Tomorrow’s Move to Distance Learning

Starting tomorrow morning, our campus will re-open and remain open for essential services for the remainder of Spring semester so that we can continue to serve our students. I want to thank our facilities staff for the extraordinary steps they have taken to sanitize the campus, details of which will come as a separate communication.

As previously communicated, as of tomorrow, Thursday, Mar. 19, most of our faculty and staff will be working remotely in an effort to safeguard the health and well-being of our students and employees. A small percentage of our staff, deemed essential by their supervisors, will be reporting to campus to provide critical services to students. Over the last few days, directors and managers have been reaching out to their teams to determine how to best continue operations. All employees should have been advised if they are required to report to campus and/or whether they will be telecommuting. In addition, all employees should have been advised of work schedules and limited/reduced on-campus office hours, including, staggering or rotating schedules to help promote social distancing.  

Some key points for students:

-The Library (Building 1L) will be open from 9:00am to 5:00pm ONLY to provide access to the second floor computer terminals and for broadband access. The Reference Desk will be open ONLY for the purpose of checking out laptops and calculators. The Library will be used only for computer access and is not available for study. Library reference materials should be accessed online.

Private Internet access is available through the following options:


-Altice USA and Charter Communications both announced on Friday, Mar. 13 that they would offer free broadband services to students taking online classes. 

-AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Comcast have announced additional services during the Coronavirus outbreak, such as the removal of data caps and waiver of late fees. Students should check with their individual carriers for these arrangements.

-The Child Care Center (Building 2R) and Food Pantry (in Building 1C) will remain in operation, but will be maintaining modified schedules that will be subject to change and updated regularly on the Website.

-Regularly check in and communicate with your instructors and academic advisor.

-If you need help, and don’t know who to ask, please email studentaffairs@csi.cuny.edu.

Some key points for faculty and staff:

  • During this time, it is imperative that you ensure that Human Resources has your updated contact information on file, including your home address. Please follow Human Resources guidance on how to access CUNYfirst Employee Self-Service to review and update your current information.
  • If you are working remotely, it is imperative that you work collaboratively with your departments and divisions to ensure that we are providing the best service possible. During work hours, you are expected to closely monitor and respond to emails and phone calls as appropriate.
  • Make sure you are only using your CSI email account to communicate.

For those employees without Direct Deposit, your paycheck will be mailed to your home address on file in CUNYfirst. Many offices are only offering services remotely. Please check their Websites and emails in order to avoid confusion.  

As always, the best source of information is the Coronavirus webpage on our College Website, which has the latest information, including guidance on Blackboard, technology support, and helpful contacts. This is an unprecedented situation, so there are more questions than answers; as we work through the next week or two, we will address the challenges that arise one by one. Continue to send questions, comments and suggestions to: coronavirus@csi.cuny.edu.   

Finally, I need to again offer my thanks to faculty and staff for their efforts in getting us ready for this moment. We are prepared, but despite our best efforts, I know there will be mistakes and unanticipated issues. I urge continued support and patience for one another while we work through this crisis together.

By William J. Fritz

CSI Is Closed Sunday and Monday

Since I wrote to you this afternoon and over the last several hours, we have been notified that five members of the campus community are eithe awaiting results of the Coronavirus test or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive to the virus. We appreciate that these people have updated us so that we can take appropriate precautions.

Only one of the five, a student who was last at the school on Wednesday, Mar. 11, is symptomatic. The others have been exposed to people who are feeling ill but they themselves don’t have any symptoms.

State health officials believe that since the student was asymptomatic when she was on campus and none of the others have any symptoms, the risk to our community is low, but I believe it prudent to exercise caution while we consult further with health experts and perform a deep cleaning of the campus in accordance with City and State guidelines.

The student was only at Willowbrook; however, both the Willowbrook campus and St. George will be closed Sunday, Mar. 15 and Monday, Mar. 16. Dolphin Cove will remain open. During this time, only essential personnel are reporting to campus.

As always, if you feel sick, please contact a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, please call 311. Hospital staff cannot ask you about your immigration status or deny you care based on your ability to pay.  

Your health and safety are my number one priority. We will keep you informed of developments. Please continue to check our Webpage for the latest updates.

