Lehman, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center have essentially closed operations on site in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, in some cases maintaining only a food pantry. Every CUNY college must now do the same. If the college where you work is still refusing to protect its employees, please send a message to the college president right now. Email them and tweet at them.
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Dear CUNY Campus President:
Lehman, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center have essentially closed operations on site in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, in some cases maintaining only a food pantry. Every CUNY college must now do the same to protect its employees.
The designation of “essential staff” must be strictly limited to staff whose work is required on campus or other CUNY worksite in order to maintain emergency operations. Otherwise, the term is meaningless.
CUNY’s failure to plan and the ongoing failure to fund the University must not be remedied by requiring students and employees to put their health and the health of the community at risk.
The PSC calls on CUNY to:
1. Find a way to transition to remote operation with the fewest possible essential employees on campus.
2. Strictly limit the designation of essential employees to those required for emergency operations and make the designation University-wide, not on a campus-by-campus basis.
3. Make it clear that anyone in a high-risk category for COVID-19 or anyone who shares a household with a person in a high-risk category will be released from any obligation to travel to campus, even when such individual is an essential employee.
4. Heed the call of the Chair of the Council of Chief Librarians and the Interim University Dean for Library Services to close all CUNY libraries immediately.
5. Close all college laboratories.
6. Specify why remote work is not possible when CUNY determines that an employee performs an essential function for emergency operations that cannot be performed remotely.
7. With the exception of employees referred to #6 above, permit all employees to work remotely.
Given the dramatic actions being taken at the state and local levels across the country, this is not the time for equivocation and half-measures. It is the time to prioritize the health and wellness of all members of the our college community. Not only is closing the campus fully in line with the calls for action from both the mayor and the governor, it is the right thing to do.