Written By: Maya Schubert, Ryan Schwach, and Sydney Rodriguez
Last August, CUNY approved Brooklyn College’s plan for reentry to campus life, which CUNY colleges have been told to aim for in the fall. The plan outlines ways to ensure Brookyn’s safety and readiness for when students and faculty can finally return.
“Maintaining the health and safety of each student, faculty, and staff member will be at the heart of each decision regarding reopening the campus,” Brooklyn College Media Relations Manager Rich Pietras said in a statement to the Vanguard. “While it has yet to be determined how many people will be returning to campus in Fall 2021, Brooklyn College–as it has done throughout the pandemic–will adhere to every federal, state and CUNY safety mandate. The college remains hopeful that the vaccines will continue to increase in availability, and that this pandemic will eventually be behind us. As always, the college encourages everyone to continue to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain proper social distancing.”
The campus reentry plan, which is available on the college’s website, operates under three guiding principles: Safety, compliance (as in keeping the college up to date on city, state, and federal guidelines) and flexibility, or maintaining the college’s ability to adjust to the ever changing landscape of the pandemic.
“I want to assure you that safety and public health will drive our decision making,” President Anderson said in the February Faculty Council meeting. “For now we’re assessing the status for our operational structures to support re-entry, our protocol for security cleaning, facilities maintenance and personnel, the technical challenges we face regarding equipment and facilities for re-entering,” she said.
Approval of any and all expansions for on-campus activities is overseen by the Reentry Review Board, which is made up of members of the administration and faculty.
Per the reentry plan, social distancing and the usage of masks will continue as long as guidelines suggest it, and all public areas will be monitored for congestion and traffic. As of now, no public events, no group lunches/catering/celebrations or other in-office group events can be held on campus until further notice.
Under the plan, the campus will open in several stages. Early stages allow limited access to the campus for students required to use laboratories and/or borrow equipment from the school. Students and faculty must wear facemasks at all times and maintain a distance of six feet outside, with a distance of twelve feet indoors.
Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to take stairs rather than elevators, and restroom access is restricted to designated bathrooms, subject to frequent cleaning. The cafeteria, child care center, gym, and fitness centers are completely closed. Hand sanitizer stations are at the entrances of every building.
Stage 4 of the campus reentry plan, in which students return fully in-person, with building capacities at 100%, is dependent on “broad access to an effective vaccine, mass immunity confirmed by antibody testing, and effective and widely available treatment.” In addition, the school will require daily health screenings and will monitor positive cases across zip codes and boroughs. Individuals who report symptoms must isolate from the school immediately. If an individual tests positive, the building or buildings where that individual has been will be closed for 24 hours to be disinfected. In addition, a Coronavirus Campus Liaison will contact positive individuals or individuals exhibiting symptoms with data and resource information.
In an email in early January, Chancellor Matos Rodriguez suggested that classes would be mostly in-person in Fall 2021.
“I am pleased to announce that CUNY will plan for a safe and gradual return to mostly in-person instruction and support services in time for the start of classes in Fall 2021,” Rodriguez wrote to the CUNY community on Jan. 5.
The reentry stages and protocols reflect the measures outlined by New York State and City. All reentry actions are subject to the state and city’s public health data and reopening policies. The entire campus reentry plan is available on the Brooklyn College website.