Date: May 7, 2020
TO: NYU PARENTS AND GUARDIANS
FROM: President Andrew Hamilton
As we come to the end of the most unusual semester of my nearly 40 years in higher education, it is a moment to take stock and to look ahead.
First, let me say that I hope you and all in your life are safe and well, and that you have been spared to the greatest extent possible the worst of the pain and turmoil that has accompanied the coronavirus. You, the parents of our students, are seldom far from my thoughts, but it is especially true now that so many of our students are home with you.
I would also like to welcome the parents of our newly admitted first-year students. You join us at an unprecedented moment in NYU's history, and I am certain that the fall semester—your child's first at NYU—must be very much on your minds.
NYU plans to open in the fall with the safety and well-being of our community uppermost in our minds. That means we are working now to have in place the measures necessary to protect student, faculty, and employee health as we resume in-person classes on campus in New York and at many of our sites around the globe; reopen our student residence halls; ramp up those parts of our research program that were closed due to COVID-19; and reopen NYU offices.
However, there are a great many uncertainties. At this point we do not have clear, specific guidance from public health authorities regarding the reopening of universities in New York State. And while we see some improving signs—cases in New York are trending down; our campus in Shanghai is reopening for classes—we cannot be sure of what may come next. Accordingly, even as our objective remains fixed—to have the greatest number of students on campus that we can safely have, to maximize in-person instruction, to allow as many faculty as possible to resume their research—the precise shape of what the fall will look like at NYU's New York campus is still coming into focus.
To sharpen that up, for some time now our planning groups have been focusing on the fall semester. We have been identifying key components of effectively combating the spread of coronavirus—protective equipment, testing, contact tracing, social distancing, housing for the ill or those who must quarantine, etc.—and applying them to various scenarios for reopening the pillars of campus life—the classrooms, the laboratories, the housing system, the performing arts spaces, the libraries, etc. We have also been working with other New York State universities and educational associations to ensure our concerns are addressed and that steps we take fit in with the overall public effort to battle COVID-19.
There is a great deal at stake, and so, when we commit to a plan, we want to be sure it has been fully vetted and evaluated and takes advantage of the latest and best information available. We expect to be able to provide more detailed answers on how we will conduct the fall re-opening sometime between mid-May and early June.
In closing, let me make a few final points.
First, we will be guided by our priorities: to put health and safety first as we open in the fall; to ensure that your student receives a robust, excellent NYU education no matter what circumstances may bring; to carry on scholarly research; to maintain our program of financial aid; to retain our outstanding faculty and other dedicated employees; to resume normal operations as soon as safely possible; and to ensure that we keep the University on a footing that enables it to fulfill its academic mission for another 190 years.
Second, the pandemic has created pressing new needs among students and their families and has caused financial strains on NYU similar to those experienced by all other universities in the US. Despite this, we are committed to continuing financial support to those who need it most and providing to all a world-class academic experience. NYU is indeed fortunate to have wonderful faculty and staff who are working tirelessly through this crisis to ensure that in the fall and for all the semesters to come we have an NYU about which we may feel great pride.
And last, please know how humbled I am by the solemn trust you place in us, and how committed we are to the development and well-being of your child.
Be well. Stay safe. I will be back in touch soon. And for the most up-to-date NYU developments concerning COVID-19, please regularly visit the information page we have established.
We very much look forward to seeing you and your students in the fall.
New York University