Victoria – Laura Dunens, Campaigns Director, and Sarah Edwards, Senior Campaigner for Change.org Canada are leading a charge to have classes moved to on line during the COVID-19 crisis.
In a media blast sent out on Thursday morning:
Change.org is seeing petitions started by students across Canada, asking schools to follow the lead of many major American universities and move classes online to help halt the coronavirus pandemic. Petitions from concerned students can be found at this page – Coronavirus and Schools – (change.org/covid19schools).
Over 87,000 people have signed the Change.org petition – Close All Schools in Canada Immediately to Stop COVID-19 – (change.org/covid19closure) started by Ryan Hann, from Waterloo, Ontario on behalf of students. The petition states concern for university administration’s “underestimation of the risk” and states that “schools are the modern petri dishes for the virus.”
“This is very scary and we shouldn’t be forced to have that exposure,” said petition signer Surbhi Arora, from Woodbridge, Ontario.
David Becker, who attends Concordia University in Montreal, believes that all classes should be moved online, and started a petition to – Ask Concordia University to Suspend All In-Person Instruction – (change.org/covid19concordia) He cites American universities and colleges that have chosen to move to online classes, including: Princeton University, The University of Washington, and UC Berkeley.
Laurentian University in Sudbury announced yesterday morning that they are immediately moving all classes online due to the spread of COVID-19. The university said it is taking the measure “as a precaution.”
“The best way to stop this virus is by avoiding large congregations of people. With students returning from all sorts of problem areas after spring break, moving online is an excellent precautionary measure. Most importantly, I am being contacted by students who express fear of public transportation and are clamouring for a digital platform alternative,” said petition signer Katja Neves, Montreal.
“Since December we have noticed more and more petitions being started by Canadian students who are fearful about the spread of COVID-19. In the last few weeks, as the situation has worsened in Canada and globally, and with yesterday’s announcement by WHO that this is a pandemic, we have seen a spike in signatures supporting these petitions to move classes online,” said Laura Dunens, Campaigns Director, Change.org Canada.