Date: April 4, 2020
TO:? NYU Parents, Guardians, and Loved Ones
FROM: President Andrew Hamilton
Dear Parents, Guardians, Family Members, and Loved Ones of NYU Students,
First off, let me express my sincere wish that you and your NYU student are safe and healthy. With the COVID-19 cases climbing so steeply, I worry about all the people in our extended community. I also hope that you are all coping as well as you can with the many disruptions and restrictions that the coronavirus has caused.
We are all adjusting to a very different spring semester than we could have imagined just a few weeks ago. You have, no doubt, seen the reports of the steady rise in cases in New York, and the toll it is taking on the healthcare system. The restrictions now in place have made NYU and more generally New York City seem very quiet.
But while street life as well as activities within our buildings are muted—as they should be; these social distancing measures keep us all safer—in fact, a great deal is happening. I am writing to you today to update you on what has been going on.
We are now holding classes remotely at all our campuses and facilities globally. Distance learning is a new mode of instruction for most of us at NYU, but overall, it seems to be going well, as you may have had a chance to observe. Despite some issues naturally emerging, over 99 percent of our classes are proceeding; a testament to our faculty's dedication, flexibility, and ingenuity. We have collected some of the more interesting stories here. Rest assured: NYU is fully committed to the continued progress of our students' education.
Normally the guidelines for taking courses on a pass/fail basis are fairly strict. However, given the novel academic environment, we have extended the date by which students may elect to take a course on a pass/fail basis until May 12, and we have encouraged NYU's individual schools to show flexibility about when pass/fail may be used by students.
One of my true annual joys is Commencement and all that we customarily do in the spring semester to recognize our students' achievements. It thrills me to meet so many new graduates and their parents and loved ones, and to share in their sense of pride. I know it is a momentous day for families, too.
Sadly, if unsurprisingly, we have postponed this year's in person All-University Commencement, which was scheduled for May 20 at Yankee Stadium, to a date that is still to be determined. Individual school ceremonies are likewise postponed. However, we have made a pledge: that we will find a way to mark our graduates' accomplishments on May 20 2020, albeit virtually, and that we will have an in-person ceremony that properly recognizes and celebrates the Class of 2020 and their achievements at the appropriate time.
This week NYU began distributing pro-rated refunds to students for the cost of their housing and meal plans. Those refunds are being provided automatically—students do not need to take any steps to receive them.
We are also closely examining various fees to determine if they should be refunded as well. We should have more to say on that in the near future.
The process of students moving out of residence halls in New York City is complete. I am very sympathetic to the difficulties that this measure caused many students. However, the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in New York, the restrictions on those residing here, and the strains on the healthcare system reaffirm the necessity of that decision.
The relatively small number of students who remain in our housing are safe and well. We have consolidated them into a small number of residences and provided them each with a room to themselves, which should help check any spread of the coronavirus.
The City and State reached out to us about the availability of our remaining residence halls to assist with the response to the coming peak of the coronavirus illness here; with so many people doing so much to battle COVID-19, the University feels a responsibility to assist where it can. In that vein, next Monday, April 6, we will start making rooms in one of our residence halls available to front-line medical workers from our own medical center, with another to be made available the following week.
Even as so much of our energy is directed to keeping the community well, adapting to new circumstances and new ways of doing things, and coming up with innovative ideas to fight COVID-19...
NYU Donates Protective Gear: ?
....so many of the mainstays of University life continue on. This week, for example, we announced that we had admitted the most selective and highest-scoring class in NYU's history. And while setting these new records, the class of 2024 also matched our record for diversity.
The reaction among those accepted will likely seem very familiar to you from your own child's admission to the University: great excitement, joy, anticipation, and pride at being among the newest members of the NYU community.
We must acknowledge the many uncertainties that confront us. NYU is making preparations across all our campuses and locations both for the possibility of reconvening in person as well as for the prospect of having to carry on with remotely-held classes for some time.
Still, I think there is a lesson for us in the newly admitted students' hopefulness and enthusiasm. COVID-19 has caused unimaginable disruption and heartache, and there is more to come, no doubt. Yet, as our admitted students seem to sense, its effects will not last forever. We should not lose sight of the power of hope, nor should we give up on looking forward to that wonderful day when we can be in one another's company again. Ideas such as that sustain us during the hard times.
You are the parents of our students during an unprecedented time in our University's history (no small thing in a University that is nearly 200 years old). We are grateful for the trust you continue to place in us. Please know how hard we shall continue to work to earn that trust.
Be safe and well. Take good care of yourselves.