PART 1: OVERVIEW

I. INTRODUCTION

Hostos Community College is committed to promoting the health and welfare of all those working at or visiting the campus. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a State-wide “Pause” that resulted in a nearly complete shutdown of campus services, operations and construction projects to help limit the transmission of the virus. During this time, the College transitioned to off-campus teaching, learning and remote work for all but essential safety, physical plant, custodial, and business continuity staff.

Hostos Community College’s reopening plan has been developed based on CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening; it embodies the most recent New York State guidance for higher education, which define both mandatory and recommended actions, as well as best practice recommendations from a myriad of other sources. This reopening plan outlines how the College will move forward safely; approval by CUNY Central Office requires that this plan meet the State’s minimum guidelines. Implementation of the College’s plan is overseen by members of the Hostos Campus Reopening Committee, a diverse group of members of the Hostos community. (See Attachment I: Campus Reopening Committee for a list of members.)

This document follows the outline developed by New York State, detailing general plans for: People, including physical distancing, gatherings in enclosed places, operational activity and movement of goods; Places, including protective equipment, hygiene, phased reopening and communications; Processes, including screening, testing, tracing and tracking; and Institutional Plans.

The plan will be updated, at minimum, in preparation for the start of each new operational phase.

  • Phase 1 began August 26, 2020.
  • Phase 2 is expected to begin August 2, 2021.

Subsequent versions of the reopening plan will specify what revisions have been made.

As the College closely monitors the implementation of each phase, modifications to the plan may be made to increase efficiency as needed. Later phases will follow previous phase requirements and will be modified to safely and effectively incorporate the next phase into the College’s operations plans. All reopening activities will be phased in to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal levels.

Guiding Principles

No one can ensure complete safety from exposure to COVID-19. However, we can create and maintain the safest possible indoor environment. All decisions guided by this document will consider:

  • The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, and their families;
  • The student experiences, education, academic progress, and success of our students;
  • Accurate data, information, status, and training is made available to the community;
  • Compliance with CUNY, government and business best practices; and
  • Sustainability and the use of environmentally friendly materials and processes whenever possible.

In line with these principles, all recommended preventative measures for COVID-19 have been engaged with by the College as much as possible. However, members of the college community must acknowledge that the health and safety of our community is also dependent on personal and collective responsibility.

We remind everyone to continue individual public health activities in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and required by everyone on campus (e.g., using face coverings, maintaining adequate physical distance, cleaning hands frequently, staying home when sick or exposed). The College also strongly encourages everyone able to get vaccinated, not just to protect themselves but others around them, some of whom continue to be vulnerable to COVID-19.

General Safeguards

To protect the health and safety of the campus community, the College has implemented general safeguards and provisions to limit exposure and facilitate physical distancing guidelines. These safeguards follow the protocols and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and State and local health departments. Measures include:

  • Ensuring that all persons on campus wear face coverings and take proper precautions.
  • Use of a distance modality for instruction and learning.
  • Reducing on-site workforce through telework.
  • Introducing technology and processes to promote contactless services.
  • Adjusting workplace hours and schedules.
  • Updated: Limiting campus access and implementing pre-visit and entrance protocols, such as health screenings, testing, or verification of vaccination.
  • When necessary, limiting in-person presence to essential staff who need to be on campus to do their job.

The amount which the College will use each of these measures will depend on the reopening phase, as outlined in our Phase-In Plan (Attachment E).

II. GOVERNANCE

The Campus Reopening Committee has prepared, reviewed, and will closely monitor the implementation of the Reopening Plan as the College modifies operations to gradually, thoughtfully and safely resume and continue in-person instruction and work. The structure of the committee is based on the University’s Coronavirus Planning Task Force recommendation, and roles and responsibilities are outlined in Attachment I.

College Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis has designated the Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance, Esther Rodriguez-Chardavoyne, as the Coronavirus Campus Coordinator. The Campus Coordinator will:

  • Serve as the campus safety monitor, responsible for ensuring continuous compliance with all aspects of the campus’ reopening plan.
  • Lead and coordinate the work of the Campus Reopening Committee and serve as the primary conduit between the campus and CUNY Central on reopening-related matters.
  • Receive information from the Coronavirus Campus Liaison on COVID-19 exposures on each campus and ensure that local health officials are immediately notified upon the identification of positive cases.
  • Receive confidential reports from the campus on issues with noncompliance with physical distancing, hygiene, and safety practices.
  • Support the work of heads of Campus Facilities in the identification and implementation of physical, operational and cleaning protocols.
  • Designate roles and responsibilities as indicated throughout these Guidelines, including when alternate personnel must be identified.

Following internal campus-level review of the campus reopening plan, the CUNY Chancellery/COO’s Office will review and approve the campus reopening plan. The Chancellery/COO’s Office will:

  • Ensure that the campus reopening plan contains appropriate safety measures, comports with the reopening requirements in these Guidelines, and has a fully completed checklist.
  • Serve in an advisory capacity for implementation issues that arise in the development and implementation of the reopening plan.

Once the campus reopening plan is approved by the CUNY Chancellery/COO’s Office, the College and its departments will prepare to implement plans for return to the campus as sequenced in the approved plan (see: Attachment E: Phase-In Plan).

