Mohawk College instructor tells students to ignore physical distancing amid COVID-19

Mohawk College has launched an internal investigation after an instructor told students to ignore physical distancing measures, just like he does.

John Weber, an instructor who teaches the Java programming course, posted an online announcement for students on Thursday about how he disagrees with physical distancing rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I do not stand 6 feet away from people. I will not be mind controlled (sic),” he wrote.

“I voice my opinion in supermarket lines, and everywhere I go.”

In the message, Weber assigned students the dystopian novels, George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World. He also encouraged students to protest, socialize and “get out and enjoy” the nice weather.

“I urge you to do research and to think for yourself and question everything the government tells you,” he wrote.

“What is happening now is criminal. I urge you to write to college officials, your government representatives, local, provincial and federal and voice your disgust on how they are handling this situation.”

An instructor from Mohawk College told students to ignore physical distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Bill Steinburg, the school’s press secretary and senior communications advisor of public affairs, told CBC News the note directly contradicts the school’s messaging to students about the virus, which points to recommendations from public health.

“Program administrators were alerted to the message a few hours after it was posted and the statements were removed immediately,” Steinburg said.

“Mohawk is continuing to examine the incident internally.”

It’s unclear if Weber is a full-time educator at the college and if the school is reprimanding him.

CBC News is attempting to get a comment from Weber.

The college closed all campus buildings and learning hubs until May 4 and delayed its spring/summer semester.

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