Messages to the Community

Affirming Our Fall 2021 Academic Plan

A message from Stephanie Browner, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear members of The New School community,

Last month, we celebrated the end of spring semester classes and honored the Class of 2021 in a joyous online commencement ceremony. Thanks to the sustained efforts of our students, faculty, and staff, we completed the academic year with remarkably little transmission of COVID-19 in our community. This is an important milestone after more than a year apart, and we are moving forward with our plans for a full return to in-person teaching and learning in the fall.

While we continue to prepare for a safe return to campus, following are some important details about what you can expect for the upcoming school year.

The vast majority of course offerings will be in-person. Most classes designed for in-person instruction are expected to be held face-to-face with faculty teaching on campus, and classrooms will operate at or near their normal capacities. Study and rehearsal spaces, libraries, the Making Center, specialized equipment, workshops, and instruments will be available to students, though access will be carefully planned, and may be different from prior years. To protect the health and safety of our community, we also must remain flexible and ready to adapt to changing circumstances and government guidelines. You can read more about our contingency planning in the COVID-19 Community Guide.

All students will be required to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the fall semester. Our first priority will continue to be the health and safety of our community. To that end, new and returning students (with the exception of those who receive approved medical or religious exemptions) must submit an electronic copy of their COVID-19 vaccination documentation before they arrive on campus. More information will be provided soon regarding the deadline, where to submit your documentation, and how to request a medical or religious vaccine exemption.

We strongly encourage international students who have access to vaccines approved in their home countries to get vaccinated as quickly as they can. Following CDC guidance, vaccines authorized by the US FDA or for emergency use by WHO will be accepted by The New School. For international students who may not be able to be vaccinated in their home country, more information about options to become vaccinated in New York City to start the semester on time will be provided on June 15. To learn more about getting vaccinated in New York, please visit the COVID-19 Community Guide.

The university will offer alternatives in most programs for those students who cannot get to campus for reasons beyond their control. We know there will be students who cannot return to campus by the start of the semester, and the university will work to confirm a program-specific, alternate academic plan for fall 2021. Specifically, these students include:

  • International students who cannot secure a visa in order to arrive on campus by the start of the semester.
    • International students will receive an email with an e-form survey from International Student and Scholar Services requesting information regarding their plans for Fall 2021. The university will use these responses to inform their planning for these students.
  • Students who have an approved accommodation through Student Disability Services.
    • Students who have a documented disability that may prevent them from attending classes in person should contact Student Disability Services.

Please note that a small number of mostly studio-intensive graduate programs will not have fully remote options available in the fall semester for new students. A list of the programs is available in our FAQ. The Admissions Office will reach out to those students to discuss starting these programs in a future term.

Students who are not in one of the categories above who have general questions about their fall academic plans should contact Academic Advising.

Safety protocols will remain in place. We will continue to follow federal and local regulations regarding distancing in campus buildings and residence halls and are working on additional, necessary logistical adjustments. Mandatory face coverings, health monitoring, and virus testing are among the precautions that will continue to be in effect on campus.

The university’s COVID Coordination Group is developing a comprehensive back-to-campus strategy, guided by public health experts–including the CDC, American College Health Association, and the NYC Department of Health–and in collaboration with other institutions of higher education. We intend to share our full plan by July 15. In the meantime, please see our FAQ for more information.

Spring is in the air in New York City, and our fall semester will be here before you know it. We wish you all a safe and restorative summer.

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