This year has been extraordinarily challenging for all of us. I hope that you and your loved ones are managing to remain safe and healthy through the pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 emergency was declared in March, the MCNY community has been working hard to advance its educational mission and support student success through these unprecedented circumstances. All spring 2020 classes moved online in late March; they remained online through the summer. Thanks to two generous donors, the College was able to send loaner laptops to students who needed them to continue their studies. Our food pantries at both campuses remained open even while the campuses were otherwise closed, and hundreds of students and their family members were served through a very frightening and difficult time.
The College was very pleased to be able to offer emergency cash grants to spring semester students through the federal CARES Act; this program was continued for the summer and fall semesters. Students have been enthusiastic in expressing their appreciation by sharing stories of how their lives were impacted by COVID and the importance of this support.
Our plans for reopening the campuses align with federal and state guidelines to facilitate social distancing and promote safety. Staff began a phased return to campus in late July, and both campuses re-opened to students in early September. Most classes are being taught online; some key classes—such as Constructive Actions—are being offered in a hybrid format with on-campus and online sessions. Student services are now available on-campus and virtually by appointment. Many students have reported that Zoom sessions for tutoring, mentoring and advising have been extremely valuable, as they enable flexibility and offer some measure of in-person connection.
As you may know, last year we began to host weekly community meals to deepen the sense of family that exists on each campus. Sadly, those gatherings are no longer possible. However, food insecurity continues to be a growing concern to our students, and we are doing everything we can to help support their efforts to stay in school while providing for their families. Thanks to Trinity Church Wall Street, we are providing brown bag, shelf-stable meals on a grab-and-go basis to students who need them. In addition, thanks to Trinity, Fresh Direct and St. Francis Pantries, we will be offering Thanksgiving turkeys and groceries to our students throughout the holiday season.
As I hope this brief letter emphasizes, MCNY faculty and staff continue to put the success of our students at the center of our work. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the stakes for individual and community success, and we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to support the educational and professional goals of our students. The MCNY Community is, and will remain, Stronger Together.