TO: NYU ADMINISTRATORS, RESEARCHERS, AND STAFF

FROM: Martin Dorph, Executive Vice President
Sabrina Ellis, Vice President for Human Resources
Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, Executive Lead, COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team and Assoc. Vice President for Student Health

Date: July 30, 2020

We have important information to convey to you about testing and quarantining.

Key Take-Aways

  • For the most part, employees who are not already working on campus should not expect to return before August 15.
  • As of August 15, the protocol for access to NYU buildings will change: ALL employees (including those who are already working on campus) MUST submit a negative COVID-19 test before they will be allowed to enter their workplace or any NYU academic or administrative buildings.
  • All employees coming from or who have been spending time in a NYS-designated restricted state must quarantine for 14 days in a non-restricted state—such as NY, NJ, or CT—before entering their workplace or any NYU academic or administrative buildings, and should account for this, if necessary, in planning their return to campus, certain rare exceptions are outlined below.
  • All employees must be tested for COVID-19 during the 14-day period preceding their return to campus, and submit the results prior to their return.
  • Beginning August 16, all employees will also need to continue to complete the daily screener available on the NYU Mobile App each day that they plan to enter their workplace or any NYU academic or administrative building. From now to August 15, the screener is only required for those who are entering certain buildings. Employees should ensure they have a thermometer at home to complete the screener questions.  
  • Students working on campus should refer to and take guidance from the communication to students about testing and quarantining.

Introduction

We hope that you and all the people in your life are safe and healthy and coping well. Administrators, researchers, and staff are vital, dedicated, and highly valued members of the University community, and protecting your well-being has been very much on our minds during the summer as we planned for the return to campus in the fall.

We have finalized our testing procedures for employees for the coming year, in line with NYS requirements. The testing program and procedures below refer to COVID-19 diagnostic PCR tests (tests designed to detect the presence of COVID-19 infection), not antibody tests or rapid tests.

Testing is associated with quarantining for those coming from or having spent time outside the tri-state area (NY, NJ, and CT), so we will cover that topic as well.

Testing

  • ALL members of the University community will be tested and submit results before entering any NYU academic or administrative facility. 
  • Employees must be tested and submit their results within the 14-day period before their first expected date of return to their work locations.  
    • This includes those employees who have already been working on campus over the summer, such as essential personnel, even if they have been previously tested (this group should be tested and submit results between August 1 and August 14 in order to continue to have access as of August 15).
    • All members of the University community who are coming from or have spent time in a NYS-designated restricted state or outside the US are required to quarantine for 14 days (PDF) in a non-hot-spot state—such as the tri-state area—before stepping foot in any NYU academic or administrative building. Any vacation plans should take account of this. Certain exceptions may be permitted under New York State guidelines for employees categorized as Essential (health/life and safety personnel) after demonstrating proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. Policies related to time and leave procedures while on quarantine should be referred to Human Resources. 
  • Employees who are not currently accessing and working on campus should expect that their return to their offices and work locations will not occur before August 15. Your return must be accompanied by:
    • a notification from your supervisor or HR Department indicating your expected return to campus date for the fall semester
    • a negative test result received and submitted within the 14 days prior to your return to campus
    • the completion of any necessary quarantine
    • alignment with your unit’s plan for addressing workplace density
      completing the daily screener available through the NYU Mobile app each day they plan to enter NYU buildings
  • All those who present with relevant symptoms, must be tested, as must those who have had close contact with confirmed cases. Notify the NYU COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team.
  • We will continue to test widely for the purpose of general COVID-19 disease surveillance throughout the fall semester; participation in this testing is also mandatory
  • If you will not be coming to campus at all or regularly interacting with other members of the NYU community at all, testing is not required (though if you are returning to New York from outside the tri-state area, quarantining is required by law). However, we nevertheless strongly urge you be tested.

How, When, and Where to Be Tested Before the Start of Academic Year 2020-2021

We have taken steps to ensure the availability of testing capacity for our community.

When

As noted, employees should be tested, receive their results, and submit their results in the 14-day period prior to the date they first plan to enter NYU academic or administrative facilities. So, if an employee expects to return to an NYU workplace from teleworking on September 2, the employee must be tested and submit the results in the two weeks prior.

How and Where

For all Essential Employees and Research Staff who are already working onsite or who are expected to return before August 15:

You must be tested and submit your results between August 1 and August 14.  For convenience, a special testing window has been arranged to obtain a COVID test through NYU Langone from Monday, August 3 through Friday, August 7 at no cost. Please call 646-987-3524 Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm to schedule an appointment. Other dates may be available, but you must call to make an appointment.

