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Dealing with the Pandemic Crisis and the Quick Shift to Online Learning

By Sheila Woods

“Being able to equip students with their education is the most amazing thing we can do to transform their lives and the lives of their families” – Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes, President of York College.

Blindsided by the devastating Covid-19 pandemic which took place in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester has forced York students to adjust to a new way of learning. York College provided students with all the necessary tools needed to successfully get through the Spring semester. Distributing laptops, providing food pantry services and grant emergency assistance, CUNY continued to support students throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Students and instructors remained focus and determined to finish off the semester with hope and pride. How did this transition affect students? How did students handle dealing with a pandemic and online studies? Journalism students Kathleen Liautaud and Justin Capera reflect on the transition from classroom instruction to online learning and their determination to make it to the finish line.

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Senior Journalism Student Kathleen Liautaud adjusting to distance learning Photo Credit: Kathleen Liautaud

SW: How was your transition from classroom instruction to learning completely online learning?

KL: Challenging at first. I never took an online course before. It took a little while for me to adjust with learning remotely and having to learn everything on your own through the textbook was not easy. Thankfully, I had great professors that answered any questions I had.

SW: What were some of the perks and cons of the transition?

KL: Unfortunately, I tested positive for Covid-19. The first few days after my diagnosis were hard. While I was on bedrest, I was able to catch up on my work and reading. If I had to report t

school, it would have been difficult to attend class sick. The biggest con was dealing with at home distractions.

SW: What emergency services did you apply for within the school or CUNY?

KL: No, I didn’t take advantage of any services, but I knew it was available. I received updates from different departments at school informing me of the services available.

SW: Did you feel as though your Professors left the door of communication open during this pandemic?

KL: Yes. They were very responsive to my emails. My professors worked around the clock to provide students with any assistance they needed.

SW: How would you rate York’s response to handling COVID?

KL: York did a great job protecting students from contracting COVID. There was constant communication which kept students informed of any new services provided by the school. The only thing I wish was that the school was able to provide a safe haven for students who are dealing with difficult living situations.

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Photo Credit Justin Capera

York College student Justin Capera applauses the school for its continuous “Mental Health checks.” He felt connected with the YORK community while dealing with these horrendous circumstances. “There was a strong sense of community felt during this pandemic and the weekly calls from the Student Services office really helped me” said Capera.

SW: How was your transition from classroom instruction to learning completely online learning?

JC: Very difficult. Before Covid-19 everything felt so normal and hands-on. I was lucky to have great professors including Professor Tom Moore. He had compassion for students and worked out deadlines.

SW: Did you apply for any emergency services at York?

JC: I didn’t have to apply for any services. I was lucky enough not to need any extra services but relieved to know that it was available.

SW: What were some of the perks of online learning?

JC: Before Covid-19 I felt like it was difficult to speak to my other classmates but due to COVID and online learning, I was forced to work with my classmates and communicate with them.


The York College staff attempted to accommodate for the student’s needs during this crisis. Each department at York had direct and open online access to communicate any needs students may have. The school pantry provided food boxes for any students struggling with lack of food supply. Computers were distributed to students in a timely matter to assist them through the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. York College rose to the challenge of helping each student adjust and each task was executed. We made it through!

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