New York City, NY — by Jules Roscoe
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
NYU announced its spring 2022 reopening plans in a university-wide email on Jan. 12. The reaction was a mix of enthusiasm and concern. Students have been yearning for a normal college experience, but the highly contagious omicron variant continues to loom over us. To combat COVID-19, NYU has been adjusting their response in accordance with the latest health guidelines: a new masking policy, a booster requirement and a two-week period of hybrid learning. NYU senior leadership said they aim to “keep the safety and health of the University at forefront of our policy-setting.” And they’ve done an impressively terrible job.
NYU has effectively decided against a remote semester, raising health concerns among students and faculty regarding omicron. To now be thrown back into a so-called normal college environment is a jarring shift from the disjointed and erratic education we’ve had for the last two years. Although a return to normal might have been the right choice in other circumstances, the reality is that NYU’s administration cannot force normalcy during an ever-evolving global pandemic.
The university’s new mask policy strongly encourages KN95, KF94 or N95 face coverings — but the university fails to provide them to its students; Thankfully, NYU’s student government plans to distribute them as the term gets underway. Meanwhile, students who contracted COVID-19 before they returned to New York are stuck at home and missing out on their education.
The administration’s emphasis on flexibility says that faculty should accommodate remote learning for students who need it during the first two weeks. However, the administration has given no guidance on how to handle the abrupt transition, and many faculty members aren’t following the guidance at all.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.