Back door closed to seniors needing access to Queens College campus

Back door closed to seniors needing access to Queens College campus
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Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seniors can no longer access the Queens College campus through the back exit, adjacent to the QC Science Building. They are now required to exit the Townsend Harris building through the main entrance and walk around to the entrance on Melbourne Avenue, where they are required to scan in their QC ID, given that their proof of vaccination is uploaded and verified.

In previous years, seniors would exit from the back door of THHS, which is closer in proximity to the campus compared to the Melbourne Avenue entrance gate. Now, all QC students are required to scan their IDs to ensure that they are fully vaccinated before entering. According to Assistant Principal of Humanities Rafal Olechowski, “Queens College has to scan people on the campus so they would have to put security personnel [at the back door of THHS] to scan you, so that’s why we have to go through Melbourne Avenue.” 

According to Mr. Olechowski, the decision is related to staffing needs. “It’s a [financial] issue because they would have to pay for someone to stand there and scan us in,” he said. 

Seniors shared their thoughts on the entrance change, which has led to many issues, such as students having to walk around to the main gate on Kissena Blvd when denied access at the Melbourne Avenue gate and others getting sent back to THHS, despite having proof of vaccination. 

“I know some kids have to take their QC class in the auditorium because they couldn’t get in because their QC ID card wasn’t working, so that’s a big inconvenience,” said senior Marykate Wee.

 “I was one of the students that lost their QC ID card at the beginning of the year. Getting a new QC ID card was a really hard process because I had to go through the Kissena entrance. They didn’t understand that I was a Townsend Harris student that lost my QC ID,” said senior Darren Leong.

The Queens College campus space is large in comparison to Townsend Harris, so walking to the different checkpoints can prove time-consuming. The walk to the main entrance can be lengthy, along with the wait for ID scanning and approval. This increases seniors’ likelihood of being late to both QC and THHS classes. Consequently, some seniors attend their QC classes through Zoom as an alternative to walking to campus.

Senior Fay Wong said, “I have to walk around the gate. So, to make my life easier, I just take the class [virtually] instead of going to campus.”

Though he believes people are working to remedy the situation, Humanities Seminar teacher Ryan Dunbar said he was frustrated by the inconveniences posed by the limited number of gate checkpoints. “Students were all so excited to get back into the building and then that excitement was somewhat diminished by the reality that it would take an extra 15-30 minutes to get past the checks.” 

At senior meeting on October 6, Assistant Director of College Preparatory Programs Joseph Merino said that the QC administration is currently working on purchasing ID scanners so that seniors may enter campus through the back door of THHS, directly onto the campus. 

Photo by Matthew Merino