Date:  November 19, 2020
From:  Katherine Fleming, Provost
Martin Dorph, Executive Vice President
Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, Executive Lead, NYU COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team

The City’s Announcement

The City has announced that the public school system will pivot to fully remote instruction. The decision comes as a result of the City reaching a 3.0% positivity rate on a rolling seven-day average, and against the backdrop of COVID spikes in various parts of the City, nearby areas, and adjoining states.

In the public schools themselves, positivity rates remain much lower. Those findings generally track with the findings of our own testing and contact tracing program, and of a recent CDC study involving Duke University: that in-person classes are not a source of transmission.

Does NYU Plan to Follow the NYC Public Schools and Transition to Remote Classes?

No, not at this point. We are naturally concerned about rising rates around us, and are monitoring those conditions very closely.

However we’re testing everyone on campus regularly, and our rates remain low and stable in the range of 0.3%.

What About the Childcare Issues the School Closings Present for Faculty, Administrators, and Staff?

That’s the biggest issue, for sure. For our employees with school-age children, who have already had to adapt to many new challenges in fulfilling our academic mission and our responsibilities to NYU’s students, this presents yet another hardship in a long season of difficulties.

While we announced expanded childcare support at the beginning of the semester, we recognize that it does not fully meet the varied needs of many faculty and other employees for whom the public school system’s move to remote instruction presents serious disruptions to work and home life.

To our faculty, administrators, and staff: your well-being is very important to us, and we know how hard you’ve worked these past eight months to get us to the good place we are. In the face of the City's announcement, we will be communicating with schools and unit heads and urging them to show as much flexibility as possible as we all grapple with the resulting family care issues.

And to essential employees: please speak with your manager if, because of these developments, you find yourself unable to cover your essential duties as a result of childcare issues.

Keep each other Safe