OneManhattan Team Officially Disbanded on Campus After Two and a Half Years

By Isaiah Rosario, Asst. Sports Editor

OneManhattan, Manhattan College’s COVID-19 response team, is officially disbanding  and transforming into a general response office as announced during a Senate meeting on Feb 21. 

Goldie Adele, the chief compliance officer of the college, explained to the Quadrangle the decision-making process behind disbanding the OneManhattan team. One factor that contributed to the process included vaccination rates within the community. 

“One thing that we have paid attention to is not just the COVID numbers within the campus but also within the New York area,” Adele said. “We were looking at all the different trends in terms of the requirements, and also considering our campus community in terms of safety. The decision was made to look at transitioning from the OneManhattan office but not disband the function.”

To move forward with disbanding the centralized COVID office, the school had to meet certain requirements, including compliance with local statistics and state mandates. 

“We looked at the local numbers,” Adele said. “They were also able to get information from other local colleges and universities…and CDC guidelines. It wasn’t an overnight decision, it was transitional planning.”

Despite the official OneManhattan office closing, the college still includes human resources, compliance and the provost’s office in discussions regarding COVID procedures, but they will no longer be centralized at the OneManhattan office. Associate Provost Rani Roy spoke more about the transition as a whole and how it will impact other offices. 

“The process to think about the disbanding was more about the centralized office,” Roy said. “The personnel were going to be moving on to their regular jobs at the college. [With] these other offices exist[ing], we knew that there were still structures in place to support any COVID things that came up.” 

However, Dean of Students Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel did not rule out the possibility of opening another centralized office if there is another surge in COVID-19 cases. She also highlighted that students should report any new symptoms to health services as they will be directly assisting any further COVID-related cases. 

“If we have a surge, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had to re-address the idea of a centralized office as opposed to a more local response,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “If you are a student that is struggling with COVID-related isolation needs you still have to let health services know and then health services tell you the guidelines to follow.” 

Roy stated that with the closure of OneManhattan, any future information regarding COVID procedures will come from either the compliance office or health services. 

“New York State and New York City have wound down a lot of their requirements, other than isolation,” Roy said. “We’re still collecting [positive test results] because we are required by the Department of Health to do that. But I think we’re doing a very good job.”

Roy and Adele both credited the OneManhattan office as a helpful resource for students, faculty and staff to remain safe during such a difficult time as many were forced to isolate themselves away from friends and family. 

“I think [OneManhattan] was very effective,” Roy said. “It was a really good opportunity for all of us to work together in different ways. I’ll say it wasn’t in our job descriptions to do this. But we came together at that moment. It was new to everybody.” 

Adele echoed similar sentiments about the effectiveness of OneManhattan during the initial stages of COVID. 

“I came in at the tail end, but I was able to closely work with the office and manage the office into the following year, which was last year and it was very effective,” Adele said. “If you look at things as simple as providing masks onto the campus, the sanitizers, the vaccine clinics… they worked with faculty to ensure that the classrooms are safe.”

During challenging times, collaboration was key to ensuring a safe campus for everyone to return. 

“OneManhattan was a team effort,” Adele said. “It wasn’t just that office. We had a campus-wide committee that worked on that metric and then communications too was part of the group. It was a whole campus-wide effort, but that office was very important in keeping us safe.”

Abreu-Hornbostel gave advice to students, faculty and staff to ensure that MC remains a safe campus despite living in a COVID-impacted world three years later. 

“We’re all responsible for our health and for our well-being,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “If you’re not feeling well, don’t share, just like the flu. If you are needing medical attention, pick up the phone, and be in touch with health services or your provider, take some of that responsibility.”She also noted the “mask-friendly” policy on campus, which allows students to take their own precautions for personal safety and the safety of others.
“We’re a mask-friendly campus, you’re allowed to wear your mask wherever you want,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “So that means if you’re not feeling well, you should wear your mask. If someone around you is not feeling well, you should wear your mask.”