UNT students petition for more virtual learning options amid omicron surge

Some University of North Texas students are demanding virtual class options as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

At UNT, virtual learning is not an option for all classes and students making requests need approval from the administration.

Meanwhile, two nearby universities – UT Arlington and UT Dallas – began their spring semesters online only.

RELATED: UTA, UTD to start spring semester with virtual learning

UNT’s president said the omicron variant hasn’t impacted campus like previous variants. He also said a virtual option is costly and doesn’t assure overall safety.

"Going remote doesn’t stop students from socializing, going to parties, having the kind of fun college-aged students have," said Neal Smatresk, the president of UNT. 

"If people decide that online classes are needed for their individual safety then they should be able to take them," argued Hannah Larson, a UNT senior.

Masks and vaccinations are encouraged on campus but not required.

The group petitioning is planning a socially distant protest on Thursday.

The university said it doesn't plan to meet with those students at this time.

However, UNT said it will offer accommodations to students on a case by case basis just like it did last year.