Douglas College students launch petition against in-person learning

Jan 9 2022, 9:38 pm

Concerned students from Douglas College have started an online petition to ask that their school reconsider the return to in-person classes on Monday, January 10 as the Omicron wave spreads through BC.

Bachelor of Social Work student Selena Johal spoke with Daily Hive about their concerns.

“Students such as myself are seeing the numbers go up, but it’s difficult to hear that Douglas is expecting us to go back when other institutions are giving their students more time,” she said.

“There isn’t much that we can do as students to keep ourselves safe, we can only take responsibility for our own safety.”

The petition was started by Payal Bansal and it has 650 signatures, aiming to reach 1,000.

“The petition has allowed Douglas students to come together and hopefully it will create a sense of security knowing that others also feel unsafe and are trying their best to protect themselves,” said Johal.

“The omicron variant is highly contagious therefore causing students to feel unsafe,” wrote the petiton’s organizer on its page.

“Students are concerned of potentially contracting the variant at the university as most classes are small, and contact with other students are close, meaning there is no room for students to social distance while learning.”

“Many students like myself live with at-risk family and cannot afford to get sick and miss work. It is the benefit of everyone that we limit in person contact until it is safe.”

Douglas college

Classes were slated to begin on January 4 as per a Douglas College update with in-person learning resuming January 10.

“As the pandemic continues to evolve, the College, along with all other colleges and institutes in the sector, are supporting academic continuity by returning to campus,” wrote Douglas College.

“The Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has reassured the College that based on the experience in B.C, with every variant, including the Omicron variant, transmission in structured settings continues to be uncommon.”

Daily Hive has reached out to Douglas College for more information and will update this story.

Douglas College joins BCIT on a growing list of schools where students have been outspoken about feeling uncomfortable about a return to in-person learning during the Omicron wave.

Outbreaks and hospitalizations are on the rise in the province as the last reported daily case count was more than 3,100.

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