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VIDEO: Okanagan College students start petition for online options

A group of students at Okanagan College has started a petition calling on the school to offer classes online.

Unlike many post-secondary educational facilities in the province, OC classes resumed Jan 10, in-person.

Dental Assistant student Kelly MacIntosh told KelownaNow the college already has the systems in place to give students an online option.

"The petition was started as a way to raise awareness that college students have great concerns about returning to campus face to face in January," she said, "while the Omicron variant is problematic."

MacIntosh said she has no issue with the 3 days a week when she and other students learn in a clinic scenario, where everyone is wearing appropriate protective equipment.

<who>Photo credit: Instagram </who> Kelly MacIntosh

She takes issue with the two days a week where the learning is in a classroom studying theory.

"So we're sitting shoulder-to-shoulder watching a power-point presentation from 7:30 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon," she said.

"And there's been no additional measures put into place to protect students aside from wearing a mask indoors."

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who>

MacIntosh points out that the course was provided mainly online last year.

"So the materials, as far as I understand are ready and available," she explained.

"There's a platform already in place for video conferencing and sharing files and just delivering a class online."

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who>

Okanagan College public affairs spokesperson Tyler Finley said the return to in-person classes is at the recommendation of the Public Health Office.

"Our structured settings are deemed low risk due to the multiple layers of protection in place to create a safe learning environment for students," said Finley, "such as mandatory masks, a highly vaccinated population and physical barriers. "

The petition can be found on Change.Org.

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