King’s reject 3000-signature petition to have online lectures due to coronavirus

BUT senior staff will continue to have e-meetings

An online petition to make all classes online due to coronavirus has been rejected, despite the petition having over 3,000 signatures.

The petition was made after a King’s student tested positive for the virus and the universities response was to operate “as normal.”

The petition, ‘KCL Has Coronavirus Case: Petition to Have Online Classes by March 9th’ had 3,691 signatures, however, was rejected today by Senior Vice-Principal Christ Mottershead.

Despite this petition being rejected, The Financial Times reported: “At King’s College London, where a member of staff has been infected, senior management are meeting online by teleconference with no more than two allowed in a room at the same time.”

Therefore, whilst senior management will be following strict precautions, the rest of the university will function as normal.

“Students Against Coronavirus” created the petition last Wednesday stating that the university was disregarding the risk to “highly populated” KCL campuses.

The plea warned that “If the Senior Officers do not take action, the virus has potential to jeopardise not only the health of our students and staff but also our families and neighbours.”

There were five requests made by the group to Principal Edward Byrne. These were:

1. Protect your students and staff

2. Transition to entirely online learning by the end of March 9th, which already exists through Lecture Capture on KEATS

3. Inform students about confirmed cases of coronavirus in a straight-forward fashion

4. Continue to provide more resources to combat racism and hate speech; make it more clear in your communications that discrimination should not be tolerated

5. Recognise your impact; protecting our greater community beyond students and staff is key and is the right thing to do

Today Senior Vice-Principal Chris Mottershead, who is in charge of quality, strategy and innovation, rejected the position.

In his response he said: “We understand that this is a worrying time for our staff and students. The university is open as usual and we are continuing to follow Government and Public Health England (PHE) advice so we can monitor the situation and plan accordingly.

“Public Health England has confirmed that a student at King’s College London has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to assure you that PHE managed the response very swiftly and thoroughly and no special measures have been recommended.

“The individual had not attended any lectures when they were unwell and therefore the risk to staff, students and visitors is considered low.”

He continued to ask individuals to “please remain calm and support your friends or colleagues in following this advice, appreciating that some will have their own concerns about friends and family.”

The petition’s rejection comes the same day that King’s have decided to cancel all normal exams taking place between 27 April and 20 May.

Despite these changes to examinations, the university will continue to remain open and teaching will resume as normal.

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