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To the New York Theological Seminary Community,
I am writing to share an update to NYTS’s response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). While there have been no reported cases involving NYTS students, faculty, staff or visitors, we have been following the CDC, NYS-DOH and NYDOE news very carefully and use these sources to inform our decisions.
As a result of recent developments, and out of an abundance of caution, we will hold all classes in an online-only format from Wednesday, March 18 through Tuesday, April 14, which is the end of our spring break. During that time, we will continue to assess the virus’ impact and inform the NYTS community of updates accordingly. While we cannot eliminate all risks, we believe that this step will help to minimize our risk as an institution.
Over the next week, faculty members will work with students to establish an updated protocol for online teaching so that we are all prepared to make the transition next Wednesday. We hope to return to our traditional classroom setting as early as possible, but we currently have no idea of when that will be possible. The safety of our students, faculty and community remain our constant priority.
We have not made any decisions around graduation at this time. I am sure this is a serious concern, particularly for our students who expect to graduate in May. I assure you, we will follow the recommendations of the CDC, NYS-DOH and the NYDOE; and as soon as a decision is made around graduation, you will be informed.
Unless the Interchurch Center informs us otherwise, NYTS will remain open and follow normal business hours with most staff members working on-site during this period. Students are welcome onsite, but we advise you to call first to ensure that the person you need to speak with is in the office. We encourage all students, visitors and friends to continue to follow the suggestions of the CDC to prevent exposure or potential transmission of the Coronavirus.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. There is no clear roadmap for Seminaries in these circumstances, so we will continue to do our best in making appropriate decisions for our unique community. Our hope is that by being proactive, we will participate in the prevention of potential exposure or transmission of the Coronavirus. I have tremendous faith in our community of faith and thought leaders. We are resilient, do not operate in fear, and will make the most of this very difficult situation. Please continue to participate in our “40 Days of Prayer and Fasting with NYTS” program; for surely, we need the prayers.
If you have any questions, please contact Lenier Thomas, Executive Assistant to the President, at LThomas@nyts.edu. We will continue to monitor developments around COVID-19 and will keep our community informed on our plans as we move forward together. God bless you all.
LaKeesha Walrond President