Faculty advised they may have to teach online, students demand online courses amid coronavirus fears

by Jeanette Giovanniello, Staff Writer

San Diego State officials have warned faculty they may have to teach classes online only in light of coronavirus concerns, an option students seem increasingly interested in.

An online petition started by an anonymous SDSU student is demanding all courses be shifted online, and nearly 2,000 students have signed it in less than a day.

On March 6, an email was sent to faculty advising them to prepare for online class sessions due to the possibility of community members becoming “ill or quarantined,” according to the university’s website. If SDSU decides to make the switch, it will need to offer substitutes for class time and in-person meetings.

“Given that we do not want to be held back from our academic work and achievements, we propose that our university officials could kindly take into consideration changing all in class courses to online courses as we are feeling neglected in terms of our health safety as other universities and academic institutions have already made numerous initiatives across the country,” the online petition says.

Other universities have already shifted their classes online. Stanford University and the University of Washington made this decision effective starting next week, according to The New York Times.

In a campus email sent on Friday, Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa said the university is deep cleaning throughout campus, with a focus on dining areas, campus housing and common areas.

The email urges students and community members not to come on campus if they are sick in efforts to prevent spreading illness. 

“University officials continue to closely monitor the global coronavirus outbreak for additional actions and communications,” Ochoa said in the email. 

Ochoa also said the university has been preparing since January in sight of the outbreaks. 

The recent coronavirus outbreaks have led to other big changes for students studying abroad. SDSU’s spring study abroad programs have been cancelled in Italy, China and South Korea — all areas with level three advisories. 

Students returning home from these and other high-risk countries must follow CDC’s guidelines to self-isolate for 14 days.