COVID19 and the 2020 Fall Semester at VT

In a series of video chats, the Executive Board of the GSA made available their working document regarding expectations, demands, and concerns held by graduate students in regards to the re-opening of VT for the 2020 Fall Semester.

Please click here for the pdf of the document referenced in these calls.

In summary, the issues raised focused on:

  1. PPE availability and issuance to graduate students in their research, teaching, and related duties
  2. Teaching duties related to in-person labs, and the COVID-19 related reduction in the number of students in those labs, and the number of sections that will now be demanded of the students.
    1. How will cleaning these labs once a week help protect the health and safety of the GTAs responsible for teaching in those labs?
  3. Accessibility issues for those with visible and invisible disabilities and medical issues.
    1. Privacy for those who have medical issues preventing them from wearing masks.
    2. Health protection and transmission prevention for the most vulnerable.
  4. What remote options are there for graduate students? Will they be allowed to self-select without damaging their graduate student careers?
  5. The process currently outlined to gain remote access requires necessarily expensive and time-consuming office visits with doctors. How will this be remediated?
  6. The Graduate School putting forward standard policies, practices, procedures, and expectations for all Colleges, Schools, Departments, and Programs in which graduate students are enrolled and in which graduate students are employed.
  7. Upon whose shoulders does the policing of adherence to University policies regarding COVID-19-related behavior modifications lie?
  8. When will GTAs receive direction in terms of how to prepare their classes for the Fall? Will they be paid for these efforts?
  9. The University should (during the pandemic) make all on-campus buildings swipe-access only, with the related programming necessary for differing needs for differing times of day, to reduce incidental foot tracking and to supplement contact tracing.
  10. How will the standard assistantship 20 hour contract work in this new world?

Please click here for access to the YouTube video of the call held on June 3, 2020.

Please click here for access to the YouTube video of the call held on June 5, 2020.

There are no recordings for the calls scheduled for June 10 or 12, 2020. The June 10 call was cancelled due to lack of participation, and there was an unexpected technical issue with the June 12 call video recording.