Messages to the Community

Update on Plans for 2020-2021 Academic Year

For the past several months, a team from across The New School has been planning comprehensive options for the 2020-2021 academic year and for our community’s safe return to campus. Based on their detailed assessment, input from public health professionals, and guidance received this weekend from the State of New York, I am writing today to share updates on a number of important decisions.

While the coming year will certainly look different from what any of us are used to, I am excited about the tremendous work that has been done to prepare a complete schedule of classes, activities, and events that will deliver a rigorous, engaging, uniquely New School experience that is accessible to every student. I also want to let you know how much we look forward to having our entire community back together on campus as soon as it is safe to do so.

Here’s an outline of The New School’s plan:

  • All classes will be online this fall. Given what we know today, we believe that remote learning is the best option for the health and safety of the entire New School community and for preventing the spread of the virus, which has to be our highest priority. This approach will ensure that all students have continued access to classes – regardless of where the students are located – and it will provide greater flexibility to respond effectively should there be a significant resurgence of the coronavirus. This also helps address the specific safety concerns of students, faculty, and staff in high risk groups, including those who are immuno-compromised.

    We are hopeful that circumstances with the pandemic will enable us to open the campus more completely for face-to-face work and instruction in the Spring semester – and we will be carefully monitoring and planning for this situation.
  • We will reopen select portions of The New School campus this fall for in-person learning, creative making, research, and artistic studies. Because of stringent social distancing guidelines, access will be limited, but our goal is to open select spaces – with priority going to students in their final year of study who require access to specialized equipment, workshops, instruments, materials, or performance spaces – pending approval by the State of New York. We are finalizing details on this now, based on the state’s new guidelines, and will very soon be providing details to students in these categories.
  • We will be offering an expanded, three-term calendar for the coming academic year with full Fall and Spring semesters as well as a 10-week Summer term to give students greater flexibility and control as they plan their academic year. We will also offer a special two-week Winter intensive in January. The dates for the Fall semester remain unchanged. Classes will start as scheduled on Monday, August 31 and continue as planned through December 22. For the 2020-2021 Academic Year, all students will pay no more than the equivalent of two full-time semesters, no matter the sequence of their course of study. More information on tuition for next year is available here.
  • The remote learning experience in the fall will be unlike prior online education at The New School. It will be even more high touch and tailored to each student’s needs. Faculty and academic leadership are doing extraordinary work to transform classes and co-curricular activities for remote learning and to offer opportunities and access that go beyond the traditional classroom environment. It has been amazing to see how subjects – including design and performance specialties – that might seem difficult to transition online are being adapted, expanded, and enriched for remote learning. I invite you to take a look at some examples here.

    Each of our schools and programs are also planning an extensive calendar of virtual labs, events, clubs, performances, advising, counseling, research opportunities, and academic office hours that will keep students connected with the university, engaged with each other, and in close collaboration with The New School’s extraordinary New York faculty who are some of the world’s preeminent academic, cultural, artistic, and design leaders. Each college will be following up with students to provide more specific information.
  • We are also expanding partnerships with a number of universities overseas and opening new opportunities at Parsons Paris to provide access to creative and making spaces for many of our international students. Learn more about our Fall 2020 Global Offsite opportunities here. 

Residence halls will be available on a limited basis

The State of New York’s social distancing requirements will initially limit our buildings to approximately 20-30% of historical capacity. As a result, capacity in our residence halls will be significantly reduced. This will include, for example, transforming all double and triple rooms into singles. Housing priority for Fall 2020 will go to students scheduled to graduate in December 2020 or May 2021 and whose program requires the use of the limited open university facilities described above. If there are beds available after this group has been accommodated, we will give priority to first-year students. Information about available spaces will be announced by July 10. Any student who cannot be accommodated in on-campus housing may opt either to receive a refund or to defer their deposit to a future semester. Please visit our Housing page for more information.

More information and additional answers to come

I know you will have more questions – everything from what life on campus will look like to how grading will be handled. Given the continuously evolving nature of the public health crisis, we do not yet have all the answers. However, with key elements in place, we are now able to make many more of the interlocking decisions necessary for the new academic year. I share your desire for additional clarity and appreciate your understanding as we work to finalize arrangements that will protect the health and safety of our entire community, deliver an extraordinary academic experience, and maintain uninterrupted access to classes and other learning experiences for all of our students.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility, and for your ongoing commitment to The New School. We will continue to keep you updated, and for answers to additional questions, please visit our FAQs

Meanwhile, our best wishes to you and your loved ones for your safety and wellness. We look forward to being together again very soon.

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