A Change.org petition to “Get Finals Moved to Online” because of coronavirus has gained nearly 7,000 signatures online. However, President Jeffrey Armstrong affirmed Thursday, March 10 Cal Poly’s in-person finals will continue next week amid coronavirus concerns.
“I can’t assure you that we won’t do something during finals, but it would take some cases that would show up,” Armstrong said. “We do not plan to proactively go virtual, that is not in the cards from Cal Poly’s perspective. We are a low-risk community at this point.”
The petition was allegedly started by Cal Poly student “John Smith” on Monday, March 9. A goal of 7,500 signatures has been set.
“Due to the overwhelming amount of illnesses being spread, and the growing threat of coronavirus (COVID-19), the wellbeing of us students are in danger,” the petition reads. “Therefore, we believe that our finals should be moved to online immediately, or canceled, to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.”
Some students who have signed the petition, such as business administration junior Jordan Vanucci, said they feel the implementation of online finals will help ease students’ minds and allow them to study in peace.
“I think [online finals are] a good idea, given that many schools have already shut down and moved to an online format,” Vanucci said. “It’s better safe than sorry.”
While there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Luis Obispo County, some students said they are worried about going to class, the library or other concentrated public areas.
“I signed because I think it’s best for the overall health of the community,” Vanucci said. “Not that I personally worry too much about me getting the virus, but I think if one student or community member were to get it, our campus would be vulnerable in a sense.”
While many students stand behind the petition, there is a percentage of campus who see downfalls to online finals.
“I worry that if the school sees those who signed the petition’s concerns as valid, that we will transition fully online for not only finals, but spring quarter classes as well,” wine and viticulture sophomore Paige Duncan said. “I came here because I wanted the interactive, learn by doing experience, and if transitioning into online classes or finals isn’t for actual concerns, I personally see it hindering my learning experience.”
Other students who chose not to sign the petition, such as construction management senior Avery Spector, said they feel that because the virus does not pose a current threat to Cal Poly’s community, online finals and classes are not necessary.
“Personally, I want to take advantage of my last quarter and learn among my friends rather than doing online classes due to a sickness that has killed less people than the number of people who die daily from drug overdose, drugs, drunk drivers, school shootings, etc.,” Spector said.