Classes become virtual on Sept. 2 due to weather

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Clare Sharkey | The Ticker

Arianne Gonzalez, Arts & Style Editor

A campus announcement saying that classes would be virtual due to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida was sent to Baruch College students, faculty and staff on Sept. 2.

“Due to the impact of the unprecedented weather on mass transit, all faculty and staff should work remotely, and all students should attend virtual classes today, September 2,” the email said. “Essential staff should report to campus. Campus is open with limited services for those faculty and staff already en route.”

The announcement garnered criticism for its lateness. It was sent at 9:19 a.m., after many classes had already started.

Most systems of transport still had significant delays, after Hurricane Ida brought heavy rains that battered transit.

New York City Emergency Management announced a travel ban from 12:50 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Sept. 2, after Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency at 11:30 p.m. the night before.

Almost every subway line was already suspended at the time and many remained delayed on Sept. 3, according to The New York Times.

The lateness of the announcement significantly impacted students and faculty who were either already on campus or on their way there.

Senior Chiani Figueroa had already arrived at Baruch when she received the email. “I had left my house extra early to accommodate for suspended trains,” she said.page1image18900928

Even those commuting from outside the city were heavily affected. Sophomore Natasha Rodriguez commuted from Yonkers, waiting for the bus for an hour. She only received the notification once she arrived on campus.

“Not only was it so difficult to catch a bus to my train, but the notification was received at 9:20, my class was at 9:05 and it just seemed really unfair to everyone else who got to class as well as my professor who wasn’t advised earlier,” she said.

The decision to move classes online also received criticism, with many saying that they should have been cancelled instead.

Luke Waltzer, the director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, tweeted that the presumption of teaching online is a “new precedent.”

“We’re all hyflex now, and the labor required to support that is simply assumed,” Waltzer wrote.

Baruch Political Science Professor Els de Graauw expressed a similar sentiment on social media.

“Yes, classes should have been canceled today,” she tweeted. “Also, my college only announced that classes would be online shortly after 9am today… they really could not make a decision sooner? The subway system had been suspended for many hours by then…”

Many students agreed that the school should have canceled classes.

“They should’ve anticipated the aftermath of the storm the day prior and made an announcement earlier in the morning if not the night before,” junior Cirill Dalangin said.

Some students appreciated that classes became online. Senior Luis Villareal said that the transition to remote learning allowed him to take his class, which he would have missed because of the delays in mass transit.

“I was not on campus and was not planning to go to campus for this day due to there being no reasonable method for me to get to campus.”

Other students already had classes that were online, so they were not as affected. Still, many students believe that the situation could have been handled better.

Stephanie Tapia, a sophomore who had an online class that day, said that by not canceling classes, Baruch placed an extra burden on those directly affected by the hurricane.

“Some kids probably had other problems to attend to but with classes still in session it was like a choose one or the other situation and it’s unfair,” Tapia said.