April 2, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Family Members
As NYU Abu Dhabi continues to manage the complexities related to the coronavirus, our focus is on safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our community and ensuring academic continuity as best we can.
Each day we see new developments related to the virus and the steps that governments and universities around the world are taking to limit its spread. This week, the UAE Ministry of Education announced that schools and universities would continue online learning until the end of the academic year.
For NYU Abu Dhabi, this means we will continue with online instruction for the remainder of our spring semester as well as our summer courses in May and June. The faculty are making extraordinary efforts to provide rich online classes and assignments, and our students are doing their part to maintain an effective learning environment online. I monitor these efforts closely, and can say that my own seminar of 16 students is showing incredible creativity and resilience despite the difficulties.
There has not been a confirmed case of coronavirus within the NYU Abu Dhabi community. We continue to follow the latest requirements and guidance from the local health authorities as well as the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control, and the medical research community. In keeping with these advisories, we are implementing strict precautions on campus to maintain community health, including ongoing deep cleaning, disinfection, and physical distancing.
Our efforts are further strengthened by the extensive preventative measures the UAE has introduced, with national public health authorities taking continuous, widespread steps to limit the spread of the virus. These include extensive testing efforts, a comprehensive contact-tracing system, and nationwide physical distancing measures.
Overall, the community spirit of our students, professors, and staff is good, but we are keenly aware that it’s natural for students to feel a sense of anxiety and worry for friends and family. Please rest assured that we have a range of supports in place for our community and are exploring additional wellbeing resources. It’s also important for all of us to have social connection even as we maintain physical distance, and each day amazing new online initiatives are launched within our community to do so, including virtual fitness classes, open mic poetry events, mindfulness education programs, and even virtual film festivals. All are designed to enable our students to engage in meaningful social contact during these challenging times.
We will continue to post updates and information on the University’s response to the coronavirus to our central webpage, and I encourage you to check back often.
Our community is our greatest strength, as it has been for ten years. I am confident that our community will have been made stronger and more unified for having come through these experiences together. Please take care of yourselves and know that we are doing our utmost to take care of your students and maintain their academic progress. I send best wishes to you and your families.
April 1, 2020
We write with updates and guidance related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the UAE Ministry of Education announced that schools and universities would continue online learning until the end of the academic year.
This means that NYU Abu Dhabi will continue with online instruction only until the end of this academic year, including NYUAD summer 2020 courses.
We know that you will have questions on this and other activities planned for the summer. Additional information on summer opportunities, including courses in New York, the RealAD show, undergraduate research, the Post-graduation Practical Training Program (PPTP), and internships, will be forthcoming soon.
We urge community members to continue to comply with the nationwide cleaning program and #StayHome initiative, and to limit any trips during the day to essential shopping or medical appointments.
All staff, except those who are providing essential on-campus services, should continue to work remotely until further notice.
On-campus, instructional spaces will remain closed, and labs and studios will only remain accessible for essential research and Capstone work. We ask for your help in restricting personnel working in the labs and studios to a minimum, and taking every precaution to keep a physical distance of at least two meters between you and others.
Additional information about campus facilities, including hours of operation and contact information, can be found on the intranet and student portal, and we encourage you to check these pages often for updates.
As we have said previously and will continue to emphasize, physical distancing is a critical step in limiting the spread of the virus.
Please continue to practice physical distancing both on campus and off, keeping a distance of no less than two meters (six feet) between you and others. In the UAE failure to comply with this measure can result in fines. Physical distancing is an important component of the UAE’s comprehensive response to COVID-19, which also includes world-leading testing efforts and an extensive contact-tracing system.
Maintaining physical distance does not have to mean social isolation. There are many opportunities available to connect with others virtually, and we encourage you to take advantage of these and to engage in meaningful social contact with friends and family during these challenging times.
As we adjust to our new daily realities, it’s natural to have feelings of anxiety and feel worried about family, friends, and loved ones both here and across the globe. We have a range of supports in place for our community and are exploring additional resources. If you would like to speak with someone:
These are turbulent, unprecedented times, but we are a strong and resilient community, and we will get through this together as we adopt new collective strategies to keep ourselves safe and healthy. Please take care of yourself and one another. Stay home and stay safe.
Mariët, Fabio, and Peter
March 17, 2020
These are extraordinary times. We are grateful to all of you for how you are responding to our changing circumstances related to the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Although we had originally committed to updating you next week, in light of the recent announcement made by President Andy Hamilton to the NYU New York community, we write today with important guidance for NYU Abu Dhabi.
