Students share their wishes for the upcoming spring 2022 semester

As the fall semester nears its end, students are questioning what the next semester will look like. As it stands, the spring 2022 semester will have the vast majority of its CUNY courses in-person, however, news on the omicron variant has alarmed many on large gatherings.

The Ticker asked Baruch College students what they want for next semester.


Return club life or eliminate the student activity fee

By Amanda Salazar

As the editor-in-chief of The Ticker, it should come as no surprise that I am staunchly in support of in-person club life returning for the spring 2022 semester.

Considering that remote club life is hardly the same, I would argue that what I’m really calling for is the return of club life.

The Ticker has been lucky to hold editorial meetings over Zoom, conduct its editing and writing remotely , promote itself on social media and transition into a fully online publishing model. Other clubs have not been as fortunate.

With nearly all Baruch College students vaccinated against COVID-19, aside from the few with medical or religious exemptions, it is unclear why campus club life cannot be reinstated.

Being that there is a vaccination mandate for students and not for faculty and staff, it means that all — with the exception of the handful of students with exemptions — students are fully vaccinated, but not all employees in the building are.

Students are actually safer, COVID-wise, in an in-person club event than in an in-person class because all students at the event will be fully vaccinated. In a classroom setting, however, the professor isn’t necessarily vaccinated.

We are more likely to be in the presence of an unvaccinated, potentially COVID-19-carrying person while in a class than at a club event or meeting.

If students aren’t given back their club life, they should at least be compensated for their student activity fees from the past two semesters and the current one.

Furthermore, students should not be required to pay another student activity fee next semester. If we are not having in-person student life — which, as I stated earlier, is almost the equivalent of having no student life — then we shouldn’t have to pay for it.


Spring semester instills cautious optimism

By Maya Demchak-Gottlieb

After almost two years of enduring the pandemic and yet another grueling semester of semi-virtual learning, announcements that the majority of CUNY courses will be in-person this spring excited many students.

While CUNY began to reintegrate in-person classes during the fall semester, a return to a majority of in-person classes is an important step toward “normalcy.” Many students did not have any in-person classes during the fall semester and those of us who did still often faced difficulties of remote learning.

Another major disappointment for students during the fall semester was the lack of in-person clubs and activities.

As a commuter school, students at Baruch naturally face greater challenges forging social connections, and the inability to interact with other like-minded students deprived students of the one valuable avenue for socialization they had. Never being able to meet my friends from clubs or online classes limited the extent to which I could develop relationships with them.

Many students criticized the lack of on-campus club activities because they didn’t understand how Baruch could deem it safe for students to attend in-person classes but not in-person clubs.

Rooms designated for clubs may be smaller than classrooms. Still, options like establishing limits on the number of students allowed in a club suite at a time or dividing meetings into A and B schedules in addition to virtual meetings would have enabled students to have the essential human connection that’s been missing throughout the pandemic.

There are numerous benefits of returning to in-person learning in the spring semester, such as an alleviation of the negative health effects caused by remote learning, but there are also a lot of difficulties.

For one, the newly discovered omicron variant may hinder the transition to in-person learning.

Although I was happy to experience a more normal fall semester with several in-person classes, I was also concerned about COVID-19. Commuting, sitting in classrooms and being surrounded by so many people inevitably means exposure.

I was fearful that I would come in contact with the virus and transmit it to my elderly grandparents, my parents or even contract the virus myself.

I look forward to a semester that more closely resembles the college experience of years past and I anticipate taking all in-person classes. Hopefully, new variants do not jeopardize the safety of the Baruch community or impede the plans for reopening.

Through adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and awareness of students’ physical and mental safety, we can all have a successful and rewarding spring semester.


Baruch’s pandemic restrictions should end in spring 2022

By Dani Heba

Baruch has been plagued with COVID-19 restrictions for nearly the past two years. While the initial lockdowns could have been justified, continuing COVID-19 restrictions would be archaic and have social costs that outweigh any health benefits.

To start with, the idea that students can come for in-person classes but not meet in person for clubs is, to put it lightly, moronic. How does it make sense to say that a club meeting isn’t safe, but a class one is?

This decision hinders the social capabilities of a school that is already widely known for being anti-social. Most classes find people keeping to themselves.  A club is where a person can truly interact with others who have shared interests and form lifetime connections.

Additionally, I believe the school’s mask mandates are unnecessary given that everyone who enters must be vaccinated anyway. This means that everyone’s chances of being severely ill if one even gets the virus at all, are incredibly low.

There’s no need to make an anti-social school even more so.. I think it is time to eliminate that unnecessary burden on both students and staff, given that the health risks are significantly decreased for almost everybody.

Concerns about the omicron variant have the potential to scare people into wanting more restrictions.

However, instead of rushing to propose lockdowns and a return to Zoom, among other restrictions, it is important to realize what may be the case : the variant is more transmissible, which scientists say might help end the pandemic.

Considering these factors, including the inevitability of this pandemic becoming endemic in the near future due to the virus’s natural progression and medical advancements, the social risks of keeping Baruch students and staff confined to anti-social and unnecessary pandemic measures far outweigh the risks of dropping all COVID-19 restrictions.


There is hope for some normalcy in spring 2022

By Mia Gindis

My professor arrived 20 minutes late to my first in-person class since the onset of the pandemic. Then, he couldn’t figure out how to connect his laptop to the projector.

Three students rushed to help him. The rest sat earnestly in their seats, waiting for the HDMI cable to breathe life into the smart screen display so that the professor could move forward with our very first in-person lesson since CUNY shut down in March 2020.

I realized, upon surveying the room, how alien this familiar setting seemed to me and likely to my peers, as well. After all, we had all spent nearly three-quarters of our lives either sitting in a classroom or dreading doing so the next morning.

Why did attending an in-person class now feel like riding a bike for the first time in years? The procedure feels intuitive, like muscle memory, but it took a couple of turns to truly get the hang of it.

I noticed something else as I gazed at my classmates’ expressions that day — everybody seemed relieved.

It was as if all the awkward idiosyncrasies of an in-person class, which had been lost in the shift to online learning, had reminded us of a bygone era. It reminded us of how much we missed it.

As the spring semester rolls around, many students have found themselves with all in-person classes. Though some are nervous about the transition, the overwhelming consensus seems to be that this is a positive change.

With mask and vaccine mandates still in effect, getting students back on campus seems to be the next logical step for a student body that has been starved of human connection. There will always be new variants, hotspots and fears, but the nostalgia for in-person school has been mounting.

It’s time for a return to normalcy. Or, at least, as close as we can get.