The university announced its decision Tuesday in an email sent by Provost Katherine Fleming, who stressed the move was subject to change as we get a clearer understanding of the global health situation.
"When this past academic year began, none of us could have imagined the situation in which we now find ourselves, both across the country and around the world," Fleming wrote. "... With COVID-19 still very much a presence in our lives, I’m sure you must be wondering what next year will be like ... We’re planning to reconvene in person, with great care, in the fall ... I can’t pretend that 2020-21 will be a typical academic year. We’ll be living with safety measures and will have to be highly flexible so we can respond to a changing landscape. I can promise you, however, that our goal is to enable you to stay on track academically in a way that works best for you in the current context and that maximizes flexibility."
Fleming laid out some of the precautionary measures the school would take to protect the health and safety of the campus community. These measures include conducting antibody and COVID-19 testing, reducing density in student housing, enforcing social distancing recommendations in the classroom and at school events, as well as providing masks for all members of the NYU community.
The university will also give students the option to attend classes remotely and is "designing ways" for students to spread their classes over two to three semesters without additional tuition cost. Fleming said the school is also developing a "Go Local" option, which will allow students to study at one of the many international NYU sites or campuses closest to their home.
Per Fleming's email: "... For example: if a student with Italian citizenship were unable to come to NYC to study because of ongoing travel restrictions, we may enable that student to study at NYU’s site in Florence, or elsewhere in the EU."
"No matter where or how you choose to study this fall, NYU will support you as you seek to meet your educational goals," she continued. "We are so proud to have you as our students, and can’t wait to see you in our classrooms, real and virtual. The university’s motto, which often seems abstract, has never had such significance: In the face of uncertainty and complex challenges, we continue to persevere together and to excel."
NYU switched to remote classes in early March in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus in NYC.