COVID-19 creates challenges for SUNY Brockport students.

By Kevin Zimmer and Chyann Klahs

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The Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office is part of the Academic Success Center (ASC) which is located in the Albert W. Brown Building. Photo taken by Kevin Zimmer on April 2, 2020.

Students at SUNY Brockport are facing major challenges in adjusting to the digital learning environment. The students with disabilities are facing unique challenges during this transition.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that SUNY schools will transition to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. SUNY Brockport is an institution that is impacted by this shutdown.

A program assistant, Kelsey Hartigan, said she believes students with disabilities are having trouble adjusting to distance learning during this pandemic.

“Students are having a hard time managing their time and keeping a consistent schedule,” said Hartigan.

Hartigan said that students are facing these challenges because in person classes allow students to create a mental schedule/routine of when assignments are due, while online classes require students to utilize discipline and independence.

Director of the Academic Success Center, Thomas Chew, believes that both students and staff are doing best they can during these strange times.

“I feel that the struggle and concern has hit everyone a little differently, including students, faculty, and staff,” said Chew.

Chew explains that students and staff will need additional time to adjust and some may need to utilize some additional support to overcome this adjustment.

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The Liberal Arts Building is an academic building on the SUNY Brockport campus that contains the philosophy department. Photo obtained from swbr.com.

Caitlyn Kerry is a student with disabilities. Kerry is majoring in philosophy at SUNY Brockport. Kerry believes that the transition to distance learning wasn’t a challenge for her.

“I have taken online classes with effective communication with the instructor of the course about what accommodations the Student Accessibility Services office can offer me, so this adjustment wasn’t that significant for me since I have done this in the past,” said Kerry.

Kerry feels that she has already gone through this process with online classes prior to the transition to online classes because of the pandemic.

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Holmes Hall is an academic building on the SUNY Brockport campus that contains the broadcasting and journalism department. Photo taken by Kevin Zimmer on April 2, 2020.

George Gandy is a student with disabilities. Gandy is majoring in broadcasting and journalism at SUNY Brockport. Gandy believes that he has faced some challenges during the transition of online classes.

“It was tough for me to adjust to online classes because some of the classes were not designed to be taught online such as performance classes like music, dance, and sculpture are some examples,” said Gandy.

Gandy is struggling to adapt to some of the classes that he has taken that are performance-based classes that are not designed to be completed in a digital learning setting. 

Students with disabilities aren’t the only ones adapting to the new online learning format.


Hartwell Hall is an academic building on the SUNY Brockport that contains the dance department and the dance studios for dance majors to perform in. Photo taken by Kevin Zimmer on April 9, 2020.

Kenya Petty is not a student with disabilities. Petty is a dance major at SUNY Brockport. Petty feels the transition to distance learning was extremely challenging for her to adjust.

“I hate online classes since they stress me out and they overwhelm me because I’m an auditory learner, so when I’m in a classroom setting and I’m constantly hearing what I need to do and how to do it helps me out so much,” said Petty.

Petty said she is teaching herself during this time of distance learning because her professor is terrible at responding to emails, so she feels that she is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Emily Conn is not a student with disabilities. Conn is a dance major at SUNY Brockport. Conn is struggling to overcome the transition to distance learning.

“Overall, dance is an art form that is extremely community driven. Not being able to interact with other dancers to the same extent as before is the most difficult thing to adjust to,” said Conn.

Conn is pursuing her passion of dance at SUNY Brockport. Conn has faced a many barriers to achieving her dreams. These barriers stem from SUNY’s transition to virtual learning.

This is a map of SUNY Brockport. This map shows where things are located on the college’s campus. Photo obtained from http://www.brockport.edu.

Students everywhere are adjusting to the digital learning environment during the coronavirus outbreak.



Categories: Campus Life

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