To the Hunter Community,
As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, we want to assure you that Hunter is monitoring and responding to the current conditions. We are working hard to ensure that our community stays safe and healthy while balancing our important work of educating students, supporting faculty, and living Hunter’s motto, Mihi Cura Futuri (the care of the future is mine). I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your commitment to supporting Hunter students and helping them to complete their education.
While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that the risk to New Yorkers remains low, Hunter has undertaken significant efforts to proactively reduce the risk to our community and ensure we are prepared in case of a disruption to our regular operations. Below is a summary of some key policies and procedures. We encourage you to check your email and the Hunter website for additional updates.
Keeping Campus Facilities Safe
In accordance with best practices, we have enhanced our institutional cleaning procedures across all Hunter campuses and buildings in coordination with building-specific staff. This includes our main campus on 68th Street; our Brookdale health science building on 25th Street and FDR Drive; our Silberman School of Social Work campus in East Harlem; the 41st Street home to our animal behavior program (i.e., our former MFA building); our two freestanding buildings on 65th Street, Parliamo Italiano and Roosevelt House; and the Hunter College Campus Schools. We are coordinating with entities responsible for the maintenance of shared facilities, including the Belfer Research Building we share with Weill Cornell, our Studio Art MFA at 205 Hudson, and the home to our PRIDE Consortium at 36th Street. We will additionally be closely monitoring cleaning in our Brookdale and 79th Street dorms and our leased dorm rooms on 3rd Avenue and also on 92nd Street. We are routinely cleaning and disinfecting public, high-touch areas, including elevators, classrooms, bathrooms, locker rooms, and equipment, and we are supplying our facilities with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Please look for signage and announcements on screens across these campuses and buildings with important health tips, like using a tissue or other object to push an elevator button or not touching turnstiles with ID cards.
Recommended Prevention Practices
We strongly suggest that all members of the Hunter community follow these commonsense safety precautions:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help stop the spread of germs and protect yourself against other infections.
- Get the flu vaccine; it will not protect you from coronavirus, but will help protect you against the flu which has similar symptoms to this coronavirus.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing – do not use your hands.
- Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
- Wearing a mask is not considered necessary.
- Stay home if you are sick, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Continuation of all Campus Activities
At this time, regular campus activities will proceed without interruption. This includes classes, meetings, events, admissions activities, conferences, and gatherings. This is a rapidly changing situation, and we continue to make preparations in case there is a future disruption. Please check your email and our website regularly for more information as the situation develops.
Underlying Health Conditions
If you are faculty or staff with an underlying health condition such as a compromised immune system, please speak to your Department Chair or manager and to Human Resources regarding potential eligibility for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or reasonable accommodations to allow you to continue teaching or working.
If you are a student with an underlying health condition, such as a compromised immune system, please confer with the Office of AccessABILITY to see if you are eligible for any appropriate accommodations.
Academic Continuity in Case of Canceled On-site Classes
We have asked Deans and the Director of the Campus Schools to work with faculty and chairs to update or develop a comprehensive plan for remote instruction to ensure academic continuity in the event that we need to cancel onsite classes. We are working closely with our various accrediting bodies to ensure any remote instruction plans fulfill our accreditation requirements.
As part of this effort, we are asking all faculty to prepare to be able to teach their courses remotely if needed. The preferred platform for teaching is Blackboard Collaborate , which meets Hunter’s privacy and security needs and is supported by ICIT. To assist faculty, we will hold training sessions on each campus and share resources and online guides ; the HelpDesk is available to provide additional technical support. If Blackboard Collaborate does not meet your academic needs, please speak with your Dean about alternative products; you will need approval from your Dean before using a different tool in order to ensure compliance with Hunter ICIT policies. The Provost's office will work with faculty whose courses would not be consistent with traditional remote instruction, like labs and the performing arts. The Campus Schools has a number of embedded resources that will facilitate remote learning for students as needed; additional information will be provided to HCCS faculty by the Campus Schools leadership team.
