Medgar Evers College (MEC) continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety, and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff, as well as the community at large. The College remained open throughout the pandemic with a dedicated group of essential staff – officers, custodians, maintenance personnel, and operations teams – to achieve an open and safe environment. We are thankful that these frontline staff members have worked daily to protect the campus and community as others worked remotely to effectively serve our students.
MEC will continue to follow public health, New York State, and CUNY guidelines and directives for the fall 2021 semester. This plan will outline a series of guiding principles that clarify the restarting process as its implementation has evolved throughout the pandemic. We are entering a new and hopeful phase in the fight against COVID-19, as evidenced by an increase in New York State vaccination rates and a decrease in hospitalizations.
The MEC Taskforce has actively worked on a detailed plan for the 2021–22 academic year, with the intent to have have up to 25 to 50% in-person instruction and the return of student life to campus, including the resumption of on-campus extracurricular activities and counseling services to the fullest extent possible. In addition, with increased building occupancy, the College will address changes to the logistical and spatial requirements in the guidelines currently geared to social distancing of six feet.
The College has engaged in planning multiple scenarios. It will continue to monitor public health conditions to ensure that our academic and campus preparations meet all of the latest federal, New York State, and CUNY guidelines. The final plan allows sufficient flexibility to adjust as circumstances in the fall dictate. The plan includes current public health guidelines with six feet of social distancing as well as the CDC's recently reduced three feet of social distance. The College will require weekly surveillance testing for unvaccinated individuals. Social distancing measures, mandatory face coverings, and sanitization/hand hygiene are also required to provide a safe, high-quality experience for working and learning.
The original plan was submitted to CUNY on August 20, 2020, and was approved on August 26, 2020. The plan was implemented but has evolved as necessary based on guidance from public health and government authorities. Amendments to the original plan for the fall 2021 semester were submitted on June 15, 2021 for CUNY’s approval. Jacqueline Clark, campus COVID-19 coordinator and senior vice president of Administration and Finance, will oversee operations and liaise with CUNY and other external constituents.
MEC’s guidelines and responsibilities for the campus community follow CUNY’s guidelines, which incorporate a broad range of risk-mitigation strategies to support the re-opening of our campus, including density reduction strategies; screening, testing, and contact tracing; academic calendar adjustments to address population migration risks; and physical modifications to our environment.
This plan is established to set precise requirements for using face coverings; expectations for physical distancing; cleaning personal spaces; contact tracing; and, testing initiatives following federal, New York State, and local guidance.
We are in a rapidly changing environment, therefore, these guidelines are subject to change. The campus community will be notified if that occurs.
Employees will be transitioning to on-campus work throughout the summer under their division’s plans. However, it is expected that all employees will return to campus full-time as of Monday, August 2, 2021.
Child Care Center
The Child Care Center (The Center) located at 1150 Carroll Street, first floor, will operate at the capacity allowed under New York City regulations for child care centers. The Center can serve children, 10 per room, under the current guidelines. The child care center will need eight to 10 staff members, depending on use. The Center is operating remotely until further notice. The Center’s cleaning and safety protocols will adhere to New York State and City requirements for child care centers.
Cafeteria and Cafés
MEC’s cafeteria and cafés are closed until further notice, and vending machines are shut down. No storage of food or beverages is allowed in shared refrigerators. Kitchens and lunch breaks will be organized to minimize the duration of use and enforce adherence to social distance. Social distancing issues will be addressed when the new campus food vendor begins services, and this plan will be updated accordingly:
- Allow only one person at a time with a two-minute wait before the next person enters, unless there is enough space to maintain social distance the entire time with two-minute breaks;
- Use signage to deter the use of amenities, such as refrigerators and coffee makers;
Limit the number of chairs/seating areas;
- Post signs to remind employees of social distancing;
- Secure and remove reusable kitchen items;
Staggering or scheduling use of shared space;
- Cafeteria and cafés will employ stringent safety protocols to avoid cross-contamination and identify allowable occupancy to control physical distance;
- Cafeteria staff must wear face masks and gloves when working and interacting with the public;
- Cafeteria staff must follow infection prevention guidelines.
Auditoria, Seminar Rooms, and Event Spaces
Auditoria, seminar rooms, and event spaces are not available for any in-person events until further notice. There will be strict occupancy and time limitations for any in-person events scheduled before stage 4 begins. Hand sanitizer and wipes will be made available in each room.
The food pantry will be open three days per week, and require two staff members during opening hours: Mondays, 10:00am to 2:00pm; Tuesdays, 3:00 to 7:00pm; and Wednesdays, 10:00am to 2:00pm. Reservations will be required to ensure social distancing, and proper cleaning and safety protocols will be in place.
Hallways, Stairwells, and Access Points
Signage and floor markers will be posted to cue occupants on recommended traffic flow in corridors, stairwells, entrances, and exits to minimize contact. These measures include:
- Markers with one-way arrows on floors in hallways and stairs to designate traffic flow; labeling would minimize face-to-face interactions;
- Hand hygiene stations near all stairwells;
- Signage will be posted to discourage lingering and congregating in hallways and stairwells;
- High touch surfaces, such as stairwell handles and railings, will be cleaned frequently.