Spring 2022 – Covid Safety During Omicron

At GMU-AAUP, our positions on COVID mitigation at Mason come from our members. Overall, in our January member survey, our members expressed great support for mandating booster vaccines and indoor masking for all faculty, staff and students. At the same time, over half of GMU-AAUP members felt that the administration’s current policies may not be enough to protect faculty, staff, and students during the height of the omicron surge. Specifically, nearly 60% of respondents suggested that Spring classes should begin online and then move back to in-person instruction when the latest wave passes (see Figure 1 below).  In comments, many faculty also asked for something not measured in our survey: flexibility for individual faculty to move their courses online if they or their family members were at particular risk for complications from COVID. Drawing on the insights of our members, then, we call on department chairs and program directors to offer faculty (and staff) this flexibility. 

Text of Question 1

Currently, the Mason administration plans to start the Spring 2022 semester on time and as planned, with most courses delivered in-person (face-to-face). The administration has also announced that all students, staff, and faculty are now required to get a covid vaccine booster shot and upload documentation to that effect by February 15, 2022. At GMU-AAUP, we are thinking about how best to stay safe with the omicron variant hitting Northern Virginia this month. As a member of the Mason community, what would you like to see happen at the start of the Spring 2022 semester?

  1. Open in-person as planned + booster requirement (administration’s current plan)
  2. During the first two weeks, all classes should be held online. Then, after two weeks, we should move back to in-person courses as scheduled (+ booster requirement)
  3. All classes should be held virtually until the omicron wave passes–the whole semester, if necessary (+ booster requirement)
  4. Other, please specify

Figure 1 – GMU-AAUP survey – January 2022