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Will CUNY Schools Reopen for Fall 2021?

Since March 2020, a majority of CUNY operations for students, faculty, and staff have been online. Registration for classes has recently opened for Fall 2021 and this has many wondering how the new semester will look like. 

In a statement released by CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez in January 2021, CUNY is planning for a “safe and gradual return to mostly in-person instruction and support services for Fall 2021” since vaccinations are being rolled out to NYC residents. He anticipates that remote learning will not leave CUNY entirely, not even as we return to pre-pandemic times since some students found many benefits to remote learning. 

On QC’s website, they have stated that the school will start to transition to in-person learning for Fall 2021. QC “prepared to accommodate students affected by the coronavirus and the challenges it’s presented to the greatest reasonable extent through measures such as facilitating enrollment after the deadline, fast-tracking academic advising, permitting make-up exams, and extending due dates of final assignments. Those who need to report a possible exposure to the virus are told to contact the coronavirus campus liaison.” When clicked, it directs individuals to a google form to fill out and submit to the college.  

The Knight News reached out to QC President Frank Wu on reopening the school for Fall 2021. No classes for the upcoming semester will be completed in person but a mixture of online and in-person meaning instruction will be hybrid. Courses that are hybrid will be required to maintain social distancing practices as well as mask-wearing. Online courses will be like previous semesters: synchronous or asynchronous. “The first day of the semester all classes will be virtual in order to provide appropriate time to discuss safety protocols and how the class will be conducted for the semester. If a rise in coronavirus cases should necessitate a move to online learning, we will know at the start of the semester if students in each course have the necessary access to learn remotely.” Courses that require in-person experiences that will take place off-campus such as student teaching, internships, and field trips to name a few. 

An email sent out on April 12th to the campus community from QC Provost Elizabeth Hendry, goes more into detail about reopening measures for Fall 2021. “The Everbridge app and Proxyclick email wellness checks required for campus access will also continue to be required.” The email continues on breaking down how certain classes will most likely be in people, such as seminars, studio art, or science labs due to pedagogical reasons. Large lectures will most likely remain online. QC is also trying to pilot some HyFlex courses. HyFlex courses will “allow students to choose a primarily in-person option or take classes online. In some cases, students may be able to participate online while the class is in session and interact with their instructor and classmates. In other cases, students will rotate through the in-person classes and participate asynchronously for other parts of the course.” 

The email goes on to explain how scheduling on CUNYFirst is being listed for Fall 2021. “Any course listed as hybrid (H) in CUNYfirst will be in one of the categories from 1-4 in the list above. Look for the details in the class notes in CUNYfirst or contact the instructor or the department. Hybrid (H) or online (O) courses in CUNYfirst will also indicate whether the course has synchronous online sessions (OL-01), which meet for class sessions in real-time at the specified days and times, or asynchronous online sessions (OL-02), which do not have regular online class sessions.

Overall, it appears to be that QC is anticipating more in-person classes for Fall 2021. They have stated that the situation about in-person learning and science surrounding the coronavirus is ever-evolving so they do not wish to commit to specifics. QC staff, faculty, and administration are working to adapt the college to allow in-person, online, and what seems to be the most likely option for many hybrid classes for Fall 2021. 

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