It looks like some students aren’t the only ones who don’t want to go back to school. Six staff and faculty unions have signed a petition to the University of Toronto disputing the decision to host in-person classes this fall. They have already beaten their initial 1,500-signature goal.

The petition claims that the university hasn’t considered key questions on the matter of student health and safety.

They also ask why U of T is out of line with other Ontario universities that are hosting their fall semesters online and how they will possibly be expected to avoid close contact with students.

Terezia Zorić, president of the University of Toronto Faculty Association, told Narcity that she “urges the University of Toronto administration to adhere to the precautionary principle.

"Community safety and ethics require us to proceed with caution and the current plan is not cautious," she added.

Given the circumstances, the group of unions has demanded that the university "'take a pause' on most in-person teaching and other academic work for the Fall 2020 semester in favour of online-only teaching.”

They are also calling on U of T to "meaningfully consult with representatives of frontline academic workers: unions, the faculty association, student groups, and health and safety committees."

While the group acknowledges that not all work can be done remotely, such as lab work, they are asking that anyone who is able to work from home, or work remotely, be able to do so.

That recommendation was also made by John Tory back in May, when the Toronto mayor urged city residents to work and study at home until at least September.

The coalition of unions also took aim at the University of Toronto’s safety planning, providing the institution with six reasons they are doubtful of the effectiveness of the plan.

Those include the uncertainty on whether masks will be required in classrooms, and the suggestion that the guidelines currently don’t account for symptomless transmission.

Amy Conwell, Chair of CUPE 3902, the union that created the petition, told Narcity that the unions have asked the university for meaningful consultation and that all they've received is "communication on decisions after the fact."

At the time of publication, the petition had surpassed 2,000 signatures.

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