1,200 sign petition urging Alcorn State University not to resume in-person classes

Alcorn students petition not to resume in-person classes

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - August 21st, in-person classes resume at Alcorn State University.

Students say they must move into the dorms a week earlier but many are pushing back against the on-campus return.

Alcorn State University senior Ny’Daisha Dortch does not want to return to in-person classes on the campus. ”My concerns moving back on camps are my health and safety,” said Dortch.

The biology major wants the option of online classes because she has already had a close call with the virus.

“My mother recently had COVID and we were happy enough and fortunate for her to survive it and beat it,” said the senior. “But she does have underlying health concerns, and I don’t want to take a chance of going through that a second time.”

Dortch is among the more than 1,200 students, alumni and others who have signed a petition urging the university to offer virtual classes.

They cite the potential for close contact in classrooms and dorms, the lack of large quarantine facility and a small local hospital as their reluctance to returning to the campus. Students say the administration is not hearing their concerns.

“We love the school. We just wish you guys would listen to us instead of taking the decision upon yourselves,” added the Alcorn student. “There are many students that would love to come back and are willing to come back knowing the concerns, but there are a majority that do not feel safe on this campus during this pandemic”.

The Canton resident wants to be a physician’s assistance and said virtual classes were mandatory in the spring and summer. She said she has no choice but to risk her health because the classes she needs do not offer virtual labs.

Students also reported rumors of confirmed COVID-19 cases among some faculty and staff. We reached out to the university for information and to confirm if there were coronavirus cases on the campus.

Alcorn State University Vice President of Marketing and Communications released this statement:

“The pandemic has presented unique challenges for the entire nation as well as the daily operations of college campuses. At Alcorn, we understand that many students and their families have concerns about a return to campus for the fall semester, especially in light of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

The University has developed a comprehensive safe start plan based on best practices from federal, state, and local government and health officials, along with the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning Safe Start Task Force. The 36-page document is available to the public on our website at https://www.alcorn.edu and will be updated accordingly in response to changes in circumstances.

In addition to publishing a safe start guide, the University held a series of virtual town hall meetings to answer questions, taking one-on-one phone calls from students and parents, producing safe start videos and signage, and continuing to practice CDC health guidelines on campus including face coverings, social distancing, virtual meetings, and increased cleaning and sanitizing of public spaces.

The University respects the confidentiality of employees and continues to follow CDC guidelines as it takes all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff.

Alcorn State is offering online, hybrid/hyflex, and in-person classes this fall semester. Classes are open for registration and the schedule is available on the Alcorn website. In-person courses will be conducted with reduced class sizes and will follow protocols outlined in our safe return to campus plan. We will reopen various dining options, with significant restrictions in place.

The pandemic has presented unique challenges for our entire community as well as the operations of our campus locations. Alcorn will continue to carefully monitor the situation and adjust as necessary. The health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority.”

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