Throughout our negotiations with the City Colleges administration, we have been frustrated and disappointed with the lack of attention to our concerns with regards to the creation of protocols and policies to ensure there is a safe return-to-work environment. Our members want to return to work in-person but want to do it safely. Illinois is seeing an increasing rate of the Omicron variant. Chicago is at 19% positivity rate. The rates for our college zip codes go from 11.6% to 19.6%.
Moreover, the vaccination rates in the zip codes where 2 of our 7 City Colleges are located are below 50%: Kennedy-King is at 44.2% and Olive-Harvey 49.8%. Only one college, Harold Washington, has over 80% vaccination rate.
It is crucial that City Colleges maintain adequate levels of protection for our college communities. Therefore, we are presenting these demands for the City Colleges:
City Colleges will go fully remote for classes and student services for the first two weeks of the semester or until Chicago reaches positivity rates of 10% or lower. There are several examples of community colleges and universities in Illinois which have chosen this option (Harper College, Moraine Valley, UIC, DePaul, Loyola). Student Service employees will remain remote or with staggered schedules until February 25th.
During a COVID surge, a college may flip to remote learning and work if 25% of students and staff are instructed to quarantine. College-level safety committees composed of all employee groups will review college situations and vote on if to flip a college to remote learning. The district office will provide additional testing on those campuses.
If an instructor tests positive for COVID, the class will immediately go remote until the instructor tests negative and is approved to return. If an instructor declares that they are not able to complete the duties of the class, a substitute will be selected.
Six-foot social distancing will be enforced everywhere at our colleges, including classrooms.
City Colleges will maintain weekly testing of all students, staff, faculty, and community members who come onto campus. Currently Middle College Alternative High School students, online students coming on campus for student services, and community members are not required to test.
City Colleges will provide every student and all employees working in-person new KN95 masks each week, purchased from reputable vendors.
City Colleges will hire and train students (especially our health field students) to assist with vaccination, do daily health screenings, contact tracing, and community health worker outreach for their colleges.
In the event of an employee (or a member of their household) having to quarantine due to COVID, employees will have the option to continue remote work throughout the remainder of the semester to reduce the potential spread of COVID.
Essential employees who are forced to quarantine shall not be required to use their own sick time but will be granted those days as paid time off.
Alliance of City College Unions:
City College Contingent Labor Organizing Committee (CCCLOC Adjunct Faculty-IEA)
Cook County College Teachers Union (1600) IFT-AFT
Federation of College Clerical and Technical Personnel (1708) IFT-AFT
Peoples’ Response Network
Service Employee International Union Custodial Staff (73)