An Urge for the Continuation of Online Courses at UCR

An Urge for the Continuation of Online Courses at UCR

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Jorge Salazar started this petition to Chancellor of UCR Kim A. Wilcox and

My fellow students, 

Over the past 2 years we have seen that online courses have allowed us the ability to continue our education without having the fear of catching COVID. While online school is certainly not ideal, as it limits our ability to make long lasting and meaningful connections with those around us, it allows us to stay safe - which is the most important part for all of us. 

Right now, as it stands, courses will resume to an in-person format starting week three at UCR, and in order to remain a student, attendance in person is mandatory. This, unfortunately, does not allow for any accommodations for those who have concerns about the Omicron variant. 

What I propose is that the remainder of the quarter must be continued online for the students and staff of UCR. 

Over the last few weeks, it's become increasingly clear that the Omicron variant does not care whether you have received your vaccine or not. Infection rates have skyrocketed over the last few weeks, with our 7-day average of new cases coming to an astounding 553,266 for the week of January 4th - which is more than double that of the 7-day average at the previous height of the pandemic back in January of 2021. 

It has been a long two years, and I understand the feeling of frustration not being able to return to a life of normalcy. 

This pandemic has gone on for far too long, and I fear that it will only continue to get worse, despite our best efforts to immunize, to protect ourselves with PPE, and to socially distance ourselves as best as we can. 

While the CDC guidelines are always important to follow, and the science is not up for debate, the new CDC guidelines with regards to the Omicron variant face scrutiny over their recommendation for isolating only for “5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others” (CDC). The issue is that right now there is a testing shortage present in the United States, and the time between tests and receiving results for COVID can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days, leaving a lot of room for someone who may be sick to unknowingly spread COVID.

While it says that “individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19,” this still leaves a lot of room open for confusion - where someone who has tested positive may not suffer any symptoms and still spread the virus (CDC). Symptoms like fatigue and tiredness are also symptoms some individuals possess and may neglect, which again will defeat the purpose of mitigating the spread of COVID.

The fact of the matter is that this pandemic will only continue to surge due to its highly infectious transmission rate and due to the lack of COVID tests available.3 

Right now, in the midst of this COVID testing shortage, of an increasingly contagious pandemic, and with the worry for the sake of those around us, I strongly encourage you to join the fight to make sure that our voices as students, who are concerned whether or not we will catch or spread this deadly virus, are heard.

A two-week period of online school followed by in person class for the remainder of the quarter is not enough to protect the health of the staff, students, and residents in and around UCR.

Adjusting to an online quarter is easy and doable, it's the adjustment to the loss of those around us that's harder and will forever change us.

CDC Article:

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