TAUP members vote in favor of online classes for spring

The union cited a model that predicts more than 378,000 COVID-19 deaths nationwide by January in their decision.

About 80% of the Temple Association of University Professionals voted in favor of the university continuing online learning through the spring 2021 semester. | ALLIE IPPOLITO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Nearly 80 percent of Temple Association of University Professionals, the union which represents approximately 2700 faculty members, demanded Temple University continue to hold classes online through Spring 2021 to further prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a release from the union.

Seventy nine percent of members believe the university should continue online learning with very limited or no in-person learning at all, according to the poll. Twelve percent support some return to in-person and on-campus work while two percent voted for a complete return to in-person classes.

Temple has yet to announce its plans for the spring semester.

“As we consider the best path forward for the Spring semester, Temple University will continue to focus on the academic experience, health and safety of our entire community: students, employees and neighbors,” wrote Raymond Betnzer, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.

TAUP similarly opposed the university’s reopening in the fall, with approximately 92 percent of members feeling the risks of coming back to campus outweighed the benefits then, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

“The safest way forward is to reduce in-person classes to essentials only and while we wish they had started there, we’re glad they made that move,” Steve Newman, the president of TAUP and an associate English professor, said, referring to the university’s decision to move classes online during the fall. “We think the lesson learned here is [online classes] are the safer model.”

The union cited the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s COVID-19 model, which projects more than 378,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by January 2021, in its members’ decision.

TAUP also believes that continuing online coursework in the spring would allow faculty, staff and students to plan ahead for the coming months, according to the release. 

Newman is hopeful the university will make plans that prioritize safety for employees and students, he said.

“We will do what we need to do to protect the safety of our members,” he said. “If the university would decide to not learn from the fall we would figure out ways of protesting it and pushing back however we can.”

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