Memorandum of Agreement - Facemasks

(September 20, 2021)

View PDF Version

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

This MEMORANDUM Of AGREEMENT is entered into by and between the Board of Higher Education (the "Board") and the Association of Professional Administrators /MTA/NEA (the "Association") (collectively, the "Parties") on the dates written below.

WHEREAS, the Parties recognize that the global coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented health and safely concerns;

WHEREAS, the Parties met to discuss and resolve their COVID related health and safety concerns following the spread of highly contagious COVID variants.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Parties agree as follows:

  1. At a state university that institutes a mask-wearing policy, all unit members, regardless of vaccination status, shall wear a mask that complies with CDC guidelines over their mouth and nose in non-private spaces inside campus buildings, indoor facilities and university transportation. Should circumstances change that result in the expansion or reduction of a mandatory mask requirement at a university, that university shall provide five (5) days' notice of such change to the unit members at that university and to the Association, and shall provide the Association the opportunity to ask questions regarding such changes.

  2. Unit members seeking exemption from wearing a mask due to medical reasons shall seek accommodation through the university's ADA process.

  3. At a state university where a mask mandate is not in effect or where the requirement has been reduced, unit members may post, in their immediate, personal work space, signage printed on University letterhead, stating "Masks are requested within this area." "Immediate, personal work space" shall refer to a private office or cubicle, but will not include a classroom, lab or common area.

    If a unit member posts this signage in their work space and a person refuses to wear a mask, the unit member may instruct the person to don a mask or leave the member's work area. If the person refuses to wear a mask and the unit member feels unsafe, the unit member shall inform their supervisor and appropriate university personnel, and may remove themselves to a safe distance.

  4. All state universities that have instituted a mask-wearing policy shall have available masks for those who have forgotten or lost their masks, or whose masks have been damaged. In addition, employees may request heightened PPE (such as face coverings, face shields, gowns), if their job duties require such equipment in accordance with state or federal guidance or regulation.

  5. At a state university that institutes a mask-wearing policy, unit members are requested to inform students and office visitors that they are required to wear a mask, but shall not be expected to enforce the requirement unless the unit member is addressing a subordinate or exercising the authority of their position. If a student or visitor refuses to wear a mask after being informed of the mask-wearing policy by the unit member, the unit member shall instruct the student or visitor to leave the member's work area. If the student or visitor refuses to comply, the unit member shall inform a supervisor and appropriate university personnel and remove themselves to a safe distance from the student or visitor. Student refusal to wear a mask will be treated as a student conduct violation and be addressed through the code of conduct mechanisms at the university. The university will work with the local APA chapter to address situations in which APA members may be on campus working in close proximity with people who have been approved for an accommodation of not wearing masks.

  6. Acknowledging the importance of wearing masks, the Association agrees that the employer will progressively impose discipline upon a unit member who is not exempted and who does not comply with this or any other requirement to wear a mask. An oral warning will be imposed by the supervisor in consultation with Human Resources for the first instance of a unit member being observed without a mask. The Local APA Chapter President shall be informed. In the event that a report is made to the universities, alleging that a unit member has violated the university's mask policy, the unit member will be notified of the allegation, and given an opportunity to respond to the allegation. A written warning will be imposed for the second infraction. A one-day suspension will be imposed for the third infraction. A two-day suspension will be imposed for the fourth infraction. Upon a fifth infraction the unit member will be subject to discipline under Art. VIII of the APA Agreement. The university human resources department is responsible for maintaining records of all infractions of this MOA.

  7. The state universities shall endeavor to ensure ventilation in workspaces meets ASHRAE standards where practicable.

  8. The state universities will allow full-time unit members access to the sick leave bank described in the Parties' collective bargaining agreement because of their quarantine or diagnosed illness from the COVID-19 virus or to care for parents, children, and spouses quarantined or diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. Access to such sick leave bank shall be governed by the relevant terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

  9. This MOA shall expire on August 31, 2022.

WHEREFORE the Parties hereto hereunder set their signs and seals as follows:

BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Michael J. Murray Esq.
Director of Employee and Labor Relations

James F. Birge
Chair, Council of Presidents

ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ADMINISTRATORS/MTA/NEA

Sherry Horeanopoulos 
President, Association of Professional Administrators