Emergency fund offers employees one-time aid of $250 or $500 to assist with Covid-19 impact on finances.
By Rocky Garza Jr.
The Faculty Senate, led by President Olivia Sandoval, highlighted a letter the senate collaborated on with Staff Senate, led by President Sabrina Macal-Polasek, in their Feb. 12 meeting via Zoom.
Sandoval said the letter proposes faculty members be allowed to sell to the Alamo Colleges District a 40-hour work week, with one cashout in the spring and another in the fall semester, which would total 80 eligible hours.
Dr. Robert Vela, president of San Antonio College, presented the proposal last month to the Strategic Leadership team, which is composed of the chancellor, vice-chancellors and college presidents. There has been no response.
Sandoval said staff members and administrators can sell vacation days and sick leave. Faculty members don’t receive vacation days but accrue personal and sick days.
Vela suggested to Sandoval that Faculty Senate collaborate with Staff Senate to get some insight on the process.
“Their (nine-month) contract ends in mid-May and don’t have to physically work in the summer. They, in essence, have the whole summer off compared to everyone else who has to work,” Vela said.
He explained that faculty are off about four weeks over the winter break, while the staff’s break is two weeks.
Vela said if faculty or staff members are seeking emergency assistance because of the Covid-19 pandemic or the recent arctic blast that closed the colleges for a week, they can apply to Family Helping Families Emergency Fund that provides a one-time payment of $250 or $500 to help someone meet an immediate expense.
To apply, visit Alamo Colleges Emergency Relief Fund Application.
Other topics on the agenda included a letter that was written by the Faculty Senate last semester to Dr. Jothany Blackwood, vice president of academic success, and Vela that proposed a decrease in the percentage of people who would return to campus in the first wave.
In the fall, this college had plans to implement a 25 percent return to campus by Feb. 15 for staff, faculty and students.
However, as the pandemic worsened in San Antonio, the district remained virtual. The district is in Level 5 protocols, which only allows 5 percent of the community on campus.
Sandoval said Faculty Senate proposed that this college return at a 10 percent rate because faculty have health and safety concerns.
“We appreciated the concerns from the Faculty Senate and are taking in account everyone’s feedback and continue to monitor the situation,” Vela said.
“In the future, we are hopeful to eventually return to 100 percent face-to-face, but I’m not saying this means we’re going to rush to get to that number. We plan to take all the precautions, look at data, and listen to the San Antonio Metro Health District to ensure we have our staff, employees and students feel safe and comfortable.”
Vela said the goal is to return to at least 25 percent this summer and increase to 50-75 percent in fall if pandemic conditions allow.
“We’re planning to survey our students to see if they are wanting to come back, or what percentage want to come back,” Vela said.
“We don’t want to misstep and try to go back to 100 percent and then 50 percent of students don’t want to come back at all. We’re being very thoughtful and careful using data, faculty input and student input to determine the right modalities for our students to meet their academic needs, but we want to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.”
Sandoval said in the March meeting, the senate will address elections, and she will determine who is eligible for re-election and those ending three-year terms.
The next Faculty Senate meeting will be 12:30-2:30 p.m. March 19 via Zoom. To join, visit https://alamo.zoom.us/j/97684137683.
For more information on the senate, visit: https://www.alamo.edu/sac/FacultySenate/.