who cannot or should not be teaching or providing services face-to-face this semester.  Instead, in its enthusiasm to return to in-person teaching, the college has denied requests from several employees to teach remotely – particularly part-time faculty members.  These include a 78-year-old instructor with a medical condition who has been teaching remotely for several semesters and an award-winning art instructor who has a child with multiple disabilities and a seizure disorder. To protect her child from Omicron, this instructor requested a medical accommodation to teach remotely, which was denied because the accommodation applies to employees only. Montgomery College has done an admirable job in promoting social and racial justice, but a policy such as this ends up discriminating against caretakers (mostly women) of family members with disabilities. Names of these employees have been provided to the administration. 

We are pleased about the vaccine mandate for students, but booster shots are the most effective defense against Omicron, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently vaccinated students will have to wait “at least 5 months after completing [their] primary COVID-19 vaccination series” to get a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster shot.   

We are also pleased that the college will have KN95 masks, but we request that there be sufficient masks available for ALL students and employees who want them. 

Finally, we wish the best of luck to those who will be teaching or offering in-person counseling or other services to students or MC employees this semester.  If you have any issues or concerns that cannot be answered by your chair, dean, or supervisor, please do not hesitate to reach out to the representatives of your unions.  We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. 

In solidarity,  

Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union) 

Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500) 

Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union) 

Chris Standing, Immediate Past President AFSCME 

AAUP Update: Follow-Up to Meeting with SVPs and MC Union Leaders

From: Zarin, Harry
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2022 4:44 PM
To: Rai, Sanjay K <sanjay.rai@montgomerycollege.edu>; Brown, Monica R <monica.brown@montgomerycollege.edu>; Collette, Sherwin A <Sherwin.Collette@montgomerycollege.edu>
Cc: Ulrich, Lori A <Lori.Ulrich@montgomerycollege.edu>; Standing, Christopher G <chris.standing@montgomerycollege.edu>; Baldassano, Victoria A <victoria.baldassano@montgomerycollege.edu>
Subject: Follow-up to Our Meeting

Monica, Sanjay, and Sherwin:

Thank you for taking the time to review our memo of concern and for having a meeting with us yesterday during this very busy time. We appreciate the open discussion and the fact that you gave serious attention to what you described as our “legitimate concerns.”

In the area of telework, we understand, as Sherman stated, that you “encourage flexible work schedules” and will ask supervisors to honor the policy that was originally agreed to for staff and counseling faculty.

Most importantly, we appreciate the fact that you heard our request that all face-to-face classes (except hands-on labs and a small list of other classes) be changed to structured remote for a period of time, possibly two to four weeks, until case numbers, hospitalization, and other factors in Montgomery County indicate that it is safe to proceed with in-person instruction. We understand that the administration is monitoring conditions and COVID infection rates in the area and uses this information to help make informed decisions.

Moving forward, however, we have one concern that we feel was not fully addressed at yesterday’s meeting.  It has been said in a number of meetings that we are a data-driven institution. We use data to make decisions that are in the best interests of the students and the employees. Classes start in two weeks. Only 40% of the students registered for face-to-face classes have submitted their vaccination records and have had those records processed by the vendor. We recognize that another 4,000 students have submitted their records, but those have not been processed yet. What are the magic numbers that need to be reached before the administration announces that we are switching face-to-face classes to structured remote for a temporary period of time because a sufficient number of students haven’t submitted their records or submitted records haven’t been processed?   We expect that there would be some exceptions to the requirement that face-to-face classes switch to remote; lab science and so on.

Unfortunately, all our efforts to encourage students to do their part to help protect themselves and this community may not work, and a decision has to be made sooner rather than later about moving face-to-face classes to structured remote. Requiring everyone to prepare for SRT formatted classes a weekend prior to the start of classes, for example, is unprofessional and disrespectful to the faculty and the student service areas.  Most importantly, students need time to adjust to this temporary switch from face-to-face to structured remote.  Advance/early communication regarding the numbers and the plan to respond to those numbers affects more than just the classroom; a myriad of student services will be impacted and may need to be shifted, even if partially, to remote for a period of time as well.  We have demonstrated that we can turn on a dime and serve students well in the process, but it does not come without anxiety and loss of morale.  The ability to plan should not be undervalued.

MCPS, local colleges. and colleges and universities around the country have already announced a delay in having students come to campus to take classes and they are starting their semester in a remote format. We need to continue to take the necessary steps to protect our employees and we are hopeful that at the opening meeting we will hear something other than what we have already heard.

Thank you,

Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME

Victoria Baldassano, Director SEIU

Chris Standing, Immediate Past President AFSCME Harry Zarin, President AAUP