COVID-19 Letter of Understanding

Dear USFA members,

We are pleased to announce that we have agreed upon a Letter of Understanding with the employer to address certain issues arising from the COVID-19 emergency measures. The terms are as follows, and may be revisited later in the summer depending on how the situation develops. We continue to discuss other issues such as copyright.

1. Assignment of Duties

The deadlines for the 2020 process of assignment of duties as set out in Article 11.1 of the Collective Agreement is extended by one month.

The parties agree to revisit these deadlines as necessary.

 2. Sabbatical and Administrative Leaves for the 2019–2020 academic year

Disruptions due to COVID-19 emergency measures may require employees to make modifications to approved sabbatical plans. Employees must notify their Deans of changes to the original plan.

The inability of an employee to fully complete a sabbatical leave project in the academic year 2019–2020 shall be included in the sabbatical leave report, and shall not draw adverse inferences in subsequent sabbatical leave considerations.

The deadline for expenditure of sabbatical travel expense accounts (Article 22.13) for those currently on leave is extended by twelve months.

3. Voluntary Cancellation of Sabbatical or Administrative Leaves for 2020–2021

Employees may voluntarily cancel an approved 2020–21 sabbatical leave by May 15, 2020 (for leaves commencing July 1, 2020); or by November 1, 2020 (for leaves commencing January 1, 2021). Those employees who cancel their leave and resubmit their sabbatical application form or administrative leave plan of activities in fall 2020 have first claim on the leaves allocated by the Dean. There can be no postponement of the sabbatical by the Dean (Article 20.6.1) by more than 24 months for those who have cancelled their sabbatical due to COVID-19, or for those who have previously had their sabbatical postponed.

The 2020–21 academic year will count as a year of qualifying service for the employee’s next sabbatical leave. If the employee is unable to resubmit an application in the fall for a leave in 2021-22, the issue shall be referred to JCMA for resolution.

4. Extension of Probationary Period

All employees who currently hold a probationary appointment or who are appointed prior to November 1, 2020, are granted an automatic one-year extension to their probationary period.

Renewal of the probationary period may be deferred for one extra year at the employee’s request.

For all probationary faculty under the terms of this agreement, all other available extensions to the probationary period continue to apply.

5. Teaching Evaluations

For renewal of probation, tenure, and promotions decisions, student and peer feedback on teaching in the Winter or Spring and Summer terms can be included in case files for consideration only at the request of the candidate.

 The parties agree to negotiate extending these provisions as necessary.