KENNESAW, Ga (CW69 News at 10) – College campuses are becoming the latest framework in the fight against COVID-19 guidelines. Throughout this week, students, staff and supporters will be demonstrating on campuses across Georgia to demand tougher security measures.
Masks and vaccinations are currently optional at many colleges in Georgia, including Kennesaw State University. Protesters demand state officials demand masks. “Frankly, we all risk our lives every day to attend this campus,” said Michelle Ross, KSU graduate student and teaching assistant.
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“Especially this year, coming back fully in person with no social distancing, no mask requirements, it really created a lot of concern among faculty, staff and students,” said Heather Pincock, an organizer of the protest. Pincock is a professor at KSU and a member of two organizations participating in the protests: the American Association of University Teachers and the United Campus Workers of Georgia.
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Not everyone agrees with the masking, but protesters say the rise in COVID cases speaks for itself. “We didn’t feel our message was getting through, so state organization AAUP and UCW both coordinated plans to have actions on as many campuses as possible to show how widespread the concern is.” , Pincock said. They are among groups protesting on 16 campuses across the state this week, calling on Georgia’s university system to make sweeping changes. “Twenty-four K-12 teachers have died from COVID since August. We don’t have comparable data here in the Georgia university system, and that’s one of the things we’re protesting here, ”Pincock said. She says the self-reported data doesn’t capture the big picture. “USG’s COVID security policies are unacceptable, and they need to do better and they need to do more,” she said.
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USG and KSU officials did not immediately respond to CW69’s request for comment.