Don’t Cover the Facts: MOFA calls for a masked return to campus this fall

Aug 24, 2022 | News

Don’t Cover the Facts: MOFA calls for a masked return to campus this fall

Winnipeg – The evidence is clear: masks are a reliable means for staying safe and saving lives on our campuses and in our communities. The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) is calling on all of Manitoba’s public universities to follow the evidence and the growing number of institutions across Canada in requiring masks on campus. This call comes as 2022 continues to be a deadly year for the pandemic in Manitoba, and across Canada.  

“Faculty deserve a safe work environment, and that means that our administrations should act to protect our faculty, staff, and students,” said Allison McCulloch, MOFA Vice President and a professor of political science at Brandon University. “Mask wearing is a simple step we can all take to keep our campuses safe this fall.”

A growing number of universities across Canada, including Western University, Wilfried Laurier University, and the University of New Brunswick have re-introduced mask requirements for the upcoming fall term. This follows the lead of the University of Manitoba, while Manitoba’s other universities have not re-introduced masking at this time. 

“The science is clear. In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, masks play a crucial role in keeping our universities open,” said MOFA council member and University of Manitoba biology instructor Michael Shaw. “As institutions that follow evidence-based practices, our administrations must act now before it is too late.”

MOFA unanimously passed a motion calling on university administrations to restore masking requirements on campus. The text of the motion is as follows:

“COVID19 remains a highly infectious airborne virus. Even in fully-vaccinated populations, it carries a significant risk of serious illness including the potential for long-term neurological and cardiovascular damage. The classroom, where large numbers of people sit in close proximity for long periods of time, is a high-risk forum for COVID transmission. N95 (or better) masks are scientifically proven to reduce COVID transmission in such settings. Given that recommendations alone are obviously ineffective in promoting universal mask use, the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) strongly recommends that Manitoba’s post-secondary institutions implement mask mandates for the fall term to protect the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.”

“It is clear that our provincial government has chosen to ignore the realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Patrick Noel, a MOFA council member and professor of history at the Université of St. Boniface. “History will not look kindly on those who ignored the science and chose instead to jeopardize the health of our communities.”

MOFA represents over 2,000 faculty and academic staff at the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, Brandon University and Université de Saint-Boniface.