The manner in which faculty interact with students for 95% of online instruction is divided almost evenly between synchronous (183) and asynchronous (154). Only 17 respondents reported having any face-to-face intersection with students. Of these, 14 said that wearing masks was mandatory and only 11 said that social distancing of the desks by 6ft was imposed. 8 out of 13 respondents teaching face-to-face indicated that the rooms were cleaned by staff between classes, while the other 5 indicated that they and their students were required to sanitize the classrooms. Of the 17 teaching face-to-face, 12 reported that the instructors were left to enforce compliance with regulations and three responded that campus police or “other campus procedures” were there to enforce compliance. According to one of these respondents:

“I was teaching in a program that moved off-campus. The people in charge don’t work for the college and were not taking proper precautions, which the college was unaware of. I complained; the situation improved, but only for a few weeks. I will not be teaching in this program until this changes.”

The reluctance on the part of faculty to teach face-to-face reflects the data that shows 56% of respondents feel or know that they are at a high risk of complications of COVID-19 for either health or age reasons. Of the faculty who are actually teaching face-to-face, 66% felt that it was not at all safe for them to be teaching face-to-face, 20% felt reasonably safe and only 14% said they felt completely safe. When asked if they would accept face-to-face assignments, of the 250 respondents who answered this question, 52% said they would not accept such an assignment, 22% would accept it if they felt adequate safety protocols were being followed and, sadly, 25% said that would be forced to work, even without adequate safety measures in place, for financial reasons.  Said one respondent:

“I would not feel safe if I had to meet/serve students face to face. I would likely have to resign due to safety concerns for me and my family.”

The impact the current situation will have on part-time faculty varies from little to disastrous:

“I think my career will be impacted; I recently graduated with a second degree so I have some back-up, but it’s possible that eventually, I will not be able to continue teaching due to all the potential budget cuts, and then I will have to see if I can get a job doing something else.”

Only 31% of the respondents felt that their careers will be minimally impacted by the pandemic and that their careers will continue normally very soon, while 28% planned to continue teaching but knew that they would need to seek employment income outside academia to survive. A full 36% were resigned to leaving academia completely and having to look for other careers or retire earlier than they had planned.  Many respondents expressed their fear of losing their academic careers:

“It is undeniable that I will need to find a full-time job, outside of the ruinous academic system, that actually appreciates and supports my contribution. I am heartbroken at this, but feel the institution’s utter exploitation of adjuncts offers nothing in terms of career opportunities.” 

“The uncertainty about where education is going and declining enrollments is making planning for life events difficult. I am very worried.”

“I may have to retire sooner than planned, … forced into it because I’m in two risk groups.” 

“I had hoped to obtain a full-time position by this time but there are now no tenure-track openings. This has drastically set back my career goals and impacted me financially.”

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