University Announces More COVID-19 Cases, Delays in Returning Students’ Belongings

NYU announced two dozen cases of COVID-19 within the NYU community and that students who left items in their dorm room after an abrupt move-out notice should not expect their belongings to be shipped to them in the near future.


Alexandra Chan

Due to the increase in the number of NYU COVID-19 cases, students recently received an email regarding their dorms and belongings. While those evicted found a home for themselves, those who moved out and left their possessions are unlikely to see them shipped anytime soon. (Staff Photo by Alexandra Chan)

Lisa Cochran and Emily Mason

There are approximately 24 cases of COVID-19 within the NYU community as of Tuesday, March 24 — doubling the number from nearly three days ago— according to a university-wide email sent by the Provost’s office on Tuesday, March 24. None of these individuals resided in student housing, according to the email.

“At this point, the Student Health Center is aware of approximately two dozen confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in the NYU community; the number includes students, faculty, and administrators, none of whom are in the student housing system, and some of whom are not in the US,” the email reads. 

The email also stated that while the university has accommodated most students who requested to remain in housing after residence halls were evicted last week, those who moved out and left their belongings in boxes for NYU staff members to ship likely will not get them back anytime soon.

“Other than those rooms where students packed up their belongings carefully, we will probably not be able to ship them home in the near future,” the statement reads.

In a previous email sent by President Andrew Hamilton — which officially closed residence halls starting March 22 — students were told that NYU staff members would ship their belongings if they placed them in a box and labeled their address. 

If you are not able to take all your possessions with you, we ask that you pile your belongings in boxes in a corner of the room (we are making boxes available at no cost in the halls), along with an address form (which will be available near the boxes), so that we can ship them to the proper address,” the earlier email read.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that the number of COVID-19 cases in New York State is doubling every three days with the rate of hospitalization at 23%. There are currently 25,665 cases of COVID-19 in New York State, making up nearly 7% of cases worldwide. 

NYU’s recent email attributed the delay in shipping students’ items to Governor Cuomo’s “NYS on PAUSE.” Under the order, non-essential personnel are no longer permitted to work, and so there are no staff members available to pack and ship students’ belongings, according to the email.

“Central to these was the Governor’s ‘NYS on Pause’ order, which seeks to maximize social distancing by directing 100% of employees to work from home, other than those performing essential functions or having a critical need to be at a workplace,” the email reads. “NYU is committed to embracing this in order to check the spread of COVID-19.”

Items left in dorm rooms will be protected, either by being locked in the room or by being put in storage, the email states. Email recipients were told to expect an update to this information later in the week. 

The email stressed that despite the geographical distances from each other, NYU community members must now endure in these circumstances. No one should feel alone. 

“But as separate as we may be, we are all in this together,” the email read. “The adversities and isolation we contend with today will help save the lives of our fellow New Yorkers, including among our own community. Until we can all be together again in labs and classrooms and libraries and offices, thank you for your dedication, your perseverance, and your graciousness.”

Correction, March 25: A previous version of this article did not attribute a piece of information to its original source. The article has since been updated and WSN regrets the error.

Email Lisa Cochran and Emily Mason at [email protected].