Aiyana Cyr 0

UConn Universal Online Class Petition

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There have been many concerns from students over how the University of Connecticut has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Since distancing and masking policies have been dropped, students are packed next to each other in classes with no protection from potentially COVID positive students, which is especially concerning in large classes. This is incredibly unsafe, especially for students with disabilities who may be immunocompromised or impacted worse than others due to said disability. There needs to be online options for classes, whether this be in the form of recorded or remote lectures. This will increase student safety and equal access to education. Even outside of COVID, this needs to happen so that students who have mobility issues or unpredictable health conditions do not have to do extra work trying to get to classes when they are in pain or get lecture notes from professors who often don't respond to emails quickly, which can take a lot of time out of our already busy schedules. If online options are university wide, professors cannot ignore the students with accomodations watching from home, as often a lot of information is left out in the material provided. A survey was sent to everyone with CSD accommodations about opinions on online classes, and a large number of people said it helped them to be able to focus more, take better notes since you could pause lectures, helped with studying because videos could be rewatched, and allowed for students with disabilities to miss class when they encountered issues without missing the material. Concerns were expressed over in-person classes for immunocompromised students and students with attention disorders/neurodivergent students with sensory issues, and students frequently mentioned feeling unsafe in person which impacted their education, mental health, and ability to go to class. Several students mentioned that virtual options actually made them feel like they didn’t have a disability and improved their educational experience. With the way virtual accommodations are being done now, much is missed from class due to professors not wanting to take the time to provide accommodations to a few students. In the survey 80.1% of people indicated they would benefit from virtual classes, and the most popular response was for classes to be live streamed and recorded. We deserve to have an education that meets the needs of our disabilities, and it is clear students support these options. Furthermore, this also helps students without disabilities, as having recorded lectures ensures that if an emergency comes up, they can have access to the full amount of information given in class (many professors in large classes don’t respond to emails, or don’t upload the full content of the lecture on Blackboard). This would also allow for students to study better for exams, because rewatching lectures is a great method, and often professors speak too quickly to write everything down, especially for neurodivergent people. In sum, online class options would benefit everyone, especially students with disabilities. We pay thousands of dollars in tuition each year, and it’s times like these that make students with disabilities feel isolated, alone, and disregarded.

Please sign this petition to ensure UConn’s administration hears the voices of students who want to mandate recorded lectures or online class options.

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