The second discussion of the Students First: Community Conversations series was held on Thursday, July 16 and featured Suzanne Musho, AIA, NCARB, vice president for capital planning and facilities management and chief architect at New York Institute of Technology. Musho, who is heading up the campus reopening plans, addressed questions and concerns regarding procedures and facility changes at the Long Island and New York City campuses due to COVID-19, and outlined the university’s four-step “LEAD” plan, which details the strategy for reopening the two campuses on September 9.
Step One: Layouts
Musho described the layout changes in the format of classrooms, campuses, and entering procedures. To ensure social distancing, classroom desks and seats have been moved six feet apart and outdoor seating will be added to the Long Island campus, along with outdoor heating.
To enter both campuses, students, faculty, and staff must take their temperature and answer three questions: Have you tested positive for COVID-19? Have you been near someone with COVID-19? Do you have any symptoms? If a person’s temperature is under 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit and has answered “no” to all of these questions, then access will be granted. To maximize efficiency, the university has created an app to enter this information and students will simply show Security staff their confirmation email for entry.
Masks will be required on both campuses at all times; a paper mask will be provided for those who do not bring their own. In addition, New York City students will receive a badge from the library lobby at 1855 Broadway that will allow them to enter the surrounding buildings.
Step Two: Equipment
Campus equipment will be updated for maximum adaptability. Musho mentioned the need for hands-free tools and enhanced ventilation systems, which will be added where necessary on both campuses. In addition, elevators will only allow two-to-three people at a time.
Step Three: Academics
Musho noted changes to learning modalities, citing the addition of distance learning and hybrid classes to the curriculum. She informed students that their professors are working to find the best format for each class, and those decisions are still being made. Musho said that everyone is doing their “very best to have face-to-face instruction.”
Students asked about the possibility of outdoor classrooms in New York City, and Musho noted the potential of exploring Central Park as an option.
Step Four: Disinfection
UV lights, static cleaners, and COVID-19-approved cleaners will be added to both campuses. Classrooms will be disinfected between every two classes, with extra cleaning of doorknobs, light switches, and other high-traffic areas and items.
Students First: Community Conversations Series features discussions aimed at informing students about changes to be made at New York Tech during this pandemic and the support systems available to members of the New York Tech community. Tune in on Thursday, July 23 at noon to hear from Mindy Haar, Ph.D., clinical associate professor and chair of interdisciplinary sciences, on how overall health and sound nutrition can boost immunity.