PTLFC Statement on Reopening and Vaccine Mandate

Issued September 7, 2021

Whereas, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a grave threat to the health and safety of everyone at Rutgers, to their families, and to the surrounding communities that will continue to be disproportionately impacted;

Whereas, contrary to the university’s public statements that “Rutgers is one of the safest places in NJ,” it has not invested in doing all that is necessary to ensure proper ventilation in many older buildings on its three campuses where we will be teaching nor is sufficient physical distancing in the classroom being required;

Whereas, the spread of COVID-19 can be significantly alleviated by universal vaccination against the virus; and

Whereas, President Holloway has acknowledged “as more of us are vaccinated, the safer the Rutgers community will be”; therefore be it resolved that:

  • The PTLFC-AAUP-AFT endorses a vaccine mandate for all Rutgers employees that work in-person on campus, provided that Rutgers recognizes and accommodates all legal and medical exemptions, allows those who cannot, or choose not to, be vaccinated to work remotely, and ensures that there will be expeditious due process for anyone who is non-compliant.
  • The PTLFC-AAUP-AFT also requests the University to establish a policy that requires that all non-Rutgers employees, such as vendors and service employees, be vaccinated for Covid-19 before they can enter any Rutgers property or facility and be prepared to verify that information upon request.
  • The PTLFC-AAUP-AFT defends the right of all employees to take whatever individual or collective steps are necessary to maintain safety, in the event of poor ventilation, should students refuse to wear masks in class, if they become concerned about their own health, or if COVID spread should take a turn for the worse. These steps include canceling in-person classes and switching to remote teaching. The administration must implement a contact tracing and notification process so faculty can take action when a student or other contact is infected.
  • The PTLFC-AAUP-AFT demands that the university provides easily accessible, free COVID testing, vaccinations, and boosters when they become available, for all students, employees, and the surrounding communities, whether unvaccinated or vaccinated, because vaccinated people with breakthrough infections can carry the same viral loads as unvaccinated people.
  • The PTLFC-AAUP-AFT strongly encourages all Rutgers employees to get fully vaccinated, to get booster shots as needed, and to upload their vaccination cards so that we can have accurate data about the extent of compliance.