NEW YORK — New York’s colleges and universities now have official guidance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced Thursday there will be a mandatory transition back to full-time remote learning for any school that hits 100 or more COVID-19 cases or a caseload equaling 5% of the campus population.
“We should anticipate clusters," Cuomo said. "When you have large congregations of people, anticipate a cluster. We know that, we expect it, we want to be prepared for it and that's a threshold that we're going to put in place."
That’s good news for NYU incoming Freshman students Maggie McNabb of Florida and Hanna Mandell of Manhattan.
They’ve been messaging each other for months about this day — the day these soon-to-be roommates would meet face to face, in front of their dorm, a block away from Washington Square Park.
“I actually just got into the city today,” said McNabb.
Getting to this point was not easy.
But both of these young ladies believe they are on the best path to staying COVID-19 free during what will be a hybrid learning setup this semester.
“I know especially for Maggie, she had to get tested before and after she was quarantining for two weeks," said Mandell.
At Pace University in Lower Manhattan, where fall semester classes started on Monday, school officials are also going with a hybrid learning setup, based on a four-stage reopening plan.
“It has the health and safety component, it has a component so that we can track cases on campus, a component to contain cases on campus and ultimately, if we need to shut down operations and modify them based on how the disease progresses,” said Brian Anderson, director of the university’s Office and Emergency Management and Health & Safety Division.
The rest, NYU Freshman student Maggie McNabb acknowledges, is up to the students.
“I think part of the problem is kids, when they think that they can go out, sneak out and have parties or something," said McNabb. "Obviously, in a pandemic, it's not the smartest choice. I think as long as everybody sticks together, they stay in their dorm, they wear their mask, they do what they're supposed to do, we won't have a problem."