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COVID-19: Some Montreal CEGEP students fighting for at-home exams

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WATCH: Many Montreal CEGEP students are denouncing their school's decision to hold in-person exams this semester as the city remains in a COVID-19 red zone. Marianopolis college students first spoke out last week but as Global’s Elizabeth Zogalis reports, Dawson and Vanier students are now coming forward with the same concerns – May 3, 2021

Many CEGEP students are denouncing their school’s decision to hold in-person exams this semester as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Last week, Global News spoke to Marianopolis students, but now, Dawson and Vanier students are coming forward with the same concerns.

Late last week, Dawson College students were surprised to hear 3,000 of them would be required to physically be in the classroom to write their exams. Since then, a petition has been going around which now has over 2,000 signatures.

Last semester, Dawson was forced to reverse its decision to hold in-person exams, but with the current health situation, students hope their voices are heard once again.

Read more: Marianopolis students want school to reverse decision to hold in-person finals

At Vanier College, students were told at the beginning of the semester if their course would require an in-person exam.

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“What we find wrong is the fact that there was last-minute changes for certain exams, which brings a lot of stress and increases the stress of students,” says Maxime Douangpanya, who spoke on behalf of the Vanier College Student Association.

A statement to Global News from Vanier College says it’s aware students are protesting but will not reverse its decision.

“Due to academic integrity issues and to ensure the value of our diplomas, Vanier has decided that some exams and pedagogical activities must occur on campus,” wrote Marguerite Corriveau, a spokesperson for Vanier College.

A similar statement from Dawson College says it is in frequent contact with regional health authorities and will follow health and safety protocols.

“Dawson College is in frequent contact with the Direction régional de santé publique (DRSP) and consulted the DRSP on this decision,” wrote spokesperson Megan Ainscow.

“The DRSP does not object to holding exams on site so long as health and safety protocols are followed and students do not congregate before and after exams. Dawson will have staff on duty to ensure that no students congregate.”

Students say there are ways to prevent cheating.

Read more: Some high school students being turned away from their CEGEP of choice despite good grades

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“Other exams were with two cameras,” explained Kevin Contant-Holowattyj, Dawson Student Union Chairperson.

“One camera would show the student while the other would show if students are looking at notes or looking at the answers in their textbooks.”

The Dawson Student Union says it sent letters to both the Education Ministry and the Health Ministry asking for them to intervene.

A spokesperson for the Education Ministry told Global News last week that each institution is responsible for determining when students must be in class. But strict protective measures must be in place.

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