Important Health and Safety Updates and Reminders: October 1, 2021
Dr. Renée T. White, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Tokumbo Shobowale, Executive Vice President for Business and Operations
We hope everyone is doing well. As we have shared, our goal is to ensure the community is aware of the latest updates and reminders about the university’s health and safety protocols.
Please scroll down to read more about:
- Update: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Report
- Reminder: Ongoing Testing Requirement
- Contact Tracing and Quarantine FAQ
- General Updates
- Health and Safety on Campus
Update: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Report
As we shared in late August, the university conducted an exhaustive study of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The assessment was carried out in collaboration with ME Engineers to establish a baseline for all HVAC unit performance and evaluate the effectiveness of these systems on our campus. We were pleased to report that every space on campus, including all classrooms, offices, and public areas, is sufficiently ventilated. Out of an abundance of caution, the university is providing supplementary HEPA filtration units in some spaces to improve ventilation to an even higher standard; a process we anticipated many months ago and is well underway.
To ensure that every precautionary measure was considered, The New School has engaged Brad Hutton, a former Deputy Commissioner for Public Health at the New York State Department of Health, to review the report’s findings and advise the university on our health and safety protocols. His assessment concluded that the university’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic—which includes vaccination, frequent testing, and mask requirements along with proper ventilation of all campus spaces—provides as safe an environment as possible for our students, faculty, and staff. You can read the report here.
The university will host a webinar on Friday, October 8th from 12:30-1:30pm with Thomas Whalen, The New School’s Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management, representatives from ME Engineers, and Brad Hutton to answer your questions about the study’s results. More information will be shared soon.
Reminder: Ongoing Testing Requirement
All community members are required to participate in frequent COVID-19 testing to maintain access to campus spaces. Visit the Testing page of our COVID-19 Community Guide to stay on top of your testing schedule.
As a reminder, vaccinated individuals must test no later than every 14 days; those who are partially or unvaccinated must test every 4 days. You can check your building access status at shsportal.newschool.edu.
And with spring registration just around the corner, students should make sure they have submitted your immunization records for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), meningitis ACWY, and COVID-19 by logging in to the SHS Portal.
Contact Tracing and Quarantine FAQ
Campus Operation Group: As we continue the semester, the university has established a Campus Operation Group to review our campus policies and recommend adjustments based on the testing and positivity rates on campus, infection rates in New York City, and following guidance from New York City, New York State, and the CDC. The group is advised by Brad Hutton and will coordinate closely with the COVID Coordination Group and the university’s Student, Faculty and Staff Senates.
Visitors Policy: We will continue to prioritize campus spaces for a safe in-person teaching and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. With limited exceptions, only community members are allowed on campus and must follow university health and safety protocols. We are exploring ways to safely expand access to a few limited pedagogical activities, including performances and key university events. More details will be shared in the October 15 Update.
October 15 Update: In our July 15 message about campus health and safety policies, we committed to sharing an update by October 15. We know many of you are eager to hear what changes may be considered following our evaluation of the university’s current health and safety policies. Thanks to everyone’s commitment to caring for one another, the infection rate in our community remains low and we have not seen evidence of significant community spread. The environment in New York City and our experience on campus will inform our policies for the remainder of the semester.
Health and Safety on Our Campus
We invite the community to visit our dashboard for the latest information about testing and vaccination rates on our campus and how that compares to the surrounding neighborhood and greater New York City.