Thousands sign petition pushing for all exams at Dawson College to be online

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More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that students at Dawson College not be forced to do in-person exams at the end of term.

Most of the school's end-of-term tests will be done online, but a handful of science programs have decided to schedule on-site exams.

The student union has come out in opposition to the plan, saying it puts students at risk, especially as COVID-19 cases in Montreal continue to rise.

"It is in a red zone, we cannot possibly go in school in the centre of this pandemic," said Kevin Contant-Holowatyj, chair of the Dawson Student Union.

The union released a statement saying that student health should come first.

"Finals are already a stressful time for students, and we believe that having to be in a room with other students can augment the stress to many of the student population. While we understand that some students and faculty may be concerned with academic integrity, this cannot outweigh in any way the risk of contracting the virus," reads the statement.

The petition, which has a goal of 2,500, had more than 2,100 virtual signatures as of Sunday evening.

Dawson students also circulated a petition asking for online exams in the summer term, which only garnered 500 signatures.

For its part, Dawson said the decision to hold some exams in-person was made to protect academic integrity, and was done in consultation with public health experts.

It said the decision could be revisited if new health concerns come to light.