Dealing with COVID-19 from NYIT Students’ POV
This coming spring, New York Institute of Technology’s students will return for an- other semester, along with it comes waves of uncertainty about how much the school really cares about their student experience. NYIT classes have shifted to online learn- ing since March for the health and safety of everyone on campus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the number of cas- es continues to rise nationally, the institu- tion has adapted hybrid learning for the fall and spring semesters. To ensure the safety of everyone going back to campus, they have enacted some regulations such as mandatory covid tests, masks on campus, and sending students health kits. According to Dean of Students Tiffani Blake, there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the residence halls this semester. If any students thought they had it, they were immediately tested and all came back negative. “In regards to students in general in the past three weeks, we’ve had more and more students who are reporting to us that they have been diagnosed with COVID,” Blake said. It was “minimal numbers” and these students are online so it was just a precaution for them to inform the school. Since March New York Tech students have received more than 26 emails from the school regarding informa- tion and updates about Covid-19. However, when speaking with various students about what they think NYIT needs to improve during the upcoming spring 2021 semester communication was their biggest concern. “I was very stressed because I had gotten a lack of information from any advisor and professor I reached out to,” said Lola Rivera, a junior. “I felt kind of in the dark and it is even worse going into the spring semester...most of my stress and anxiety came from the actual school such as the reg- istrar and advising departments,” she continued. For Jamila Lontoc, a digital film and television student transparency is also one of her main priorities for future semesters. “I think it’s all based on communication, the classes with a lack of communication during this stressful time does not help the students at all.” President Foley often reiterates in his emails that “we think constantly about the student experience; improving it substantially is so important to us that it is at the core of our new strategic planning and our daily decision mak- ing.” Although as of now, it’s debatable the institution is near providing the best for student experience, in this writer’s opinion. Currently, for Rivera, a Communication Arts major with hopes of graduating a semester early, the biggest obsta- cle is the school. During the registration for the spring semester, Rivera found out through her two advisors that because of COVID most of the classes she needs to gradu- ate early are only being offered in the fall which is her last semester. So far she has only been able to register for four courses when she usually takes six each term. According to her advisors, more classes are supposed to be available however it seems like the registrar hasn’t posted them online yet even though registration for the spring semes- ter began on Nov. 2. “I feel as a student, I should not have to stress over whether or not I will be able to graduate because the school can’t be organized during a pandemic.” In times of economic struggles and unorthodox teaching methods, many students are looking for any type of finan- cial and academic relief. “Student tuition includes fees for being able to use studio equipment, lab equipment, com- puters, editing software, library, and many other resources that we aren’t getting,” said Astrid Santana, a senior in her last semester. “I’m spending more money from home that I don’t have, as I am now unemployed due to Covid than I would if I was in school,” she added. Blake pointed out that although students are most- ly not physically together, the school needs to maintain a virtual infrastructure. Zoom, Canvas, Blackboard, and oth- er remote and in-person student accommodations – along with previous improvements the school plans to make – require the support of tuition. “At this time, a tuition reduction will not occur, but tuition is frozen for the next few semesters,” she said. “I always want students to know that when the campus is open it is open to all so you can still come by and use the physical spaces in person.” Dorming during pandemic has also raised a lot of anxiety for students. Many have even chosen to stay home for the coming semesters. Shana Nelson, a first-timer to dorming said she felt “surprisingly safe” dorming this semester. Aimee, who did not provide a last name, a resident advisor at NYIT Riverside dorms located on 88th street is hopeful for the spring semester. “Going into the spring semester we will continue to hold socially distanced events and hopefully provide more passive activities for the res- idents to participate in,” she said. “It’s definitely been a weird and unconventional semester, but hopefully with warmer weather we will be able to hold safe events outside and we will continue to keep track of the residents leaving the residence halls in order to minimize the exposure to COVID,” she added. Rightfully frustrated about the upcoming semester stu- dents are persisting through confusion, anxiety, and a lack of information between them and the institution. “If professors and advisors expect us to keep it togeth- er during hard times, why do they keep making it hard- er?” asked Rivera.
Spring 2020 Journalism 101 course with Professor Jaffee.