GC Fall Plans – Newsletter #1

GC Forward

Dear Graduate Center community,

We are launching this bi-weekly GC Forward newsletter to keep our entire community up to date on plans and progress as we prepare for a safe, successful, and fulfilling fall semester.

After more than a year of remote classes and operations, we look forward to a progressive and safe return to in-person learning, study, and work this fall. Although we cannot predict the course of the pandemic, we do know that vaccination, combined with mask-wearing and handwashing, is highly effective in reducing the rates of infection and transmission. This gives us the confidence to develop and implement plans for returning to The Graduate Center and ASRC in increasing numbers.

We will continue to develop our plans in coordination with CUNY and state leadership, grounded in guidance from the CDC and the evolving science of the pandemic and vaccines. Please be assured that if conditions worsen, we will be prepared to reverse course and even return to remote operations.

Academic Planning for Fall
Our primary goal for the fall is to welcome students back to The Graduate Center. We are making plans for the return of in-person instruction and expanded access to lab spaces.

Each doctoral and master’s program will offer at least two classes that are either in-person or hybrid (a mix of in-person and online). We are preparing a first-draft schedule of courses that will meet at least once every two weeks in-person at The Graduate Center. The Provost’s Office is working closely with doctoral and master’s programs on this initiative.

Importantly, all international students will be able to join us in New York, and we look forward to welcoming them. The Office of International Students will provide advice and assistance with the visa process.

We will keep most classes small so that we can maintain physical distancing. Larger classes may be offered in the bigger public spaces, and we may implement staggered class schedules to minimize potential crowding

This spring, the Audiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Linguistics, Music, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences programs reopened their labs/rehearsal rooms so students could resume research/recitals under carefully regulated conditions, coordinated and supervised by each department. In the fall, additional lab spaces will be reopened and available to students and faculty.

Student Use of Space
In response to input from students, faculty, and staff, we are developing plans to provide students access to space for research and studying, and perhaps remote teaching as well. We are currently evaluating potential locations and capacity. We are also developing an online reservation system for booking seats and seminar rooms for these activities.  

Student Services
We are planning to provide facile access to student services by creating a one-stop center on the first floor. This will minimize the need for students and staff to use the elevators or stairs. Students will be able to transact business related to Financial Aid, the Registrar, Human Resources, and NYSHIP health insurance enrollment.

Public Programming and Other Use of Space
In-person public programming will not be offered in the fall. For safety reasons, there will be no common dining area in The Graduate Center. The Dining Commons will not offer food service, and pantries will remain closed until further notice.

Planning for On-Campus Work for Faculty and Staff
We are committed to supporting those who provide educational services by creating a safe, productive, and invigorating work environment for everyone at The Graduate Center. Thank you to everyone who responded to the Staff Fall Planning Survey sent out last month by CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost José Luis Cruz. The input you shared is helping to inform planning. The central Office of Human Resources and our campus H.R. office will provide guidance soon on the anticipated partial return to in-person work this fall.

Building Operations and Logistics

  • Entry into the building will continue to require completing a daily health screening using the Everbridge app prior to arrival. Everyone coming to campus should be prepared to check in.
  • Restrooms and elevators will be open, but occupancy will remain restricted to a small number of people. To accommodate elevator overflow, we will open the stairway door on the main floor. Stairways will be accessible and designated for either up or down use.
  • The Office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning will ensure that cleaning and disinfecting protocols are consistent with prevailing CDC, CUNY, and state guidelines.

We have much more to think about as we move forward. We are grateful for your commitment, which has sustained The Graduate Center through many difficult months. Your ingenuity and cooperation will see us through this next significant transition.

Please visit The Graduate Center’s COVID-19 and reactivation planning website for additional information. You are also welcome to send suggestions and questions to us at reactivation@gc.cuny.edu. We will send the next GC Forward newsletter the week of April 26.


Robin L. Garrell

Julia Wrigley
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President

Brian A. Peterson
Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

Submitted on: APR 12, 2021

Category: COVID-19 | GCstories | General GC News | President's Office - Community Message | Provost's Office