Some Montreal CEGEP students are upset that after a year of doing all their schooling from home, they’re now being forced to do final exams in person.
For more than a year now, 19-year-old Marianopolis pure and applied sciences student Miriam Hotter has been doing all her classes, tests and exams from home. That’s about to change.
“I never thought that they would risk our health and safety. I’m infuriated,” Hotter told Global News.
The school now wants students to don masks and sit together in a classroom to take certain final math exams.
“The risk is much worse, because you’re closer with people and you’re inside for a long period of time,” she said. “They’re ready to prioritize academic integrity over our health and safety.”
Fellow Marianopolis student Madison Albert agrees.
“I just don’t understand the logic of not caring about your students feeling unsafe,” she said.
Students launched a petition opposing the move. The school’s student union then held a referendum.
“The results showed that 85 per cent of all Marianopolis students opposed in-person finals, and this was ignored by the administration,” said Hotter.
It’s an issue that’s not unique to Marianopolis students. At Vanier, hundreds have signed an online petition demanding final exams be done from home.
“We don’t want to be responsible for another epicentre of transmission,” said Albert.
In an email statement, Marianopolis told Global News the choice to hold some math exams in person was made in consultation with faculty to ensure the integrity of final exams.
“Marianopolis continues to take the appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of all its community members in accordance with Public Health guidelines,” said Marianopolis spokesperson Kathryn Haralambous.
She said the school explained the choice in a meeting with the student union on Tuesday.
After that meeting, the student union president wrote on Facebook that even with the landslide referendum result, the school said the exams would still be in person.
“I understand that this news is discouraging to many after the work that was poured into the referendum last week,” wrote Laurence Liang. “However, we’d like everyone to know that Congress has done everything it could in the last few weeks to defend the safety and learning concerns related to in-person finals, and we are continuing to be in close contact with the Administration to further transmit student voices.”
Albert said the response from Marianopolis makes her feel “unheard.”
“I’m saddened this administration doesn’t want to work side by side with its students to come up with a constructive solution,” she said.
The whole situation has left the students with a bitter taste in their mouths as they graduate.