Quiet study spaces now open on campus

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Newman Library Twitter

Emanuela Gallo, News Editor

On Sept. 16, quiet study spaces became available by appointment on campus at Baruch College.

The announcement was made via email to students from Katharine Cobb, the vice president for administration and finance.

“Our plan was developed in accordance with guidelines from CUNY for Safe Campus Reopening, New York State for higher education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also aligns with the recommendations of the College’s Task Force for the Future,” she wrote in the email. “The updated plan features detailed descriptions of future multistage reopening phases along with anticipated services and activities that will be permitted in each phase. We identified the community and College conditions that must be in place prior to transitioning from one phase to the next.”

These spaces are in the Newman Vertical Campus, including the Multipurpose Room, also called room
1-107, and the cafeteria, or room 1-173. They include individual workstations, with a chair and table, that are socially distanced for all students who go.

Students must reserve a seat online up to 48 hours prior to visiting campus.

When registering, students select a day and a time slot between two four-hour openings, one in the morning from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the other in the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In order to protect the safety of students and staff, a health screening application called Everbridge Symptom Checker is being used to screen students entering the study spaces.

Students must complete the questionnaire before being permitted on campus. Depending on the results, they either receive a green token and thus are allowed access or receive a red token and are denied access.

Visitors must present their Baruch ID, the confirmation email of their appointment and the green token to public safety before entry.

Chief Robert Curry, the director of public safety and member of the reopening committee, works closely with the Environmental Health and Safety Office to ensure that Baruch’s facilities are properly prepped for students, faculty and staff.

“Several members of our public safety team have been designated as screeners, which affords us the ability to register someone visiting the campus of the Universities with newly implemented health screening Everbridge APP,” Curry said in an email interview with The Ticker.

There are a few rules in place to protect the safety of students and staff.

Tables and chairs must not be moved away from their socially distanced positions. Visitors must bring their own devices, as printers and computers are not provided.

Students cannot eat or drink inside the study rooms. In addition, masks or face coverings must be worn at all times.

“If for some reason a student, faculty or staff arrives without the appropriate PPE equipment, we have a limited supply which is available for [dispersement] in the lobbies of the Vertical Campus and 17 Lexington Avenue,” Curry said. “We are also in constant communication regarding maintaining adequate personal protective equipment for our staff.”

After each session, the rooms are cleared to allow time for cleaning. These breaks prepare the spaces for the next session’s or day’s use.

Those who ignore the safety guidelines can be held accountable.

“There is a reporting process for individuals who are not compliant to which we must adhere to and make the appropriate notifications to the Baruch administration as well as the central office,” Curry said.

It is possible that campus presence will expand in the future depending on the use of and demand for these spaces. They are being monitored in order to assess if and when that will be a safe option.

Cobb said in her announcement that the college will avoid transitioning into different reopening phases during the semester to ensure a consistent transition.

“Campus reopening will be a gradual, staged process under conditions that are safe and will continue to be in compliance with CUNY, NYS and CDC guidelines. Prior to moving to a next phase, we will provide adequate notice to the campus community so there is time for everyone to adapt,” she added.

The Ticker reached out to the Office of Student Life for comment but did not receive a response.