More than 300 UGA professors sign petition protesting in-person instruction

ATHENS, Ga. — More than 300 faculty members at the University of Georgia have signed a petition saying that resuming in-person instruction is not a good idea.

The petition was published along with an editorial in UGA’s independent student newspaper, The Red & Black, on Thursday.

School started back Wednesday at UGA with mostly in-person classes. Last week, the university unveiled a detailed plan on how they planned to try to keep students and staff safe.

The petition states, in part:

"We, who are tenured faculty of the University of Georgia, feel compelled by our consciences and our integrity, both personal and professional, to state the following:

The resumption of in-person instruction at the University of Georgia as currently planned is unwise. It is not grounded in evidence nor in the recent experience of other peer universities. Regardless of the precautions taken by the University on campus, both projections and experience suggest that a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 is inevitable unless there is an immediate change in plans for the fall semester."

Professors argued that Georgia is the top state in the U.S. for new daily cases per 10,000 population and is also the top state for highest percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Professors also cited a new simulation made by a UGA professor that showed the virus will potentially spread to tens of thousands of UGA students, staff and faculty within two months of opening.

Dr. John Drake, a professor and Director of the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases, simulated the potential impact of reopening UGA. His results indicated hundreds of students would arrive on campus actively infectious.

"A great university does not follow; it leads. And when the safety of its own, and those around it, are threatened, a great university learns from the mistakes of others and carves a new and better path based on science and truth," the petition states.

A Google document keeps an updated list of professors who have signed the petition.