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University of Ottawa students worried about COVID call for lectures to be posted online

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Students are back on campus and post-secondary schools like the University of Ottawa, don’t require masks in class. Some students, who are worried about getting COVID, want more lectures available online. 

Alexandra Whiteduck is a fourth-year student at uOttawa. She says she is nervous being shoulder to shoulder with strangers at school, but has no choice.

"It’s very packed in class. It’s ridiculous," Whiteduck says. "I’ve had to request professors to actually change rooms because there is not enough space for students."

Masks and vaccines are no longer mandatory on the University of Ottawa campus, making some students worried about even showing up for class. Some lectures are posted online to give students a chance to stay away, but not all classes.  

"A lot of classes are offering bimodal, but a lot of classes are not," Whiteduck says. "So you do not have the option to either go or not go. Classes are not recorded so you have to be in-person."

The president of the university’s students' association, Armaan Singh, is now calling for all classes to be posted online, to allow students who are sick to still learn from home.

"No student should have to choose between their health and wellbeing, and their education," Singh says. "With the consequences of our university’s inaction of implementing a mask mandate and having accommodations for students to be to able access lectures in an online platform, is that students are now showing up to campus sick with COVID and putting their fellow colleagues at risk."

In a statement, the University of Ottawa says, "The health of all members of our community is paramount, and wearing a mask in the classroom is very strongly recommended. Students who are experiencing COVID symptoms should self-isolate. 

"We strongly recommend that professors record classes and share lessons with those who can’t make it to class."

 Many students agree that having the option to stay home can help keep everyone safe. However, some feel pressure not to miss class, forcing them to show up even when they shouldn’t.

"I definitely think the bimodal services for classes is 100 per cent necessary," says third-year student, Ieronhenehtha Lazore. "A lot of people are really worried about the amount of people in classes and mask mandates on campus, and even vaccination mandates. So I think there is a general concern."

"I don’t think it’s as big of an issue as it was this time last year," says second-year student, Reilly Lennox. "But there’s definitely still a risk and it’s better to play it safe sometimes."

Being in her fourth year, Whiteduck has experienced every form of pandemic education. Now she says having options would be the best option.

"If we’re paying so much in tuition, why aren’t these options available to us," Whiteduck says. "Why can’t we be bimodal. Why can’t we choose either to be in-person, or at home."

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