CUNY Halts Remote Learning As Students Struggle To Log On

Kathleen Culliton

This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch

NEW YORK CITY — The City University of New York will shut down remote learning Friday after students struggled to log into their classrooms.

The public university system will take a five-day "Recalibration Period for Educational Equity" from March 27 until April 1, according to an online letter from Chancellor Matos Rodríguez posted Wednesday.

The goal is "to get a substantial number of laptops and tablets into the hands of students who need them," Rodríguez wrote.

"[Those students] could have a tough time catching up, and likely to drop out of the semester, if we don’t do this now."

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The recalibration will begin just one week after the CUNY schools launched their online learning programs.

Deborah Greenblatt, a professor at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, told Patch she worries that even if the school is able to distribute its stock of computers, lower income students will still face insurmountable challenges.

"We know students don't all have computers and wifi," Greenblatt said. "And a lot of people are sharing a computer with four people in their house."

Staff will also have to work around Gov. Andrew Cuomo's PAUSE order — which asks all nonessential workers to stay at home — to hand out tablets and computers while practicing social distancing.

Professional and graduate schools as well as three community colleges — Guttman, Kingsborough and LaGuardia — are exempt from the "Recalibration Period," the letter states.

The students who posted their reactions to Twitter had another serious problem with the plan: the days off would be taken from their spring break, now whittled down to two days.

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