Move JMU Fall 2020 Online
Move JMU Fall 2020 Online
Why this petition matters
Students, parents, alumni, and the community of Harrisonburg:
I am starting this petition to let the voices of the concerned be heard. At this time, there are currently 91,872 confirmed cases in Virginia and rising according to the VDH. Current enrollment of students at JMU sits at 18,905 students. It is not at all possible to ensure the health and safety of the students, professors, admin, and community of Harrisonburg/JMU with an almost full return to campus. According to whsv.com, positive cases are increasing in Harrisonburg. As of August 1st, "This week, there were 3,708 newly reported cases over the weekend from Friday to Monday (at 7.2% positivity), 922 newly reported cases from Monday to Tuesday (at 4.5% positivity), 999 newly reported cases from Tuesday to Wednesday (at 5.6% positivity), 911 newly reported cases from Wednesday to Thursday (at 4.7% positivity) and 984 newly reported cases from Thursday to Friday (at 6% positivity). Harrisonburg county has the highest number of positive cases (with new positive everyday) in the entire Central Shenandoah Health District.
Every semester, there is an outbreak of the flu/otherwise that causes very low class attendance for around a 2-3 week period. I personally attended last Fall and experienced classes that were completely empty due to illnesses across campus. The University Health Center was OVERWHELMED with appointments attempting to help all of the sick students (It took me two weeks to see a Doctor while suffering from the flu and upper respiratory infection). I know I am not the only second semester Senior, with no option for transfer and no option within my major for online courses. I know I am also not the only immunocompromised student attending JMU; getting COVID is potentially life threatening for many people, including myself.
With the uncertain nature of Coronavirus and the evolving information revolving how it spreads, an outbreak would not only be detrimental to the students and staff at JMU and the UHC, but it would put the community of Harrisonburg at severe risk as well. Not only is public health and safety being put at risk, the local economy of Harrisonburg faces another shutdown if an outbreak occurs, putting many family owned business out of business.
The Harrisonburg City Public Schools have already made the smart decision to conduct the fall semester completely online, sparing those needing special accommodation. "On Tuesday, July 21, HCPS made the decision to provide instruction as online only for the first semester of the upcoming school year, except for certain students with special needs. Superintendent Dr. Richards presented to the School Board recent information on rising cases of COVID-19 across the country and in Virginia. He also reviewed concerns around inadequate testing and contact tracing, two tools that experts agree are essential to reopening schools safely. Furthermore, he presented some of the very recent research and data on children and COVID-19, which calls into question widespread conjecture that children do not carry or transmit the disease. With these emerging concerns, the Board agreed with Dr. Richards that HCPS should exercise a pivot that was built into the Return to School Plan to provide online only instruction. This is not the opening that any of us want, but it is the one we are compelled to implement to keep students, staff, and community members safe."
I am asking for your help in letting the voices of the community be heard. No student should have to make the decision between school over their safety/health, yet JMU is forcing our hand. Please consider safety over money, choose online schooling (with special accommodations to international students, those with extenuating circumstances that make them require housing, and those in curriculum that require labs/special programming).
Concerned, currently enrolled, paying student.