Washington Square Campus to Cease In-Person Classes Amid Coronavirus

NYU’s Washington Square Campus will switch to online classes in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus starting Wednesday.

For a few months, many have struggled with the steps that should be taken to face the coronavirus, including increased hand sanitizer use. The NYU community received an email on Monday evening detailing the rules the university will set in place for a campus-wide shut down. (Staff Photo by Alexandra Chan)

After hours of mixed signals from faculty, students received official word that NYU is canceling in-person classes in favor of video conferencing as coronavirus cases continue to rise in New York City.

From this Wednesday on, classes on the Washington Square campus will be held remotely on Zoom, an online video conferencing platform, from March 23 to March 27, according to a university-wide email sent from President Andrew Hamilton Monday, March 9. The announcement was highly anticipated after rumors of the shutdown began circulating earlier in the day and discussion took off on a Reddit thread.

The email states that the university will announce a decision early in the week on how much longer remote classes will continue. 

“Early during the week of March 23, the University will communicate if and for how much longer we will continue with remotely-held classes. Under any circumstances, classes will be held through the end of the semester to ensure the academic continuity and progress of our students,” the email reads.

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All residence halls will remain open but starting on March 12, NYU students will not be allowed to bring guests in. The Lipton, Kimmel and Jasper Kane dining halls will also stay open, while the rest will close.

NYU also updated the non-essential travel restrictions announced on Tuesday, March 3, to bar non-essential travel to Washington state or California. 

“Effective immediately through at least March 29, schools, departments, programs, and units are strongly discouraged from holding non-essential, large gatherings — meaning those not related to core academic activities,” the email reads.

NYU’s decision comes after Columbia University canceled classes for today and tomorrow, with remote learning starting on Wednesday. Other New York City-based universities, including Fordham and Yeshiva University, have also canceled classes due to worries over the coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that there are 142 cases of coronavirus statewide, one of the highest in the country, with 19 of them located in New York City. Today the Governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New York City commuters to avoid crowded public transportation if possible and find traveling alternatives to prevent further spread of the disease. 

Governor Cuomo also announced that Port Authority president Rick Cotton — who oversees major airports, bus terminals and PATH trains between New Jersey and New York has contracted the virus — but would not detail how Cotton contracted the disease. 

The University-wide email highlights that logistics for different schools may vary and when in doubt, students should follow the specific guidelines sent out from their school dean, which are yet to be received.

“For a variety of reasons, there may be some instances in which specific schools’ instructions will vary from aspects of the guidance in this memo,” the email stated. “Where there is a discrepancy, follow the specific guidance from your school dean.” 

Email Matthew Fischetti at [email protected]

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