CUNY announces plans for an in-person fall 2021 semester

Jahlil Rush

CUNY announced on Jan. 5 that in-person learning will make its return in the fall 2021 semester as a result of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval and distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines.

CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez made the announcement about the fall 2021 reopening on the CUNY website and thru an email blast. The spring 2021 semester will be in online format as planned, a fact that Rodriguez noted in his statement.

“As you know, we will continue to operate in a largely virtual modality in Spring 2021, leveraging the solid foundation we have built for effective online and hybrid teaching and the remote provision of student support services. But now that the first vaccines have been approved, and their distribution has begun, we are starting to plan for our next academic year,” Matos Rodriguez said in his statement. “With that in mind and after consulting with University stakeholders, I am pleased to announce that CUNY will plan for a safe and gradual return to mostly in-person instruction and support services in time for the start of classes in Fall 2021.”

A CUNY Central spokesperson did not respond to Ticker requests for comment.

Members of the Baruch College community are split over the decision to reopen CUNY campuses across the city.

Some Baruch students believe that the statement release was too early considering that the future of the coronavirus in the United States is unknown.

“It’s too soon,” Carolina Tenesaca, a senior, said. “We don’t know yet if cases will spike again or if everything will normalize now with the vaccine in place.”

Other students are skeptical about the reopening but are pleased that CUNY is making an attempt.

“It might be too soon but it’s nice to know that they’re planning on it to be open this early,” Brendan Biliski, a statistics and quantitative modeling major, said. “Maybe they can start putting things in line for us to be there.”

In addition to the concern of the announcement’s timing, students are also worried about social distancing on campus.

“People have to go to class and unfortunately the rush will cause large crowds,” accounting major Sarah Sucuzhanay said.

Another student shared their ideas for how social distancing at Baruch could work.

“Obviously I think that we should all follow the six feet rule. I also think that certain rooms should have a number of people allowed,” political science major Blagovest Boussana said.

International marketing major Hoan Truong said she does not believe in Baruch’s capabilities of following social distancing guidelines.

“To be honest, no. Baruch is basically understaffed,” said Truong. “There will not be enough staff to make sure safety guidelines are followed.”

Truong also expressed doubt in her fellow classmates over their discipline to follow the guidelines, saying that even if students are expected to follow the safety guidelines, Baruch students will not follow them.

CUNY students have been taking their classes in online format since March 2020 and will continue through the spring 2021 semester.