Taking the Measure of the COVID-19 Circumstance
Date: March 3, 2020
TO: THE NYU COMMUNITY
FROM: President Andrew Hamilton
Dear NYU Community Members,
For all of us, the media environment is filled with coronavirus-related alerts: new statistics, new locations, market swings, et cetera. With recent word of New York's first confirmed case and new guidance to universities from the CDC about foreign travel, I thought it important to write to you.
I want you to be aware that COVID-19 is the topic of daily analysis and consultation at NYU. We set that level of scrutiny because we take the issue seriously; it allows us to collectedly keep on top of new developments, to evenly make the adjustments necessary to keep our community safe and well, to communicate clearly and regularly, and to have a decision-making process as dynamic as the situation.
This week, we are taking several steps -- prohibiting upcoming non-essential international University travel, postponing some events at NYU Abu Dhabi, and allowing students to voluntarily leave Study Away sites and pursue their classes remotely -- that we think are measured and prudent, yet decisive.
And that is just the manner in which I believe we should continue to proceed. Because just as we are committed to safeguarding our community's health, so too do we think it is important to safeguard everyone's academic progress and research, and to maintain, to the extent circumstances permit us to do so wisely, the daily rhythms of university life.
I appreciate how readily uncertainty can give rise to anxiety, and anxiety to impetuousness. That is why we have made the coronavirus the subject of such close and sustained attention -- so that we can act quickly and decisively, but not impulsively.
At the moment, the most authoritative voices tell us we can go about our business normally, using the precautions we should typically take in flu season. And so we should. For now, while continuing to be attentive, we should not let our worries get the better of us. We need not don special gear for normal NYU activities. And we certainly should not allow those whom medical authorities tell us do not present any danger to be ostracized, bullied, or mistreated.
Perseverance is part of NYU's character. I am proud of and grateful for everyone's steadfastness at this moment. And rest assured, if the moment comes when there is reason to act, or to act more sweepingly, we shall do so thoughtfully but unhesitatingly.