UPDATE: 03/25/20 (1:11PM)
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.
UPDATE: 03/11/20 (8:30PM)
Dear YU Community,
We continue to move forward with an abundance of care and concern for the health and safety of our students, faculty, professionals and community. To that end, we are closely monitoring the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are deeply thankful to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Office of Emergency Management for their constant contact and guidance.
To our knowledge, we have not had any new, confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 in our student, faculty and administrative bodies. It was announced in Israel that Rabbi Dov Zinger who was a guest speaker on our uptown campus on February 25th has tested positive. At this point, many of us know people who have tested positive. Please keep Rav Zinger and all those infected with this virus in your tefillot.
We have already cancelled all in-person classes for this week. As a precautionary measure, we are moving all undergraduate and graduate classes at Yeshiva University online starting March 16 through April 3, which marks the beginning of our Passover recess. Our online learning platform will utilize Zoom and Canvas. Each student will be receiving a detailed email with further instructions.
Yeshiva is committed to maintaining academic operations so that faculty can teach their courses and students can satisfy their requirements as planned. If students or faculty members have specific questions or concerns, please reach out to your department chair or dean.
We are working with highly qualified instructional designers and technicians who will provide faculty and students with the assistance they need. This move to online instruction presents challenges, and we ask for your understanding and patience, especially in the beginning stages of this implementation.
- For those students who wish to access advising, counseling, disability and other student services, please contact the appropriate office where our professionals will help you by phone or on Zoom.
- Student Life will be contacting you to survey which students will remain on campus. The dorms will remain open for those staying on campus. If you are a student who will not be able to travel home for Passover, please let us know, and we will work to help you with holiday arrangements.
- Dining services will continue to serve food to go.
- We ask all of our students to follow the CDC guidelines to protect themselves and the health of our community.
- The Career Center has virtual walk-in hours every day via WhatsApp.
- All materials have been moved online.
- There is a Google number published on the Career Center site so that all Career Center personnel can be reached online or via phone at any time.
The Office of Student Finance and the Office of the Registrar
- Students can contact these offices through phone and emails.
- They can also access services online through InsideTrack which offers self-service for bill paying, reviewing financial aid, and other such services.
- The Libraries are open.
- There is live chat for real-time exchanges that is available from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9:00 a.m.to 1:00 p.m. Friday.
- Telephone assistance by appointment is also accessible through Ask Us!.
- Please speak with your supervisor about your on-campus work schedule. For those who can work remotely, we continue to recommend this option with approval from your supervisors.
For the purpose of reducing the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus, we are rescheduling all large events. In particular, we are postponing the Chag Hasemikhah and the West Hempstead and Five Towns Shabbat programs until a later time.
It is very important to protect your own health and safety and those of our neighbors and fellow citizens by practicing smart hygiene and the recommended social distancing. If you are experiencing symptoms of this virus or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please speak with your health care professional.
We continue to remain vigilant in our dealing with COVID-19. We do not know what the future holds, and we are preparing for the possibility that we will need to continue addressing this situation for some time to come. It is gratifying to see how our entire YU community is rallying together to handle this unprecedented situation. I am deeply proud of the commitment, ingenuity, and resolve as well as the kindness, understanding and compassion shared by our faculty, staff, students and lay leadership.
I will continue to keep you informed with more updates as they become available.
Dr. Ari Berman
UPDATE: 03/08/20 (6:37PM)
I want to share with you a few updates:
Over the last two days, two additional students were tested and the results have come back negative. Additionally, an undergraduate adjunct professor has tested positive but he has not been on the YU campus for the last three weeks.
Please keep in mind that this is an evolving situation, and we encourage you to consult your health professional for any individual questions.
In respect to the university’s classes, with an abundance of caution, we have decided to take the following steps:
-Undergraduate academic classes on both the Beren and Wilf campuses will be cancelled throughout this week, and will resume on Monday, March 16. In the event of further cancellations, we are preparing for the contingency of online classes.
-Graduate classes in Azrieli, Katz, Revel, RIETS, Syms and Wurzweiler will resume remotely on Wednesday, March 11, either asynchronously or through a live online format. Students should be in touch with their faculty and advisors for more details.
- Ferkauf and Cardozo will continue to offer regularly scheduled face to face classes.
I will continue to keep you informed with more updates as they become available.
Dr. Ari Berman
UPDATE: 03/06/20 (11:34AM)
Rabbi Reuven Fink the Rabbi of the Young Israel of New Rochelle who tested positive and has been in self-quarantine for the virus is asymptomatic. The NYC DoH’s doctors including Dr. Don Weiss, Dr. Scott Harper and Dr. Marcelle Layton have shared with us that “Individuals who have been in contact with an asymptomatic person who has tested positive for COVID-19 virus do not need to be placed in quarantine.” The students in Rabbi Fink’s classes are being informed of the DoH’s medical position and encouraged to speak with their health care providers.
