A Message from President Foley
Dear New York Tech Community:

I am pleased to share news that New York Tech is moving forward with re-opening plans, following the June 19 announcement of New York State guidelines for higher education (considered a Phase 4 industry). As I shared in my May 20 email, plans for the fall will consist of a mixture of in-person and remote classes structured to reflect our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the university community while fulfilling our mission of providing the highest-quality educational experience for our students.

Despite all the challenges we’re facing, I am very optimistic about the future. We’ve adjusted, we’ve adapted, and we’ve persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the countless efforts and dedication of so many in our community. I continue to be inspired by the “doer, maker, innovator” spirit of our students, faculty, and staff, and I am proud of our response to the global pandemic that has tested our resolve and adaptability and to the social discord that has reinforced a commitment to our institution’s principles of opportunity, equity, diversity, and community for all our students.
When do we reopen?

The College of Osteopathic Medicine is set to begin classes on August 6. While some labs were able to remain open during the pandemic, we have now received the go-ahead from the state to open all research labs on July 1.

The fall semester for all other New York Tech schools and colleges will begin on Sept. 9, and I urge you to save these dates for new academic year kick-off events: the Annual Faculty and Staff Convocation on Sept. 3 and New Student Academic Convocation on Sept. 8, both to be held virtually.

We have not yet received guidelines from the state regarding athletics, but we will provide updates as soon as they become available via the athletics website and social media channels. The current plan has fall sports student-athletes returning for practice on August 17. The NCAA did not make any changes to the legislated Division II fall sports calendar, and the ECC has set the first date for conference competition as September 19. In light of these developments, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation will be working closely with our Sports Medicine team to identify the safest course of action for preseason. The primary focus will be on the health and safety of our student-athletes. A comprehensive plan is also being developed for the safe return to practice and competition of winter and spring student-athletes.
When will our reopening plan be ready? What does it entail?

We’ve actually been ahead of the curve since April. Staff and faculty have been working together in anticipation of reopening, taking into account external factors in our control while optimizing campus facilities, investing in new educational platforms and delivery methods, and other elements in response to the new normal we envision. I am happy to say now that we have the guidelines from the state, our reopening plan just needs further review before we move forward.

We expect to have conversations and further communications about the components of the reopening plan—all of which will be shared via various channels and posted on a dedicated reopening microsite (nyit.edu/reopening). This microsite will be continually updated to include revisions to our plans and policies; FAQs specific to students, faculty, and employees; and internal and external resources.

The reopening plan includes the four sections required by New York State: 1) reopening of the campus, 2) monitoring of health conditions, 3) containment of potential transmission of the virus, and, if necessary, 4) shutdown of in-person operations on the campus. Meanwhile, we will continue to prepare campus facilities and operations, restack classroom schedules, and attend to other necessary items to ensure our success. Here are a few details:
Campus Access and Experience

We have a much better idea of the “new normal” for the Long Island campus because of its layout. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing campus access and entry protocols as well as details about individual buildings, study and research spaces, dining, and more.

The New York City campus, because of its vertical nature, needs a different approach, but we are well on our way to finalizing plans for campus operations and are already undertaking facilities upgrades of our HVAC systems and elevators as well as the creation of adaptable learning spaces.

We expect similar approaches for student activities as those used for teaching and learning (blend of in-person and remote), with more technology-enabled events and meetings than in the past.
Health and Safety

We know that we will never be able to eliminate all risk, but our goal is to reduce it as much as possible. The measures we will take include introducing multiple layers of protection and asking each member of our community to remember their obligation to help protect the health of themselves and all members of our community.

In accord with guidance from the State of New York and the Centers for Disease Control, and based on our own guidelines, all faculty, staff, and students should expect the following when returning to campus:
  • Fabric facial coverings will be worn in all public areas and when in direct contact with others
  • Office space and classroom reconfigurations for social distancing and/or rotating schedules for remote and on-campus teaching, learning, and working.
  • Adherence to strict hygiene and sanitation guidelines, including regular hand washing, cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and regular disinfection schedules.
  • Reduction in number of shared/common spaces—and limited gatherings—to ensure physical distancing is provided in all locations.
  • Self-monitoring and online screenings before arrival to campus.
  • Introduction of additional outdoor seating areas to encourage the use of the outdoors when possible.
  • Availability of additional spaces for physically distanced study areas and instruction areas.
What will the fall semester look like?

The fall semester will be different than anything we have seen before. We will continue to deploy educational technologies and refine our approaches to teaching and learning, such as augmenting training and development for faculty, to provide a top-notch virtual and in-person experience. Over the summer and throughout the fall semester, we look forward to transitioning from the Blackboard learning management system to the industry-leading platform, Canvas. We are also in the process of outfitting all of our campus teaching spaces with upgraded audio and video equipment to support the transmission of in-person activities if needed.

Although our campuses will look the same, for the most part, they will operate quite differently than in the past. We’ll be introducing new access policies specific to our campuses in New York City and Long Island, and we will institute many important measures to keep our community safe and healthy. We’re also scheduling frequent disinfection of all buildings and are in the process of upgrading our HVAC systems to allow for better ventilation and air filtration.

We are fortunate to have a College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Academic Health Care Center in our midst, under the guidance of Vice President for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs Jerry Balentine, D.O., and our Chief Medical Officer Brian Harper, M.D., M.P.H., who is an expert in preventive medicine and public health. Our overall campus plans will require the entire community to join in health and safety precautions that will embody our commitment to caring for one another, and we look forward to their guidance and recommendations.
Plan for College of Osteopathic Medicine and School of Health Professions

New York State gave medical schools the go-ahead to reopen on June 22, and the medical school is scheduled to open for classes on August 6.

There is much more to come, and I look forward to sharing additional information with you. In the meantime, make sure to check our microsite regularly: nyit.edu/reopening.

I know that together we can make this an extraordinary year.

I look forward to seeing you, in person or online, soon.


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