TO: The NYU Community

FROM: Dr. Carlo Ciotoli, Exec. Lead, NYU COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team

DATE: November 11, 2020

Dear Members of the NYU Community,

We have one principal public health goal for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend: prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The guidance is clear: given the prospects for spreading COVID and the small number of class days in the fall semester post-Thanksgiving, we strongly urge you to consider the following recommendations:

  • Stay where you are and forego traveling for Thanksgiving, celebrating virtually or with the people with whom you are currently living; or
  • If you are a student and do choose to go home, stay there until the start of the spring semester [students in graduate and professional programs should consult with their dean's office to ensure this will not have an adverse impact on completing their degree]

COVID-19 rates are rising both in New York and nationally. In addition, key aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday — such as gatherings, eating with others, and sometimes travel — are also associated with increased risk of spreading or contracting the coronavirus.

Testing Before Thanksgiving

We must be super-conscientious about doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

So, next week (Nov. 16 - 20), the week before Thanksgiving, everyone with regular campus access must be tested, regardless of your plans — and even if it is not your usual week to be tested. If you are due to be tested next week, just carry on as usual. Please note: on November 23-27, Binx testing kit pick up and drop off sites will be closed and the tent will have very limited appointment slots.

Students in residence halls should use the Binx saliva test kits, as they normally would. Other students as well as employees can either pick up and return a saliva kit, or make an appointment to be tested at the tent on Gould Plaza:

Please try to get tested early in the week so that you can make informed decisions about your long weekend.

Returning to Campus

Two key take-aways:

  • Everyone — students, faculty, staff, administrators — with regular campus access must be tested again during the week after Thanksgiving (Nov. 30 - Dec. 4) if you intend to be on-campus again before winter break.
  • Everyone who spent more than 24 hours in a non-contiguous state will be required to follow NY State’s guidelines for quarantine (PDF).

If you travel outside NYS or its five contiguous neighbors (CT, MA, NJ, PA, VT) for 24 hours or more, you are required by the New York State Department of Health to quarantine for 14 days upon your return to New York. You may qualify for a shortened quarantine period if all of the following criteria are met: (1) you get a COVID-19 diagnostic test within the three days prior to your return to New York State; (2) upon your return to NY, you get a PCR test on the fourth day of your compulsory quarantine; (3) both tests are negative; AND (4) you are cleared in writing by the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team. Additional instructions for reporting and clearance will be forthcoming next week.

A Smart Choice: Think About Staying Home Rather than Returning and Quarantining


If your plans require you to quarantine upon return, we strongly urge you to consider staying at home instead of returning to campus. The decision rests with you, but there are only 10 days of classes after the long holiday weekend; even a short quarantine will require you to take at least one week of classes remotely.

If you live in a residence hall and you opt to stay home and take classes remotely, remember:

  • Pack everything you will need until your return next semester
  • Bring home any valuable items


Employees should know that in the health and safety interest of our entire NYU community, employees who are returning to campus from a non-border state or from a country on the CDC Level 2, 3, or 4 Travel Advisory, will be required to quarantine. All employees — regardless of role — are expected to comply with this requirement.

Next Steps?

Later this week, we will be sending out a survey to the NYU community to learn more about NYUers’ specific plans. Based on that survey, more specific instructions regarding clearance to return to campus will be provided next week.

In the meantime, if you have questions, students should email; employees should email

Carlo Ciotoli, MD, MPA