Online and remote instruction for NYUAD will continue through to the end of the semester, but our students and other residents can remain on campus.
If we receive guidance at a later date from the UAE Ministry of Education that in-person instruction can resume, all classes will remain online, and can be finished online, but we would have some local accommodations for in-person work in labs and studio spaces.
We will be keeping our residences open and will continue to support all students who stay on campus. The dining halls, health center, and select other facilities will also stay open, with every proper precaution taken to ensure social distance. Limited access to research and teaching labs, the library, and studio spaces will be permitted, as has been the case so far, with appropriate precautions and social distancing in place.
We will be back to you shortly in more detail about our campus operations, facilities, and remote working guidelines which we will continue to maintain within a framework of community safety and public and individual health precautions.
The UAE has taken remarkable steps to limit the spread of the virus, including extensive testing and tracing, social distancing measures, and restrictions on travel. NYUAD continues to maintain a level of low health risk within our community, and we have put measures in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff.
We know that the changes in our academic and personal lives attendant on the global effort to fight coronavirus spread are hard. Our leadership team will continue to make decisions in a local, global, and NYU context to ensure that our students can continue their academic progress and our faculty research agendas are sustained while we limit risk to health and safety.
The measures we have had to put in place since the beginning of the epidemic are difficult, and we did not take these decisions lightly. They are also temporary, and the end of the semester is not far off. In the meantime, we are confident that NYUAD will emerge a stronger, even-more unified community for having come through these experiences together.
March 16, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Family Members,
As we continue to respond to the coronavirus situation, my priority as Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our students while ensuring their continued academic progress. I am a mother myself, and can well imagine the concerns you may have at this time.
There has been no case of COVID-19 infection in the wide NYU Abu Dhabi community. We will continue to take every precaution to maintain health, keep appropriate social distance, and participate in the global community effort to battle the virus. In this work we follow the latest reports and guidance from the local health authorities as well as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and the medical research community. We also track the latest travel advisories from countries around the world.
Online instruction began yesterday, and it is going well. Our professors have put much hard work into adapting our unique undergraduate education into an online learning environment that is designed for distance learning. I am witnessing the creativity of our faculty and students firsthand, as I have been taking my own course online.
We will continue online classes until April 4. During the week of March 22, we will make a further decision as to whether we are returning to full in-person instruction. Our decision will be informed by the guidance of the UAE’s Ministry of Education, which is taking an appropriately careful approach to universities.
We know that some students may want to be with their families right now, and they may travel home if they wish to. Everyone, however, is welcome and encouraged to stay on campus. Our remarkable faculty and staff are here to support our students. Our residences, dining halls, health center, and select other facilities are open, with every proper precaution taken to ensure social distance.
I know that the rapid changes around the world are raising questions about the remainder of the semester and Commencement. Our leadership team and I are committed to making sure that our amazing Class of 2020 will graduate, and that we will honor their achievement in appropriate ways. We are also dedicated to having all of our students complete their courses this term to the fullest extent possible. Kyle Farley, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, and I will share further information as the semester proceeds.
The evolving situation may be causing students some anxiety. We have many resources to help, and students who are concerned and would like to speak with someone are encouraged to reach out to the Wellness Exchange or contact our Health Center. I also encourage parents and families to follow our latest updates through our central coronavirus webpage.
NYU Abu Dhabi is blessed to have your extraordinary children with us for their undergraduate education. Their resilience and dedication to their learning and to our community are an inspiration to us all. I see it as my highest responsibility to keep them safe, confident in our care, and engaged in their studies.
This is not the semester that any of us envisioned, but I have faith in our ability to persevere and come together in the face of adversity. I am grateful our students have the support of their families, and send very best wishes to all of you.
March 12, 2020
Each day brings new developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the steps that governments and universities around the world are taking to limit its spread. NYU Abu Dhabi are staying attuned to the latest guidance to protect the health of individuals and communities around the globe, and looking at what our response to current developments should be.
Below are important updates and clarifications:
Online and Remote Instructional Model
The online and remote instructional model will continue as scheduled until April 4. This is the current guidance from the UAE Ministry of Education. During the week of March 22, which is our spring break, we will communicate definitively if we are returning to in-person instruction. Under any circumstances, we will endeavor to make it possible to continue remote instruction through the end of the spring 2020 semester.
All students have the option to travel home voluntarily, but they are not required to.