I will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Dr. Ari Berman
UPDATE: 03/06/20 (1:52AM)
Rabbi Reuven Fink, the Rabbi of the Young Israel of New Rochelle, who has been in self-quarantine for being in contact with his congregant who has tested positive has announced to his congregation that he also tested positive with the coronavirus. Rabbi Fink teaches two undergraduate classes at our Washington Heights campus. We have reached out to his students and recommended as a precautionary measure to self-quarantine until further notice.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rabbi Fink for a full and speedy recovery.
I will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Dr. Ari Berman
President, Yeshiva University
UPDATE: 03/05/20 (10:00AM)
Some good news this morning. Two tests of students who were considered at risk due to proximity, including a roommate, came back negative.
I will continue to send updates later today.
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman
President, Yeshiva University
My Dear Friends,
We have unfortunately received news this morning that our student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we ask you to please keep them in mind in your prayers.
We are in very close and regular contact with our public health officials as well as the Mayor’s and Governor’s offices. Their specialists have guided us throughout this situation and we are thankful for their care and expertise.
I apologize in advance for the length of this message. It is very important that we communicate with you extensively and clearly so that there is no confusion. This is an evolving story, and I will be writing to you and updating you regularly to keep you informed.
We have canceled classes for today on the Washington Heights campus. At this time, we are taking the precautionary measures of canceling all classes on the Washington Heights and Midtown Campuses until after Purim, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. This includes all in-person graduate courses on those campuses as well as at the boys’ high school. We will also be postponing all social events on those campuses until further notice including the Sarachek basketball tournament and Purim celebrations. The dorms and food services will remain open for those who are staying on campus during this time. We are discouraging people from congregating in common areas including in the Beit Midrash.
These precautionary steps will allow us to work with city agencies and other professionals to best prepare our campuses and ensure the uncompromised safety of our students, faculty and staff.
Current guidance for our students, faculty and staff from senior subject matter experts in NYC Department of Health- Dr. Don Weiss & Dr. Scott Harper:
· If you have had no symptoms and no contact with the student who has tested positively: go about your business, no need to restrict activity; remain vigilant. If you have a fever and cough you should stay home and contact your doctor
· If you have no symptoms but may have had close proximity and extended contact with the student who has tested positively since last Wednesday, February 26th: self-quarantine for 14 days from last contact; minimize contact with other people, and speak to your health care provider to get tested.
· If you have mild symptoms but no close proximity of contact to the student who has tested positive, please stay home and monitor – you do not need to seek health care unless your symptoms get worse
· If you have chronic healthcare issues such as asthma or diabetes and may have had close proximity or extended contact with the student who tested positive – we recommend reaching out to your health care professional
· Pregnant women, who present with symptoms or have been in close proximity to the student who tested positive should contact their physician
· If you have a fever or cough, please contact your health care provider who will arrange with DOHMH for the possibility of testing
Please keep in mind that according to the CDC, the virus mainly goes between people when they cough and sneeze. It is a respiratory virus that is not contagious by just passing someone in the hallway. It is unlikely that you can get it just by touching surfaces such as tabletop, furniture, and mezuzahs but you should still regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.
Students who have been quarantined or self-quarantined on campus will be receiving food and will be monitored by our health center along with guidance from city agencies. Our Counseling Center is available for students who would like additional support. Daily Minyanim will continue as scheduled for those who do not share the risk factors described above.
For faculty and staff on our Midtown and Washington Heights campuses, please be in touch with your supervisors about the possibility of working remotely.
As a community of faith, we know that medical vigilance alone is insufficient. Especially at this time, we need to focus on our values of kindness and compassion, faith and prayer. While these two campuses will be closed, our mission of education continues and we are setting up optional remote classes for our students to continue learning and growing.
I will continue to be communicating with you as this further unfolds.
With best wishes,
Dr Ari Berman
We have unfortunately received news this morning that our student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well as to all those affected.
We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights for Wednesday March 4, 2020. This includes all in-person graduate courses on that campus as well as at the boys’ high school.
This precautionary step will allow us to work with city agencies and other professionals to best prepare our campus and ensure the uncompromised safety of our students, faculty and staff.
All classes and operations at our other campuses continue as normal.
What this means for students on the Wilf Campus:
- Dormitories and food services will remain open for students who stay on campus
- Office of Student Life and Residence Life are available to help if students have concerns or need additional support
- Students who have been quarantined or in self quarantine will be monitored by our health center along with guidance from city agencies, and we will provide them with food
- Midterms will be postponed for the day
- Our Counseling Center is available for students who would like additional support
For faculty and staff on the Wilf campus:
- All essential staff should report to work, while non-essential staff may work remotely. Please let your supervisors know your plans.
