March 25, 2020
I hope this note finds you safe.
It has been a trying time for all of us and the uncertainty of this evolving situation makes it even more challenging. I am deeply grateful to our professors, academic staff, professionals, administrators and deans who have worked tirelessly over these past couple of weeks to successfully transition us to online learning. I am also thankful to you, our students. Overall, the reports from the “classrooms” have been very positive, but I know that this is not the Spring semester you imagined. Throughout this period, you have modeled great resilience and values, and are a profound source of encouragement to me about the future of our community and society.
In continuing my regular communications to you, I am sending you this letter with some new updates.
- Virtual classroom learning: Our virtual learning for our graduate and undergraduate programs will continue for the remainder of the Spring semester, as our in-person classes will officially not be meeting after Pesach vacation. In addition, we will be offering online classes for students who have returned from Israel in our undergraduate Post Pesach program.
- Student Support: We are committed to ensuring that our students continue to receive the guidance and support needed to ensure their personal and academic success and that there is no interruption in their progress towards their degrees. Our Student Life team, including our counseling center, disability and academic support, and writing center, continue to work with students. The Career Center hosts virtual employer relations events to help students identify jobs and internships (when circumstances permit) and our library staff will continue to support students and faculty with online materials.
- Housing: Housing will not reopen after Pesach vacation. Based on the guidance we have received from the Governor and Mayor, we are discouraging students from traveling to campus to retrieve their belongings if it is not urgent to do so. The Office of Residence Life will shortly be sending you an email detailing how to best collect your belongings. Additionally, after Pesach, we will update you if there are any policy changes related to potential credits or refunds for housing.
One final thought. There is a difference between being alone and feeling alone. While each of one of us sits physically separate from each other, we are not alone. We are all in this together.
To the great Class of 2020: You have worked so hard and achieved so much. Unfortunately, we will not be able to physically gather together for commencement ceremonies this year. However, the University is not going to let your amazing story end this way. Your resilience and generosity, specifically in such trying times, is a testament to the depth of your accomplishments. To ensure that we are recognizing all the hard work and time you have spent to reach this important milestone, we will be scheduling virtual commencement ceremonies for both the undergraduate and graduate schools over the next few months. It will be some time before we will know all of the specifics, but we want to make sure your achievements and time at YU are given the celebration it deserves. In the spirit of our collective effort to both cope and celebrate together, we are open to your suggestions on how we could enhance your graduation ceremony.
What is of course most important at this time is health and safety. Please continue to take every precaution to protect your personal safety and that of those around you.
I will continue to send you updates.
Stay strong and safe.