Simon Fraser University (SFU) Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance - DNA speaks out against return to full in-person instruction

The SFU Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance (DNA) is speaking out against the current SFU plan to return to in-person instruction on January 24, 2022. We believe that this plan is not only ill-advised but deeply ableist and ageist towards those members of the SFU community who have additional risk factors for COVID-19.

SFU has made its decision with no consultation of students and vulnerable community members, inadequate safety measures and classroom supports, and a failure to acknowledge the negative impacts of a full in-person return to student mental and physical health--and has instead advised students, faculty, and staff to prepare to contract COVID rather than avoid it.

We call on SFU to:
-  Immediately change the policy of in-person teaching to provide a mix of in-person, online, and hybrid classes;
- Delay a full return to in-person classes until 90% of SFU community members have access to a third vaccine shot and transmission rates are little to none;
- Support and assist instructors in setting up as many options as possible for their courses, including live streamed lectures, lecture recordings, and counting virtual forms of engagement (e.g. posting on Canvas discussion board) as participation;
- Support and assist instructors in implementing best practices for accessibility and universal design in their courses;
- Expand online course offerings;
- Provide financial aid via bursaries for students facing barriers to technology and students impacted by COVID in their families and households;
- Extend course drop and refund deadlines;
- Extend the tuition payment deadline;
- Increase library loans of laptops and other electronic devices for learning;
- Strengthen protection measures for in-person and hybrid classes, including ASHRAE standard ventilation for all open rooms and closure of rooms that do not meet standards, restriction of class sizes to permit adequate physical distancing, distribution of N95 and equivalent masks, on-campus COVID testing and vaccination;
- Begin a wide consultation with the student body, faculty, staff, and other SFU community members;
- Ensure these consultations prioritize marginalized community members and their representative groups, including disabled and neurodivergent students, BIPOC students, 2SLGBTQIA+ students, international students, students who are parents, students who are essential workers, janitorial staff, and those in high-risk groups for adverse COVID outcomes; and
- Publicize the findings of these consultations and commit to improving or changing policy to support the needs of a diverse community.
Please support our statement by sharing it with your networks!
You can also email / tweet SFU admin urging them to reconsider the full return to in-person classes, and take a more balanced approach:
Dr. Joy Johnson, President? Twitter @drjoyjohnson?
Dr. Catherine Dauvergne, VP Academic?
Dr. Rummana Khan Hemani, Vice-Provost & Associate VP, Students & International?
EDI Council?