Date: May 6, 2020
To: THE NYU COMMUNITY
From: Katherine Fleming, Provost; Martin Dorph, Exec. Vice President; Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, MD, Assoc. Vice President for Student Health
We hope that you, your families, loved ones, and friends are well. We know how difficult the challenges of this period are, and hope you are coping. Here are some updates on where things stand and our forward planning.
As we have noted previously — most recently in a community-wide communication — summer classes will be held remotely.
For the fall, we are planning to be open and to resume in-person classes in New York City, while preparing for a number of different scenarios, such as supporting those who cannot attend in-person classes; planning for the safety of students, faculty, administrators and staff; and preparing for whatever guidelines or restrictions are in place.
Last month, the University established a formal Restart Steering Group to assess, plan for, and implement the steps necessary to restart in the fall. Areas of focus include Academics, Research, Operations, Student Affairs, and Global. The restart effort will be aided by an interdisciplinary faculty advisory group convened by the Global Institute for Advanced Study that will be providing guidance.
The University will provide more detailed plans about the fall semester based on the work of these groups later this month or in early June.
Among the options the planning group is looking at is an expanded use of NYU’s global campuses and centers to accommodate students who may not be able to travel to their intended location or have other travel or immigration challenges (for example, having Chinese students who may be unable to travel to the US in time for the fall semester instead enroll in classes at NYU Shanghai).
Amid a strong set of safety and health measures, NYU Shanghai students and faculty began a phased return to campus on Monday, April 27. Seniors and graduate students have started already; additional students are expected as the campus is opened to juniors, sophomores, and freshmen this week.
In accord with the "NYS on Pause" Executive Order, in-person research has largely been limited to research related to COVID-19. NYU will gradually begin to increase research activity starting June 1, using a phased approach for a safe reopening of research laboratories and complying with all NYC and New York State mandates. This will occur after the current NYS on Pause order ends on May 15, allowing two weeks for preparation. The phase-in plans are being developed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research in conjunction with schools, deans, and investigators. A more detailed communication on restarting research will come later this week or next week.
In mid-April, New York State extended its "On Pause" order until May 15. More recent comments by the Governor's Office indicate that reopening in New York State will vary by region and by sector, according to set metrics (and here). NYU is working closely with other NYS colleges and universities to get clear guidance from the State and the City for the education sector in general and residential colleges in particular.
The Federal CARES Act funding designated for NYU has yet to be received. If and when NYU takes possession of the funds, the University is committed to using all the money it receives for direct student assistance, including continuing the COVID-19 emergency grant program through the rest of the spring, the summer, and the fall for students with financial need. Through its emergency fund, the University will continue to support those students who may be ineligible for federal funding (at least 1/3 of the $6 million in COVID-19-related emergency aid funded by NYU so far has been provided to international and undocumented students). To apply for COVID-19 emergency aid, please visit the website.
The University's plan to reopen in the fall includes student housing, notwithstanding the uncertainties that exist. To that end, returning students have been asked to indicate the residence halls they prefer. However, the availability of student housing for fall 2020 is subject to change in light of evolving events related to COVID-19. More information will be provided as we receive additional guidance from the State and City.
The University has shipped more than 11,000 boxes of belongings that were packed up by students prior to their departure from student housing. The "NYS on Pause" executive order delayed any further packing of student rooms. In response to requests from students, Residential Life & Housing Services sent notices to more than 3,000 residents with permanent addresses in the US who did not pack up their possessions to provide them with the option of arranging to come to residence halls to retrieve their belongings. The University will also communicate with international students about options for their belongings given the COVID-19 international shipping delays.
As part of NYU’s institutional commitment to help combat COVID-19, NYU has made rooms in residence halls available to medical personnel without cost. As of last week, some 130 front-line medical personnel per night are using rooms in NYU student housing. We are pleased to be able to support their courageous and dedicated efforts.
As we indicated earlier, NYU does not currently anticipate making summer housing available to students in light of COVID-19. The University is in communication with the students living in residence halls who were granted exceptions to ensure that they either have a place to go or are otherwise accommodated once the "NYS on Pause" executive order is lifted. Should opportunities arise during the summer session to house NYU students, we will update in future communications.
We are continuing to telework until further notice, with only employees identified as essential or supporting critical operations permitted to have access to our buildings. As noted above, planning is underway for a restart of in-person operations under the oversight of the Restart Steering Committee.
Work on capital projects will be ramping up carefully to ensure that social distancing and other safety measures are in place on the construction site. Construction will restart on those major projects funded by bonds*; work will remain paused on most other projects, the only exceptions being 1) those few that are substantially complete and for which pausing at this time would be more expensive than completion, and 2) those required for life safety or other critical maintenance. (*Proceeds from bonds sales are required to be used for designated capital projects; they cannot legally be used for any other purpose.)