Date:  August 24, 2020
To:  NYU Students and Faculty
From:  Katherine Fleming, Provost;
Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, Executive Lead, NYU COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team

We hope that you, your family, and your loved ones are healthy. We hope, too, that you are coping well with the many challenges COVID-19 has brought into our lives, and that you are looking forward to the start of the semester.

Assigned Seating — Background

With some exceptions, such as the School of Law, assigned student seating has not been a routine feature of classroom learning at NYU. However, as in so many other instances, this year is different.

Assigned seating will make our contact-tracing efforts more effective and less disruptive. If someone in a class tests positive for COVID-19, it will let us know who was sitting closest, and who was sitting farthest away. Absent the assigned seating, a single COVID-19 case in a class risks requiring that the entire class self-quarantine, including the faculty member assigned.

So, for fall 2020, we are asking that students retain the same seat for all their class meetings throughout the semester, and that faculty use NYU Classes to create a record of seating assignments for each class.

Assigned Seating — The Student Role

To achieve physical distancing in classrooms, we have removed chairs from rooms with non-fixed seating, and designated which seats can be used in classrooms with fixed seating. We have also numbered the seats that can be used.

We would like students to do two things: 1) record the number of the seat they take on their first day in each in-person or blended class and keep that same seat throughout the semester, and 2) enter their seat number in NYU Classes' Seating Assignments tool.

Students should be mindful of the seat they choose on Day 1 of the class — that will be their seat for the rest of the semester.

For more information on assigned seating in classrooms, click here.

Assigned Seating — The Faculty Role

Today we are launching a new seat assignment tool in NYU Classes. It will allow faculty to easily maintain a record of seating assignments for their students.

Faculty should create an NYU Classes course site for each blended or in-person class they are teaching. Instructions on using the seat assignment tool can be found here.

If faculty have any questions, they can find additional information here, or contact the IT Service Desk at 212.998.3333 or by email at

We know this is yet another new task demanded of us by COVID-19. Still, like the others, this will help keep our community safer and will allow us to respond more effectively to cases of COVID-19, so we thank you for your cooperation.

Keep each other Safe