City Tech Reopening Plan

Law and Paralegal Studies Department: Re-Opening Plan

Law and Paralegal Studies Department

Fall 2021 Reopening Plan—LAW 1101/1103 First Year Learning Community (FYLC)

  • LAW 1101—course code 17105; section LC01-LEC; TTh 10-11:15am
  • LAW 1103—course code 53936; section LC03-LEC; TTh 11:30am-12:45pm

Maximum total students: 24 Academic Building A409

Plan prepared by: Prof. Kerin E. Coughlin (course instructor) and Prof. Concetta I. Mennella (department chair).

We sincerely thank Dr. Maureen Archer-Festa and Dr. Gwen Cohen-Brown of the Dental Hygiene Department for their invaluable guidance and sharing their department's Reopening Plan, on which this plan is largely based.

Rationale for resuming in-person learning for these courses:

  • These courses comprise a First Year Learning Community (FYLC). As the FYLCs' Open Lab site explains, an FYLC is "two or more courses with the same students enrolled, linked with an interdisciplinary theme, providing an innovative way for students to learn and form bonds with the College." FYLCs are designed to create "a more caring, consistent, and supportive environment" for first-year students through such activities as "class trips, and events, often with other learning communities. Further, they are intended "to encourage stronger interactions between faculty and students, a vital aspect of College life that is often a challenge for students attending a large commuter College." These objectives can be far more effectively achieved in an in-person learning environment than an isolating remote learning environment.
  • Since the pandemic began, students in our department have consistently expressed a strong preference for in-person learning and a desire to return to our physical campus. They State that they learn better when they are physically present with the instructor and fellow students in the classroom, and they have more meaningful interactions with classmates, faculty, and friends.
  • The College and University have encouraged resumption of in-person learning (with appropriate safety measures).

Building physical considerations:

  • Prior to resuming in-person learning of these courses, the designated classroom, A409, and all surrounding restrooms, seating, and other common areas should be cleaned and disinfected by the College buildings and ground personnel ("B&G").
  • After classes begin meeting in August, A409 and all surrounding restrooms, seating, and other common areas should be regularly cleaned and disinfected as determined and managed by B&G.
  • Air circulation is being managed by VP Cairol's Task Force.
  • All individuals (faculty/staff/students/visitors) in the Academic Building will be required to wear face coverings (masks) the entire time they are in any of the building's public spaces.
  • All individuals will enter and exit the building only through the designated doorways.
  • All students in these courses, and the instructor, will complete the Everbridge app to gain permission to enter the building.
  • Escalators and elevators may be used with 6 feet social distancing, as denoted by floor markers.

Classroom physical considerations:

  • CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening – Fall 2021 (updated April 20, 2021) State: "Small classes will have to be held in larger rooms, medium-sized classes will move into vast lecture halls, and massive entry-level courses need to be delivered online." These are small classes—the maximum number of students in the classroom at one time is 24. The room, in which they will meet, A409, is far larger than the classrooms in which these classes traditionally have met. Further, 24 students (plus the instructor) is less than 50% of the fire code occupancy limit for that room.
  • The room has two doorways on opposite ends of the classroom. Students will enter only through one designated doorway, and exit only through the other.
  • Social distance markers will be placed on the desks and floor to maintain six feet of separation between individuals.
  • The instructor will provide her own resources, such as whiteboard markers, erasers and staplers, that otherwise might be high-touch communal resources.
  • Resources such as those identified above will not be shared between classrooms.
  • Students will be provided with hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to disinfect their workspaces, at the beginning and end of every class.
  • Students and instructor will wear masks at all times when not presenting.

Procedure for students who test positive for COVID:

  • Student informs the class instructor immediately, and completes the College's online COVID exposure form.
  • Instructor informs the department chairperson.
  • Chairperson sends the student's name and EMPLID number to Aries Jones. Chairperson also reminds the student to complete the online COVID exposure form if they did not already do so.
  • Student will quarantine for 10 days and present a PCR negative test on day 7, or a clearance note from a doctor, before returning to campus.
  • If someone, with whom a student lives tests positive for COVID, that student will also quarantine for 10 days and present a PCR negative test on day 7, or a clearance note from a doctor, before returning to campus.

Alternative remote methods of instruction:
Shifting all or part of the learning in these courses to remote methods, if necessary, would be relatively smooth. Even before the pandemic, these courses traditionally made extensive use of City Tech's Open Lab, where the instructor developed robust sites to provide assignments, materials, and other information to students, and for students to share their insights, analyses and other evidence of learning with each other and the instructor. In the unfortunate event that online learning must resume in whole or in part, Open Lab would become an even more integral aspect of these courses.

  • If certain students become unable to attend class in-person for an extended period (10 days or more) due to quarantine or becoming high-risk, they will be provided with the same instruction conducted in class, through asynchronous means. For example, students may be requested to read certain material and submit a written response and questions, or they may engage in an online research project. The instructor would make herself fully available to meet with such students by phone or Zoom videoconference to discuss the material, answer students' questions, and otherwise engage in a similarly synchronous manner as with students who attend the in-person classes.
  • If the College is required to further limit the number of individuals who may gather, so that A409 becomes too small for these courses, we will transition to a cohort system in which half the class engages in in-person/synchronous learning, or remote/asynchronous learning, on alternating days. Therefore, on Tuesdays one-half the class would meet in A409 during the designated class time, then on Thursdays those same students would participate in an asynchronous, remote form of instruction, such as reading certain material and submitting a written response or questions, or engaging in an online research project. Then, the other half of the class would follow the opposite schedule, participating in asynchronous remote learning on Tuesdays, and meeting in-person on Thursdays.
  • If the College is required to revert to fully online learning, then all students will meet on the designated days and times simultaneously, by Zoom videoconference, and participate in synchronous remote instruction, just as these courses were taught in the Fall 2020 semester.