University of Victoria students are calling for the closure of UVic campuses due to COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of UVic)

UVic students call for closure of campus due to COVID-19 concerns

More than 1,000 signatures gathered on online petition in one day

More than 1,000 people have signed a student-led petition to shut down the University of Victoria Campus due to the presence of COVID-19 on the Island.

A change.org petition started by Alexia Benn on Wednesday had almost reached its goal of 1,500 signatures by Thursday morning.

ALSO READ: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps responds to Island’s first case of COVID-19

“There are almost 100 cases in Canada, almost 40 in B.C.,” Benn wrote “Given the high volume of students who rely on public transportation, attending classrooms, studying in the library, and eating in common areas will inevitably increase rates of exposure … We must act now to keep students, their families, and the community safe. If we wait until there is a case at the University of Victoria, it will be too late.”

On Wednesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed one case of COVID-19 had been found on Vancouver Island, though an exact location was not disclosed.

READ MORE: First presumptive COVID-19 case reported on Vancouver Island

“We must all step up our social distancing,” Henry said. “This is not forever, it is for the coming weeks.”

Also on Wednesday, UVic CEO Jamie Cassels put out a statement discussing UVic’s response to COVID-19.

“Though we continue to believe the risk of transmission on our campus is currently low, last week I activated the university’s emergency response protocol and established the Emergency Operations Centre to start planning for a response to an outbreak of the virus on campus,” Cassels wrote. “We are also working with our local, provincial and federal partners to address the impacts of COVID-19 based on the best available public health expertise and recommendations.”

More to come…

nicole.crescezi@vicnews.com

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