Classes must be attended virtually during this time. Students are required to be in an online environment and must have access to the internet. Time zone should also be accounted for.
Should classes reconvene in-person on April 5 as planned, students are expected to return. For those students who are unable to return to campus due to COVID-19 related illness, hardship, or visa and/or travel restrictions, NYUAD will endeavor to make it possible to continue participating in their courses remotely through the end of the spring 2020 semester. Please note that it may not be possible to complete some courses requiring labs or studios online.
As a precaution, if students decide to travel home, they should take with them any items essential to carrying on their education from home. Students who travel home should also plan to carry home valuables and indispensable items in the event that return to campus may be delayed.
For students who are planning to travel in the next few weeks, we must be able to reach and advise you about new developments. You are required to send your itinerary via email to email@example.com to register with NYU Traveler and fill out the travel form on recent travel and travel plans.
All upcoming non-essential international University-related travel continues to be canceled until further notice. Personal travel continues to be very strongly discouraged.
Currently, self-isolation is required for anyone recently returning from or having transited through Italy, Iran, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore (this list may well expand). Self-isolation may also be required based on clinical history, travel history, and other factors determined by the Health Center COVID-19 Response Team on a case-by-case basis.
We are deeply aware that this is a challenging period of rapid change. As we focus on our physical health, we realize the importance of mental health as well as managing anxiety.
Our actions are consistent with up-to-date recommendations from organizations including the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and in line with actions being taken by universities in the US - including NYU in New York - and around the world.
We will continue to share new information on a regular basis, including via email, general updates and communications on our webpage, and operational and facilities updates on the intranet, and student portal.
March 10, 2020
Recent updates and developments include:
Online instructional model: NYUAD will continue with the adjusted academic schedule and current online instructional model as scheduled until April 4. During the week of March 22, which is our spring break, we will communicate how we will continue to deliver our liberal arts education and maintain our research. At that point we will let you know if we will extend the period of remote instruction. No matter what, classes will continue through the end of the semester to ensure students can continue to make academic progress.
For classes that require in-person components such as labs, studios, and Capstones, plans may be made in consultation with the Program Head, subject to approval from the Provost. These classes would continue after April 4 in any event.
Travel: NYU-funded travel remains suspended, and NYUAD continues to discourage personal international travel. Nevertheless, we are aware that some students may want to go home and be with their families if they are able to do so. As a precaution, if you do decide to travel home voluntarily over spring break, you should take with you any items essential to carrying on your education from home, such as laptops, textbooks, notebooks, and important papers. Students who travel home should also plan to carry home valuables and indispensable items in the event that return to campus may be delayed.
Campus Visitors: Per current government requirements, no external visitors should be invited onto campus for large gatherings, and there should be no joint activities with other universities or schools. Here is guidance that will enable us to comply with these new policies:
Students are not permitted to sign-in any guests into the residences. These restrictions will continue through April 4 or until otherwise communicated.
Residents who live in B1, B2, A3, and A4 are urged strongly not to bring visitors onto campus.
Professional meetings with colleagues from other institutions should not be held on our campus through April 4 or until otherwise communicated.
We appreciate greatly your patience as we work through this evolving situation while maintaining and adjusting our learning and research environment.
March 4, 2020
The UAE Ministry of Education has announced a four-week closure for schools and universities starting Sunday, March 8, to safeguard community health and wellbeing and to minimize the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Below are the clarifications we can offer at this point in terms of how the policy affects NYU Abu Dhabi.
NYU Abu Dhabi will not be relocating any members of our community at this time. For four weeks, from Sunday, March 8 through Saturday, April 4, we will be closing the instruction, athletic, and public arts spaces on our campus as we move temporarily to an online instructional model. Faculty and staff will be encouraged to work remotely for the first week March 8-14, and we will re-evaluate this guidance as the situation evolves over the four-week period.
The online and remote working model will take into account the unique features of our globally diverse campus and our culture of liberal arts learning and active research.
The revised schedules from March 8 to April 4 are as follows:
|Week 1 — March 8–14||Suspension of classes and preparation for online teaching and learning|
|Week 2 — March 15–21||First week of teaching online|
|Week 3 — March 22–28||Spring break — no classes|
|Week 4 — March 29–April 4||Online classes resume|
|Week 5 - April 5||Regular classes resume|
For classes that cannot take place remotely, such as experimental labs and studio instruction, plans may be made in consultation with the program head, subject to approval from the Provost. The bar for approval will be one of high academic necessity.
