Student petition supports Fresno State's potential return to full virtual teaching

Due to an increase in COVID-19 incidence, Cal State Fresno may return to remote learning after the Thanksgiving break.

Over 1,000 students have signed a petition, which cites mental and public health concerns.

California State University, Fresno is considering  a full return to online learning in light of new COVID-19 cases and some students agree that in person classes should be suspended. 

A petition calling for the university to shut back down has garnered over 1,100 signatures on as of September 21. 

Between August 9 and September 10, 84 students have tested positive for COVID-19. Though it is not immediately clear how many students are currently infected with the virus. The university is investigating an additional 43 possible cases at time of writing. 

In order to attend Fresno State in person for the fall semester, students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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A spokesperson for Fresno State told the Fresno Bee that “The University is considering a number of options, if necessary, including the transition of all in-person classes to virtual after the Thanksgiving holiday,” but “A final decision has not been made. Any such decision will take into consideration guidance from local public health officials and from the CSU Office of the Chancellor.”

Nicholas Ctibor, a business major at Fresno State graduating in the Spring, started a petition in favor of going back online four days ago. His petition cites rising case numbers, overburdened local hospitals and mental health concerns among the student body as reasons to return to virtual instruction. Ctibor claimed in a statement he made to the Bee that people on campus have not been properly adhering to university public health protocols.

Many of those who signed his petition echo similar fears about getting infected or putting pressure on regional health resources

Mortality and hospitalization rates related to COVID-19 among vaccinated young adults are near zero. 

Ctibor told Campus Reform that “the rate of infection is believed to be drastically underreported on campus”, he further alleges that only unvaccinated students were being tested for COVID-19 up until this week.

When asked about the risk vaccinated young people at Fresno State pose to local health resources, Ctibor stated that “Hospital rates among vaccinated individuals are low for the average healthy college student in their late teens or early twenties, but many students don’t fit into that stereotypical assumption.”

According to Ctibor, many students at Fresno State are immunocompromised or have not been able to get vaccinated for “a variety of reasons.” 

“When vaccinated individuals on campus spread the disease to others who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated,” he continued “they will likely need medical attention. Also the fact that the hospitals are full in our area in itself is a crisis in itself, many of the people in our communities are being denied access to healthcare due to how overwhelmed they are with covid [sic] patients.”

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Not all students share Ctibor’s enthusiasm for going back online, however.

Patrick Murphy, president of Fresno State’s TPUSA chapter, told Campus Reform that “going back online would be the second biggest mistake that the CSU system could make.”

“The first mistake was going virtual last year,” he continued.

“Students thrive in person; we are social creatures,” Murphy explained, “Isolating students behind a screen will only do more harm. Fresno State needs to continue to listen to the majority of students and not the woke mob or faculty.”

Some students, however, oppose the closure of their university. Many have already purchased leases and parking passes for the purpose of attending in person classes.

One student has already had all of her classes moved online. Her mother, in comments given to the Bee, expressed frustration with the university’s policies and recounted the negative effect such a change had on her daughter’s mental health and academic performance.

“I just think it’s really disheartening, how Fresno State has treated this,” she told the Bee “I feel like it’s affected a lot more people than they’re putting out there.”

Campus Reform reached out to CSU Fresno for comment, this article will be updated accordingly.