Health and Safety Update
We hope the semester is off to a good start. As we near the end of the university’s Fall Entry Period on Sunday, September 18, we want to thank everyone for building a community of care. Because of your commitment to a healthy New School, we are able to safely expand access to campus and resume many of the activities that have been difficult these past several years.
Please read the sections below carefully for important updates to our health and safety policies:
- Updated Booster Recommendation
- Campus access expansion starting Monday, September 19
- Reduced testing requirements
- Expanded maskless practice
- Expanded guest access
- Decision on masks by end of September
- Thanksgiving Entry Period
The university strongly recommends everyone gets the updated bivalent booster as soon as you are eligible.
Updated COVID boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna received emergency use authorizations (EUAs) from the FDA in August. These bivalent boosters will help maximize protection, prolong the vaccine’s durability, and safeguard our communities against the virus.
While the university is not requiring the updated booster at this time, we strongly recommend you receive one as soon as you are eligible. When you do get the booster, please upload your updated proof of vaccination to the SHS Portal.
Getting the updated booster as soon as possible helps strengthen our community’s protection and care, allowing us to maintain a safe and healthy campus environment and to continue expanding access.
Campus access updates begin Monday, September 19.
The Fall Entry Period will end on Sunday, September 18 after five weeks of required testing by the community. In that time, New Schoolers have taken over 20,000 tests with a positivity rate of 1.5%, far lower than our immediate neighborhood and throughout New York City. Based on these results—and informed by the CDC’s alert level of Low for Manhattan and guidance from public health experts—the university is making the following changes to campus access, starting Monday September 19.
Reduced Required Testing
Binx PCR tests will continue to be available and free for students, faculty, and staff at Arnhold Hall (55 W. 13th Street). Testing sites at the University Center and Parsons will close on Friday, September 16 at 4pm.
Even though testing is voluntary for most of the community, please test if you are symptomatic, before and after you travel, or engage in any higher risk activities.
If you test positive on a non-binx test (PCR or rapid), begin isolation immediately, upload the result to the SHS Portal, and do not take any additional tests until advised to do so by a medical provider.
Expanded Voluntary Maskless Practice
Voluntary Maskless Practice (VMP) is available to a wide range of performing arts disciplines and allows those eligible to choose to remove their masks during performance-based coursework or co-curricular activities (e.g., rehearsing in a small music ensemble, filming a scene in a media studies class, participating in a dance class). Masks must be worn when not engaged in the performance-based activity.
Participants must be up-to-date with their vaccinations and continue to take a weekly PCR test. College Deans’ Offices will follow up with more information.
Expanded Guest Access via CLEAR
Since the beginning of the semester, over 2,000 guests have used CLEAR to verify vaccination status and come to campus. To make campus more accessible while maintaining a safe environment, our updated guest policy allows those with at least one of the following to access academic buildings on campus:
- Up-to-Date COVID vaccination, including one booster
- Negative result from a PCR test taken within 3 days before arrival
- Negative result from a rapid test taken the same day
For guests unable to use CLEAR, manual vaccination checks will continue to be available at the Welcome Center Visitors Desk located at 72 Fifth Avenue. For most events, manual vaccination checks will be available at the point of entry.
A decision about our mask policy will be made and shared by the end of September.
Masks continue to be required in instructional spaces including classrooms, labs, studios, libraries, as well as Student Health Services.
The decision to change our mask policy to recommended but not required will be based on several factors, including the continuing downward trends of transmission on campus and the infection rate in our neighborhood, CDC-defined level of risk in Manhattan, and factors related to overall risk of our campus activities and community.
The university’s framework for campus Entry Periods—with required testing and other safety measures—allows us to gather safely after long breaks. The next Entry Period will take place following Thanksgiving break from Monday, November 28 to Friday, December 2. More information about the Thanksgiving Entry Period will be shared in November. Please continue to visit the university’s COVID-19 Community Guide for the most up-to-date information about our campus.