Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Campus Reopening and Operations for Fall 2020
Developed from Virtual Town Hall Discussion Sponsored by The Academic Senate Steering Committee and the Faculty Executive Committee
The questions have been divided into sections. You can jump to a section by utilizing the links below.
The answers to many of the questions will make reference to The City University of New York's Guidance on Academic Continuity website.
Services and Support
Coronavirus Coordinator Updates
Q: Will classes be online or in-person in the fall?
A: To protect the health and well-being of everyone in our community, we will continue to deliver the majority of instruction and support services online this fall.
Q: Will student support services be online or in-person in the fall?
A: Most student support services will continue to be provided virtually this fall. Please check Campus Services
for a full listing and the most up-to-date information.
Q: Will administrative staff continue to work remotely or will be on-campus? Are there plans to eventually return to campus?
A: Non-essential administrative staff who have been working remotely will continue to operate remotely until further notice. Following guidance from the CDC and the safety guidelines for higher education issued by the New York State Department of Health, the Emergency Management Advisory Committee is developing plans for reopening the campus with strictly limited capacity, requiring appropriate physical distancing and protective face coverings, monitoring of health conditions and hygiene, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocol.
Q: Will access be permitted in order for faculty, staff and students to retrieve personal items and or for faculty to use their offices?
A: Campus access will be extremely limited and may be requested and determined only on a case-by-case basis. Once approved, this access must be by appointment with the Department of Public Safety. Everyone permitted on campus in this limited manner must first view a training video and complete a screening questionnaire, which includes a temperature check. Once on campus, everyone is expected to wear masks and other PPE as directed and maintain social distance.
Q: Is it possible the campus may reopen at a later point in the fall semester and what would be the implication for remote classes?
A: In the unlikely event that campus access is expanded due to a determination that it is safe to do so, courses will remain online in order to accommodate students, who have now enrolled with the understanding the courses would be offered online. However, greater access to offices, facilities and services would be possible.
Q: If a course is permitted to use the campus to conduct all or a portion of the course on campus, what will happen if a student does not want to come to campus?
A: Courses that are permitted to be conducted on campus will be extremely rare and may do so only after review by the Emergency Management Advisory Group and approval by the President. Any course receiving this approval will be designated as “hybrid” in CUNYfirst and students will need to take this into account as they register and be prepared to meet the requirements of the course. If accommodations can reasonably be made for a student to remain off campus and still meet the course objectives, they will be made.
Q: Will faculty be permitted to access the campus on a regular basis to use equipment, film lectures, film and conduct lab experiments, etc.?
A: Faculty should be prepared to instruct courses without access to the campus for these purposes. Even if windows of opportunity emerge to offer this type of access on a controlled basis, they could just as quickly close based on local and state health guidance. Requests for one-time access to retrieve materials/supplies will be processed per specific procedures.
Faculty will be surveyed to determine the equipment, supplies and software needed for remote instruction. Requests will be fulfilled to the extent feasible/possible. Course-based vs. section-based requests are expected to be more readily fulfilled, so departments should plan accordingly.
The Office of Educational Technology should be consulted prior to making a request. Many resources are available for remote instruction. For example, video capture when using Blackboard Collaborate.
Q: Will online class sizes differ from in-person class sizes?
A: No, however, where a class size was constrained by room capacity, room capacity will no longer be a limit for some sections and all like sections will operate at the same class size. Writing intensive courses will continue at the class limit of 25.
There is no minimum number of students that would guarantee that a class will “run”. Each section will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the enrollments in all sections of a particular course, as well as student needs.
Q: Will students be offered options of CR/NC for Fall?
A: No, as per the guidance we have received from the University.
Q: Do we need to designate a course as synchronous or asynchronous in CUNYfirst?
