Keep GMU In-Person and Equitable

Keep GMU In-Person and Equitable

21 have signed. Let’s get to 25!

Why this petition matters

Started by Caroline Boyd

 GMU has been an example among many other universities across the nation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is not the time to back down as a model of how to function in-person while continuing to be safe. Many universities in the DMV are taking extreme and unscientific precautions in an effort to fight against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, including moving classes online until cases of COVID-19 begin to decrease. Students are more vulnerable to the effects of extreme precautions than the virus itself. 

 For mental health, a study from Ulster University and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology found that depression in students increased from one in five students to one in four students from September 2019 to September 2020. A study from Boston College found that rates of anxiety and depression increased by six times from 2019 to 2020. Instead of providing extra mental health resources for students, universities should be preventing the cultivation of more mental health issues among students. In academics, students in an in-person setting report being more focused, having a more personalized learning experience, and better interpersonal development- all essential components of a valuable education. Those components which students go to GMU for are drastically reduced in an online environment. 

 While the rate of COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the death and hospitalization rate remain stagnant, indicating that the virus is increasingly less fatal. Patterns also suggest that the Omicron variant which is dominating the DMV and the USA is the least severe strain of COVID-19, especially among 18-29 year olds (the vast majority of college students). According to a study from Stanford University from September 2021, months before the presence of Omicron in the USA, the survival rate of COVID-19 among 20-29 year olds was 99.98%. It is presumably higher now because of present patterns.

 If GMU cares about its students and equitable learning opportunities, the option to function in person for the rest of the academic year will remain. GMU is great at accommodating for students who are not yet comfortable returning to in-person learning, offering an online section for almost all classes and giving them accessibility to work with professors virtually. The vast majority of students are not comfortable being online and are not high-risk for COVID-19. They should not have to face the consequences of irrational provisions and begin the year suffering mentally and academically. Keep GMU In-Person and Equitable in 2022.


  • Depression: Rates among students increased during Covid-19, study suggests - BBC News
  • COVID-19's toll on mental health (
  • How In-person Classes Help Student Development - Student Assembly
  • An Omicron oddity: unlinking case rates and death rates - STAT (
  • Omicron will cause more infections but fewer hospitalizations, researchers say : NPR
  • Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 in community-dwelling populations with emphasis on the elderly: An overview (
21 have signed. Let’s get to 25!