New York Film Academy
October 5, 2020, 5:00 p.m.
NYFA New York COVID-19 Health and Campus Communication

Dear NYFA New York Community,

The fall semester is well underway! Reopening the NY campus has been a much-anticipated moment. We are thrilled to once again have students and faculty occupying our classrooms and discussing the stories and work being created. Whether you are participating in hybrid instruction or you have elected to study this semester exclusively online, I hope you are all well and engaged in your programs.

The purpose of this communication is to provide you current information specific to the New York State, New York City, and NYFA New York Campus responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will find helpful information and resources in the content and links referenced. This communication thoroughly addresses the following:
New York State Dashboards and Guidelines

New York State’s response to the pandemic is considered exemplary by the global community for flattening the curve and adopting effective measures to mitigate the spread and contain outbreaks of SARS- CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, within its communities. Key components of the state’s strategy to contain and mitigate virus spread is surveillance of incident rates and test positivity rates, testing and tracing, and mandates to NY residents, schools and businesses to uphold physical distancing, mask wearing, and personal hygiene practices.

You can track the percentage of positive COVID-19 test results (test positivity rates) in all regions of New York State by consulting the New York State Regional Dashboard. You can also track the daily incidence of new COVID-19 cases per day per 100K ( incident rates) In regions throughout NY State by consulting the New York State Early Monitoring System Dashboard. By tracking these and other indicators, the NYS governor, Andrew Cuomo, and his esteemed team of medical and public health experts determine to what extent New York businesses and schools can operate and remain open. For example, as of Sept. 30, restaurants are permitted to offer indoor dining at a maximum of 25% capacity. The NYForward Plan’s Statewide Guidelines provides New Yorkers up-to-date information on how businesses and schools can operate.

New York State offers all New Yorkers a nation-leading testing and tracing program. On October 1, 2020, NY State launched an innovative new tool to support its mission to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 through the state’s testing and tracing initiatives. COVID Alert NY is New York State’s official Exposure Notification App, created by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in partnership with Google and Apple. COVID Alert NY is a free smartphone app available to anyone 18+ who lives and/or works in New York. The app uses Bluetooth technology — not location data — to quickly alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Once alerted, users can quickly protect themselves and others by self-quarantining, contacting their physician and getting tested. The app will be most effective if it is downloaded and used by many. Help New York keep its residents safe. Download the app today! The data it reports is anonymous and your privacy will be maintained.
NY State Travel Advisory
On June 25, 2020, to protect the health of New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo enacted an ordinance requiring anyone arriving to New York State from designated restricted states to self- quarantine for 14 days. This travel advisory is updated frequently as restricted states- those with significant virus spread based upon a seven-day rolling average of positive tests in excess of 10% or the number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents- are identified.
New York City COVID-19 Metrics

Overall, the New York City warning indicators suggest that we remain at a comfortable level of risk and our businesses and schools can operate according to the restrictions currently imposed by the state. As of 10/4/2020, the NYC test positivity rate (1.4%) and case incident rate (6.3 new cases per 100K) over a 7-day average, remain low. Recently, however, there has been a rise in test positivity rates in specific communities within New York City. The NYC hotspots (where test positivity rates exceed 3%) include clusters in Far Rockaway, Southern Brooklyn and Central Queens. K-12 schools in these neighborhoods will close on October 6, 2020, per NYS mandate. The NY Campus is not located in or near the neighborhoods of concern.

It is strongly recommended for those living in the hot spot zones to get tested at the free testing centers now open in these communities, to avoid large gatherings, and to avoid nonessential outings.

It remains important for all of us to stay vigilant each and every day by practicing good personal hygienewearing masks and keeping a 6 feet distance from others In order to stay healthy and protect the health and safety of our community.
New York City Health Guidance and Resources
  • Free Diagnostic Testing for NYC Residents is available to all NYC residents whether or not one is experiencing symptoms and whether or not one is considered at higher risk for developing severe illness. Please know that neither the diagnostic test nor the antibody test is 100% reliable. Researchers have found that testing for SARS-CoV-2- the virus that causes COVID-19- too early in the course of infection is likely to result in a false negative test. Waiting at least 8 days since exposure is advised to improve significantly the reliability of your test result. In regard to the antibody test, research has not confirmed that testing positive for antibodies ensures that one is immune to reinfection.
  • New Yorkers are required to wear masks or cloth facial coverings whenever in public and unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others.
  • The Trace and Test Corps has been established to assist New York City residents required to self-quarantine or self-isolate when exposed to someone with COVID-19 or when diagnosed with COVID-19, respectively.
  • New Yorkers experiencing symptoms are encouraged to utilize the Free COVID-19 Online Assessment to report symptoms and receive guidance on the level of care needed.
  • NYC Residents with symptoms or questions about COVID-19 can call 1-800-NYC-4NYC to connect with a medical provider, free of charge, 9am-9pm.
  • The New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH) offers clear and comprehensive information on preventing illness, recommended personal hygiene practices, accessible medical services, and support services available to all NYC residents.
  • Consult the NYC DOH guidance on What To Do If You Get COVID-19
NYFA New York Campus Dashboard