By William J. Fritz

Coronovirus Update: March 14, 2020, 3:32pm

I understand the great concern within our campus community, especially now that one of our own members has tested positive; and I am writing to provide additional information. I want to first reiterate that we have been advised by medical experts that this does not pose a danger to the health and safety of those on campus. Through this challenging time, my goals have been that we take responsible measures to protect the health and safety of our campus community, continue to operate to protect the integrity of this academic year so students continue to receive the best educational experience possible, and that we are transparent with information.  

We learned late yesterday of our student testing positive for the virus. This student was tested after a person with whom she was in contact tested positive for the virus. That individual was symptomatic, but is recovering. Thankfully, our student is asymptomatic and notified the campus out of an abundance of caution, even though she was not required to do so. We appreciate that she did notify us and we felt it was necessary to be transparent and share this information with the College community.  

We have a process in place for these types of notifications, which was followed yesterday. Student Affairs got detailed information from the student regarding her situation and that information was shared with the campus liaison for Coronavirus-related matters–our Provost, Michael Parrish. We contacted CUNY Central and they consulted with New York State Public Health Officials. Independently, we contacted local health officials–who also consulted with their infectious disease experts. All of the medical professionals concurred that there was no risk to the campus and no need to close the campus. After going through this consulting process, we sent messages to faculty and students in the student’s classes. I then sent my message to the campus community, hours after we first learned of the matter.   

Beyond the experts’ opinion that it was not necessary to close, the weekend schedule and current recess allows to us to sanitize all of the areas where the student visited. Additionally, as noted in a prior email from facilities, we continue our campus-wide efforts this weekend with deep cleaning. We have also engaged a private cleaning vendor to provide additional deep cleaning on campus this week.    

Besides these cleaning efforts, we have two separate groups meeting to address concerns as they arise. The first, smaller group is a steering committee that meets on a daily basis; while a larger task force is meeting on a weekly basis. Both groups have representatives from across campus and you can find the names of the people participating in these meetings on our Webpage.  

I hope this is the last time I will have to send such a message, but based on the reporting on the virus, I think this is unlikely. Throughout this time, we will continue to investigate all new reports of COVID-19 that come to our attention, dispel false rumors, and monitor and report on situations of concern raised by members of our community, especially our employees who remain on campus.

Please know that we will continue to do everything we can during this challenging time to keep you safe and informed.

By William J. Fritz

Coronavirus Update

I write to advise you that a member of our campus community has tested positive for the Coronavirus. The student was last on campus on Thursday, March 5, was asymptomatic at the time, and still does not present any symptoms. Our thoughts are with her and her family during this time.  

NYS health officials who are experts on communicable diseases have advised us that because she just tested positive, has not been on campus for eight days, and did not have any symptoms at the time, that the case does not pose a risk to the CSI community. However, out of an abundance of caution, we have notified the instructors and other students in her classes and we will do a thorough clean over the weekend of the areas on campus where the student was present.  

Your health and safety are our number-one priority. Everyone can do their part to help minimize the potential impact of this emerging public health threat. Continue to wash your hands regularly, and whenever possible maintain social distancing. Please continue to visit the College’s Website, which we routinely update with the latest information and links.  

As a reminder, if you feel sick, please contact your healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, please call 311. Hospital staff cannot ask your immigration status or deny you care based on your ability to pay.  

We are continuously monitoring this situation and will take additional actions to protect the health and safety of our campus community as necessary.  

By William J. Fritz

CSI Coronavirus Update

I write to update you on the status of our preparation in response to the Coronavirus and the resulting disease, COVID-19.

First, I want to thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding during a stressful time. The health and well-being of our campus community continues to be my number-one concern. My second concern is protecting the integrity of the academic term.

Consistent with the Chancellor’s message, we will be taking a pause in instruction from tomorrow, Thursday, Mar. 12, through Wednesday, Mar. 18. Starting Thursday, Mar. 19, we will be moving to distance learning for the rest of the semester.

The College is not closing and we will be open tomorrow (Thursday, Mar. 12) through the rest of the semester. Staff are expected to report for work tomorrow (Mar. 12) as normal. Faculty should feel free to come to campus to prepare for remote learning. Students will have full access to facilities. We will use the time from now through Mar. 18 to prepare for distance learning for the rest of the semester. The rest of the academic calendar will remain unchanged.

