SPOKANE, WA - Several Gonzaga Law School students are coming forward demanding better COVID precautions and policies.
They say people aren't wearing masks, contact tracing isn't happening, and most importantly students can't quarantine because their classes aren't available over zoom.
If law students miss 20% of their classes, that means they can't take the all-important bar exam to become a lawyer. It has created a situation, some students tell KHQ, where other students feel forced to go to school sick or not be able to keep their attendance up while quarantining at home.
COVID procedures and guidelines are drilled into our head by the state, by our employers and our school leaders.
"Once I got that positive test, I reached out to the school immediately. And I said, hey, here we are, what's the process," Jackie Stone said.
But first year Gonzaga law student Stone said, there was no process.
"So, I asked if Zoom would be an option. And I was told by the associate dean that no that it would not be an option whatsoever," she said.
That's despite having done hybrid last year and online school over the summer.
"And that they actually put it back on the student. And they said, it's a student's responsibility to reach out to the professors, and make sure you're keeping up with the work," she said.
Three of her five professors said Zoom will work.
"The other professor is just saying, you know, she's got a posted slides online and hope that I figure it out," she said.
And it gets trickier. Even though three of the classes can be done through Zoom, Stone said that can't count as attendance.
"No, they're not counting either," she said.
College students are notorious for missing classes, so why does missing two weeks matter for these students? Let's ask one.
"Students can only miss 20% of their classes or they're ineligible to take the bar," Emma Murray, another first-year Gonzaga law student said.
"We're really put in a really bad situation to make a really tough decision that we shouldn't have to make," Stone said.
That decision: Do they stay home and risk not passing law school or taking the bar or... "Do we take our symptoms to school and infect other students? It's a really bad situation overall," Stone said.
Stone tells KHQ one student who was hospitalized from COVID has already been asked to defer a year.
"It affects scholarships, and it affects you know, a whole lot of things. A lot of us moved here to be here and to do this and so deferring for a year is not an option," Stone said.
Several students bringing the issue up to the school leaders Monday.
"Her response to all of our questions was that she wasn't able to make any changes," Murray said.
A spokesperson for the university said the school is working with students to find a solution. What that solution is, isn't too clear, but it is case-by-case.
A petition has been created, urging Gonzaga officials clarify COVID policies. It has 346 signatures so far: https://www.change.org/p/gonzaga-university-protect-gonzaga-students-from-covid-19-exposures?redirect=false
We also have a call out to the Washington Bar Association but have yet to hear back.