- Please communicate with your students regarding any midterm exams for this week.
As new information emerges, the YU administration and faculty will share it with you. In the meantime, we are setting up remote access for classes and administrative work and will update as appropriate.
Please visit our website for the guidance we provided last week to remain vigilant about your health, https://www.yu.edu/health-alert
We will continue to pray for full recovery for all those who are impacted by COVID-19.
Dear YU Community,
We understand that the recent news is concerning, and we wanted to reassure you that we have been working closely with NYC health officials and outside specialists, all day and through this evening, to take every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our community.
We are following the protocols that have been outlined for us and are working on contingency plans for students, staff and faculty. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the night and will share information as we receive it. We expect to have an update early tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, we urge you to continue to follow the guidelines on hand-washing and sanitary practices that prevent the spread of viruses. If you feel you have any symptoms, contact your RA or call the health center during the day.
We continue to pray for אליעזר יצחק בן שפרה (Eliezer Yitzchok ben Shifra), the YU parent from Westchester who is ill and wish him a full recovery.
We have learned that one of the children of the Westchester attorney identified as New York’s second case of COVID-19 is an undergraduate male student at Yeshiva University. We are working closely with, and following the recommendations of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response and other government agencies to take every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our community. The student has not been on campus since Thursday, February 27th and is in quarantine with his family. The DOHMH is testing the family.
Additionally, a Cardozo student is in self-quarantine as instructed by their doctor, as a precaution because of contact with the patient’s law firm. The Cardozo student is reporting no symptoms.
The University is disinfecting all relevant common areas.
We will continue to work closely with the DOHMH and will share information as we receive it. In the meantime, we urge you to follow the CDC’s guidelines on hand-washing and sanitary practices that prevent the spread of viruses. If you feel you have symptoms, contact your doctor or call 311.
Students can call the health commissioner’s office if they are concerned they’ve been in touch with the student being tested: Samantha at 347-396-4166.
At this time, all University functions and classes are continuing to operate as usual.
With an abundance of caution, Yeshiva University is monitoring reports of the Coronavirus and is following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to manage the risk.
The Coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19, is a respiratory tract illness that presents flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. First identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, it has spread to several countries, including the United States, but no confirmed cases have been reported in New York State.
For information on coronavirus, please consult:
- New York State Department of Health
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
The immediate risk at Yeshiva University remains low, but we are preparing for the possibility that the coronavirus will cause a public health threat to the University community. Yeshiva University’s Emergency Management Team is following CDC and the New York City Department of Health communications closely. We will provide updates as needed. As of today, there are still no confirmed nor suspected cases of this virus at Yeshiva University.
Prevention is very important. Here are ways to stay healthy:
The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine and taking the following preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- CDC coughing and sneezing etiquette.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Washing Your Hands
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. CDC hand washing protocol.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes will be available at Security as well.
Any student experiencing symptoms (which may be similar to the flu or common cold and may include fever and coughing) should go to the Wilf and Beren Campus student health centers. If you have had any possible coronavirus exposure, please call the health centers before going there.
Beren Campus Student Health Center
Brookdale Residence Hall 2B (for undergraduate women only)
50 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016
For weekend and after hours medical emergencies, please contact:
YU Beren Campus security, 212-340-7460
Wilf Campus Student Health Center
Furst Hall Room 520
500 West 185th Street, New York, NY 10033 (for graduate and undergraduate students)
For weekend and after-hours medical emergencies, please contact:
YU Wilf Campus Security: 212-960-5200
The CDC also has specific guidance for travelers.
If you have been in China or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, please contact your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient. For people who are ill with COVID-19, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.
In general, students, faculty, and staff should seriously consider avoiding non-essential international travel until advised otherwise by competent authorities. Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, and the outbreak appears to be spreading quickly (including a new case in California), we are reaching a point at which we cannot assume there are “safe” locations. While University personnel who have traveled to known outbreak locations should remain away from campus for two weeks after their return, everyone should be vigilant in observing the wellness precautions above and in monitoring any changes in their health.
For More Information
Finally, there is a great deal of inaccurate and biased information circulating in the news media and on social media. The best sources for current information on the outbreak are the CDC, New York City Department of Health and your state department of health. The University also reminds members of the community to treat one another with civility and respect: infectious diseases are neither confined to nor the responsibility of any one group.
For more information, visit:
If you have specific questions please see the YU Health Services contact list below.
• For students: 646-592-4290
• For faculty and staff : 646-592-4338