In progressing through any phase of reopening, the Campus Reopening Committee—working with the COO’s Office—will be responsible to local health conditions and continuously monitor and modify the reopening approach as needed. The Central Administration and Campus Reopening Committee are accountable for staying current with any updates to local, state, and federal requirements related to higher education and auxiliary activities and incorporating those changes into the operations of the colleges and entire university.

On campus activities will be continuously monitored for COVID-19 exposures. The Coronavirus Campus Liaison, Executive Director of Human Resources, Christine Dias-Singh, will continue to be responsible for monitoring these exposures, reporting to CUNY's Senior Vice Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, Strategic Advancement and Special Counsel (SVC for Institutional Affairs); this will allow information to be shared among CUNY leadership. The Coronavirus Campus Liaison will also provide this data to the Coronavirus Campus Coordinator and the College President.

The Coronavirus Campus Liaison will:

  • Updated: Receive information from the online NYS Daily Health Screening Templates, from campus screeners, or from other campus data sources (such as testing) as required by CUNY or NYSDOH guidelines.
  • Updated: Provide a daily report on COVID-19 exposures to the CUNY SVC for Institutional Affairs and the Coronavirus Campus Coordinator, as required by CUNY or NYSDOH guidelines.
  • Updated: Receive health screening reports, test results, or other campus data from students, faculty, and staff (as required by CUNY or NYSDOH guidelines) and immediately notify the Coronavirus Campus Coordinator and CUNY SVC for Institutional Affairs of any possible positive cases reported through the screening process, testing, or otherwise. (See Attachment H: Screening Plan for additional information about the screening).
  • Provide data reporting to ensure campus and Central decision-makers can calibrate reopening/reclosing plans based on the health status of the CUNY community, (see Attachment F: Ramp Down / Reclosing Plan).
  • Ensure all data remains confidential and in compliance with HIPPA and FERPA guidelines.

The information collected by the Campus Liaison will be used by the Chancellery/COO’s Office when considering campus plan approvals, and by the Campus Reopening Committee working with the Chancellery/COO’s Office when modifying the reopening approach.

After several weeks of operating under the new reopening plan, departments should report back to the Campus Reopening Committee on how operations are working, with suggested revisions to the plans. The Campus Reopening Committee, working with the COO’s Office, and responsive to local health conditions, may then modify the reopening approach.

III. LOCAL HEALTH CONDITIONS/TRIGGERS FOR REOPENING

The State will continue to monitor the critical key metrics developed for the New York State Percentage Positive Results By Region Dashboard to ensure the prevalence of the disease is low enough to resume operations safely in each region in New York State and determine when the measures have been met.

The College has been included in Phase 4 of New York Forward (New York State’s reopening plan). Monitoring of these measures by the State will guide the timeline for each phase of the reopening process (See Part 2, Section II.C. Phased Reopening and Attachment E: Phase-In Plan).

The Chancellery/COO’s Office will coordinate with New York State and New York City public health officials as described in this plan to understand changes in local health conditions that may impact the CUNY community and to provide information on the health conditions of each CUNY campus.

IV. ABOUT OUR CAMPUS

Hostos Community College was founded in 1968 in response to a demand for higher education in the South Bronx. The area offered few existing buildings suitable for educational facilities; as a result, the College was initially located in a converted tire factory and expanded into a former office building at the corner of East 149th Street and Grand Concourse. In 2012, the CUNY Board of Trustees approved a Master Plan Amendment calling for the development of a new facility to alleviate overcrowding in the existing facilities and to enable a program of renewal for the campus. The creation of state-of-the art labs for the College’s flagship Allied Health and growing STEM programs as well as the need for spacious, modern classrooms are at the core of this master plan. While the College awaits funding to construct this new facility which will begin to address the College’s space deficit and facilitate a reorganization of space to maximize adjacencies and efficiencies, the South Bronx neighborhood has been undergoing a construction boom. The University, in recognition of the cramped quarters which has inhibited the growth of the College’s highly successful ASAP program, has contracted with a nonprofit housing developer to lease a floor in a 26-story building under construction on the former site of the historic PS 31; occupancy is currently slated for Spring 2023. These important developments acknowledge the overcrowding on campus at a time when physical distancing has become paramount for the health and safety of our community.

Phased Reoccupancy

Central to the College Reopening Plan is a phased and controlled reoccupancy. Movement between phases will be determined by Hostos, in consultation with the Governor and the Chancellor. At each phase the Coronavirus Campus Coordinator will assess the conditions and activities planned to ensure that any modifications to operations and protocol—including physical distancing and occupancy—are in line with current best practices and recommendations from CUNY Central Office, the CDC, and State and local authorities.

Phases are as follows:

  • Phase 0 – Essential staff and operations only.
  • Phase 1 – Maximum 25% of normal occupancy while following current physical distancing guidelines in individual spaces.
  • Phase 2 – Maximum 50% of normal occupancy while following current physical distancing guidelines.
  • Phase 3 – Maximum 75% of normal occupancy while following current physical distancing guidelines.
  • Phase 4 – Fully Reopened (100% capacity).

