CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The University of Iowa will be starting classes in just a few days, and most of those will be taught online.
The University said all classes that have more than 50 people will be taught virtually and most of the undergraduate classes would also be online. Students and staff can apply to have alternate learning when they return, but some students and staff said they don’t feel safe.
On Wednesday, about 100 people marched to the UI President’s home in Iowa City asking for all learning to be done online.
“My partner and I are worried that we would not have the access to everything we need, and it might end up in death,” said grad student Raquel Wood.
Wood has asthma, which is an underlying condition for COVID 19. For school, she goes into classrooms and helps young students with language and literacy. She said it’s a very hands-on type of learning.
“A lot of students are worried about being out in public and being in multiple public schools with kids,” she said. “They don’t feel like their voices are being heard.”
Those leading the protest said the school needs to be proactive when trying to start in-person learning. They want students to be tested beforehand to learn how many are positive for COVID 19. They also want the number of positive cases in Johnson County to be going down before even considering it.
“To just begin with face-to-face learning without all of these other things in place is just irresponsible,” said COGS President John Jepsen.
COGS is the university’s working graduate union. He worries that bringing students back to campus would have a domino effect on the rest of the community.
“We have not yet opened for classes,” he said. “We could still stop and think about instituting testing, contact tracing, and save some lives.”
Despite the University moving most of the classes online, Jepsen and others said this fight won’t stop until they feel students are safe.
“The plan of just going along seems a little bit unorganized to me,” said Wood.
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