In compliance with state regulations, NYFA and all NYS higher education institutions send daily data reports to the NYSDOH reflecting the number of students and employees tested for COVID-19 on or off campus, the number of reported COVID-19 positive cases, the number of students and employees in self quarantine and self-isolation, and other information as required by the Commissioner of Health. The NYFA NY Campus Dashboard is updated daily and accessible on the NYFA HUB.

In accordance with state law, NYFA will be required to transition to exclusively remote learning if and when the number of COVID-19 cases within our total population during the course of a 14-day period reaches and/or exceeds 5%. For the NY campus, all in-person classes and activities will cease for an undetermined time when 15 or more members of our community within a 14-day period test positive for COVID-19.
NYFA COVID-19 Health Alerts and Guidance

The novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2 continues to infect and cause illness to New Yorkers and people throughout the nation and the world. Although 80% of those infected develop mild or moderate symptoms and achieve a full recovery, individuals at high risk of severe illness, as well as the young and healthy, may require hospitalization or may experience severe symptoms that linger for months (long haulers) and significantly impair academic, occupational and physical functioning. Presently, the US COVID-19 fatality rate is approximately 3%.

We want you to stay healthy! Please read and review the Health Guidelines on The NYFA HUB for guidance on monitoring for COVID -19 symptoms of concern, practicing good personal hygiene, and accessing the medical care you may need. The NYFA HUB also provides you guidelines on how to effectively self-quarantine (should you be exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19) and self-isolate (should you test positive for COVID-19).

If you are a student and you tested positive for COVID-19, please immediately contact the Dean of Students,, for assistance and guidance.

If you are an employee and you tested positive for COVID-19, please immediately contact the Associate Director of HR, for assistance and guidance.

The NYFA COVID Safety Plan is a living document, updated to reflect revisions to public health directives in response to emerging scientific discoveries regarding the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of children and adults. Please review this document throughout the semester to stay current on NYFA guidelines based and NYCDOH and CDC directives and recommendations from Dr. Peter Bloland, NYFA’s Public Health Consultant and former CDC Director of Global Immunization.

We want our community to stay healthy!

Students and employees attending in person classes and activities must comply with these core four practices when both on and off campus:
  • Stay home when sick. Know the symptoms related to COVID-19, self-isolate, and leave your home wearing a mask only to seek medical care and get tested.
  • Practice personal hygiene practices (wash hands/sanitize frequently, avoid touching face with unwashed hands, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home and workspace).
  • Practice physical distancing and follow these NYC DOH guidelines for safe gathering.
  • Wear a three-layer mask when in public, on and off campus.
NYFA strongly discourages all nonessential travel for the duration of fall semester. Students and employees needing to travel during fall semester, while classes are in session or during Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks, to either out-of-state or international locations, are encouraged to consult the CDC Travel AdvisoryTable of Global Policies, and the New York State COVID-19 Advisory before finalizing plans. Students and employees returning from travel during fall semester will be required to self-quarantine before participating in in-person NYFA classes and activities.

For international students, please reach out to the International Student Office ( for additional support and guidance.

Before attending an in-person NYFA class or activity, students and employees are required, as well, to:
  • Report symptoms to the NYFA COVID Symptom Tracker on the days scheduled to attend an in-person activity.
  • Complete the COVID-19 Safety Training for students (available the NYFA HUB) and employees (available on Paycom).
  • Get a RT-PCR diagnostic test for COVID-19 and submit a valid negative test result report to your COVID-19 Team Administrator,, before your first day of in-person NYFA class or activity.
  • Sign and submit the Acknowledgement to Comply with the all safety measures described in the NYFA COVID Safety Plan.
  • Report to the Fifth Floor Daily Check-In Station for temperature screening and clearance.
For the duration of fall semester, all NYFA support services are available to provide you the tools and guidance you need to thrive and achieve academic success. To access the NYFA Accessibility Office, Veterans Services, NYFA Student Conduct, Title IX, NYFA Counseling, NYFA International Office, and many of our other student support services, please consult Where To Go To Get What You Need for contact information.