A: Yes. Faculty will make this determination and notify the Registrar to make the necessary adjustments in CUNYfirst. Designating a course as asynchronous will cause the class days and meeting times to be removed from CUNYfirst. Asynchronous, while not ideal in many cases, is being encouraged as it provides our students and faculty with greater flexibility as they navigate the complexities of work, childcare, remote schooling and securing access to scarce computer resources and study spaces.
Q: What are the University’s plans to provide software to ensure academic integrity?
A: The latest Guidance on Academic Continuity document, includes the following advice and plans from the University: Course Assessments for Fully Online Courses
Q: Will student support offices be open in Fall?
A: The College will continue to provide student support services virtually. Please refer to the full listof available services for the latest information.
Q: How will students get books from the bookstore that instructors have ordered?
A: The Bookstore is arranging for delivery to students. Please note that this requires considerable lead time to accomplish.It is extremely important that orders be places with the bookstore immediately.
Q: If the computer that I use to teach from home stops working who would help me and what is the expected time window for assistance?
A: All faculty and staff requiring hardware support may contact the helpdesk live Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some weekend hours may be available during busy times of the year. Requests for assistance may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. Every effort will be made to respond as quickly as possible. The specific circumstances of the problem will determine the timeframe for resolution.
Faculty and Staff Technology/Equipment for Remote Work
Q: Will the College be providing computer hardware/devices and internet access to faculty and staff?
A: It is expected that faculty and staff will generally continue to arrange for internet access and utilize their personal devices for remote access to the campus. Where secure access to the campus network is required, loaner laptops with adequate security have been and will be provided. Every effort will be made to provide necessary peripheral equipment, e.g., cameras. A survey to assess the specific technology needs of faculty and staff is being conducted. Faculty will be emailed the survey directly, with requests being routed to their department chair and the Provost. Staff surveys will be administered, as needed, by the applicable vice president.
Safety & Sanitation
Q: Will the CUNY Reopening Guidelines (handbook) be shared with the entire community?
A: CUNY has indicated that these guidelines will be posted soon on the COVID-19 website.
Q: Will testing be required of all persons visiting the campus?
A: COVID testing will not be required. However, a self-screening form must be completed and submitted within 6-12 hours of any pre-approved on-campus appointment. This includes a temperature check. Any campus use that would require testing as part of an onsite protocol would not be possible to permit, at this time.
Q: Are there plans to hire specialized cleaning companies?
A: On-campus activities will be kept to a minimum in the fall. Buildings & Grounds will be able to maintain the College, using specialized equipment and supplies, as recommended by the CDC, to the required standards. Prevention is the primary strategy to avoid COVID-19 contamination.
Q: Is anyone looking at retrofitting ventilation in each building?
A: Retrofitting HVAC systems is not possible in the short-term. HEPA filters have been ordered for all campus buildings and will be installed as soon as they are received. All COVID-19 related supplies are subject to ordering delays.
Student General Welfare
Q: What does CUNY intend to do for homeless students in the coming academic year?
A: No specific programs for homeless students have been identified by the University. However, an array of Financial Aid and Other Types of Support is available as described below in the Guidance on Academic Continuity document.
Q: When will students be notified of the resources available to them?
A: Since the transition to distance education, students have received regular updates regarding support services and other available resources via email, text message, push notification, advisement appointments, the College website, and the QCC Connect Mobile App.
Q: Could the College create a webpage with COVID FAQs and contact information?
A: A list of Frequently Asked Questions is posted to the homepage. Updates are made to this list on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available. Posted to the homepage are also several links for COVID related information and resources, including a virtual office directory and other essential points of contact.
Q: When is next town hall?
A: The College will continue to hold regular town hall meetings. Continue to monitor email for the latest event information.
Accessibility and Services for Students with Disabilities
Q: What are the requirements for making documents and video accessible and will services for students with disabilities be available to support students taking courses online?