This reopening plan will use Fall 2019 full-time equivalent (FTE) totals for employees and students when considering full (100%) occupancy and determining the maximum number of people allowed on campus in each phase. When this plan cites 25%, 50%, or 75% of normal staffing levels, it refers to the occupancy of a particular space or office during normal operations. Recommended physical distancing guidelines (see Attachment A: Physical Distancing Plan) will also be followed throughout the campus.

The College had 670 full-time employees and 858 part-time employees in Fall 2019, for a total employee headcount of approximately 1,528 during normal operations. The Fall 2019 student population was approximately 7,120 total students with a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 4,709.

Re-Entry Occupancy Limits by Phase

Phase 0 (starting March 23, 2020):
  • Per New York State on PAUSE, occupancy was limited to staff running essential operations, with a requirement to maintain 6 feet of physical distance throughout the campus.
Phase 1 (starting August 26, 2020):
  • Room occupancy guidelines allow for 25% maximum occupancy. An allowance of 113 sq. ft. per person while maintaining 6 feet of physical distance will be used throughout the campus.
  • A 25% occupancy level allows for a maximum on-campus employee population of 382 or fewer (and not including students) at any given time.
  • The student population on campus will be restricted to the following:
    • Those enrolled in essential hands-on training courses.
    • Those who need on-campus assistance from a student service office (e.g., Financial Aid, Admissions, Student Success Coaches, ASAP Advisers, etc.) and have scheduled an appointment.
    • A limited number of walk-ins may be allowed, subject to the number of people on campus at that time.
Phase 2 (starting August 2, 2021):
  • Room occupancy guidelines allow for 50% maximum occupancy. An allowance of 30 sq. ft. per person while maintaining adequate physical distance will be practiced throughout the campus.
  • A 50% occupancy level will result in a maximum on-campus employee population of 764 or fewer (and not including students) at any given time.
  • The student population on campus during Phase 2 will include a larger number of in-person course sections and student services. The total number of students on site at one time may be managed as follows:
    • Those enrolled in scheduled on-site course sections.
    • Those who need on-campus assistance from a student service or academic support area (e.g., Financial Aid, Admissions, Student Success Coaches, ASAP Advisers, the Library, Open Computer Lab, etc.) and have scheduled an appointment.
    • A limited number of walk-ins may be allowed, subject to the number of people on campus at that time.

For each phase, each department or office will need to develop a plan for on-site occupancy levels that considers a combination of employees and students. Departments/offices will need to balance expected occupancy based on scheduled activity (work schedules, appointments) and estimated unscheduled activity (walk-in capacity), as feasible.

The occupancy in departmental/office plans will be reviewed in each phase to ensure that the total projected campus occupancy can remain under the maximum allowed for that phase. Additionally, daily totals will be monitored by the Campus Coordinator.

To facilitate reoccupancy, the College has categorized staff, faculty, and students in the following manner for phased re-entry:
 

REOPENING PHASE

OCCUPANCY

EMPLOYEES (GENERAL)

FACULTY (TEACHING)

STUDENTS

0

Essential staff and operations only

Employees and contractors performing essential activities are working on campus; all other employees will continue working remotely.

Faculty conducting in-person instruction permitted on-campus during those instructional periods. Faculty may visit by pre-approved appointment to pick-up instructional materials.

Only those students taking essential hands-on or testing that must be in person are allowed on campus.

1

Maximum 25%

Additional employees and contractors will return to campus as departmental plans are approved so that they may prepare for opening the campus to students.

Faculty conducting in-person instruction permitted on-campus during those instructional periods. Faculty may visit by pre-approved appointment to pick-up instructional materials.

Students taking essential labs or hands-on training are allowed on campus. Students who need on campus assistance from a student services office (e.g., financial aid, admissions, advisement etc.) should make an appointment to visit campus, but walk-ins will be allowed.

2

Maximum 50%

A combination of on-site and remote work may occur as part of each department’s/office’s approved plan to meet the College’s needs and comply with State and local guidelines. (This applies to staff and to faculty working in their offices.)

A combination of on-site and remote teaching may occur as part of each department’s approved plan to meet the College’s needs and comply with State and local guidelines.

Students begin returning to campus (i.e., students requiring face-to-face support are allowed back on campus by appointment) while minimizing walk-in traffic.

3

Maximum 75%

Standard employee operations resume. HR will continue to work with faculty seeking reasonable accommodations.

Standard Instructional operations resume. HR will continue to work with faculty seeking reasonable accommodations.

Students are welcomed back in a reduced capacity in adherence with State and local guidelines.

4

Fully Reopened (100% capacity)

Standard employee operations resume with all facilities and full on-campus, walk-in services available.

Standard instruction resumes with all facilities and full on-campus, walk-in services available. 

Students welcomed back at full capacity with access to on-campus services and facilities.

Students from other campuses may utilize the library and other services according to standard operations.


Further detailed information on phased reoccupancy can be found in Attachment E: Phase-In Plan, including:

  • Operations by phase
  • Reoccupancy by building.
  • Operational activity for student and academic support services, following recommendations outlined in Part 2, Section I.C.