Covid-19 Update | March 12, 2020
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
As the number of novel coronavirus infections in California steadily increases, CSUEU continues to monitor the CSU’s campus and system-wide emergency plans to ensure the priority remains protecting the health and safety of students and employees. In escalating protective measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, the state has updated its policy on non-essential public gatherings to not exceed 250. Read Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement here.
An important note: It is entirely good news that the CSU reports no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 across its campuses thus far (as of March 12, 2020).
Three campuses (San Jose State, San Francisco State and CSU Long Beach) have suspended in-person instruction and are offering (or will offer) alternative instruction via remote or online learning.
CSU leadership has expressed it would like to encourage individual campuses to be flexible with employees in districts that have closed K-12 schools, leaving working parents without proper childcare.
The CSU has also indicated management will be flexible about telecommuting; if campus leadership requests telecommuting, CSU will provide the needed tools. It is likely that the entire CSU system will be transitioning to on-line instruction. Our Union is engaged in discussions with the Chancellor’s Office on changes impacting attendance and telecommuting policies, campus labor-management discussion of emergency plans, continuing health and safety concerns for employees remaining on campus, etc. CSUEU will formalize present concerns in correspondence with the CO and share CSU's response to our membership.
The situation remains fluid and the CSU has said it is committed to staying flexible with policies that work. Following the devastating wildfires in California last year, CSUEU worked with the CSU to expand its catastrophic leave policy – which employees may take advantage of in the event COVID-19 impacts workers directly.
Our Union has requested information from the CSU regarding campus and system pandemic plans, such as business and academic continuation plans.
At Cal State LA – located in a county that has declared a state of emergency -- the CSU has shared its Pandemic Business Continuity Plan, which has impacts on staff wages, hours and working conditions, including absenteeism, quarantine, campus closure, emergency work, telecommuting, etc.
However, similar to the CSU’s handling of past crises – from earthquakes to wildfires - it is troubling that the CSU does not include union representatives in preparedness planning for emergency responses.
As our letter to the CSU on March 6 states: “CSU has a long history of emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfires, and medical quarantine. Each emergency has the same frustrating search for information by the Union because of a lack of planned liaison.” Since the virus first emerged in the Wuhan province of China, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in more than 100 countries. Accompanying the disease outbreak are widespread incidents of discrimination, including verbal and physical assaults, targeting Asian (specifically Chinese) people and businesses. To attribute race or ethnicity to a global pandemic is ignorant and racist; our Union remains vigilant to any discrimination against students or staff.
The best protection from Covid 19 and other respiratory illnesses, according to health experts, are: • Stay home when you are sick. • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands). • Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and those directly caring for people who are sick and by people who are sick (source control). • Get a flu immunization if you have not done so this season.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM CSUEU CONTRACT WITH THE CSU
Emergency Pay - Article 20.37 When the President has declared a state of emergency at a campus, in exchange for the performance of emergency work by bargaining unit employees outside of their normal assignment, and at a time when those employees would, subject to the approval of the University, otherwise have been able to use administrative leave, the following emergency pay will be provided. Non-exempt personnel required to return to or remain at work shall receive emergency pay of an additional one-half (½) hour for each hour worked up to forty (40) hours per week. Hours worked in addition to forty (40) hours per week shall be paid at time and one-half (the inclusion of the phrase "an additional" is for the purpose of clarification only). An exempt employee who is required to work on a day or days declared as a state of emergency at a campus, who would otherwise have been able to use administrative leave, shall receive equivalent informal time off at such time(s) as agreed upon by the employee and the Appropriate Administrator. Health and Safety – Article 23.5
An employee who observes or detects any safety hazard shall report it first to their immediate supervisor or Appropriate Administrator as soon as possible, and may report it to the Environmental Health and Safety Officer.