With the return to campus well underway for universities in BC, the students at Simon Fraser University (SFU) are calling on university leadership to do more when it comes to health and safety on campus.
The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) provided SFU leadership with a list of demands, including support for hybrid learning, action on mental and personal health through the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL), and additional COVID-19 measures.
The SFSS suggests that the SFU administration is only doing as much as the province is making them do.
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Today marks the first official day where students return to classes on campus at SFU.
Confidence in BC’s approach to reopening universities is at an all-time low, according to the SFSS.
“SFU students are happy to see measures being implemented such as mask mandates for classrooms and rapid testing for the unvaccinated,” said SFSS President Gabe Liosis. “But many students believe that the province and BC universities are fundamentally falling short of implementing measures that we know can ensure our safety this fall.”
The SFSS has been calling on the SFU administration and the government of BC to implement certain measures since June of this year.
“The province’s unwillingness to give universities agency to implement safety measures that go above and beyond provincial guidelines will inevitably lead to the spread of COVID-19 in the community that could have been prevented,” said a statement from SFSS.
The top priority for the SFSS is an adjustment to teaching methods.
Students want support for hybrid teaching methods, mandating recorded lectures, and removing mandated in-person participation marks. They want SFU administration to support and accommodate any marginalized student, whatever their needs may be.
“If students are given the choice to take a vaccine or not, students should be given the choice to attend in-person classes or not – hybrid models should be implemented and prioritized,” said Vice President of Equity & Sustainability Marie Haddad.
One of the demands of the SFSS is a requirement for social distancing in lecture halls.
They’re hoping that SFU can provide COVID-19 testing on campus for all community members, including vaccination clinics on campus, and mandating masks and vaccines for all community members.
Improved air circulation in classes, as well as thorough sanitization protocols, have also been requested.
— SFU Student Central (@SFUcentral) September 8, 2021
Today marks the first time in 18 months that SFU students have been able to return to campus.