A: CUNY's Accessibility Technology Task Force developed a new Distance Learning website that specifically addresses making materials accessible in a remote learning environment. CUNY's Making Content Accessible website also provides instructions and tips to help faculty make their online course content accessible for students with disabilities. In addition to addressing PDF and Microsoft Word documents, emails, video captions, websites and social media are covered. The CUNY Assistive Technology Services (CATS) webpage provides information about various assistive technology services available to CUNY faculty. Faculty can also reach out to their campus Accessibility Offices for additional information and campus-specific resources. Contact information for Accessibility Offices at each college is available online.
For training videos on accessibility, please visit YouTube channel (CATSCUNY). More information on assistive technology and accessibility training videos can be found on ourCATS website. For additional information, call 718-281-5014 or contact SSD@qcc.cuny.edu.
Q: Since most operations will be remote, there will be some people whose positions will not have a function or reason to be in a remote setting. Will those people remain in the payroll? Are furloughs for those unnecessary positions a possibility given the reduced economic resources we have?
A:The College will ensure that all full-time staff have a remote assignment for the fall. There are no plans to lay off or furlough any full-time staff at this time and any decision to do so would be made by CUNY.
Q: Will faculty observations take place in the fall?
A: Classroom observations will be conducted virtually during the Fall 2020 semester. Please refer to section 18.2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for information. Additional details are available on the Human Resources webpage.
Q: How will I receive my pay stub?
A: The College is working on a plan to securely deliver paystubs in the fall. Faculty and staff who require immediate employment verification information should contact the Office of Human Resources.
Q: Will Kupferberg Holocaust Center/faculty collaborations would continue next year?
A: Yes. All KHC exhibitions and colloquia will continue online, and faculty will be able to align courses with the KHC exhibition and colloquia. While the campus remains closed, the Kupferberg Holocaust Center (KHC) is transitioning all of its programming online. The new exhibition, The Concentration Camps: Inside the Nazi System of Incarceration and Genocide, surveys how—and why—the Nazis tortured tens of millions of people during World War II by forcibly concentrated their enemies into approximately 44,000 ghettos and camps of varied sizes and purposes. The exhibit has a dedicated LibGuide featuring: a catalog and compendium website, survivor testimonies, recommended readings, vocabulary lists, research tools, writing prompts, and more. The related 2020-21 KHC/NEH Colloquium, Internment & Resistance: Confronting Mass Detention and Dehumanization, features programming connected to the new exhibit, as well as to this year's Common Read selection—"They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei. The KHC is also excited to announce a new partnership with CETL on professional development and Holocaust education to support faculty in finding new ways to align their courses with the Center. Extensive online educational resources, including interactive exhibits, expansive Libguides, an archive of past programs and scholarly lectures, and additional curricular materials from leading organizations can all be found on the KHC's website.
Q: Can employees take classes online and how will payment vouchers be given out?
A: Please contact the benefits office for questions related to the CUNY tuition waiver program.
Q: What provisions are being made to ensure students have access to the technology needed to meet the requirements of each course?
A: Faculty will be administered a survey to complete for each course they are assigned in the fall. The results will be tabulated and every effort will be made to secure a loaner devices and software licenses to meet these requirements. A variety of software is already available from the University or College for students and faculty.
Q: Are students required to have cameras for remote instruction? Is there a campus policy on this?
A: No. Please keep in mind that not all students have access to private locations to work and study.
Q: What assistance is available for students who do not have internet access?
A: As we did throughout the spring and summer, students will be able to request support for the College for loaner devices. Many companies extended free internet services to students in the spring, but we can not guarantee these programs will continue. We will continue to make students aware of all known resources. We are exploring the acquisition of mobile hot spots and tablet devices enabled with cellular service to loan to students.
Q: Will we be able to provide students with supplies and materials to use from home?
A: This will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some provision of supplies/materials may be possible. Safety/liability may be a limiting factor for some lab supplies, materials.
Q: Is an early retirement incentive “buyout” program under consideration in order to address necessary budget reductions?
A: The College has neither been informed of nor involved in any discussions of this nature.