PHILADELPHIA - Faculty at Temple University have demanded that most classes remain virtual through the spring 2021 semester due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP) said Thursday that all "non-essential" classes should remain online through May 2021. The union cited a grim forecast by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation that says the U.S. will reach 14 million coronavirus cases by December and 415,000 pandemic-related deaths by January.
"Many medical experts predict that December, 2020 will be a "disaster" with both a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic plus the annual flu illnesses," TAUP committee member and associate professor Donald Wargo said. "It would be irresponsible for Temple to bring back their students to campus in January, 2021, under these conditions."
In a recent poll, the union found nearly 80 percent of its members believe the university should “remain largely virtual with little in-person instruction and on-campus work.” Meanwhile, 12 percent supported a “return to some in-person classes and on-campus work.” Only 2 percent of polled union members were in favor of a full in-person return to campus.
"Let’s give our workers and students the assurance they need that classes and other work our members engage in will be online for the spring semester, and let’s treat our teachers, librarians, and academic professionals like the professionals they are," TAUP President Steve Newman said.
Temple University originally opened its campus to students to begin the fall semester, but transitioned to virtual learning for the remainder of the calendar year following a coronavirus spike among students.
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