[UPDATE – CUNY to Prepare for Hybrid Fall Semester]
The CUNY board of trustees voted on Thursday evening to say that CUNY prefers in-person classes this fall to the extent possible, but will prepare for classes to go online if remote instruction becomes necessary.
The board of trustees was originally going to vote on whether the fall semester would take place mostly online. At the last minute, they amended the measure to say that CUNY’s preference “is to offer in-person instruction and services to students for the fall 2020 semester where practicable and prudent.” Online classes will take place “only to the extent necessary.” CUNY has been preparing and will continue to prepare for fall 2020 and spring 2021 to go remote if necessary.
Before it was amended, the measure originally said that CUNY should extend online learning to the fall for all classes that don’t require in-person instruction.
The trustees offered no rationale for the sudden change, but it’s possible that the decision was connected to the new federal directive to strip international college students of their visas unless they take at least one in-person class. CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez condemned the new policy, which pressures colleges to hold in-person classes. “I have instructed my administration to explore and pursue measures that would help these students remain in the country and continue their education at CUNY,” he wrote on July 7. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the federal government over the policy.
Other colleges in the area have announced a wide variety of plans for the fall semester. New York University, Columbia University and Pace University, all in Manhattan, plan for a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Whereas The New School has announced an entirely online semester, Fordham University in the Bronx has planned for in-person instruction. College reopening plans have inspired criticism from students, professors and local residents alike. CUNY, on the other hand, remains undecided.