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New York Tech Community Adapts to COVID-19 Life

As the year comes to an end, so does the first semester fully online due to the pandemic. Back in March, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) was forced to adapt quickly in the shift from in-person classes to mostly remote edu-cation. Since then, we have seen many modifications made to make sure the transition was as seamless as possible for the NYIT community. Getting to speak with students, as well as NYIT’s President Hank Foley, more intel on the impact that COVID-19 has had on the university. During the summer, every member of the NYIT com- munity received a welcome kit either by mail or upon returning to campus, which included a thermometer, re- usable cloth mask, hand sanitizer, and a hands-free door opener. NYIT will also require testing of all students, and also request that faculty and staff provide testing results as well for COVID-19 prior to their return in September, and have given options on how to get tested. These options include the university itself in New York City, through the person’s own physician, or any of the providers of free tests. The NYIT New York City Reopening Plan for Fall 2020 was created by administrators Suzanne Musho, Jerry Bal- entine, and Brian Harper. This plan was intended to have a population of up to 1,200 individuals, consisting of 20 percent students, 40 percent faculty, and 15 percent staff. Facial coverings are mandatory and must be worn at all times both in the presence of others and in public settings while also social distancing, and any individual without a mask will be given one at the campus. When speaking with Musho about the cost of the new safety measures put into place, she said, “The cost of the development and implementation guidelines are in the millions of dollars and continue to climb.” This cost comes from a number of changes made, such as layout revisions of the buildings, consultations with both safety and design professionals, installation of new equipment and adjust- ments to existing equipment, and testing protocols as well. Musho follows this by saying, “We look forward to me- thodically and responsibly re-engaging campus life in a more typical format, as the vaccine becomes more widely available in the Spring of 2021.” Residential dormitories saw a number of changes, starting with no visitors allowed within the dorms un- der any circumstances. Single rooms are available for any students with specific health requirements, and are decid- ed on a case-by-case basis. Both the dormitories and the campus are undergoing continuous disinfection protocols as well. In regards to extracurricular activities, most student clubs will be implemented virtually, both extracurricular and cocurricular, however the Long Island athletics program is currency suspended until further notice. The school also continues to advise proper hygiene to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum. When gauging whether or not a semester is a success, the most important place to turn to is the students. Third- year students at NYIT, Amelia Razak, Jacky Jimenez, and Fernanda Valle shared their first-hand experiences of what the fall semester was like for them. Feelings towards the transition process from in-person classes to online only were mixed for students. Valle had a difficult transition, stating “It was very sudden and kind of difficult, because I did not have the same access to resources that I could get on campus.” However, Razak said her transition was smooth since most of her programs were already online as a graphic designer major. Jimenez stated how her transition was okay, since half of her class- es did not require in-person learning. For the classes that did, she mentioned that it was difficult for her to learn the skills that the class was teaching. With that being said, all three said that their GPA re- mained the same when compared to previous semesters. With Jimenez, she claimed that her GPA got better than it was previously. None of the students that were interviewed said they have been back to the campus since classes went remote in April. When asked if the students would return to NYIT if the structure was the same as it is currently, both Razak and Jimenez said that they would return next semester. Valle being unsure whether or not she wants to return. She will continue to weigh the pros and cons for continuing her education at NYIT if it continues to be online. Besides questioning if these students will be coming back to school, students started to ask about other important factors of continuing online education. Valle is curious on how students are able to receive resources at home, like Adobe Creative Cloud. Being able to have this resource is very important as a Graphic Design major since the pro- grams are what they use for the majority of their courses. Although it is only $19.99 a month, not every student can afford it. While some students are continuing to see success in their studies, it seems as though NYIT still has a few issues that need to be corrected when moving forward in an online-only education system. This pandemic has lasted longer than anyone has tru ly anticipated and with that being said, NYIT seems to try to adapt quickly to make sure their community keeps well. Even as NYIT is struggling on the financial aspect ofthings, they still seem to be working hard to get things improved and done. It is important for NYIT as a whole to keep going and many due believe their hard work is not

Photo by Yimli Longkum

Front walk way of 1855 Broadway.

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