By Rebecca Aduculesi, News Editor
In an email sent out to the student body on October 1, 2021, Dean Karen Bacon informed students that should a student test positive for COVID-19, the YC and SCW faculty have been advised that the student’s absence will not count against the student’s attendance in the course. Additionally, Dean Bacon told students that “if possible, depending on the nature of the course, faculty should try to provide quarantined students with recorded lectures or with a Zoom link to live lectures.”
This announcement came eight days after students were informed of the new COVID-19 policies that YU announced for after the holidays. In the email sent out today, students were told that YC and SCW faculty have been advised to “work with quarantined students to help them keep up in other ways” if the course material or class format does not allow the student to receive a Zoom link or a recorded lecture.
Some worried students were comforted after reading the information sent in the email. Mili Chizhik (SCW ‘22), who contracted the virus a few days before the school year started, when these measures were not formally put in place, expressed positive feelings towards this new announcement. Chizhik told the YU Observer, “Allowing students to participate in remote learning while in isolation provides not only the assurance that students’ education is cared for but also the health of the student body is a priority. This pandemic has harmed many and to be able to still attend classes despite being sick makes the students less anxious and stressed about missing coursework.” She also shared her personal experience in dealing with COVID-19 related absences, stating, “When I had COVID-19, most of my professors allowed me to Zoom in; however, one did not and told me I had to find a classmate to give me lecture notes that I missed. It was very stressful to have to figure out school on top of having symptoms and being isolated.”
Other students, who were initially skeptical of YU’s motivation for mandating masks and biweekly testing, were appeased by the email. An anonymous student (YC ‘23) shared with the YU Observer, “After reading YU’s first change to the COVID-19 regulations earlier this semester, that of wearing masks inside academic buildings, I was initially skeptical as to the reasoning behind it.” The student added, “However with the new email sent out, concerning attendance and work missed due to COVID-19, that skepticism has been put to rest. YU’s decision to not count absences because of the virus and the university’s asking of teachers to go above and beyond for students who contract the virus demonstrates YU’s true focus on the health and safety of their student body.”