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CUNY mandates all dorming students move into Queens College housing facility

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

New York is projected to need about 140,000 hospital beds and only 53,000 are available according to New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The temporary hospital space plan could provide more than 29,000 beds for patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

The dorms for Hunter College, Baruch College, and City College of New York are joining the College of Staten Island to transition to makeshift hospital spaces.

The majority of students at most CUNY campuses live within commuting distance from their homes, but the few who are international students can’t return home.

“Students residing in these facilities who are unable to go home are being offered placement in a dormitory at Queens College, where they will continue receiving full services,” CUNY Spokesperson Frank Sobrino said.

CUNY shifted to remote learning on March 19, with an instructional recess that happened between March 12-18, but there were still some students living in the dorms of various CUNY campuses. Students were officially evicted on March 26 with only a few days’ notice.

“At least they’re offering some option for the dormers instead of leaving them out on the street like some schools,” Nadian Singer said, a Hunter College junior majoring in anthropology who is originally from California and is fortunate enough to currently reside with some of her relatives living in New York.

Neel Hatwar, a finance major at Baruch, comes from Dubai and resided at Baruch’s Third Avenue dorm. Now, in the midst of finishing the rest of his semester online, Hatwar’s college life has converted to a virtual Queens College experience in just a matter of days. 

Hatwar said that if he knew about the closing dorms earlier, he  probably would have booked a flight back home, but is grateful for Queens College to offer students a place to stay.

About 300 students have been consolidated in the remaining dorm from all CUNY campuses. Each student has been given their own rooms and bathrooms. 

The campus is also taking social distancing very seriously. Students are only allowed to pick up food from the cafeteria — instead of sitting and dining there — and are not allowed to sit anywhere on campus. 

Nonetheless, Hatwar said that the Summit, Queens College’s dorm, has so far provided him with a positive experience, including three meals a day and free laundry services. 

The New York Times stated that as of press time, New York state has more than 83,000 cases, the most in the country. There are currently over 12,000 people hospitalized in the state.

“One common theme that runs through the CUNY community is our resiliency,” University Student Senate Chair and City Tech Student Government Association President Timothy Hunter said.. “In times of crisis, we lean on each other for strength and support. Let’s remain calm and focus on what’s important: taking care of our community.”

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