May 26, 2020
Jennifer Arroyo, Business and Technology
This semester has shaped up to be difficult for students, faculty, and families. The change to distance learning happened so swiftly, and although I was shocked by how fast we had to turn around our courses, I was a bit more prepared than most colleagues in my department. I knew I had to help in any way I could.
Eventually, I fell behind on my own work and I realized that I had over-extended myself. Having a three-year-old daughter makes working from home extremely difficult. I am unable to get much done during the day and I don’t get to start my professional work (grading, preparing, reading emails, etc.) until after 8:00 p.m., when my husband is home from work. I have always added just a bit too much to my plate, but doing so in these two months of quarantine has caused me much anxiety and stress. I have been trying to practice grace and gratitude. Realizing that I have so many things to be thankful for brings me down from whatever anxiety-driven tirade I may be on.
Infectious-disease experts forecasting recurring waves of COVID19 are motivating colleges and universities to figure out how to open for the fall semester while still following CDC, local, and state guidelines. To be honest, I do not feel that opening in the fall is a good idea. Classes requiring labs—for courses in physical therapy or EMT/Paramedics, for example—will need to be on campus in some way. Creating a schedule that allows for that to happen is imperative.
But how can classes for thirty-four students practice social distancing? Do we split that course into two? If so, we need a second instructor and another room available at the same time. Too many variables can lead to an increase in COVID cases and endanger the lives of faculty and students.
The risk in going back to a kind of normalcy is just too great. Do we have the capacity to regularly take temperatures for each person coming to campus? What about testing, which is essential to creating a baseline and maintaining surveillance testing every few weeks? Is CUNY discussing ways to cut back and lay off staff? If so, how can this work for our college?
I know I’ve posed more questions than answers, but I am sure that everyone has these concerns.