Reopening Plans Crumble at City College, Putting Students and Staff at Risk

CUNY’s reopening website promised social distancing
Photo Credit: CUNY
This is a Chemistry Lecture at Hunter College
Photo credit: @josephsciorra

According to CCNY employees with inside knowledge of the situation, it’s clear that we are all being herded back to a campus that is not prepared to offer a safe educational experience to students, nor a safe working environment for teachers and staff. Our insider sources confirm that there are many buildings and rooms where classes are being held without adequate ventilation to protect against the COVID-19 virus. HVAC and HEPA filter implementation is a hit or miss, and the process for obtaining ventilation reports is obscure and inaccessible. This means we students have no way of knowing if the buildings we are in are safe!

Even though most of their jobs can be completed remotely, the administration is forcing staff to handle admissions and registration business on campus in the cramped Admissions Building, where social distancing is not possible, causing a health hazard.

As Delta variant cases continue to rise at alarming rates, CUNY is failing to follow its own reopening plan. Under their own guidelines and at the current COVID positivity rate in New York State, campuses should be opening in Stage 1, with most classes completely virtual and restricted access to campus. However, CUNY continues to steamroll a Stage 3 reopening, with about half of classes occurring in-person or hybrid and relaxed restrictions on campus access. In the context of insufficient ventilation and space for social distancing, this means putting the lives of university students, workers, and employees at risk.

Photo credit: Inside Higher Ed/Professional Staff Congress

From mass layoffs to course cuts to their failure to properly observe COVID safety guidelines, our university administration has consistently failed to protect our interests over the course of this pandemic. Students must take these concerns up ourselves, unite with the staff and maintenance workers, and demand a safe and accommodating learning environment.

No to unsafe reopenings! No to placing our lives at risk for the sake of appearances!

CCNY must follow its own reopening guidelines and provide proper ventilation and space for social distancing in all its buildings!