For personal assistance related to all matters associated with COVID-19, please contact the COVID-19 Administrator ( or 929.432.1432). Reasons for contacting the COVID-19 Administrator include but are not limited to:
  • you feel sick when you are either on or off campus
  • you need help accessing medical care
  • you are sharing a household with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • you want to report a classmate or colleague who has been violating, on or off campus, the NYFA COVID Safety Plan
  • you are having difficulty accessing the NYFA Symptom Tracker
  • you need support and assistance during periods of self-quarantine and self-isolation
Coping During A Pandemic: Resources to Help Manage Stress, Anxiety, Loss, Food and Housing Insecurity

We are living through an unprecedented time. In confronting potential threats to our health, our finances, our freedoms, our education and employment status, etc., it is normal and understandable to feel worry, fear, sadness, grief, frustration and a host of other troubling feelings. Yet even during times such as these, there are skills and attitudes one can practice and apply to feel hopeful, capable, engaged, and well. Listed below are various community and NYFA resources designed to provide you assistance in coping with the common challenges people are experiencing in the response to this pandemic.

  • Aetna's Resource Guide for Members and Non-Members offers excellent resources for maintaining physical, emotional, and financial well-being and targeted resources for parents, caregivers, health care workers, and those grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • NYFA Counseling Services (students): To schedule an appointment, send an email to or request services here.
  • NYFA Well News: features information on NYFA wellness workshops and support groups hosted by NYFA Counseling Services as well as resources to improve fitness, sleep and nutrition.
  • For online psychiatric consultation: Mindful Urgent Care
  • For students with NYFASHIP, presently residing in NY State: Teletherapy with Inpathy
  • NYFA Employees can access an 24/7 emotional support line, staffed by trained mental health professionals. This support line provides referrals to community resources to help with emotional concerns, as well as financial and legal concerns:
    • Call 1-866-342-6842
  • Employment Assistance Program (EAP) for Faculty/Staff: no cost support can be accessed through Life Balance
  • Free weekly online support groups: Free Online Support Groups by LMFToffered through Seeking Shalom.
For additional and immediate guidance on coping with COVID-19, Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 and Coping With Stress and Social Distancing During Disease Outbreaks are both excellent resources, published, respectively, by the CDC and the NYC Department of Health.

In the midst of challenge, isolation, fear and uncertainty, it is helpful to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues and classmates.

Students, please join the Student Life Online mailing list to learn of upcoming events.Faculty and Staff, please participate in the Personal and Classroom Wellness Forum occurring monthly via Zoom and resuming soon. Check your inboxes for an invitation and RSVP for the upcoming session, date/time to be determined soon.

Food Support: NYC Residents who are struggling to feed themselves and their families are encouraged to take advantage of programs offering assistance.Housing Support: Your landlord cannot evict you for having COVID-19 or for being under home quarantine. View guidance on tenant protections related to coronavirus through the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants. Contact the Mayor’s Office with questions or concerns.


Drop-In Drawing Classes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: free online drawing classes!

The New York Film Festival: online through October 11, 2020.

Thespie: digital theater resource, filmed musicals and plays, artist talks and much more.

NYC Arts Guide: Stay current on the many virtual and uniquely NYC events featured in this weekly guide.
Concluding Message

I hope that you have read this email carefully. It will be archived on The HUB for future reference here. Should you have any questions about its contents, please contact Dean Sandra Schein (

Please reach out to your campus resources for any concerns you may have regarding your health and well-being. We are eager to assist you!

NY Campus Resources
COVID-19 Team Administrators:, 929.432.1432
Sandra Schein, Dean of Students, NY:
Domingo Morales, Associate HR Director:

We rely on one another for safety, peace of mind, and keeping our campus open. Together we can get through this and thrive!

With gratitude,

Sandra Schein, PhD.
NYFA Director of Student Health and Wellness
Dean of Students, New York Campus