We request the Medical University of Varna to change the method of teaching to all-online

We request the Medical University of Varna to change the method of teaching to all-online

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Students of MU-V started this petition to Medical University of Varna

Due to the wide and continuing spread of the dangerous COVID-19 virus and Medical University of Varna being the University with students from all around the world, including students from most infected countries with the COVID-19 virus, we Medical University of Varna students see that it is vital for us to take precautions for our health and wellbeing as it is a priority, especially at this critical time. We do not see that it is fit to engage in in-person training that could put us potentially at risk of getting infected, given that we are in a compact campus and not all students are likely to take this matter as seriously as they should be. As we know COVID-19 virus is highly infectious and there will be risks, nonetheless of the university’s pandemic safety measures.

Given that we do not want to be held back from our academic work and achievements, we propose that our university officials could kindly take into consideration changing hybrid training to all-online courses as we are feeling neglected in terms of our health safety as other universities and academic institutions have already made numerous initiatives across the country. Countries all around the world are either delaying school attendance or finding a more flexible approach such as changing the class methods of teaching to online methods. Now we comprehend if all-online training would be only possible for years with preclinical subjects with few practicals, as upper-year students would have practical training mainly. However, an all-online education will be objectively the safest method of education. This change will not only help our students, but will ease the worry of our parents, family, and even faculty. The potential for severe outcomes from COVID-19 is high and unpredictable. Infections in students can also lead to infections among vulnerable people on campus, including faculty members and staff, and in the wider community outside the campus. We suppose, nor teacher or student, or anyone should be taking risks continuing on-site during life-risking circumstances.

Xenophobic violence and discrimination linked to the Covid-19 pandemic: Furthermore, we believe there are wider issues regarding the current epidemic situation, such as corona-related racism. Unfortunately, there have been several occasions where our foreign students have been attacked and ashamed, being the target of assaults and verbal harassment by the local people, although such thing was not common in Varna before the pandemic. We DO NOT feel safe to return before the current epidemic situation calms down further. If there are continued xenophobic violence or discrimination, we do not hesitate to contact the higher authorities of Bulgarian state and foreign rights defending foreign institution, such as Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. 

Number of novel coronavirus deaths and cases worldwide as of September 4, 2020: As of September 4, 2020, the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had spread to six continents, and almost 873 thousand people have died as a result of being infected by the virus. There are 16,775 officially confirmed cases spread throughout all Bulgarian provinces, with a total of 658 deaths . France, India, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic, and Japan are now experiencing a second wave of infection. The United States and Italy have been a coronavirus Hotspot throughout the whole pandemic. Today, India is the country with the fastest increasing rate of infection. A significant number of the international students of our university would be returning back from these countries or have likely chance of visiting them. 

As we approach the start of our new school year and as people start entering the country from different places, cases in Bulgaria have started to increase after their decline once again. We could only speculate what could potentially happen when people start entering the closed buildings. The ministry of education has given its orders and guidelines to the Bulgarian preschool and school education systems, but they have given the freedom for universities to decide, alongside the recommendation of the training process conducted at a distance in an electronic environment. Ultimately, we are one of the exceptions that have to be seriously considered as students are from all around the world from high transmission countries, hence INTERNATIONAL university.

Uncertainty with flight companies in an ever changing situation and rising expenses: We students are becoming more and more nervous, also because we are not provided with sufficient updates from our university. We fully acknowledge the difficulty of adjusting the system in uncertainty, but we must be informed in advance, especially due to the fact that we are flying from different countries, some from extremely long distances. That being the case, we are concerned about factors such as the cost of flights, rent, and possible additional expenses caused by PCR tests or quarantine required by many airports today.

Real estate crisis and increasing rent expenses: Moreover, many students have missed the time they should have signed the renewal of their contract, as of indefinite statement from the university. These students are now forced to either move all of their belongings out of their current apartment or to get a new apartment on a much higher price in the effect of the economic crisis led by coronavirus outbreak, which has affected the real estate state sector.
Additionally, the same case regarding the delayed response from the university applies to the flights to Varna.

Without a doubt, in-person training would yield benefits and provide students the best quality of education. However, as we know, this pandemic is not only far from over but is entering a devastating and historically unprecedented phase. We are feeling emotionally distressed, frightened, anxious, and hesitant to leave our homes and attend a compacted environment which for some us, is affecting our academic performance. We sincerely hope that you will choose to preserve the welfare of the students and faculty, as well as the members of the broader communities that you serve. Please consider this request as the situation has surpassed from being a local virus to a global health hazard that could potentially put our lives at risk. We would appreciate this to be taken into serious consideration. 

If we do not meet your understanding, we are collectively ready to take it to the respected higher institutions of the Bulgarian state and foreign rights defending foreign institutions.



Sources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1093256/novel-coronavirus-2019ncov-deaths-worldwide-by-country/

https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3365

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Bulgaria

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/coronavirus-more-european-countries-shutter-university-systems

https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/06/30/there-is-no-safe-way-reopen-colleges-this-fall/%3foutputType=amp

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