Clinical Placements and Internships
Hunter is working with CUNY and our partners to determine how we can fulfill any student requirements for clinical placements and internships in the event of a disruption to normal activities. The CUNY Office of Academic Affairs has asked the NYSED Office of Professions to authorize CUNY to use our campus Simulation Labs and NYSIM, as needed, as an alternative to meeting our clinical program training requirements. We will continue to update you as this process unfolds and when we get a response from NYSED.
Hunter and CUNY have been working closely to investigate the potential impact that short-term and long-term school closures could have on student financial aid regulations. At this point, Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) has indicated that it will work with colleges to ensure “continued eligibility for awards under all circumstances related to the coronavirus.” We will share more information as it becomes available.
Events and Gatherings
At this point, all events and gatherings will continue as usual, including performances, partnership events, conferences, lectures, and meetings. We are closely monitoring guidelines from CUNY, New York City, New York State, and federal agencies. However, we urge you to check our website regularly for up-to-the-minute updates. Hand sanitizer and other appropriate precautions will be made available, as well as signage to remind visitors of ways to stay healthy. Hunter has the capacity to livestream events to reach those who are not able to attend in person; please contact the HelpDesk for more information about livestreaming technology.
Hunter-led or -sponsored travel to both Level 2 and Level 3 countries is restricted; currently only Iran, South Korea, China, and Italy are classified as Level 3 countries, and Japan is the only country classified as Level 2. There are currently no restrictions on Hunter-led or -sponsored travel within the United States. We will update you if the situation changes and additional restrictions are put in place.
If you are returning from a Level 3 country (Iran, South Korea, China, and Italy), you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to class or work. Similarly, if any present or upcoming visitors to campus are returning from Level 3 countries or otherwise meet the guidelines for self-quarantine, they must postpone their visit to campus until after they have completed the self-quarantine period.
All study abroad programs have been canceled for the semester. We have asked faculty and staff to accommodate impacted students as they return to campus, including facilitating enrollment after the deadline, fast-tracking academic advising, permitting make-up exams, and extending due dates on impacted assignments and projects. We are working to support students who were enrolled in study abroad programs that cannot be completed as planned, including coordinating with program providers, replacing course content, and facilitating credit-bearing internships.
Guidelines for Self-Quarantine
A 14-day self-quarantine must be undertaken if you:
- Have returned from a Level 3 country (Iran, South Korea, China, and Italy)
- Live with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus or has exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus
Faculty and staff members who fall into the above two categories and have been approved for self-quarantine will be paid their full salary for the entire self-quarantine period, and their leave accruals will not be affected.
Essential Campus Emergencies
In the event of an emergency closing or move to remote instruction, essential employees will ensure the baseline operations of the College. These employees will be notified by their manager that they are considered “essential employees” and will be asked to continue to work in the event of an emergency closing. This includes faculty and staff who maintain our research labs. Please contact the Provost with any questions or concerns regarding research labs.
We will continue to monitor the evolving situation and coordinate with all appropriate bodies. We will send email updates, and you can see all recent announcements on the Hunter website . In addition, CUNY has a Coronavirus Update web page, and the CDC is routinely updating their guidance.
Support for Our Community
Hunter has a number of excellent resources for faculty, staff, and students for managing under these stressful conditions. I encourage faculty and staff to reach out for free, confidential counseling through EAP. We also have resources for students through our Counseling Center.
I would like to thank our resilient Hunter community. You have gone above and beyond to ensure our community stays safe and healthy while minimizing interruption to our academic operations. Several teams at Hunter deserve particular appreciation, including ICIT, Human Resources, Facilities, Student Services, and our academic leadership. Special thanks go out to our custodial staff who have stepped up to meet the new protocols and whose tireless efforts help keep us safe and healthy.
I hope this guidance has been helpful. We will keep you updated as additional information becomes available.
Jennifer J. Raab