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Utah Valley University censured by teachers over 'mismanagement of COVID-19'

Utah Valley University
Posted at 11:54 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 09:37:39-05

OREM, Utah — Two teachers groups at Utah Valley University have written a letter of censure to the school's administration regarding its handling of COVID-19.

The American Federation of Teachers and the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors directed the censure to President Astrid Tuminez and other administrators "for countenancing unsafe and unhealthy conditions in work and learning spaces shared by students, staff and faculty."

The groups say the university's COVID-19 protocols are "merely weak, unenforceable recommendations that seem tailored to accommodate non-masking and unvaccinated individuals."

In the letter, the teachers and professors allege that they had no input into the development and implementation of the protocols, and are now "scrutinized" for modifying courses due to the university's deficiencies in testing and classroom monitoring.

"Despite the administration's persistently optimistic messaging, we cannot rely upon hope and resilience alone," the letter reads.

The teachers call for the school to return to mandatory masking on campus, along with the ability to go online for remote learning "without fear of retaliation."

"As dedicated faculty and staff, we take seriously our responsibility to provide our students with adaptable instructions and quality education throughout this ongoing pandemic," the teachers said. "Our work depends, however, on our administrators acting on their responsibility to provide a safe environment for our community."

UVU issued the following statement in response, Monday evening:

"At Utah Valley University, we work closely with health experts to rigorously protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff within the confines of state law. We consistently encourage all to follow COVID-prevention protocols, and like many other universities, mandated vaccinations for Spring Semester with some exemptions. Free testing, vaccines, and booster shots are also available to students and employees on campus, and we are seeing record numbers of our UVU community being tested and vaccinated."