Date: January 14, 2022
To: NYU Students in Student Housing
From: Rafael Rodriguez, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Kate Baier, Executive Director, Residential Life
Neil Hanrahan, Executive Director, Housing Services

As you read earlier this week, NYU will start spring semester classes as scheduled on January 24 (this is the general date; there may be variation among schools) with in-person classes.

We want to address the semester’s start in greater detail for those in student housing.

The Omicron Variant, Flexibility at the Start of the Semester, and Timing Your Arrival

The Omicron variant has led to higher case numbers nationally, in New York, and at NYU. We know that this will make the start of the semester more difficult for some students — they may be infected themselves and are isolating. Or they may have to care for someone at home who is infected. Or they may be encountering travel restrictions that make getting to campus before the start of classes difficult. And, given the Omicron variant’s contagiousness, we will almost certainly see greater numbers of people who have to isolate or quarantine during the spring semester.

In recognition of all the challenges students — and other members of the University community — are likely to face, we’re anticipating that schools and faculty will approach in-person student attendance — particularly in the first couple of weeks — with a high level of flexibility to ensure that those who are unable to attend in person are not disadvantaged in grading or in keeping up with course work. If you would like to postpone moving into your residence hall (or moving back in after break), don’t hesitate to do so. We anticipate, however, that students who may be delayed should be able to resolve the challenges that may delay their move-in by no later than February 7, 2022, when the residence halls will be fully occupied again.

First year students, please note: all orientation activities will be online, so you need not be in person for orientation.

If you test positive or are sick or face any of a number of other circumstances that prevent you from returning to campus housing in time for January 24, there should be sufficient flexibility to permit you to keep up with your course work remotely. If you have a specific question about your class or classes, you should contact your faculty member to learn more about how students will be accommodated in a particular class.

The Omicron Variant, and the Need for Extra Caution

The Omicron variant's ease of transmission requires us to be extra cautious as we start the spring semester, particularly in a student housing setting. Generally speaking, classrooms — where there tends to be a high degree of compliance with NYU’s mask-wearing rules — are less apt to be a setting for transmission. Other settings, such as residences, where mask-wearing is less rigorously observed and students spend sustained periods of time together, are more of an issue.

With that in mind, we have a number of recommendations and strategies for reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 spread.

Before Arriving on Campus


Get tested (preferably with a PCR test) in the 72-hour period before you depart for NYU.

  • If you test negative: no additional action is required. You do not need to upload your negative test.
  • If you are positive: please report your positive test by completing the COVID-19 Reporting Form.
  • If you can't get a PCR test before you return: please get tested within a few days of arriving.

Indicators That You Should Not Leave for Campus

You should not return to campus if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19: Do not return until you receive a negative PCR test, you are fever free for at least 24 hours, and your symptoms are improving.
  • You test positive: Do not travel or return until you meet the criteria for ending isolation (you will receive guidance on the length of your isolation period from the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team (CPRT) when you report your positive test).

After Arriving on Campus


We expect you to get tested within a few days of arriving, regardless of being tested before you traveled.

Experiencing Symptoms or Receiving a Positive Test Result

If, after your return to campus, you experience symptoms of COVID-19, if you receive a positive test result, or were in close contact with someone who tested positive, you should promptly report these developments to the CPRT via the COVID-19 Reporting Form.

  • Isolating/Quarantining: If you are placed in isolation or quarantine (e.g. you test positive) and you are living in NYU housing, you will be required to isolate or quarantine in a temporary room provided by the university, and in accordance with the guidance you receive from the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team.
  • Students isolating or quarantining in NYU-provided spaces will be given GrubHub credit for meals for the duration of your isolation/quarantine period, as well as additional support resources.
  • Roommates/Suitemates of Someone Who Has Tested Positive: If your roommate or suitemate tests positive and reports to CPRT that they have been in close contact with you, CPRT will provide you with detailed guidance about your next steps, based on your vaccination status and the presence or absence of symptoms.
  • Note: It is important to be mindful that, while we have set aside a considerable number of rooms for isolation and quarantining, these resources are finite, and we may come to a point in the semester where students who test positive may need to isolate in their current room assignment together with their roommate(s) who may not need to isolate or quarantine.

Mask wearing

The University’s mask requirement will remain in place in the spring semester and must be strictly observed. Mask wearing is a sound practice to reduce the spread of COVID-19; for it to be optimally effective, you need the right mask — and you need to wear it properly — especially in indoor settings. Indeed, we will be stepping up mask compliance efforts — and consequences for those who do not follow NYU’s rules around masking — given how important conscientious mask wearing is to the health and safety of the NYU community. With that in mind:

  • Acceptable masks for the spring semester include:
    • Disposable masks (surgical or medical procedure masks).
    • KN95, KF94 or N95 masks.
    • Using a cloth mask over a disposable medical procedure mask — improves the fit and adds layers.
  • Masks that are not acceptable:
    • Masks with one-way valves or vents.
    • Bandanas, scarves, and face coverings made with other repurposed clothing items.
    • Cloth masks, unless being used as a second layer over a disposable mask.
    • Please note: Although we expect that in general NYU community members will provide their own masks, surgical / medical procedure-type masks will be available at various distribution points across campus.
  • A Mask Must Cover Your Nose and Mouth and Be Close Fitting
  • Required Locations for Mask Wearing: Mask wearing in all indoor locations at NYU, including in all residence hall common spaces (hallways, elevators, stairwells, entrance areas, laundry rooms, etc).

Additional Mitigation Measures

Other restrictions to help check the spread of the coronavirus will also be in place, including:

  • Guest policy in the residence halls: The current prohibition on interhall visitation, as well as the visitation of NYU students who do not reside in housing and non-NYU guests, in the residence halls will remain in place. Read more about our NYU housing guest policy.
  • Meal Service: Meal service at NYU dining facilities will be “grab and go” for the start of the semester. No eating will be permitted in the libraries or in spaces in which other activities are occurring concurrently, such as in study spaces, meetings, or lounges. We strongly urge you to eat at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart from other people and for less than 15 minutes. After eating, you should promptly remask.
  • Gatherings: Gatherings in common spaces in residence halls will continue to be prohibited for the time being.
  • Visitors: Only essential visitors will be permitted on-campus at the start of the semester.
  • Sports and Recreation: Athletics facilities will continue to be closed for the time being.
  • Groups Study Rooms: Group study rooms in the library will continue to be closed until further notice.
  • Events and Meetings: There should be no non-essential in-person events, meetings, and gatherings held.
  • Skirball: The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts will not be open.

Final Thoughts

In spite of all the rules, restrictions, and expectations we’ve shared with you, we want you to know that we are genuinely excited and looking forward to having you back on campus. And it is our hope and expectation that as the semester goes on, the decline in new cases will, as predicted, continue, allowing us to progressively ease some of the restrictions we will have in place at the start of the semester.

However, as we said at the outset, we know there are a lot of challenges to getting to campus this semester in time for January 24. So, we just want you to bear in mind that the University will be approaching things with considerable though not indefinite flexibility, particularly at the start of the semester. We hope that will make your return smoother and reduce some of the anxieties you may have had about the start of this semester.