Physical Education classes will be suspended until further notice.
The indoor gymnasium, swimming pool, and fitness center will be closed throughout this time period. The outdoor track, field, and courts will remain open.
In addition to suspending all non-essential NYU-funded travel, postponing major events, and canceling trips to campus from international visitors, all scheduled external sports activities and public programming will be canceled. The Institute Conference Center, Art Gallery, and Performing Arts Center will be closed for the full four week period.
NYU Abu Dhabi will continue to offer its shuttle service for community members on a regular schedule.
NYU Abu Dhabi will comply with the cleaning and disinfection required by the Ministry of Education. At this point, we do not know exactly what this will look like in terms of access or time, but we will, of course, ensure the impact on our community is minimal.
The actual health risk to our community remains low, and our planned approach over the next four weeks is aimed at helping to limit the spread of the virus while also ensuring the health and safety of our community and our focus on the continuity of our academic operations.
Dear members of the NYU Abu Dhabi community,
As many of you are aware, the UAE Ministry of Education announced late on Tuesday a four week closure for schools and universities starting Sunday, March 8, to safeguard community health and wellbeing and to minimize the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We understand that you will have many questions about what this means for NYU Abu Dhabi and for families with children in schools.
The announcement clarifies that private institutions of higher education have the freedom to apply the procedures they consider necessary to guarantee education continuity. We are actively developing plans with NYUAD and NYU leadership, faculty colleagues, and our Abu Dhabi partners to apply the policy commensurate with our status as an international institution and residential campus. We are fortunate to have great capacity for providing online education and campus services. Any decisions will take into account our joint goals of ensuring the health and safety of our community and our focus on the continuity of our academic operations.
We are planning to move our courses, advising, and assessment online using our Learning Management System, NYU Classes. NYU Classes contains a suite of tools including Zoom video conferencing, which allow faculty to recreate learning environments online. The state-of-the-art digital tools we have available allow students and faculty to engage through virtual lectures, discussions, and interactive classes.
I am confident that the preparations that we have in place will enable us to respond effectively to this change in how we teach, learn, work, and do research.
I hope to have more to share by the end of the day. In the meantime, I appreciate your calm and understanding as we work through these changing circumstances. All classes and on-campus activities continue today as normal, and the steps we have already taken in response to the virus still apply.
Dear members of the NYU Abu Dhabi community,
Over the past few days, I have spent much time meeting with the Executive Planning Committee for emergency preparedness, as well as with our partners here, and NYU New York leadership to discuss the escalating COVID-19 situation in the UAE and across the globe.
While the actual health risk to our community remains low, authorities here are rightly participating in the international effort to limit the spiking spread of the virus. This situation is causing us to make some difficult decisions, and I want to make sure that our community remains fully informed about the actions that we have taken, and the steps we continue to put in place.
Community Health Form
In response to increasing instances of the virus as well as recent travel advisories and restrictions, to better comply with government requirements, and to make sure the appropriate members of the NYUAD community are getting the most relevant and up-to-date medical and public health guidance, we want to determine who in our community may have come from high impact areas.
Accordingly, all NYUAD students, faculty, and staff who have returned from one of the following affected locations: China, Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Singapore, or Japan within the past four weeks should complete this health form by Thursday, March 5 so that we can follow up with you with the appropriate information, guidance, and assistance. Any information you provide will be kept confidential.
The Schwarzman Scholars relocation will not move ahead, given that the situation has evolved and with growing health and safety restrictions making international travel inadvisable. We look forward to future collaborations, particularly with the many areas of convergence and alignment we discovered as our teams worked together, and we can feel enormously proud of how we and our partners rallied to the needs of this scholarly community.
We have made the decision to postpone the Times Higher Education Summit (March 10-12) along with the NYUAD Research Conference and the Hackathon originally scheduled to occur in April.
We are getting ready to plan in detail how we would move our courses online, whole or in part, as NYU Shanghai and NYU Florence have done, in the unlikely circumstance of our campus having to close for a short time. This approach may involve tools such as Zoom and include the use of the NYU VPN.
We have developed a dedicated webpage to continue to keep community members, including parents and family members, updated. We will continue to post messages and regular updates here in order to keep our community informed.
