Host Intro: COVID-19, the novel coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China, has finally made its way into the states, and New York City –– a city of more than 8 million people –– is drastically feeling the effects. While many private universities are taking necessary steps to protect their students from the virus by closing down facilities and moving to distance-learning, many CUNY students are still attending classes as usual. Naydeline Mejia spoke to two Baruch College students about how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting their academic and personal lives, and whether or not they believe CUNY is acting accordingly by keeping schools open.
AMBI1: Nat sound of a facet running as a student washes their hands in the bathroom. (Fades down as TRACK1 begins.)
AMBI2: Room tone comes in. (Layered under tracks.)
TRACK1: I’m here at Baruch College with Dashawn Jones, a current Baruch senior and fashion designer. While Jones feels relatively safe at school during the coronavirus outbreak, he worries about the pandemic’s effect on his clothing business.
ACT1: At school I feel pretty safe. I wear a glove on the train, so I don’t touch the poles and just remember to not touch my face often throughout the day, but in my personal life it’s really affected my business because I have a lot of manufacturers overseas and all [of] my shipments for January and February were delayed significantly. I even had to cancel some orders, so it’s […] I could just imagine businesses who are much larger who are going through similar complications with getting products and just losing out on a lot of profit because of this.
TRACK2: While the coronavirus pandemic has definitely sparked fears about its possible effects on small businesses and the economy, there are also many fears around how the virus might affect academics. Brenika Banks, a current Baruch student studying journalism, says she feels torn about CUNY’s decision to hold off on shutting down schools –– a step many private universities have already taken.
ACT2: I feel a little torn on it. On one hand it’s like, yeah how are we safe as a public university to still be in school when these private institutions have decided to close their door? But on the other hand, a lot of us need this credit. A lot of us it’s our senior year and it would be an interruption in the semester if they close school. Not everybody is going to offer online classes and where does that leave students who are going to be graduating this year if they really need to be in school? So, it’s hard. Obviously if there are more cases and our health is in danger than yes, it would make sense to close down the school. I am hoping for the best because I still want to come to class in person, but I am really torn about it.
TRACK3: Although the threat of COVID-19 is causing a lot of uproar, Banks believes that the best thing to do right now is to remain calm and not panic.
ACT3: It is getting to a point where a lot of us should be worried, slightly, because it is on all seven continents at this point. But, honestly, if we’re all taking care of ourselves the way we should be and staying healthy and getting our vaccines, if you choose to, then it’s not much to worry about. The most we have to worry about are people who are already sick, who already have certain illnesses where that [COVID-19] will affect them more. And of course, not being a carrier to a loved one or someone you know who also may be at risk. So it’s just about educating ourselves. There’s no reason to panic, if you’re panicking you can not make clear decisions and think clearly of how to handle things.
TRACK4: As the number of coronavirus cases continue to grow in New York City and the U.S., CUNY students hope that the governor takes proactive steps to protect both students and businesses. For Baruch College, this is Naydeline Mejia in New York City.