A Letter to Parents from NYU President Andrew Hamilton
Date: April 8, 2021
TO: NYU Parents
FROM: NYU President Andrew Hamilton
Dear Parents, Loved Ones, and Guardians,
I hope you are doing well, are safe, and are taking care. Even in a setting as urban as NYU’s, we can see and feel spring moving into full bloom, and it is beautiful. It is marked not only by lovely, lengthening days and the budding of trees, but also by the hope that things will get better soon, and we will be able to put the last year — with its stress and uncertainties — behind us.
A Welcome to Our Newest NYUers and their families
First, I want to ask our existing family members to join me in welcoming the newest members of the NYU community: the newly admitted members of the Class of 2025 and their families.
Last week, we sent out offers of admission to next year’s freshman class. It’s been an extraordinary year for admissions at NYU. We had over 100,000 applications — a record — and the group of students to whom we have offered admission is also record-setting: in terms of diversity, academic qualifications, and selectivity. Especially in a year which presented so many, many challenges, we are very proud to have attracted so many talented students. The Class of 2025 will join a campus that has resumed in-person classes — a campus to which faculty, students, administrators, and staff have all but fully returned, but that will nonetheless be prepared to be flexible and to educate those students for whom insurmountable obstacles to getting to New York continue to exist.
Vaccinations for Our Students
This week, NY State expanded the criteria for receiving the COVID-19 vaccination to all those age 16 and older. Happily, that announcement coincided with the first delivery from the State to the campus of vaccine stock, and the beginning in earnest of our program to offer vaccinations to students.
NYU strongly encourages every member of the University community who can be vaccinated to receive the vaccine, so these developments are good news. And our hope is to vaccinate thousands of our students before the end of the semester.
The less good news is that given the amount of vaccine we are likely to receive, the need to give two shots that are three weeks apart, and the fast-approaching end of the semester, it is clear that, on its own, NYU will be able to vaccinate only a part of its community of NYC-based students.
We have communicated to our students (and to our employees, to whom our medical center has offered appointments based on its allocation of vaccine) that they do not need to wait to be vaccinated by NYU. Indeed, just the reverse: they should actively seek vaccination appointments through the sites that New York State and New York City have set up, through pharmacies, through other sources, such as hospitals or physicians, or through the state in which they are residing, if they are living outside New York.
I would be very grateful if you would reinforce this advice as you speak with your NYU student.
Many of you have asked if NYU is going to make the vaccination mandatory. At this point, we are strongly encouraging everyone to be vaccinated, and we are reviewing the issue of whether to make the vaccination required for a student to come to campus. I will be back in touch as we make our final determination, and will aim to make sure that, if it is to be mandatory, there is sufficient time for your student to be vaccinated. Still — no one has to wait for a decision: your student can act now to be vaccinated.
High Rates of New Cases in NYU
As Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, the Executive Lead of NYU’s COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team, noted to our community last week, the rate of new cases in New York remains troubling and stubbornly high — there are more than 10 times as many new cases per day in New York now as when the school year started. Though less dramatically, NYU’s numbers are also up, and our contact tracing program suggests that much of it can be attributed to travel, eating indoors with others, or otherwise spending time with people without wearing masks.
The day will come in the not too distant future when we can resume those behaviors safely, but that is not yet. Even as the City and State race to have New Yorkers vaccinated, new cases proliferate because of the presence of variants or the kinds of activities I mentioned above. It’s not safe yet.
So, please urge your students to get vaccinated; to be disciplined about mask-wearing and physical distancing; and to avoid the kinds of activities that are associated with the spread of COVID-19.
A final thought
This has been quite a year. The demands on all of us — on students, faculty, families, administrators — have been extraordinary. And yet, it seems as though nearly everyone has risen to the occasion. All of us will carry many memories of this — some sorrowful, some anxious; however, among them will also be proud memories of persevering and living up to our best selves.
For me, an especially notable recollection will be the way in which we all came together — parents very much included — to make sure that we sustained our students’ academic progress, culminating in sending our thousands of graduates out into the world to do great things just six weeks or so from now.
Thanks to you all for being so present and so much a part of the NYU family this year, even when we could not welcome you in person in our campus buildings. You remain a source of strength for all of us.
I will be in touch again soon with more news.
New York University