FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARСH 19, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 17
Queens CUNY students react to
cancellation of in-person classes
BY BIANCA SILVA
CUNY’s campuses were signifi cantly
emptier than usual Th ursday as students
and faculty prepare to fully transition to
“distance learning” for the remainder of
the spring semester beginning March 19
amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced
on March 11 that all City University of
New York campuses will be suspending all
in-person classes for the semester following
a John Jay student testing positive for
the illness and outcry from students and
faculty to close down.
CUNY’s dorms, libraries, research
facilities, daycare centers and laboratories
will remain open during and aft er
the instructional recess. For students, the
news brings major ramifi cations that will
impact them for months to come.
Carlos Ocana, a sophomore biology
major at Queens College, is already feeling
the consequences of the announcement.
He was in class when he found out
he wouldn’t be going to school anymore
and emphasized the need for face-to-face
interaction with professors.
“I like asking my teachers questions
during their offi ce hours because sometimes
I don’t get it,” he said. “Biology is
hard and I need extra help and I can’t do
that anymore. It’s only going to be online
and I feel that’s the whole point of going
to college. If not, then anyone would just
take online classes. It sucks.”
Ocana works at the “Corner Pocket”
game room on the Flushing campus and
mostly relies on his work study job to
help him pay for his tuition. An empty
campus may lead him to look elsewhere
“Work study is sometimes the only
main source of income,” he said during
his shift . “Luckily for me, I have another
job, but it’s a backup. I’m trying to look
for another job because I don’t think this
is going to go on for a long time. My boss
actually told me that on Friday, they’re
going to let us know if we’re still going to
Ocana mentions how his weekend job
at an Astoria restaurant isn’t enough to
cover tuition and bus expenses despite
receiving some federal aid that eases the
stress of attending school.
Similarly, for Camille Ryan, a second
Con Edison suspends payment
shutoff s during coronavirus
BY GRANT LANCASTER
Con Edison will temporarily suspend any electric and gas
shutoff s for customers that are having payment diffi culties
related to COVID-19 coronavirus.
On Th ursday, Con Edison off ered the suspension to customers
in the containment area of New Rochelle, with the
company extending the grace period to New York City and
Westchester County Friday.
Suspensions based on safety concerns such as gas leaks
will continue, and the company encourages customers to
pay their bills online.
semester nursing student at
Queensborough Community College in
Bayside, is scared that the transition to
distance learning classes will sidetrack her
goal of graduating on time next year.
“I was just concerned for my graduation
date from the program,” she said. “Was I
going to be held back? Was I going to have
to restart this semester? Everything was
just up in the air as far as what’s going to
happen regarding my nursing program.”
Ryan moonlights as a fl ight attendant
on the weekends, and worries that
the 30-day European travel ban imposed
by President Donald Trump on March 11
will aff ect her ability to work on an airline
for the foreseeable future and pay for
“How long is this going to last? Is there a
timeline? I don’t know,” she said.
Ryan’s classmate Jack Wong, who is also
a second semester nursing student, was
frustrated when he learned that the shift
to online courses would be long term —
potentially putting a damper on his plans
to take summer courses on campus.
He’s worried that distance learning
classes will deter him from gaining
the necessary skills such as assessing
a patient and learning to draw blood
in the fi eld.
“It would defi nitely have a negative
eff ect because you have clinicals in part
of nursing and we’re not getting that,” he
said. “We’re probably not going to go to
a hospital. I’m not sure yet. I feel like our
clinical skills aren’t going to be as good
going into next semester.”
Despite the increasing severity of the
outbreak in New York, Ryan is not overly
worried about being infected as long as
she follows protocol and mentions that as
a fl ight attendant, she has yet to interact
with a passenger who may show coronavirus
“You’re always at risk for something,”
she said. “Follow the safety precautions
and just wash your hands and be cautious
of people that appear sick. I’m not really
somebody that freaks out easily, so no, I’m
not worried about that.”
For Ocuna, the nature of his work on
and off campus requires him to keep his
hands clean at all times due to the possibility
of encountering a sick individual.
“I do use gloves, hand sanitizers, I have
a lot of hand sanitizers at home,” he said.
“Every time I go out, every 10 minutes, I
use hand sanitizers. I try to be safe.”
Photo by Bianca Silva
The Queensborough Community College campus is empty a day after the announcement was made.