TSG calls on Temple to move classes online, close campus housing

Penn, Drexel and La Salle recently announced their classes would take place online.

Temple Student Government called on the university to close on-campus housing and transition to all online classes for the fall, citing the “great” risk of COVID-19 to students, faculty and the Philadelphia community in a statement released Friday.

“The only adequate resolution to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and North Philadelphia community is to close Temple’s on-campus housing, with the exception of students facing housing insecurity, and move all non-essential in-person courses and activities to an online format,” the statement, signed by Student Body President Quinn Litsinger, Larice Mejia, TSG’s vice president of external affairs, and Mark Rey, TSG’s vice president of services, read.

The University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and La Salle University are among colleges that recently announced they will close their residence halls and transition to online classes for the fall semester.

Temple has confirmed seven active COVID-19 cases so far.

The university is continuing to reopen with a hybrid learning model because many students told Temple they wanted to be on campus this fall if it could be done safely, wrote Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university, in an email to The Temple News.

In the statement, TSG pressed the university, should it continue to hold in-person classes, to provide hazard pay and weekly COVID-19 testing for resident assistants, implement a university-wide policy regarding excused work for students who contract COVID-19, and increase student representation on teams planning the return to campus.

TSG also called on the university to create a contingency plan for closing campus that includes a prorated refund for on-campus housing, assurances that residence halls, dining halls and the Cherry Pantry will remain open, and a guarantee that Temple’s testing center will remain open for students and community residents. 

“Members of the Philadelphia community deserve more from us,” the statement read.

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