The status of Zoom and In-Person classes are progressing.
Students have been attending zoom classes since March 2020 and some students have no intention of returning to any of the campuses and attend in person anymore. The pandemic has really affected everyone in every way and especially for students who are just coming into their freshman year to experience their college education. For many, students have been saving up their money for college and to be able to leave their homes to experience adult life and responsibilities. Now they are stuck with their face attached to a screen.
Mercy College has been planning for in-person classes for upcoming semesters. In the fall of 2020 semester, the College had announced that they were going to open up classrooms for in-person class lectures to resume. Students can be open to attending. For professors and students attending, they are required to wear face coverings and social distance themselves as well as students. The capacity of classrooms must be reduced to half. For classes that are of big capacity, some professors are doing half in person and half through Zoom making it easy for everybody.
For being the first semester back, some of the classes didn’t work out. Some students are still concerned about the virus and are taking caution while others don’t care about it. There have been students who do not feel comfortable being in classes on either campus but prefer to stay at home. There are some professors that do not like the idea of teaching through Zoom and prefer to teach in the classroom but that is where the difficulties of making students return back to the classroom start and often there’s always a conflict between the professor or the student.
Another concern for the school is that there have been many new cases at all campuses for dorms and commuting students. The problem of that is that there are students who want to do in-person classes part of the reason why they are living in the residential halls at Dobbs Ferry and while some classes are allowing students to come into the classroom, there has been always new cases rising and it is affected and the residential students.
At the beginning of the spring semester, students who were living on campus were asked to take two COVID-19 tests for the school, one before arrival and one after arrival to see if there any students had the virus before arriving at the college. When the procedure occurred, there were many positive tests, and the school mandated the residential hall students to quarantine for two days. Food was delivered to each residence room. For this reason, only, if there are students who are contacted with the virus, the student must let their professors know but the school as well put guidelines of residential students being contacted with the virus in case.
Since vaccinations for COVID-19 have begun distributing, many students are wondering if they are eligible for the vaccine since they are living in a hall where many students have the possibility of contracting the virus. There are students with medical conditions that could be able to sign up for vaccination and student workers can also register. While other students are not eligible, teachers are and vaccination distribution is increasing rapidly and for the school, this is great news. It could push for in-person classes back little by little and remove some restrictions.
The pandemic will be stuck with the world for a couple of years and now that the vaccination process is happening, 25 percent of New Yorkers are vaccinated with the first dose and it’s only been four months since the vaccine came to our state. I think the College is doing a great job with
incorporating Zoom classes to be an option upcoming semester and it could be permanent for future semesters. The school has a new application on mobile phones where you take a survey about COVID-19 related questions and it will show if you are eligible to be inside the school. Many workers at the college are taking care of classrooms, cleaning rooms before after use, and having implemented sanitizing stations throughout classrooms.
For now, things at Mercy are going smoothly but some of the changes that the college has made are not popular to some students but the most important thing is the safety of our community and that is what the school is primarily doing.