SFU students plan walkout as they return to in-person learning
SFU students are returning to the classroom Monday for the first time this year.
Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, several post-secondary students delayed the start of the spring semester.
Many SFU students were hoping the delay would be even longer; more than 4,300 students signed an online petition calling for remote learning to continue, and now, a walkout is scheduled for Monday morning.
Second-year student Dharshan Dasrath said he is concerned about returning to in-person learning because he needs to take two buses and the SkyTrain to get to campus, and he is concerned about being infected with the coronavirus on public transit or in the classroom.
“It gets very worrisome because I'm OK if I catch COVID, but I interact with my grandma daily, and if something was to happen to her, I think I would be very distraught,” he explained.
These concerns are what the Simon Fraser Student Society has been hearing.
In a recent survey, it found two-thirds of students express some discomfort about returning and roughly 70 per cent of students would like to see some form of virtual learning.
“There's just a general sentiment that it's way too soon to be going back, especially since they don't really know how Omicron spreads in academic settings,” said outgoing SFSS president Gabe Liosis.
An anonymous group of walkout organizers is calling on the university to provide access to N95 masks and rapid tests, introduce hybrid learning and extend the date to withdraw from classes.
“We reject the irresponsible and reckless handling of SFU,” said one of the organizers, who did not wish to be identified.
“It seems that SFU is following the provincial government who wants to ‘return to normal’ as soon as possible, regardless of the deaths and long-term effects of COVID-19.”
Liosis said the walkout organizers’ demands are the same as what the SFSS has been calling for since the start of the fall semester.
“Our calls to action haven't changed. It's just a matter of whether or not the university is going to listen to us, to take in our opinion and convince us the situation that they are trying to put us in is going to be a safe one and not one that's going to put us in unnecessary risk,” he said.
He said the SFSS recently voted to close the Student Union Building to prevent spread.
In an email statement, Dr. Catherine Dauvergne, SFU’s academic vice-president and provost, wrote that the university understands the anxiety and concerns students are experiencing from the pandemic.
“We know that there are a wide range of opinions and preferences amongst our community, but it’s particularly important to note that the majority of in-person classroom and learning settings are not considered close-contact environments for the transmission of COVID-19, based on the layers of protection that are in place, i.e., vaccination, masks, and ventilation,” she wrote.
She added there have been no reports of COVID-19 transmission in the classroom setting since the fall semester.
She said there are options available to students who feel like they cannot return to the classroom.
“We have strengthened supports for students feeling anxiety and we encourage all students in need of support to reach out,” she wrote.
The walkout is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Convocation Mall; participants are able to attend in-person or online.
UBC students will not be returning to in-person learning until Feb. 7 at the earliest.
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
By now it's as predictable as the calls for thoughts and prayers: A mass shooting leaves many dead, and wild conspiracy theories and misinformation about the carnage soon follow. Within hours of Tuesday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, another rash began as internet users spread baseless claims about the man named as the gunman and his possible motives.
Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.
Conservative Party of Canada leadership hopefuls Scott Aitchison, Roman Baber, Patrick Brown, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, and Pierre Poilievre squared off in the second official party debate on Wednesday night in Laval, Que.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
Frustrated onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, witnesses said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a U.S. Border Patrol team.
During an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, adopted siblings Hannah Raleigh of Chicago and Limia Ravart of Montreal met in person for the first time after an ancestry test confirmed the two are in fact related.
A fire in the neonatal unit of a hospital in Senegal has killed 11 newborns, President Macky Sall said. Only three infants could be saved.
The circumstantial evidence against Nathan Carman had been lying in plain sight for years before his surprising indictment and arrest this month on allegations he killed his mother at sea off New England in a plot to inherit millions of dollars.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
Victoria police say three men were arrested after a random bear spray attack occurred on Monday.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.
The City of Calgary has recruited three people from the commercial real-estate sector in an effort to get a new event centre to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome.
After a massacre at a Texas elementary school, some are looking into safety protections against gun violence in Calgary's school system while mental health experts are offering advice for difficult conversations about mass shootings.
Those who haven't received their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
If you visit downtown Edmonton in the next 11 days, you might see some strange and unusual sights. Art installations and musical performances are popping up throughout the area as part of Downtown Spark.
Even though they cheer for opposite teams, a proposal by a Flames fan at Game 4 of the Battle of Alberta received a resounding "yes" from the Oilers-loving bride to be.
The body of a missing canoer has been located in northeast Alberta.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Several of the six aspiring Conservative leaders expressed their opposition to Bill 96 during a French-language debate in Laval on Wednesday night, but others shied away from the opportunity to express their views on the issue.
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government is hinting it may allow more alcohol sales through private channels to boost customer convenience.
Hundreds of residents in River Park South were left without power Wednesday evening after a pole was knocked down on St. Anne's Road.
The Prime Minister toured the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, which is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Saskatoon Police Service says that the use and presence of potent new synthetic opioids known as nitazenes are difficult to track and monitor.
A 48-year-old semi-truck driver was killed in in a rollover near Meadow Lake on Tuesday.
'All it takes is one': Sask. RCMP partner with Washington police to publicize disappearance of Mekayla Bali
Saskatchewan RCMP and the Washington State Patrol announced a collaboration of efforts to locate Mekayla Bali, who was 16-years-old when she was last on April 12, 2016 in Yorkton.
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
As the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s mass shooting moves its public proceedings to Truro, many of the family members affected by the tragedy and their lawyers are boycotting the proceedings over the next week.
Former Chief Anchor Steve Murphy offers a timely perspective on the Mass Casualty Commission and the difference 30 years after the Westray inquiry.
Speaking off-script at an event in Halifax Wednesday morning, Canada's Minister of Public Safety said he was gutted by the latest mass shooting south of the border - the 27th in a school this year alone.
Victoria Day weekend fireworks violations spark new effort to implement a ban.
Two men and one woman are facing charges Wednesday after police say their vehicle struck a London police cruiser and then the suspects fled the scene on foot over the weekend.
OPP and Southwest Middlesex fire are on the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday afternoon involving a tanker truck and a passenger vehicle.
Sault Ste. Marie city council is asking staff to prepare a report on group homes. This comes after Ward 1 Coun. Paul Christian brought forward concerns this week about two such homes.
There are currently a dozen statues at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes property, and all are from the 1950s.
It’s a sign that summer is on the horizon. Farmers’ markets are opening in cities and towns across the north.
New details are emerging about the tragic incident that killed 27-year-old Shelby Humble-Neale on Saturday.
Waterloo regional police say evidence of gunfire found in McLennan Park in Kitchener is connected to another shooting incident in the nearby area of Windflower Drive and Windflower Crescent.
Two 29-year-old men have been seriously injured following a collision in Baden, Ont., with one needing to be airlifted to a hospital outside the region.