COVID-19: B.C. university teachers push back over lack of vaccination requirement
Dozens of university lecturers are refusing to work in large classrooms this fall over fears of getting COVID-19.
Michael Byers, who holds the Canadian research chair in global politics and international law at the University of B.C. made his intention public on Twitter.
“I’ve just informed my department head that I will not teach 100 students in a lecture room without a vaccine mandate. I’m confident that both the science and the law support me on this. I am willing to teach online, like last year,” he wrote.
Byers made the decision after the province announced its return-to-school plan on Tuesday.
Byers disagreed in a second Twitter post.
“This is so wrong. Give us a vaccine mandate and let us teach properly — talking face to face with students. Without a mandate, our ability to dialogue will be compromised by masks, distancing, and computer screens.”
Byers’ stance was supported by the university’s faculty association, which in a letter to UBC president Santa Ono and board of governors chair Nancy McKenzie dated Aug. 24, reiterated its call for a vaccine requirement for students, faculty and staff.
Failing that, it urged UBC to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all employees, including its members.
The president of the University of Victoria Faculty Association, Lynne Marks, said several dozen lecturers in her group have made requests to teach online during this school year over concerns about COVID-19 transmission.