Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) participated in a legislative hearing to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on higher education. The hearing, which was held virtually, included the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Higher Education Committees, and took testimony from stakeholders to examine COVID-19’s impact on higher education institutions, students, faculty and staff during the spring 2020 semester and its expected impact on the upcoming 2020-21 academic year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and for our younger residents, that’s meant losing the critical social and interpersonal interactions that come with in-person education,” said Buttenschon. “As a member of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I want to ensure our hardworking students have access to a quality education, even during these difficult times. It’s critical that we assess all the factors at play as we begin to reopen colleges and universities, and I’m grateful to everyone who joined us at this hearing to help weigh our options and formulate a plan for the coming school year.”
Since a state of emergency was declared on March 7, nearly all institutions of higher education in New York have sent students home and transitioned to distance learning. Students have been unable to visit and make use of libraries, academic labs and other educational tools. During the hearing, Buttenschon asked questions relating to the implementation of distance-based learning and its impact on students.