I want to take this opportunity to provide further clarity on the rationale for our decision to implement the Recalibration Period for Educational Equity, which we announced yesterday. Our primary reason for moving up some days from the Spring Recess is to give us time to get laptops and tablets into the hands of students who need them. If we did not pause, we would get too far into the semester, and students who have been without access to technology since March 19 would then have a tough time catching up and likely drop out of the semester.
The first batch of computers we purchased for our students is scheduled to arrive this weekend, and we are finalizing plans with the campuses to distribute them swiftly early next week. Each college will devise a distribution plan that is compliant with New York State on PAUSE. College presidents and deans will be in touch to communicate the procedures and schedules for distribution of this equipment.
Our plan is for a substantial number of laptops and tablets to be in the hands of students before distance learning reconvenes on April 2. The pause is to allow time for the delivery; though I recognize that it may be disruptive to our instructional momentum, it is essential to make sure thousands of our students don’t feel left out of their education. This, to me, is not a small consideration but pivotal to our commitment to equity, and to our mission of supporting all our students and making sure that we continue being an engine of upward mobility, even during these most trying of times for everyone.
The Recalibration Period can also provide faculty an opportunity to reflect on their experience during the first week of distance learning, with an eye to making adjustments when classes restart. I would hope it also affords faculty added flexibility in their personal lives as they continue to adapt to the additional responsibilities and challenges that the current situation presents in New York City and the metropolitan region.
Here is more information about the Recalibration Period:
- All 16 colleges will be on pause in the Recalibration Period, no classes will be held, and no assignments or tests should be due during this period. These colleges are: Baruch, BMCC, Brooklyn College, Bronx Community College, City College, City Tech, College of Staten Island, Hostos, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, Macaulay Honors, Medgar Evers, Queens College, Queensborough Community College, and York College.
- All faculty and students at these schools will be off from Friday, March 27 to Wednesday, April 1 and again from Wednesday, April 8 to Friday, April 10, for a condensed Spring Recess. Administrators and staff will continue to work as they normally would from March 27 to April 1 and during Spring Recess, albeit remotely in most cases. All local plans to reduce campus density for faculty, staff, and students remain in place.
- The only schools exempted from the Recalibration Period are professional schools and graduate schools (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, School of Labor and Urban Studies, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Professional Studies, School of Public Health and Health Policy, and The Graduate Center) and the community colleges that operate on a different academic calendar (Guttman, Kingsborough, and LaGuardia) and just recently started their Spring semester.
- There are a few other programs exempted including Pre-K to 12 schools in our system and pre-matriculation programs like CUNY Start, Math Start, CLIP and Adult Literacy. Decisions on continuing education and graduate programs are at the discretion of school presidents and deans.
- In recognition of the difficulty posed by these circumstances, we are enacting a flexible credit/no credit policy, under which students will have 20 days after they receive their grades to decide if they want to convert any or all of the letter grades they earn in their classes to Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading. You can find details on the policy here.
I hope this adds clarity to my communication from yesterday. For the latest information, please visit the University’s coronavirus page, which also includes a video message from me. For student resources, tools and tips, visit our new continuity page.
I thank you again for your patience, and for understanding that what drives our decisions every day is what is best for our students and their success.
By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez