Update on the University’s Health and Safety Protocols
A message from 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 well and enjoying the semester. We are grateful for the level of care you have shown one another throughout these past weeks. Because of your efforts to help keep each other safe, the infection rate in our community remains low, and we have not seen evidence of significant community spread.
Over the summer, we committed to sharing an update about our health and safety protocols by October 15. By selecting a date six weeks into the semester, we have been able to gauge the effectiveness of our policies and determine if any protocols could or should be adjusted. Our analysis of the university’s vaccination and testing data during this period shows the effectiveness of our layered approach to health and safety on our campus.
Given these findings, our health and safety protocols will remain in place through at least the end of the fall semester. We also recognize the challenges COVID presents for a subset of pedagogical activities, particularly those that are performance-based, and will be introducing a small pilot program for expanded access to a limited number of course-related events.
Please scroll down to read more about:
- Ongoing Testing and Mask Policies
- Clarification: Student, Faculty, and Staff Gatherings
- Performances, Audiences, and University Events: Preparations to Safely Expand Campus Access
- Expanded Campus Operating Framework
- Reminder: If You Feel Sick
- Returning to Campus After Thanksgiving Break
- Caring for Each Other
Ongoing Testing and Mask Policies
The university’s policies for ongoing testing and masking on campus will remain in place through at least the end of Fall 2021. Members of the community who are on campus regularly should continue to use free binx test kits available for pick-up and drop-off in multiple university locations.
Reminder: 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 for more information.
- Vaccinated individuals must test no later than every 14 days.
- Partially or unvaccinated individuals must test no later than every 4 days.
You can check your building access status at shsportal.newschool.edu.
Clarification: Student, Faculty, and Staff Gatherings
As previously communicated, in-person gatherings, such as study groups, club meetings, faculty and staff meetings, and working groups are allowed on campus and must follow the campus safety protocols outlined in the university’s COVID-19 Community Guide. Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) will follow up with student organizations and student leaders with additional guidance for hosting small gatherings on and off-campus.
Performances, Audiences, and University Events: Preparations to Safely Expand Campus Access
While campus spaces will continue to be prioritized for safe in-person teaching, learning, and working, the university is exploring ways to safely expand access to a limited number of pedagogical activities, including performances, prospective student visits, and other university events.
The university will pilot adjustments to health and safety protocols for a small group of pre-approved activities across all colleges throughout the rest of the fall semester. The Provost’s Office, Deans, and Program Directors have identified the most valuable and feasible activities to conduct safely. Adjustments may impact mask wearing, the use of rapid tests, and outside guests.
The goal of these pilots is to set up appropriate measures to be able to safely expand access to campus and performances in the spring semester.
Outside of these specific pilots coordinated by the Provost’s Office, guest speakers and artists who are not members of The New School community should continue to participate remotely through at least the end of Fall 2021.
Expanded Campus Operating Framework
To help identify the level of risk on our campus, we are introducing a color-coded system to provide additional details about the COVID-related circumstances that would require The New School to adjust activities and protocols on our campus.
The framework includes three levels based on data collected through the university’s testing program and virus prevalence in New York City.
- Green: Low risk with minimal impact on academic planning and university life.
- Yellow: Medium risk with contained virus transmission on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.
- Red: High risk with cases significantly increasing above our baseline on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.
As of today, our campus operating level is yellow. The level will determine which health and safety protocols will be in effect.
We will keep the community informed if and when the level changes or individual areas are updated. Please visit the Campus Operating Levels page for more information.
Reminder: If You Feel Sick
The cold and flu season has begun. If you feel sick or develop symptoms, please stay home and immediately contact Student Health Services or your medical provider.
As a reminder: getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever to help protect yourself, your loved ones, and your New School community members from the flu, and reduce the burden on healthcare systems responding to COVID-19. Flu vaccines are typically free with your health insurance. Students and employees enrolled in medical plans operated by The New School are eligible for the flu shot at no cost, and you can get one through your healthcare provider, an urgent care center, or a pharmacy.
Returning To Campus After The Thanksgiving Break
Thanksgiving break begins Thursday, November 25 and we look forward to resuming in-person classes and activities on Monday, November 29. If you plan to travel, please continue to follow health and safety precautions to help protect yourself and your community members from contracting COVID-19. For more information, visit the CDC’s Travel page. We will share specific guidance regarding testing for our community in November.
Caring For Each Other
We have enjoyed seeing many of you on campus this semester and look forward to the weeks ahead. Thanks to everyone’s continued commitment to caring and adherence to our health and safety policies, we anticipate a great end to the fall semester and a robust spring on campus. We will follow up in December with more information about our spring 2022 campus policies.