As Young People Drive Infection Spikes, College Faculty Members Fight For The Right To Teach RemotelyBreaking News
tags: higher education, public health, COVID-19
As a new academic year approaches, colleges and universities across the country say they are taking every precaution to safely bring their campuses back to life. But with coronavirus cases surging, especially among young people, college faculty members are demanding the right to teach remotely this fall — no questions asked.
Thousands of professors, increasingly rattled by reopening plans that they say place tuition revenue above their well-being, have signed petitions calling for more flexibility to teach remotely. They argue they should not be forced to disclose medical information or make a case for keeping themselves and their families safe in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more than 125,000 Americans.
“Football players have the right to attend classes remotely,” said Sarah Townsend, an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Pennsylvania State University. “Yet faculty . . . are being expected to expose themselves to contagion with no more guarantee than a very sloppy plan.”
Nearly 1,100 faculty members across 24 Penn State campuses have signed a letter urging the administration to give them autonomy to teach remotely without requiring health records for justification. Faculty members at several other schools have made similar appeals, including the University of Notre Dame, Appalachian State University, North Carolina State University, Boston University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In Virginia, professors at James Madison University, George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University have signed similar petitions.
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