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UW students start petition against in-person classes this fall

University of Washington students started a petition demanding the university offer a remote learning option to all students this fall.

SEATTLE — A group of University of Washington (UW) students is demanding that the university offer remote classes to all students this fall.

In-person fall classes started Wednesday as mask-wearing students rushed across the large campus to make it to class on time.

Some students on their way to campus said they were happy they don't have to stare at a computer monitor for long lectures this fall.

"I did not learn very well when I was online for the whole year last year," said an engineering student. 

However, he also acknowledged students who don't feel safe coming to campus should have a choice.

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"I know that the numbers are still really high, and with the delta variant, it is affecting people that even are vaccinated," he said. "I think giving them the option [to be remote] would make a lot more students feel comfortable."

A petition started by UW students explains why some students and staff are so concerned.

Students even refer to science explaining that scientists are predicting a peak in mid-October, which could mean daily death tolls triple.

"I think it would be good to have like a hybrid system for people who aren't as comfortable," another engineering student said in passing.

Students behind the petition also explained that some UW students have pre-existing conditions that could mean serious illness or even death if they contracted COVID-19.

A sophomore student said she is excited to be on campus because her freshman year made it hard to learn and find social groups to connect with.

"I'm super excited, but I also understand if people don't want to come back to school," she said. "I think there should definitely be an online option for people who don't feel safe or comfortable being on campus."

The university is requiring all students and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus, with a few exemptions.

The UW is also requiring everyone to wear masks when indoors, and the campus is offering free COVID-19 testing.

"Online is like not a good way to do school, and we are ready to be back in person," another student said.