Jaspers Return: Spring Semester Classes to Begin Online

By Kyla Guilfoil, Editor-in-Chief

According to a One Manhattan email yesterday afternoon, the spring semester will begin remotely, with students attending class online from Jan. 19 to 25. 

This decision was announced on Friday, Jan. 14 via email from the One Manhattan co-chairs: Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, Interim Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, Tamara Britt, Vice President for Legal and External Affairs/Chief of Staff, and Steven Schreiner, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

The email cites a high rate of positive tests in the college’s area that caused concern for possible disruptions to occur during the initial week of classes due to necessary quarantine protocols. 

“By offering all courses remotely during the first five teaching days, we create an equitable and safe learning environment for our students and alleviate many logistical challenges associated with the return,” the email read. “For example, all students and faculty testing positive during the required testing window prior to the start of the term will have the ability to participate in their classes … In-person learning continues to be a gold standard of learning for our traditional undergraduate students, and this plan allows us a prudent and expeditious path to the classroom.” 

Despite the change in scheduling for classes, One Manhattan confirmed that the campus will still be open during the period of online learning, including O’Malley Library and other study spaces. Further, the email encourages students to maintain their original move-in dates for on-campus housing beginning Jan.16. 

Beginning Tuesday, Jan 18, there will be grab-and-go dining options at Locke’s Loft and Kelly Commons. Regular indoor dining will be available beginning Wednesday, Jan 26 according to the email. 

Face masks will continue to be mandatory for all indoor on-campus spaces. The email encouraged those on-campus to use medical grade masks such as surgical, KN95, or N95 masks, as well as snug-fitting multi-ply masks. 

OneManhattan states that the college will be distributing free KN95 masks throughout campus as the semester begins. 

The return email also outlines the quarantine protocol for students and faculty on-campus this semester. As it is mandatory for all personnel to submit a PCR test before returning to campus, those with positive tests will be required to notify Health Services of the positive result and to quarantine for 10 days regardless of vaccination status. 

While the CDC now recommends a five-day quarantine for those who are vaccinated, the New York City Department of Health still recommends a 10-day quarantine for those who test positive for COVID-19.  

However, OneManhattan states that those who have received a booster vaccine, completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines within the last six months or completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last two months do not need to be quarantined when they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, unless they develop symptoms.  However, they should wear face masks around others and receive a PCR test five days after their exposure. 

Those who have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over six  months ago and has not received a COVID-19 booster vaccination, completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two  months ago and has not received a COVID-19 booster vaccination, is partially vaccinated (only one  dose of a two -dose vaccine series), or is unvaccinated should quarantine for five days after close contact with a positive-testing individual. 

After five days, these individuals should receive a PCR test and will be cleared from quarantine once they receive negative results. For an additional five  days, it is encouraged for these individuals to wear a well-fitted, layered mask around others. 

Despite vaccination status, OneManhattan urges all individuals to report any symptoms to the Daily Symptom Tracker and to quarantine until they receive a negative test result. 

The college will be offering COVID-19 testing on-campus during the upcoming days. On Saturday, Jan 15 from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm at Smith Auditorium there will be saliva-based PCR testing available. No registration is required for this testing, and it is asked that you do not eat or drink anything 30 minutes prior to testing. 

Both PCR and rapid tests will be available on Jan. 18, 19 and 20 from 10 am to 4 pm. It is necessary to register for these tests before 9pm the evening prior to attending. 

While classes will not begin in-person until Jan. 26, students are expected to continue to move back into their dorms throughout the upcoming week. 

“Our goals are to put measures in place to have an uninterrupted semester, and the resilience of our community, and our shared mission, will help us get through this together,” the email read. “We realize that an interruption to our shared mission of in-person teaching and learning may cause additional stress and anxiety to what is already a difficult time. However, we believe that the amount of cases on our campus and around us will decrease to a point where a significant majority of our students and faculty will be able to participate in person.” 

The email asserts that more updates are to come from the OneManhattan team. For any further questions contact OneManhattan at jaspersreturn@manhattan.edu