Important COVID-19-related Developments: Rising Case Counts, and Looking Ahead to January
Date: December 21, 2021
TO: The NYU Community
FROM: Andrew Hamilton, President
Katherine Fleming, Provost
Martin Dorph, Exec. Vice President
Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, Exec. Lead, COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team
The trajectory of new cases that our testing program detected at the beginning of last week seems to be continuing. New York City’s COVID-19 new case data show a similar concerning pattern. The University closes for winter break at the end of the day on Wednesday, December 22, and the precautionary steps we announced last week are appropriate safeguards for our community between now and then.
Between Now and January 18, 2022
However, we are going to take some additional, precautionary steps between now and January 18, 2022, the deadline for NYU community members to have received their booster shots:
Conducting J-Term Classes and Other Pre-Spring-Semester Classes Remotely
Given their early January start, all January Term classes will be conducted remotely, not in-person. Naturally, any travel connected to J-Term courses will not take place.
Generally speaking, any classes held between the end of the fall semester and before the start of spring semester classes (which can vary from school to school) should be conducted remotely (please note: where school or program guidance is at odds with this general guidance, you should follow the specific, local guidance).
Maximizing Remote Work for Employees in Early January
In order to reduce density on campus in early January, instead of having employees return to campus following winter break, schools and units should have their employees work remotely to the greatest extent possible until January 18, 2022. Exceptions to this include 1) those employees with essential duties, 2) those employees who need to be on campus to fulfill their responsibilities (eg, essential lab personnel), and 3) in-person, on-campus staffing necessary to support the University’s academic mission or administrative operations, as determined by deans or unit heads.
To be clear: this is not a shut-down or lock-down; employees should expect to resume their regular on-campus, in-person schedule beginning January 18, 2022, but should look for updates and guidance as the date approaches.
Prohibiting Non-Essential Visitors
Only essential visitors will be permitted on campus. Previous approvals for non-essential visitors will be set aside.
NYU will continue with its testing program — which includes mandatory testing, randomized testing, indicated testing, and discretionary testing. We will reassess the testing program in January.
With J-Term classes being conducted remotely, most employees working remotely, and the spring semester not beginning until January 24, 2022, there will probably not be a lot of people on campus during the first three weeks of January. Those who are here, however, should be aware of the health and safety protocols that will be in place during that period, including:
- Dining halls offering only “Grab and Go” options, and the elimination of spaces that mix studying and eating.
- No eating will be permitted in the main library, and some spaces will not be open.
- Discretionary, non-essential, non-academic events should not be held.
- The University’s mask-wearing rule will, of course, remain in full effect. Mask-wearing is an essential element of our safety and health protocols and all members of the NYU community must wear their masks indoors.
- Residence hall lounges and common/meeting spaces will remain closed.
- Athletic and recreational facilities will remain closed.
- Travel for athletic competitions and J-term academic programs is not permitted; other travel should be handled in accordance with the University travel policy.
- The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts will not be open.
Looking Ahead to the Start of the Spring 2022 Semester
We are planning to resume in-person instruction at the start of the spring semester in New York and at our Study Away sites, with the possibility of continuing some of the restrictions on discretionary, non-academic activities. Between now and then, we shall be carefully monitoring conditions, data from our testing program, guidance from public authorities and educational institutions, and other sources. We will communicate to the University community additional guidance about the Spring semester in January based on the latest public health information.
We know that NYU community members want to make connections, socialize with colleagues, and enjoy the full range of campus activities as part of a full University experience. We support those aims.
The way to get to those experiences is by taking appropriate precautions now. Conscientiously observing health protocols enabled us to successfully carry on during this past fall and during academic year 2020-2021, and they will prepare to carry on successfully during the coming semester, too, while safeguarding our community’s health and contributing to the City's fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Which leads us to leave you with this important reminder:
** All members of the NYU community are required to have a booster vaccination and upload proof by January 18, 2022 or as soon as they are eligible **. Getting a booster is vitally important to combating the spread of COVID-19 and is an essential part of our health and safety plan for the Spring 2022 Semester.