CUNY called for a Recalibration Period for Educational Equity


Roxana Anaya Diaz, Writer

Editors’ Note

Since this article was published, Chancellor Félix Matos Rodriguez has provided clarity to the CUNY community about the decision for another instructional recess. This story was updated on March 25, 2020. 


CUNY called for a “Recalibration Period for Educational Equity,” on March 24, rescheduling Spring Break.

As of March 19th, CUNY students have transitioned to a distance learning model.

In an email explaining the need for a second recess, President Karol Mason stated,

“This transition has highlighted our faculty’s great care and concern for their students as they have worked hard to quickly translate their courses to a distance-learning format, the resilience and adaptability of our students, who are quickly adjusting to new ways of learning, and the commitment of our staff for supporting all of these efforts.”

CUNY’s Recalibration Period for Educational Equity begins Friday, March 27th. Distance learning will pause until Wednesday, April 1st.

On March 25, Félix Matos Rodriguez, Chancellor of CUNY, explained the reasoning behind the Recalibration Period.

According to Matos Rodriguez, a shipment of laptop orders will arrive this weekend. During the Recalibration Period, laptops will be distributed to students who need them to continue distance learning.

Although Matos Rodriguez recognizes that this pause is disruptive to the instructional momentum of the distance learning model, students and staff must have all the resources needed to proceed.

“This, to me, is not a small consideration but pivotal to our commitment to equity, and to our mission of supporting all our students and making sure that we continue being an engine of upward mobility, even during these most trying of times for everyone,” Matos Rodriguez stated via email.

The Recalibration Period will allow John Jay students to get access to the equipment needed for distance learning. This period will also allow instructors to rethink and adjust their courses.

Distance learning will resume on Thursday, April 2nd, but fully online classes will remain as scheduled during this Recalibration Period.

This pause in the distance learning model will interrupt Spring Break. Spring Break will run from April 8th through April 10th. Previously Spring Break was scheduled for April 8th through April 16th.

Joann Castro, a senior majoring in Political Science, isn’t worried about the shortened Spring Break recess.

“I don’t think anyone was going to be able to enjoy Spring Break, given the outbreak, so whether it lasted a week or two days I would’ve just spent it home anyway,” Castro said.

According to Mason, students, staff, and faculty who want to observe a holiday have the right to ask for a religious exemption.

The Sentinel reached out to the President of Student Council, Musarrat Lamia, for a statement to the students.

“Students who feel confused about the Recalibration Period and the modified Spring Break are fully within their right to be. The new changes interfere with any kind of academic continuity that we started to form this past week,” Lamia said.

Lamia hopes that the Recalibration Period provides students with substantial improvements to the distance learning model.

“I’ll advocate that the administration prioritize stability within the distance learning model going forward,” Lamia said.

Elisa Mateo-Saja, a junior majoring in Political Science, is not fond of the idea of another recess.

“I think it is going to mess up whatever syllabi have been revised, and for those that haven’t, I think it will still disrupt the small bit of normalcy, students have created for themselves thus far,” Mateo-Saja said.

All 16 CUNY colleges will pause for the Recalibration Period. No classes, assignments, or tests should be scheduled during this pause.

Mateo-Saja isn’t worried about having to do an assignment during the recess, regardless that no assignments should be scheduled.

“As our professor for 406 mentioned, the recess doesn’t work for Tuesday classes, and it would completely throw us off. But I am in a privileged position, and so for me, this will help me keep to my schedule. But I know all the students aren’t in my position,” Mateo-Saja said.

Another student, Christopher Saint Jean, a senior majoring in Political Science, believes his professors have been flexible with assignments.

“I feel as though all my professors have been fairly understanding given the conditions of learning that we are in. To my knowledge, none of my professors have assigned work thus far over that period,” Saint Jean said.