I know that many questions remain and we will be providing additional information as it becomes available.

This will be a challenging semester and I thank you for your help in ensuring that our students have a successful academic year.

By William J. Fritz

Coronavirus Update

To date we have had no reported cases of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, at the College of Staten Island or within the CUNY system. However, as evidenced by news reports, the situation is fluid and it is important for faculty, staff, and students to take measures now to prepare for the possibility that the campus could be impacted by the virus. Therefore, we are requesting that you read the following and make appropriate preparations.

In the event of a campus closure, the College will look to conduct classes and business operations remotely. Note, essential staff will still be expected to report to campus, unless otherwise directed. Now is the time to prepare for all possibilities. In order for us to effectively operate remotely, please review the following guidance provided by the Office of Information Technology Services:

VPN Access

  • Individuals who currently have external VPN access, please confirm you are able to login and you have access to directories and applications in order to work remotely. Please contact theHelpDesk at HelpDesk@csi.cuny.edu or 718.992.HELP for further assistance.

Blackboard

  • All faculty have an account on Blackboard along with your course shell. You should take this opportunity to confirm your login as well as review any documentation in order to post lesson content. Instructional material on how to use Blackboard can be found on CUNY’s Website 

Virtual Web Conferences

  • Blackboard has the ability to facilitate webinars through Blackboard Collaborate. This can be used to conduct meetings or conduct classroom activities virtually. Information regarding in-person and online training can be found on our Training Website

Cloud Applications

  • If you need to access files remotely, take advantage of our cloud applications (Office 365/OneDrive and DropBox) where you can upload and share files. Information regarding in-person and online training can be found on our Training Website.

Online Resources

  • CSI provides students with access to important resources and support that enables them to flourish in their studies and benefit from education opportunities beyond the classroom.  In order to help our students locate these online resources, Information Technology compiled a list of the most useful links that offer exactly what you need for achieving success at CSI. 

Check your login

  • If you are not able to login to services or applications, please be sure to reset your FLAS/SLAS password. Faculty can register to reset their computer and email passwords by accessing the FLAS reset Website.  Students can register to reset their computer and email passwords by accessing the SLAS reset Website.

If you need further technical assistance, please feel free to contact the HelpDesk at 718.982.4357.

Please note that facilities staff members are taking additional measures to help minimize risks. Specifically, staff has been regularly wiping down door handles and disinfecting all surfaces in restrooms. This weekend, facilities will ramp up their use of Kaivacs for complete restroom cleaning starting in buildings 1L, 1C, 1R, and 1P.  In addition, more signage is going up to remind the campus community to wash and dry their hands. In support of these efforts, I want to again remind you of the following recommended preventative measures you can take:

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, in particular after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is recommended.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched objects and surfaces.

Lastly, I want to leave you with the following guidance from the CUNY Website.

What to Do if You Display Symptoms


As per direction from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students should be advised to stay home when they are sick. If a student presents with flu-like symptoms, they should be sent home in order to limit exposure to other members of the campus community.

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, 14 days after returning from a country under a CDC Level 3 warning, or after close contact with someone who has recently traveled to them and is displaying these symptoms, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider could screen you over the phone, and will work with public health officials to determine if you need to be tested for coronavirus. Students who need help connecting to a healthcare provider should can contact Health and Wellness Services, which can answer questions and make referrals. You can also call 311 to locate the closest city-operated hospital.

Anyone who is sick and exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory illness is asked to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever [body temperature is consistently below or equal to 100.4° F (37.8° C) measured with an oral thermometer while not having taken Tylenol, aspirin or other NSAID, which mask a fever]. Students, regardless of travel history, who are experiencing symptoms that include shortness of breath, should call Health and Wellness immediately at 718.982.3045.

Employees should notify their supervisor and keep them informed of their absence. For the health and safety of all employees, staff members who report to work exhibiting these symptoms may be sent home. CUNY Research Foundation employees can also visit this link for specific guidelines.

