Date: March 14, 2020
FROM: President Andrew Hamilton

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Loved Ones,

As spring break begins at NYU’s Washington Square campus, let me share with you the developments since I wrote you earlier this week.

From the outset, our focus has been on the health and safety of our students while ensuring their continued academic progress. We are grateful for the way families have responded to support our efforts, and for the way our community has galvanized to minimize disruption and carry on our academic mission.

As you know from my last letter, this week we began the transition to holding classes remotely. Students and other members of the NYU community have adjusted to this change quickly and well and are carrying on. One of NYU's characteristics is that when things seem challenging, our community is at its best.

This transition took place, of course, against the backdrop of increasingly aggressive governmental steps to check the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In New York, that's included the banning of large gatherings and the temporary closing of the city's landmark cultural institutions.

As we look further into the semester, we have determined that it is unlikely that we would be able to reconvene in-person classes before April 19; we conveyed that conclusion to our students and faculty on Thursday. However, mindful of the dynamics of New York's public health declarations, we may soon have to revisit even that revised date.

We also made some other important announcements this week:

  • Most NYU administrators are now teleworking.
  • The winter and spring seasons for our athletic teams have been cancelled.
  • Our continental European, London, Tel Aviv, and Buenos Aires Study Abroad sites have suspended in-person classes, and we continue to closely monitor our other locations.

To be clear, NYU is open and we are carrying on our classes and administrative operations, albeit in both cases using remote technologies.

We know these shifts have also raised a number of questions—everything from the status of Commencement to the status of housing and dining to the status of coursework—and we are working on these and will have more to say in the near future.

As always, we care deeply about our students and recognize that the current situation may be causing them some measure of anxiety. We have substantial resources to help. Those who need assistance to deal with the anxiety and stress of COVID-19 and all of its ramifications should reach out to NYU's Wellness Exchange. I encourage students who are experiencing financial stress due to the swift transition to remote study to contact the financial aid office. And I urge you to keep up with all the rapidly changing information through the central coronavirus information and resource page we have established.

This semester has been unprecedented in so many ways—for me, notwithstanding my 40 years in higher education, and for NYU. And I think we all recognize that the difficulties we confront will not be surmounted in some small number of days, but neither will they linger forever. It remains my hope and wish—and the faculty and students' as well—that circumstances will allow us to return to normal relatively soon, though admittedly actions to combat the virus are becoming more sweeping, not less. In either case, we will continue to monitor the course of the virus' spread, we are well-prepared and well-positioned, and rest assured that whatever comes, we will maintain the hard work necessary to ensure that NYU meets its commitment to the education of its students.

Be well. Stay safe and healthy.


Andrew Hamilton