New York Institute of Technology - A Message from President Foley
Dear students,

We are now winding down the spring semester of 2020 at New York Tech, a semester unlike any other in our history, and it is a good time to take stock.

Let me begin by thanking everyone in our university community for their dedication, strength, and perseverance in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19. I would also like to congratulate our 2,200-student strong Class of 2020, made up of physicians, doctors, architects, nurses, health professionals, engineers, scientists, architects, artists, designers, and business majors.

Looking back at February and March, our region was hit quite hard by the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided in the second week of March that we could not return to in-class, person-to-person teaching for the week following spring break. As you know, our institution, like all others, moved swiftly to remote, synchronous, online teaching using Zoom in response to the emergency. At that point, we did not know if we would, or would not, be compelled to carry on remotely for the rest of the semester.

As it turned out the spread of the virus was fast, and the toll that it took on our region was heavy and hard. New York City and Long Island became national epicenters for COVID-19. Because of that, we had no choice other than to continue to use Zoom for over 1,200 courses and, because of fast action by our faculty and IT staff, we were ready when the governor asked every citizen to shelter in place. We also acted on important issues for you as they arose, such as instituting the pass/fail grade option, providing $1.2 million in room and board refunds to residential students, extending the semester to decrease stress, and delivering computers and other technology support to those of you who needed them. As this semester ends, we now need to look at where we are and the way ahead.
Current Status

The governor has specified seven criteria, based on CDC guidelines, that each region of the state must meet in order to do a Phase 1 reopening. Several regions in New York State have met these criteria and are in the process of reopening. However, at the time of this writing, Long Island and New York City have not satisfied all seven criteria and will not be reopening right now.

Because we are not in a region that is able to reopen yet, and because we will be offering summer sessions, courses over the summer will be taught using remote synchronous and other online modalities, as we have previously announced

What can you expect the fall to look like?

Looking further ahead–what do we anticipate for the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021? Once our regions (Long Island and New York City) meet the seven metrics, they will be allowed to reopen gradually in four phases, grouped by sector or industry. Please see this link for the phases:

We hope that both New York City and Long Island will have met all seven of the criteria required for reopening by late August or early September and that we will to be able to resume more normal campus operations, with regular academic classes and student life activities. However, in the event that this is not possible, we are also planning for scenarios in which there will be more limited access to our New York City and Long Island campuses. Whatever the situation, we are well under way with the rigorous and thorough planning needed to prepare for re-opening the campuses, subject to what will no doubt be more restrictive public health guidelines. No matter what, our uppermost goal is to serve you and guide you on the way to your career.

The New York Tech Re-Open Plan

Because your education and safety are paramount, and using guidance and research from the CDC, New York State, and essential business protocols, we have developed a four-point plan to be ready for the semesters ahead. This plan, called “LEAD” for Layouts, Equipment, Academic Scheduling, and Disinfection, addresses multiple aspects of campus re-engagement. The LEAD plan also identifies required health methodologies for contact tracing and virus spread monitoring for re-opening. Our LEAD plan also includes a robust communication component to ensure that you are informed and able to prepare for the new circumstances as they arise.

When we say limited access, like others, we envision being able to open our campuses, but with appropriate social distancing and other recommended protective measures. You are probably well aware of some of these. For example, we anticipate having to screen for fever, conduct or review diagnostic testing for the coronavirus, recommend isolation and quarantine as necessary, and perform contact tracing. There will also be other new provisions and changes to the infrastructure that may have to be made. At its core, our plan is to assure the safety of all of you, and our staff and faculty.

Teaching and Learning

How will we teach? As I mentioned, our goal, if allowed, is to provide as much in-person instruction as possible, but classes will be probably be offered as a combination of online and in-person modalities. For planning purposes, we are grouping classes, as a start, into two broad categories of learning types: conceptual and experiential. Classes that are more conceptual and that involve conveying mostly factual information can have more online elements, whereas those that are experiential and involve you in hands-on learning and the development of know-how, such as labs and studios, may need to be in person. We are also identifying courses for new investments in upgrades to their technology-enabled engagement and online user experience.

Because we will likely need to keep numbers of people well below usual levels in our buildings, we may also need to adjust course scheduling in several ways. For example, we may need to be ready to offer weekday courses on weekend days, too.

Student Life and Athletics

Activities that are cocurricular and extracurricular will be reinstituted to the greatest extent possible. Student life, such as student government and clubs, will operate following the same guidelines as academic activities. It is likely that this will involve a mix of remote, online, and in-person meetings.

We have also considered those of you who will seek to reside with us in New York City and on Long Island. In New York City, we are sure we will be able to continue to accommodate students at the Riverside apartments and the Manhattan School of Music, but living arrangements may change. Public health restrictions may require that there be only one student in each apartment. Over 100 international students will remain in New York City this summer. At SUNY-Old Westbury, we expect to be able to provide residential accommodations for our students, but we may have many fewer rooms available if only one student per room is allowed. We expect to know what the regulations will be early enough in the summer for us to let you know so that you can plan accordingly.

In New York City, our students and faculty are very much dependent upon public mass transit. We expect that trains, subways, and buses will continue to operate throughout the fall semester, as they have through the pandemic until now. We also expect to operate shuttles to and from the Long Island campus as we have in the recent past.

Athletics guidance will be forthcoming from the NCAA and from our conference in the very near future. Until then, we do not know if fall sports teams will compete at all, or if they will have foreshortened schedules and/or play only against local and regional teams. Others have suggested that fall sports competitions could be postponed but then be rescheduled to run contemporaneously with the spring sports in 2021. We are currently planning potential options for team practices that will meet all public health expectations.
So, in summary, we expect to reopen our campuses in the fall, but probably in a new way, following more restrictive health and safety standards and recommendations. We will continue to track closely the region’s progress for re-opening and anticipate that we will operate with a mix of in-person and online teaching, and we will seek to provide the highest-quality learning experience that we can in any scenario.

For spring 2021, it is much too soon to consider the details of how we will operate, because we cannot yet predict the course of the pandemic. However, by then, with the experience we have gained in spring, summer, and fall 2020, we will be even more adaptable and flexible; our educational approaches will be adapted to fit the circumstances that present themselves at the time.

As we approach the new academic year, as always, our first and foremost concern will be for your safety and well-being, even as we seek to fulfill our mission of providing you with career-oriented, professional education so that you can attain your goals. We are the home of doers, makers, and innovators and we seek to reinvent the future. The time is upon us to do so, to reinvent the future; so let’s work together to create a future in which learning continues and this kind of pandemic never happens again!


Hank Foley's Signature
Hank Foley, Ph.D.
President, New York Institute of Technology
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