Vanderbilt University students call for hybrid learning options amid spread of omicron

vandy graduate protest
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 19:01:32-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Students at Vanderbilt University gathered on Wednesday afternoon to call for the return of hybrid learning options.

It’s the second time they’ve protested outside administrative offices since returning to class last week.

Some students and staff say it’s unacceptable that they’re being told all classes must be held in person without exceptions. Meanwhile, almost all administrators are working from home.

“My roommate is immunocompromised and I’m terrified that if I happen to get COVID-19 and give it to her, it could destroy her or kill her or leave her with a lifelong disability. I should not have to live in that fear on this campus. That’s unacceptable," said Chancey Herbolsheimer, a graduate student at the university.

Members of the group Vandy Grad Workers United started a petition demanding the return of hybrid learning. So far, they’ve gathered just under 500 signatures.

Vanderbilt University already delayed the start of the semester because of the omicron variant but declined to go virtual because they claim the variant is not as severe as previous variants.

University officials promised to give students KN95 masks and more testing options, but some say they haven’t seen any progress.

"They still haven’t distributed masks. They said they were going to give each of us three masks. It hasn’t happened. My department hasn’t received anything and said we’ll let you know. They don’t enforce masks as I’m learning from some of my peers and just this non-answer means that they don’t care," said Lindsay Breidenbach, a graduate student at the university.

Last week, administrators said all students on campus were tested for the virus before they could return. They also require masking indoors, but staff members say they’ve been given no authority to force students to wear masks.