Accommodating Affected Students
CUNY has asked faculty and staff to be prepared to accommodate, to the reasonable extent possible, affected students, including, but not limited to, facilitating enrollment after the deadline, fast-tracking academic advising, permitting make-up exams, and extending due dates of final assignments and projects.

Future Personal Travel Plans
Following CDC guidelines, everyone in the CUNY community is strongly advised to avoid all nonessential travel to countries under a CDC Level 3 warning and generally use common sense in making traveling plans during these challenging times. Anyone with international travel plans should check the CDC’s Travel Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for the country of travel.

Combating Anxiety
We understand that members of our community may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time. CUNY encourages students who feel anxious or worried about friends and family because of the coronavirus to contact Health and Wellness Services or Student Services. For faculty and staff, CUNY’s Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is available to help. CUNY’s EAP may be reached at 866.327.2400 or through their Website.

Equity and inclusion

We want to take this opportunity to remind our diverse CUNY community that we are an institution that takes pride in its welcoming environment and unwavering promotion of the values of equity and inclusion. These challenging times are not an excuse to behave any differently toward those with whom we serve, live, study, and work. As always, any student who experiences discrimination of any kind can speak with their campus Student Affairs Office for support. Likewise, faculty or staff can speak with their campus Chief Diversity Officer or Office of Human Resources.

In closing, the health and safety of our campus community and our families is a primary concern. I appreciate everyone’s effort to help reduce the risks that we will be impacted by this virus, while also making preparations to minimize the impact if anyone does contract the virus.  Please continue to check our Website  for the latest information regarding our campus.  Additionally, best sources for current information on the virus may be found online.

Thank you for your time and cooperation.

By William J. Fritz

Campus Climate

I write to address what I consider a serious issue we face as a campus. I believe that our College has a serious problem of bullying that we must overcome to ensure a civil campus climate and the success of our students. This problem is evidenced by both the Campus Climate Survey done by Rankin and Associates a few years ago and the recent COACHE survey which described bullying, especially faculty on faculty and staff on staff, as a major issue facing the campus.

First, I have asked that the Provost expand the charge of the group reviewing the recent COACHE survey to also review the results of the Rankin Survey and to look for themes and to pay particular attention to descriptions of bullying and uncivil behavior. I will be looking for this group to make recommendations that they believe will help.

These surveys also speak to challenges in recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups and of gender equity issues. An uncivil climate that tolerates bullying will not help in these important initiatives and is a poor way for us to model behavior for our students.

Secondly, as the President, I must lead by example and I intend to do everything in my power to put an end to the destructive bullying climate on campus. For my own part, I will speak out against what I see as bullying and will not participate in any meeting where an uncivil atmosphere exists. I urge anyone on campus experiencing uncivil behavior to speak up and to take a stand against it. If you are uncomfortable speaking up publicly please know that the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Diversity and Compliance will always talk to you on a confidential basis. There are also buttons on our homepage to report incidents that make you feel uncomfortable and you can remain anonymous if you choose.

Thank you, and together we can make CSI a pleasant place to work, a place where we can understand each other’s perspectives, and can have civil serious discussions about difficult topics.

By William J. Fritz

Announcement Regarding NCAA Division II Membership

I am excited to share the news that the NCAA Division II Membership Committee has accepted our application to join Division II, enabling us to join Queens College and eight other public and private institutions competing in the East Coast Conference. CSI and Queens are now the only NCAA Division II institutions in the five New York City boroughs, and the only public NCAA Division II institutions in New York State.

The move to NCAA Division II fits in perfectly with our Strategic Plan and will continue CSI’s standing as a scholar-athlete driven athletic program, with 50% of CSI’s student-athlete body holding a 3.00 cumulative GPA or better, and 38% holding a 3.2 or higher.  The move will facilitate scholarship-driven education and help us expand the College’s current regional footprint. In addition to making our program more attractive to local student-athletes looking to play DII, we will now be able to offer scholarships that will help increase our percentage of out-of-state and international student athletes. The costs of scholarships will be borne by revenue generated by Athletics and by philanthropy.

I want to thank Athletic Director Charles Gomes and his team, as well as everyone on campus, who has helped us throughout the application process. You can access more information on the move and our championship program online.

Once again, congratulations to our Athletic program and Go Dolphins!