All NYUAD-funded travel abroad, including for international guests coming to campus, has been suspended through April 15, 2020. This timeline may change depending on NYU and local guidelines. NYUAD’s response is in line with actions taken by universities across the globe, as well as leading corporations such as Twitter, Amazon, CitiGroup, and Wells Fargo, suspending all non-essential travel to safeguard employees and others against the exposure to the virus. Students, please direct any questions you may have about upcoming NYUAD travel to the specific office involved with funding / organizing the trip. Faculty should reach out to their Deans in case of any questions, and staff should speak with their respective supervisors for any additional clarification. No non-essential international travel will be reimbursed by the University during this period.
Non-essential personal travel is not encouraged at this time. Depending on where you go, you may encounter challenges departing another country or face difficulties and delays when you are trying to return to the UAE.
Health and Safety
While the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low, it is important to practice good personal hygiene such as frequently washing hands with soap and water and avoiding in-person contact with those who appear to be sick. If you feel sick, please stay home rather than coming into the classroom or office. Please reach out to the NYUAD Health Center if you are feeling sick, especially if you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you are a staff or faculty member and have a question regarding coronavirus symptoms, exposure history, or travel guidelines you can also contact the Department of Health (DOH) Hotline at 800 1717.
We understand that news of this virus can be emotionally difficult. Students who are concerned and would like to speak to someone may access 24/7 counseling services through the Wellness Exchange (+971-02-628-5555) or by contacting the NYUAD Health Center (+971-02-628-8100) or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. Faculty and staff who would like counseling support should contact the Employee Assistance Program by phone at 8000-44-0626 available 24/7 or by email email@example.com.
Thank you all for your continued diligence and flexibility. I will continue to keep all of you informed about NYUAD’s response to this ongoing situation.
In coordination with NYU leadership, local health authorities, and our Abu Dhabi partner, we continue to monitor coronavirus-related developments. As of this date, there are no cases of coronavirus at any NYU sites, including NYU Abu Dhabi. However, I want to share some important updates regarding the evolving situation.
The UAE is taking important steps in the international effort to try to contain the spread of the virus, including closing nursery schools, postponing major sporting events and conferences, and issuing travel advisories and restrictions to and from countries that have been impacted significantly.
In accord with our priorities of safeguarding the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community while ensuring academic progress we have made the decision, as communicated earlier today, to suspend all NYUAD-funded travel abroad, including for international guests coming to campus, through April 15, 2020. We have also canceled in-person travel to NYUAD for the upcoming Candidate Weekend, instead hosting a virtual event later in the month. The tireless work of our Admissions team to enable students from affected countries to participate online has prepared us well for this option.
After careful consideration and much consultation with colleagues here and in New York, I have also reached the difficult decision to postpone the Inauguration and its festival of dialogues, demos, and dreams until such a time when we will be able to gather as a community to celebrate together and share our story within the UAE and beyond. Although I was very much looking forward to having the inauguration with all of you next week, this is the right decision for this moment.
In keeping with our decision to postpone the Inauguration on March 8 and 9, we will very likely be deferring other large-scale public events on campus, though many of those discussions are still ongoing and we will have more information in the coming days.
We would also again urge you to reconsider non-essential personal travel. As the virus has continued to emerge in new countries, new travel advisories and restrictions are being introduced across Europe, Asia, the US, and the Middle East to prevent its spread, often with little warning. Depending on where you go, you may encounter challenges departing another country or face difficulties and delays when you are trying to return to the UAE.
Please make sure you check the latest travel advisory information, including the CDC’s travel resource page, the World Health Organization travel advice, as well as the Abu Dhabi Department of Health including any restrictions on return to the UAE, before you plan your trip.
If you do decide to undertake personal travel, please make sure to register your trips in NYU Traveler, and ensure you have the Safe NYU app installed on your phone. For more information or travel safety tips, please visit NYU Travel Safe or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
While the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low, it is important to practice good personal hygiene such as frequently washing hands with soap and water and avoiding in-person contact with those who appear to be sick. If you feel sick, please stay home rather than coming into the classroom or office. More information can be found in the FAQs on our student portal and intranet. Please reach out to the NYUAD Health Center if you are feeling sick, especially if you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Students who are concerned and would like to speak to someone may access 24/7 counseling services through the Wellness Exchange (+971-02-628-5555) or by contacting the NYUAD Health Center (+971-02-628-8100) or email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Faculty and staff who would like counseling support should contact the Employee Assistance Program by phone at 8000-44-0626 available 24/7 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we continue to work through the complexities presented by COVID-19, I am encouraged by the resilience, flexibility, and understanding of our community. The situation will continue to evolve, but we are well equipped with the necessary knowledge, capacities, and resolve to overcome these challenges together.