By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
The Chronicle reached out to some Class of 2020 grads to ask what’s going on with their plans at this time of COVID-19.
Neil Hogan, GF: Defers Penn State
Neil Hogan of Glens Falls said, “I was going to go to go to Penn State this year, but I’ve decided that I’m going to defer and take online classes from Hudson Valley Community College. I can only take 17 credits in the year I have off, so I’m going to take all of my credits in the fall and then go on trips during the spring.
“I might try to get an internship during the spring for a month or so too. Other than that, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing yet.”
Skye Krehbiel, HF: ‘Heartbroken’ by Ithaca late-shift to online
Skye Krehbiel of Hudson Falls planned to “attend Ithaca College for their six-year physical therapy program.”
She wrote on August 21, “Up until about three days ago my entire plan was to move onto Ithaca’s campus and attend whatever in-person classes I had. Then I would complete my online classes in my dorm. I have everything I need to move into my dorm, having already sent my mini-refrigerator to campus a week ago.
“However, as of three days ago Ithaca College decided to move our fall semester to completely online. I was completely heartbroken since I had already been prepared to move on campus. “Though there are benefits to staying in my hometown, I am not a fan of online classes. The first year of college is already such a big change, moving online just adds to it.
“I know many students at Ithaca, including myself, wish that we had known this information sooner. There are many unanswered questions…Since then I have been working on finding multiple different spaces where I can sit for Zoom calls and complete homework. I’m hoping to create a set schedule for myself in order to have a successful fall semester.”
Kierstin Bruno, SGF, at Oswego; ‘1,400 students tested negative’
“I still went to SUNY Oswego — but there were some changes,” says Kierstin Bruno of South Glens Falls. “Freshmen went a week early, had to quarantine the week before, and most of my classes went online. I’m at SUNY Oswego now, and freshmen week has been full of socially distant activities. They tested over 1,400 freshmen and all tests came back negative.”
Ian Winchell, Schuylerville: At Utica, relieved that it’s in-person
Ian Winchell of Schuylerville said, “My plans did not change. I am attending Utica College…Our campus is open. Ninety percent of my classes are in-person, I have one class online. I am very relieved to be attending this fall in person….The biggest disappointment is that I am a member of the men’s soccer team and we cannot practice or play until spring, possibly.”
Joseph Cocozza, LG: Still on-campus & some in-person at Vassar
“Surprisingly, not a ton has changed,” says Joseph Cocozza of Lake George. “I am still attending Vassar College, and planning to focus on PreMed. Although there are some things that are virtual on campus, we are still able to be in person for other things.
“I’m glad that I’m able to stay on campus and study, rather than sit behind a computer all day. It’s also nice to still be able to run and train for track/cross-country.”
Eliza Hogan, HF: Fairfield for nursing; half of classes in-person
Eliza Hogan from Hudson Falls said, “I’ll be attending Fairfield University for Nursing. I chose not to defer this year, and will be attending in-person. Most of my classes are hybrid, with me attending lectures half of the class days, and participating in Zoom calls on the days that the other half of the class is in person.
“They gave every student the opportunity to take all classes remote from their own home, and I had considered this. However, I decided that with my extensive class schedule, I would prefer to be on campus (for as long as I can be).
“In the case that students do begin to become sick, Fairfield has transformed our old business school into quarantine dorms for some students to stay in while they recover. Of course, we are allowed to quarantine at our homes, as well.
“They also gave us the chance to take one of our first-year courses online this past summer. I took an English course that was a semester’s worth of work condensed into four weeks. This ensured that I will take one less class when I go to campus and will have to interact with fewer people.”
Tess Armstrong, LG: No baking job in summer, but C.I.A. Sept. 5
Tess Armstrong of Lake George will attend the Culinary Institute of America.
She said, “I was hoping to work at a Saratoga bakery during the summer. Saratoga businesses rely on summer traffic from the Saratoga Race Course, so Covid definitely had a direct impact on them.
“I was unable to work at a bakery so I instead took a job at a small ice cream shop in the Village of Lake George.
“I will move onto campus on September 5. The Culinary Institute of America is not requiring me to quarantine, but my roommate and many students from other states have had to quarantine for two weeks.
“Due to the virus, my parents are unable to help me move into my dorm room, and the college has restricted the number of people allowed to be with me on move-in day. Therefore, my brother can’t be with us and we must put all of my belongings on the sidewalk within a 20-minute window.
“A move-in crew will be helping me to get everything up to my room.
“Luckily, I am able to have in-person Baking and Pastry classes, so my college experience will be somewhat normal, although some of my non-kitchen classes will be held virtually.
“I will need to have a temp check every day and wear a mask to all my classes and whenever I am not in my room.”
Gabe Wood, Argyle: In-person at Siena and glad for it
Audrey McKernon said her Argyle graduate son “Gabe is attending Siena College to pursue a degree in Business. He aspires to become an entrepreneur — an endeavor involving sneaker consignment has been an interest for years…
“Siena has been very accommodating to the feedback received from parents and students via online questionnaires. Gabe is currently on campus, and three out of five of his classes will be in-person. Two of his freshman classes will be online. Siena adjusted the fall 2020 calendar several weeks in order to end the semester prior to Thanksgiving break.
“Gabe moved in Wednesday, Aug. 19, and classes began Monday, August 24, instead of the previously scheduled September dates.
“When we moved Gabe in it was apparent that the college put a lot of thought into establishing safety procedures and health protocols.
“I asked Gabe what he thought about this and he explained that he is so relieved to be able to experience college life, even if it’s a modified version for a period of time.
“Remote learning was a struggle his senior year, and he appreciates that he will be able to work with professors in-person.”
Sophie Wiktorko, Bolton: Same plan but ‘means have changed’
Sophie Wiktorko of Bolton planned “to attend SUNY Geneseo for a degree in Biology, which has not changed. However, most of my classes are online, I’ve opted for a single dorm with no roommate, and the dynamic will be different than pre-COVID.
“So, although my plans and college have not changed, the means of achieving my goals have slightly shifted.
She added, “This summer, my working plans changed slightly as well. I started working at Bolton Beans —the diner that I’ve worked at for three years — later in the season than usual.
“When I returned, I was working the take-out window, instead of waitressing, due to the business changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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