Students petition to extend virtual classes


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Weber Arch. The Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education granted the Northwestern Emeriti Organization the Innovation Award for their “mini-courses.”

Emma Rosenbaum, Assistant Campus Editor

Students started a petition demanding Northwestern extend virtual classes beyond Wildcat Wellness, one week after the University reported its highest number of positive COVID-19 cases.

The University plans to resume in-person activities Tuesday. The petition has more than 50 signatures as of Jan. 13 from both undergraduate and graduate students, including Northwestern University Graduate Workers.

The petition cites that the campus activity level is orange, meaning there are high levels of transmission on campus. NU’s positivity rate for the first week was 5.54%. According to NU’s procedural framework, an orange activity level means a shelter-at-home for students and likely a two-week pause on in-person activity.

The petition also said the University is providing insufficient masking for students. Surgical masks, which are provided throughout campus, are also inadequate protection for classes longer than an hour, the petition said.

Residential Services announced in a Thursday email that NU would provide two KN95 masks “for each student.”

“Students and faculty should not be forced to risk their physical health to attend in-person classes when Wildcat Wellness has proven that classes can proceed virtually,” the petition reads.

The signees demand classes remain virtual until the number of positive cases decreases to where roommates no longer need to be assigned at Quarantine and Isolation Housing.

The petition calls for NU to provide at least seven N95 or K95 masks a month to students, faculty and staff, along with free take-home tests. It also asks NU to create a hybrid option for classes.

“Northwestern can and must employ its many resources to prioritize the safety of its students,” the petition said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EmmaCRosenbaum

Related Stories:
NU to start in-person instruction Jan. 18 after record number of COVID-19 cases
NU clarifies Quarantine & Isolation Housing roommate assignments policy
NU reports highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in a week, with more than 900 new positive test results