The 64 campuses of the state's public college and university system will move to a long-distance learning plan by March 19 amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced.
The development will also affect students, faculty and staff at the City University of New York in New York City.
The move is sure to cause upheaval for the 460,000 students in the system. And some of the details are yet to be worked out. Here's a question and answer on what we know.
How long will this last?
This is for the remainder of the spring semester. It's not clear yet if this will affect commencements for students starting in May, but some potentially will be impacted.
How will sporting events be affected?
March, of course, is a major month for college sports. At the moment, it will be up to SUNY and CUNY systems to develop a plan for athletic events and whether they should continue.
Will students be asked to leave campus?
The expectation is that students who live on campus or in college housing will be leaving their dormitories. Students who have a hardship and do not have a place to stay outside of their campus housing will likely have an exception made. For the most, however, students will be encouraged to go home if they can.
Are refunds available for room and board?
That also is not yet clear, but there is an expectation that some sort of credit will be made available for those who have pre-paid meal programs or paid for campus housing.
How will long-distance learning work if you have to attend a class in person?
There's a general theme here: That's yet to be determined and will likely be up to individual campuses to figure out. So, if you are in a lab class that must take place in the classroom, campuses and academic officers will be developing that policy.
A lot of how this will work policy-wise is being left up to SUNY and CUNY. The implementation is going to be up to individual campuses themselves.
The bottom line is this: SUNY and CUNY have a week or so to develop this policy, implement it and go to a newer normal of learning online.
If you are a college student or staff member, keep a look out for official communications from your campus and how this will affect you.