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Dear NYU SPS Graduate Student,
In light of the many disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has caused across the country and around the world, we are writing to both new and returning NYU SPS graduate students to assure you that the University and NYU SPS are carefully and thoughtfully preparing for the fall semester in order to provide the stellar education for which NYU SPS is known, in a safe and supportive environment. We also want to clarify the modalities of delivery in which classes will be offered to ensure that you have sufficient time to plan ahead given some of the continuously changing circumstances we face.
We know the key to a successful academic year will take the sustained effort and commitment of each and every one of us. We also recognize that it is more critical than ever for us to communicate clearly and to be sure that students are well-informed throughout the academic year. This communication serves to provide you with a preliminary overview of academic and student life in the year ahead as we reconvene on campus with an unprecedented set of safety protocols in place.
We wish each and every one of you success in your studies. Please know that we are here to help and support you every step of the way.
Questions and concerns can be addressed via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 212.998.7002.
Please check NYU’s coronavirus web hub frequently for the latest news and updates.
Our First Priority - Keeping Each Other Safe
Over the last few months, each of us experienced living through the pandemic in some form of self-isolation. As we pivot to reassembling in the fall, we must do so with great care.
You have already received communications from the University about our safety and health plans. Please visit the SPS COVID site for details and look for updates during the summer. NYU's multilayered plan—with requirements for wearing masks, physical distancing, testing, reducing density in classrooms and residence halls, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation—cannot eliminate all the risks, but together its elements can significantly contribute to checking the spread of COVID-19.
Just as vital as our plans and protocols is our personal and mutual sense of responsibility to one another. When you wear a face covering, when you maintain physical distancing, when you sanitize your hands, when you forego a hug of greeting, you are not just doing it to keep yourself COVID free, you are doing it to keep your friends, your faculty members, and everyone else healthy, too. This fall, we all have a responsibility—to keep each other safe.
In the coming weeks, the University will be rolling out a set of online learning modules that you will be required to watch before arriving on campus, including one on health protocols. You also will receive additional communications reinforcing University safety rules.
The circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to change rapidly. That is why our planning has emphasized flexibility: flexibility in terms of how we will teach and learn, flexibility in terms of making sure you can take courses regardless of whether you can be physically present in a classroom, flexibility in terms of the academic year, and flexibility in case health indicators take a turn for the worse at any of our campuses.
We are committed to providing you the excellent education you expect from NYU. Our aim in reconvening on campus is to make in-person academic engagement part of our students' experience. Faculty members are spending the summer preparing for fall classes—both in-person and remote—thinking about the best ways to engage students, and devising vibrant educational experiences that immerse them in great ideas and teach them to think critically and creatively regardless of the learning format.
Types of Classes
To align with our safety plans, classes will take three forms (or “modalities”) in 2020-2021 (and they will be designated as follows in NYU’s course registration system, Albert):
- In-person classes: The instruction is in-person
- Online classes: All of the instruction is remote, whether the course meets at a designated time (synchronous), is self-paced (asynchronous), or a combination of both. Though wholly online, these courses will retain their usual enrollment size and students will have opportunities for regular engagement with the professor
- Blended classes: A mix of in-person and remote. In most cases, blended courses will be assigned a classroom, but due to COVID physical distancing guidelines and adjusted room capacities, not all students will be able to attend every class session in person. For example, you may enroll in a class with 24 students but your assigned classroom might fit only 12. In this scenario, the registrar will assign you to either group A or group B (12 in each group for a 50% split) and your instructor will tell you which class sessions your group will attend in-person and which it will attend remotely.
Regardless of modality, every class will make remote attendance possible for students who must study remotely this fall (such as those confronting travel restrictions or quarantines).
The University is currently working to revise course listings in Albert to reflect how courses will be taught/delivered in the fall. This is being done to ensure that there is the correct mix of in-person, fully online, and blended classes needed to meet COVID-19 related guidelines as they apply to the number of students allowed in a classroom. For courses at the New York campus, the updating process by the University should be completed by Monday, July 13. At that time, the most current snapshot of course schedules and delivery methods will be available for students to review and make informed decisions regarding new registrations or changes they may need to implement to their program of study if conflicts or other issues arise. These scheduling changes may have certain ramifications for international students regarding the ratio of online to in-person classes required to maintain their current student visa status (please see ‘Information for International Students’ section below). Your academic adviser is available to help you make these decisions.
Remote Attendance and "Go Local" - Locational Flexibility
Travel restrictions, mandated self-quarantines, slowdowns in visa processing – COVID-19 has created many challenges for a university as global and mobile as ours. We recognize that some students will have difficulty getting to New York City this fall.
In response, every class – including in-person classes – will be available to attend remotely, and many in-person classes will have special online sections reserved for students who plan to attend remotely. Even if you cannot travel as planned, or if you find yourself quarantined for a period, you can carry on your studies without interruption. Some of our students will be able to study at NYU Shanghai, this will allow them to go to an NYU location to which they can travel and legally study without the need for additional immigration documentation, and while there take a mix of in-person and remote classes.
Information for International Students
On Monday, July 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released guidance requiring any international student studying in the US to be enrolled in at least one in-person or blended class for the duration of the semester. International students who have not yet read the email from NYU’s Office of Global Services should do so as soon as possible, as it contains important details to consider regarding fall enrollment. NYU, both directly and working alongside other colleges and universities, is urging the government to reconsider these guidelines.
Staff members of the NYU SPS Office of Student Affairs have been working with NYU SPS Student Council members over the summer to plan events and activities for the fall. Programming will be as engaging and fun as ever, but will be conducted in the safety of an online environment. You’ll be able to:
- Engage in a wealth of social and professional events
- Participate in student organizations
- Take part in community service opportunities
- Take advantage of workshops to hone time management and presentation skills
Weekly announcements from the Office of Student Life will keep you posted on the many activities and traditions that go on at the School.
Wasserman Career Development Services
The NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development at NYU SPS provides critical career counseling services and will be at your service from day one, through graduation and beyond.
Start enjoying some of the benefits of being a member of the NYU alumni community now! The Office of Alumni Relations has extended an invitation to all continuing students to join the Violet Network – learn more about all of the benefits and opportunities this platform provides. New students will be invited to join the platform at the start of the academic year in September.
International Student Support Center
International Students find a home away from home by connecting with the International Student Support Center (ISSC), which provides numerous resources to help them acclimate to NYC and to the rigors of NYU academic life.
Throughout your academic career at NYU SPS, your academic adviser will be there to help you to succeed—personally and professionally. Click here for a full overview of services and for a full list of academic advisers by division.
The regular habits and practices of recent years won’t work this year. We will need to strive a little harder, do a little more. It may not be a regular year or one that we might have wished for, but we believe that working together, we will make this a great and memorable year.
You are students at a leading university in one of the world’s truly great cities at a profound, unprecedented, and historic time. This is a moment for big ideas, and big ideas – their creation, their debate, their dissemination – are what NYU SPS is all about.
Best wishes for the remainder of your summer. You will be hearing more from us before the start of fall classes. And remember to check on NYU’s coronavirus web hub often for the latest news and updates.
Susan Greenbaum, Ed.D.