JMU Student Government Association makes request on making students’ return voluntary

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – James Madison University plans to resume in-person instruction soon. The student government association on campus wants to see more flexibility from the university for students to have a choice on where to learn whether that’s in class or online.

At the beginning of this month, JMU had to convert to online-only classes after hundreds of students tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the semester. On October 5th, students will be returning for in-person classes and some are not too comfortable about it.

“Until we see an actual policy that specifically says you know, as a professor you need to be accommodating to students then it doesn’t really mean anything,” said Charlie Jones, a senator for the student government association at JMU.

The student government association wants to see a policy that would make faculty and staff more accountable for being flexible in handling student requests. The organization sent a formal proposal to the university for online-only classes to continue or make in-person instruction voluntary.

JMU spokeswoman Caitlyn Read says faculty members are encouraged to grant the request from students if they choose to.

“This has been all about flexibility and adaptability and being able to meet students where they are because we have students on every end of this spectrum. For our students that want to be fully online, we encourage them to work directly with their family members,” said Read.

Students are expected to make the request, faculty or staff aren’t required to approve it.

JMU said they are trying to make students feel as comfortable as possible by urging faculty and staff to convert to online classes for students that request it.

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