CUNY to Prepare for Hybrid Fall Semester

CUNY released a statement Friday morning indicating its preparation for a hybrid fall semester in which most classes are at least partially online and international students are able to remain in the country. 

“48 percent of the Fall 2020 courses that are open for student registration are already scheduled for hybrid or online delivery,” wrote Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez in an email to students. “We hope to increase this percentage in the weeks ahead in preparation for the start of the semester.”

Photo by Marissa Cronin

Even so, the message said, CUNY hopes for some classes and activities to take place in-person in accordance with public health guidelines. “Those courses are likely to include, among others, those dependent on science labs and professional equipment, theater, performing and studio arts and clinical placements,” wrote the chancellor. Some activities, like food pantry operations, child care and library services, will also likely take place in-person. A board of trustees measure approved on Thursday night suggests that CUNY also plans for dormitories to reopen, though they won’t house as many people as usual.

CUNY also said that it will develop plans to prevent international students from being deported by potentially holding in-person classes for them. The chancellor acknowledged that Thursday night’s board of trustees resolution about the fall semester was meant to allow international students to remain in the country after the federal government issued a directive to strip international students of their visas unless they take at least one in-person class. “We will leave no stone unturned to make sure our international students are able to stay and continue their studies at CUNY,” Rodríguez wrote.

According to state government guidelines, CUNY is responsible for exercising certain mandatory precautions, such as having individuals wear face masks when social distancing is not possible, implementing COVID-19 screenings and maintaining “hand hygiene stations” throughout campus. Stricter measures are optional but recommended. All colleges are required to develop and submit detailed reopening plans.

Each CUNY campus has developed a reopening committee to create such plans in accordance with state guidelines, according to the chancellor’s email. 

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