The View from My Car

Like most of you, I have been working from home for the past seven months. And like you, working from home has presented a number of interesting challenges to my ability to meet my work obligations. Rural life on Wolfe Island is beautiful, but the internet service does not match the view.  With the advent of COVID, in person meetings moved online, and Zoom and Team meetings became part of my daily working life.  My work commute changed from a pleasant ferry ride to Kingston to a frantic drive across the Island looking for a strong and stable internet connection.  I started to spend my days in the parking lot at the public library, the public school or a friend’s driveway. Eventually the car became too hot and the meetings too frequent. In addition to the internet challenge, the summer months also brought three grandchildren under 6 to our household.  Working from the house or the car was no longer sustainable.

I turned to a tech savvy friend who installed a new internet connection in the apple orchard across the road from our house.  Those of you who met me in my car over the summer may have caught a glimpse of corn and apple trees in the background, as well as an occasional deer, eagle or coyote joining me at my QUFA field office.

The colder weather has presented yet another challenge, a cold car. The answer to this problem is an orchard shed that historically housed wasps, mice and a few tools.  It has been transformed into an insulated workspace – a room of my own so to speak. I look forward to moving in next weekend.

I’m sharing this story to encourage each of you to keep assessing and keep asking for the tools necessary for the successful performance of your Academic duties.   COVID has not gone away, and we have to keep finding ways to deal with the new challenges it presents on a day to day and month to month basis.  Human Rights have been described as a “living tree”. The right to be accommodated is a fluid and moving right, and you should not hesitate to reach out and ask for a new or different accommodation as your family or health needs change. My role as the QUFA Grievance Officer is to guide you through the process.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 Grievance Updates

Health and Safety

If you see someone on campus not following the University and/or public health COVID guidelines: if you are comfortable having a conversation with someone who is not following the protocols, you can do so. For immediate intervention – Call Campus Security and Emergency Services – ext. 36111 For less urgent situations – Contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety – ext. 32999

For concerns regarding the COVID related protocols in your work location or department, you should raise the issue with your supervisor.  If issue is not resolved – Contact the Department of Environmental Health & Safety – ext. 32999

For concerns regarding the COVID related protocols in locations where there are established monitoring processes (such as the ARC or the Libraries, raise your concern with those that are in the monitoring role in those facilities.

Pregnancy and. Parental Leave

Birth Mothers are now entitled to access both Pregnancy Leave with top-up and Parental Leave with top-up . Amendments to Article 33 will be finalized and posted soon. If you have questions in the interim, please contact me directly.

Peggy Smith
QUFA Grievance Officer
smithpe@queensu.ca