A Change.org petition circulating in the Boston College community calls for the University to temporarily move all classes online in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. The temporary suspension of face-to-face class meetings would serve as a preventive measure to protect students and prevent disruption of the “usual study process,” the petition says. There currently have been no reported confirmed cases of the coronavirus at BC.
At the time of publication, Change.org listed 2,417 signatures on the petition.
The petition posted an update Monday night with a screenshot of an email from Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore saying that in-person classes will continue for the time being but that online classes are being discussed as an option.
“Online/remote class instruction for the entire student body is not currently part of our response plan. We will continue to discuss this as an option,” Moore said.
In an email to The Heights, Moore confirmed the validity of the email and added that “school continues” for the time being.
The petition cites various universities that have put in place live-stream classes in response to the rapid spread of the virus—the University of Southern California, Stanford University, the University of Washington, and Seattle University. Over 20 major universities in the United States had canceled face-to-face classes as of Monday morning, according to NPR.
Although the University has not moved classes online yet, various professors have altered their course policies and schedules in response to the outbreak, according to emails obtained by The Heights. Some professors have temporarily substituted in-person classes with online sessions, using either the Panopto Recordings feature on Canvas to post pre-recorded lectures or live video chat programs such as Zoom to hold class sessions online.
Other professors have altered their attendance policy so that students who are concerned they may have contracted coronavirus or those who are experiencing anxiety over the risk of contracting it will not be penalized.
Update (3/10/2020, 2:45 p.m.): This article was updated to include Joy Moore’s response to the petition. The number of signatures on the petition has also increased since this article’s initial publication.