Continue remote classes at SFU in Spring 2022

Continue remote classes at SFU in Spring 2022

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SFU Students started this petition to Simon Fraser University

The number of reported cases of COVID-19 continues to rise with the new variant Omicron. This leads to fear in the general public, and the discovery of the new Deltacron variant has worsen the fear. Due to the severity of the pandemic, the decision that Simon Fraser University (SFU) has made in forcing students back to school in person, not giving them a choice, and disregarding their discomfort towards in-person education is not an ethical choice. The reason for this petition is to continue distant education at SFU for at least one more semester.

 

Omicron infects both completely vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, and it is not the only variant that is infecting individuals. Since SFU is not equipped with audio/visual recording systems in every classroom, nor are all instructors willing to record their lectures, with the current decision of SFU, students are forced to go to school despite their discomfort. Students will need to transit to SFU, which means they need to be in contact with strangers that may or may not have COVID. If any one student in the classroom is sick, all other students are at risk. Some students are immunocompromised, or have high-risk family members, but they are forced to put themselves and their family members at risk because SFU is not giving them options to stay home. Once infected, the students will have to either miss classes because of the lack of audio/visual recording systems or the unwillingness of the instructor to record lecture, or to risk spreading the disease.

 

There are also symptoms of COVID like dysregulated sense of smell and taste that even scientists don’t know how long they would last. There are also rising evidence that COVID not only affects the respiratory system but also the central nervous system including the brain (Marshall, 2020). We still do not know how long these damages to the body would last, and what effects the damages might have. But we know that, if more people are infected with COVID, there is a higher chance that COVID will mutate and create a new variant.

 

The stress of the pandemic, and the anxiety caused by knowing we are at risk of getting and spreading a deadly disease is taking a toll on students’ mental health, and will severely hinder their performance. We understand that SFU is following government regulations but bringing back in-person classes at this time where Omicron variant is spreading so quickly isn’t a good time. Students feel helpless knowing that they need to graduate but also not wanting to get or spread the disease. Not giving a student a chance to choose taking classes in person or distant is not ethical. We kindly ask that Simon Fraser University reconsider their decision of bringing back in-person classes. We hope to continue distant education for at least one more semester.

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!