As we prepare for the upcoming fall semester, I am writing to update you on the status of the College’s plans on returning to campus.
As I have noted from the start, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our primary concern. All of the plans we have drafted and actions we are taking, are designed to ensure the health and safety of the campus community as we gradually return to campus.
Importantly, I am pleased to report that our plans for re-starting research activity, re-opening the dorms, and the dining area have been approved by CUNY and New York State. Please keep in mind, however, that while these plans have been approved, and others await approval, any required actions that need to be taken before implementation may take time and could delay our return. Our initial phase of opening academic buildings is focused on buildings 5N, 5S, and 6S. Once those buildings are ready for opening, it will allow researchers to return to campus and for faculty to hold limited classes involving laboratory, studio, and clinical experiences that require in-person instruction. Apart from these very few exceptions, we anticipate that the rest of our classes will be delivered remotely for the fall semester. Academic Affairs will keep students apprised when any of the limited aforementioned courses or experiences will be able to make the transition from remote to in-person instruction.
To ensure that our facilities are in safe condition, we are in the process of upgrading the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in high-priority buildings and installing touchless systems in bathrooms to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Additionally, a mandatory health-screening process has been developed in order to protect the community from the COVID-19 virus as we slowly make this transition back to campus. This screening is a quick and easy process, and must be completed daily before anyone is allowed to enter the campus. The new process, scheduled to go live shortly, requires daily temperature checks and responses to questions that will help screen for COVID-19 warning signs, such as symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or possible contact with the virus. Employees and students can complete the screening remotely or onsite. Those who do not have a thermometer at home, will have their temperature taken by designated trained screeners on campus using a touchless thermometer upon arrival. CUNY is working on streamlining this process with a new application that is expected to be put into place shortly. Further, employees reporting back to work on campus are required to complete a NYS Return to Work training.
As we continue to keep the campus safe, it is important that those returning to campus do their part in maintaining a healthy and safe environment to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes wearing a face covering, staying at least six feet apart from one another, and remaining home when you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, have come in close contact with someone with the virus, or have returned from travel to states that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19.
I want to thank you all for continued understanding in patience as we navigate through these uncharted waters. Although many of us will not be returning to campus, please know that we will continue to provide a positive remote-learning and working environment where everyone can continue to thrive. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy the remainder of the summer. I am truly looking forward to an exciting fall semester and hope to see you all soon.
By William J. Fritz