For all administrators, researchers and staff with return to campus dates occurring after August 15:

Those who are covered by a university health plan can obtain a COVID test through any of the following options:

  • NYU Langone (at no charge, by appointment—an email will be sent to you with instructions on how to make an appointment, or you can call your Langone provider for an appointment. Please note: test results have tended to be faster for those tested at NYU Langone)
  • State testing location (such as a state identified testing facility that offer testing at no cost—see the list below for testing locations)
  • Your own medical provider (by presenting your health insurance card at the point of service)
  • An urgent care facility or pharmacy (by presenting your health insurance card at the point of service)

Administrators, Researchers and Staff who are not covered by a university health insurance plan can obtain a COVID test from any of the following:

  • NYU Langone (at no charge, by appointment—an email will be sent to you with instructions on how to make an appointment, or you can call your
  • Langone provider for an appointment.)  Please note: test results have tended to be faster for those tested at NYU Langone)
  • State testing location (such as a state identified testing facility that offer testing at no cost—see list below for testing locations)
  • Your own medical provider (reimbursement with proof of payment)
  • An urgent care facility or pharmacy (reimbursement with proof of payment)

Information for testing locations by state can be found here:

Test results must be submitted through the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team portal. Tests results should be submitted regardless of whether they are positive or negative.
 
If you have a positive test result for COVID-19 (i.e., an active infection), do not go to your office or workplace.  Contact your physician for medical care if needed and contact your supervisor to let them know you are not permitted to work onsite until you are cleared by the NYU COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team. A member of the NYU COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team will review your test results and notify you when you are cleared to enter NYU academic and administrative buildings.

Symptomatic Testing & Contact Tracing

If you display any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell or taste) or have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must report these symptoms or exposure to the COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team via this form and be promptly tested. Please refer to the aforementioned testing options previously outlined in this memo.    

In the meantime, self-quarantine: stay home, don't go to the office or the classroom, and inform your supervisor or HRO.  The COVID-19 Prevention and Response Team will contact you to determine when you may return to campus.

Ongoing Testing to Track COVID-19 Presence in the NYU Community

To check for the prevalence of COVID-19 within the NYU community, we will conduct several thousand tests per week throughout the fall semester.  

The testing will be done on campus. Each week's group of people to be tested will be a randomized sample of students and employees who are authorized to be on campus. Cooperation with this aspect of the testing program is required.

If you are selected to be tested, you will be notified by email and directed where to report and at what time.

Quarantining

Any employee coming from or having spent time in a state designated by New York State as “restricted” or a “hot spot” or outside the US must quarantine for 14 days (PDF) within a non-hot-spot state—such as those in the tri-state area—and must otherwise comply with testing and screening protocols before entering NYU academic or administrative facilities. Certain exceptions may be permitted under New York State guidelines for employees categorized as Essential (health/life and safety personnel) after demonstrating proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. Policies related to time and leave procedures while on quarantine should be referred to Human Resources.  

Compliance with Safety and Health Rules

The University plans to strictly enforce the new safety and health rules.  All members of the University community—including researchers, administrators, and staff—will be made aware of the new rules and their obligation to observe them.  The Office of Student Conduct and the Division of Human Resources (HR) are expected to have little tolerance for repeated or serious lapses among any members of the NYU community.

Our plans for obtaining compliance does not rely on enforcement alone. In fact, a great deal of the University’s efforts will be directed towards “norm setting”— eliciting positive behavior and establishing an atmosphere of mutual responsibility and positive peer pressure. A broad communications campaign will emphasize those values through the launch of a Public Health Ambassadors corps, print material and posters, email direct messages, and social media, among other platforms. We expect every member of the community, but especially employees, to model conscientious adherence to the new safety rules.

For many, the question persists: what do I do when I see someone in an NYU building without a mask, or who isn’t adhering to physical distancing rules? When you encounter members of the community who are not complying with our new safety and health protocols, we encourage you first to gently and peaceably urge them to act properly—donning a mask; maintaining physical distance, etc.

However, if the person persists in not complying or responds confrontationally, you should not pursue the matter face-to-face.  Instead:

  • Report student non-compliance by
    • Reporting it to the school’s Dean of Students
    • Reporting it by email at covidcompliance@nyu.edu
    • Reporting it to the Office of Student Conduct.  
      • Failure to abide by the safety and health rules is subject to the student conduct review, and could result in the student being barred from attending classes in-person or other disciplinary measures
  • Report non-compliance by faculty to the department chair or dean’s office.
  • Report non-compliance by administrators or staff to the school’s or unit’s HR officer.

Conclusion

In advance of and over the course of fall 2020, everyone will be tested once.  Many will be tested two or more times. Our goals—to safely reassemble on campus for the fall, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to keep each other safe as we fulfill our academic mission—greatly rely on a strong testing program, such as this. We aim to make it as quick and convenient for you as possible.  

To make all this work, your cooperation is greatly needed, and is much appreciated.

We are also sending communications on testing and quarantining to students and faculty. There are many similarities, but some differences; if you wish to read those communications, they will be posted on the NYU Returns web hub, which is regularly updated with important new COVID-19 related information. You will be able to find answers to many COVID-19 related questions there, or you may contact the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team.

Thanks. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Stay safe and well. We look forward to seeing many of you for the fall semester.