Arkansas State University In-Person Attendance

Arkansas State University In-Person Attendance

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Caitlin De Bellis started this petition to ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

My name is Caitlin R. De Bellis. I am a graduate student at Arkansas State University in the Department of Biological Sciences. I am the Vice President of the A-State Science Graduate Student Association, President of The Outing Club, and a teaching assistant.

I have created this petition in an effort to not only gain acknowledgement of the issue at hand, but to mandate immediate action. The issue? The fact that students, instructors and professors are being mandated to return to in-person instruction in Fall 2020. I am aware that some classes benefit from or require hands-on learning, and I am aware that some "low-risk" classes will be performed as a hybrid (half the students will meet online, while the other half will meet in class in an effort to reduce the amount of people in a given space during a given time). This is great and all, but how are students expected to maintain social distancing in communal living situations? Can we even trust ALL students to make the right decisions? The sociopolitical climate in Arkansas tells me that the answer is an astounding "no"-- I would dare say 70% of Arkansans are not wearing masks, social distancing or even acknowledging the severity or existence of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). So, how can we expect the student body to abide by these rules, especially outside of the classroom?

The facts? As of July 3, 2020, Arkansas has 22,075 Covid-19 cases, 279 deaths, and an average of about 900 new cases per day with an upward trend for the foreseeable future (New York Times). People are dying. People are becoming so sick that they're acquiring after-effects that will last a lifetime. I am terrified to step foot into my classrooms to teach and learn. I am terrified for my peers, advisor, professors and students. I refuse to be a sacrifice. I refuse to watch the people I care about become sick, or worse, die because of this lack of compassion in the name of keeping the university well-endowed. With all the time invested in planning for having in-person class attendance for the Fall semester, this time could have been allocated towards finding a more effective means of online instruction. I refuse to attend classes and teach in-person, only to be sent home once students and instructors start becoming sick because by then, it'll be too late.

By signing this petition, you're demanding that: (1) the administration changes their plan of action before the fall semester; (2) the administration establishes a feasible action plan that can be enacted during pandemic circumstances for the present and future; and (3) you will take personal action if the academic circumstances are unchanged by the first day of the Fall semester (August 19, 2020). 

I leave you with this:

Cornell Law School defines "gross negligence" as, "a lack of care that demonstrates reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, which is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people's rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, and can affect the amount of damages".

 

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