Cobb COVID-19 Stats Demand Shift to Remote Learning

Concerns about the resumption of on-campus classes at Kennesaw State University (KSU) have been mounting since the end of the fall semester. Due to current COVID-19 infection statistics in Cobb County, the Kennesaw State chapter of United Campus Workers of Georgia (UCWGA) is calling on KSU, as our state-wide organizing committee did last month, to shift to online-only instruction and provide more support for its employees.

Events of the last two months prove the need for more caution on campus:

On November 16, KSU’s Faculty Senate passed two resolutions focused on safer opening procedures for the spring semester. One advocated for “the closing of campus and shifting to distance learning and work arrangements for all but essential campus operations.” A second resolution called for two weeks of remote learning at the start of the semester due to rising infection rates.

Three weeks ago, on December 30, the leadership of UCWGA published 3 state-wide safety demands for all University System of Georgia (USG) campuses. The union demanded that mandatory testing, daily data reporting, and adherence to CDC statistical thresholds be put in place and that all campuses shift to remote learning during the first two weeks of the semester while those protocols were established. Additionally, the union demanded that the USG commit to no layoffs or furloughs and to hazard pay for essential workers who must remain on campus.

Finally and tragically, over the last month three Cobb County educators have died from COVID-19 after teaching in the classroom.

KSU administration ignored these warnings and pushed forward with an unsafe campus opening on January 11.

Later today KSU’s Faculty Senate will be debating a new resolution, asking for the USG to allow KSU to shift to fully remote learning. Other shared governance bodies have discussed or sent similar requests. It’s time for KSU to heed the concerns of its faculty, staff, and students and to adapt to the fact that Cobb County infection rates are beyond the CDC’s safety threshold. While pledging to protect jobs and support essential faculty and staff positions, KSU should immediately shift to temporary remote instruction.