Does lack of inclusion justify risking someone’s education?
University students in the smaller-scale programs find it difficult to secure housing to continue their learning off-campus. When universities announced in August that campuses would be ready to welcome students and faculty after a year and a half of offering virtual courses, students had mixed feelings towards the return.
âI would prefer to be in person. But if this is my only way to get an education, you should offer the option to take all the online coursesâ¦ It’s not just about those who don’t want to disclose, it’s about giving people who are not comfortable being in public options, âsaid Luana Struyven, third year disability studies student at Kings University College.
With their return forcing them to meet post-secondary institution vaccination mandates, many students were eager to return, while others preferred to stay off campus.
However, students who chose not to attend in-person classes were confused when the e-learning asked them to certify their immunization status.
In the case of Luana Struyven, she moved quickly to request some sort of exemption in order to be housed for her studies.
The King’s University student said the option to do an in-person apprenticeship was unreasonable for her. She explained that she would have had to move for 3 hours from home just to have a class on the university campus in London, Ont.
When she contacted the dean of the school to request accommodations to complete her online course, like the rest of her classes, Struyven was told that only a medical exemption could be accepted in order to receive accommodations. And because COVID-19 caused long wait times when planning to see her specialist, she couldn’t get the necessary medical exemption in time for her semester.
âIt’s extremely frustrating to be part of a program that deals with inclusion and adaptationâ¦ what they preach is the importance of including all people, regardless of identity, race, sexuality or any labelâ¦ labels can divide society and how dangerous that division can be, âStruyven said.
She explained that there are workplaces willing to be more flexible in addressing these needs than schools, which she finds discouraging. Using the example of her remote job at TD Canada Trust, she said her workplace does not require her to disclose information about her immunization status; they only required those who worked out of the office to take a COVID-19 workshop.
“I sat down at my desk to attend my classes as I do for work, with the company of my laptop and my computer screensâ¦ I don’t come into contact with anyone, so disclose any status. just doesn’t make sense. ,” she said.
Liza Kowalski, a communications student at Carleton University, took a different approach to the school’s vaccination mandate.
She said after spending her summer abroad, where she felt there was more freedom regarding COVID-19 protocols, she didn’t want to go back to the stricter set of rules that are being put in place. works in Canada.
âWhen the school started asking for a vaccination status certificate for September, I sent in my answer and I switched all my classes to online deliveryâ¦ I didn’t want to be part of it and I still do. not, âKowalski said.
Not only did Kowalski change her class delivery for the fall semester, but she moved all of her classes online for the entire school year. She explained that this was done in the hope of being able to return to Ukraine, where she spent her summer and felt more comfortable and welcome.
“I feel like Canadians take a narrow view when it comes to this subjectâ¦ on this side of the world there is an entirely different mindset and no one I have met just wants to avoid the subject.” , she said.
Now that she’s out of the country, she said her only concern was running into issues with class delivery for her senior year at Carleton.
âI shouldn’t see myself taking everything I’ve worked hard for because my personal choices don’t match yours,â Kowalski said.