TAUP’s Concerns Regarding Temple’s Fall Semester Plan

The 2020 Fall semester is just around the corner and while many are excited and eager to get back on campus, some professors are concerned about the administration’s reopening plans.

Temple has been in contact with students and faculty through emails and social media spreading word of the changes to campus life for the semester, which starts on August 24.

Signs and posters have been put all over campus encouraging social distancing and mask usage. However, some members of the Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP) don’t feel like the university is doing enough to prevent an outbreak.

President of TAUP, Steve Newman, spoke about the choices professors had to make when returning to campus.

“They seem to have to choose now between their health, maybe even their lives, and their livelihoods,” Newman said.

TAUP is a collective bargaining unit of more than 1,000 faculty and staff. The organization approved and published a list of demands and changes in order to better protect their members and others from COVID-19. Some of these demands include better health protections for faculty, masks for all students and faculty and no in-person classes for the semester except for those required by law–for instance, classes needed for licensing nurses or for incoming international students.

One of the biggest concerns of TAUP is that there is a lack of flexibility and clarity in the reopening plan as Vice President Leanne Finnigan said.

“What’s missing from everything we have seen in this administration is any sort of threshold or benchmarks that would compel them to change course, compel them to institute stricter measure, compel them to close campus like last semester. That is also a concern that we have as it leaves us in the dark about what to expect,” Finnigan said.

TAUP has had four members included in the reopening teams, representing the more than 4,500 faculty and staff employed at Temple.

Dr. Newman also stated that the North Philadelphia communities have been largely absent from the reopening plans and could be even more at risk as students move-in off-campus.

TAUP is pleased that Temple is improving ventilation in campus buildings and their focus on the on-campus testing site, however, the testing site can only handle about 400 tests a week. A study posted by Yale’s Dr. A David Paltiel stated that you need to test students every 2 to 3 days to prevent and stop a potential outbreak.

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