NYFA COVID-19 Health and Campus Guidelines and Information - Updated: June 16, 2021, 4:00pm Click here for more information

Notice

NYFA Community Health and Safety Report

January 12, 2020

Dear NYFA Community,

For those of you beginning your Spring 2021 programs, welcome to NYFA! And for those of you returning to NYFA after the Winter Break, welcome back to the start of a new semester and the start of a new year. We hope 2021 brings you and your loved ones good health, joy and abundant opportunities for professional and personal fulfillment. And, of course, we hope that as this new year progresses, we experience relief from the stress, fear, and loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these unprecedented times, the NYFA community has not only endured, but thrived. As NYFA President, Michael Young, recently stated, during the course of this pandemic our students, alumni, faculty and staff have achieved numerous successes at film festivals and award competitions and have continued to safely produce original film, media and live performances.

Since Sept 2020, when our campuses reopened for hybrid instruction and/or production, the incidence of illness on all NYFA campuses has remained very low, and NYFA has suffered no COVID-19 related deaths. This good outcome we attribute to our students, faculty and staff who have honored their pledge to care for our community and comply with the health directives documented in the detailed NYFA COVID Safety Plan.

For up-to-date information on the incidence of COVID-19 on each NYFA campus for Fall Semester and during Spring semester, please consult the NY Campus Dashboard, the LA Campus Dashboard and the SOBE Campus Dashboard.

The Current Pandemic Landscape
Sadly, the nation is presently experiencing a surge of virus spread; an increase in incidence rates (number of cases per 100K), test positivity rates (percentage of tests producing positive results), hospitalizations and COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in the majority of states across the country. For the weeks ahead, public health experts are predicting continued growth of virus spread due to the reported increase in holiday travel and gatherings.

Also, the scientific community has recently identified at least two new variants of the SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. There is some concern that the variants spread more readily from person to person. The higher transmissibility of the variants can lead to increased numbers of infections and demands for care that overwhelm the nation’s healthcare facilities.

Given the current severity of virus spread in the US and the concern regarding the emergence of the virus variants, it remains imperative that, as a community, we stay vigilant and continue to engage in those behaviors proven to be most effective in protecting individuals from illness and safeguarding the health and well-being of our campus communities.

It also remains imperative that NYFA continues to prioritize above all else the safety of its students, faculty and staff. NYFA will continue to monitor the COVID-19 metrics in New York City, Los Angeles County, and Miami Dade County, and in consultation with our public health consultant, Dr. Peter Bloland, NYFA will make decisions regarding the timing and safety of resuming in-person classes and activities.

Caring for Your Personal Health and Safety:
Please protect yourself from illness by diligently practicing each and every day the following personal health hygiene practices and public health directives outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our local city and state public health agencies:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash or sanitize your hands especially after you have been in a public place, before eating or preparing food, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and after using the restroom.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Maintain a 6 feet/2 meter distance from others at all times when outside your home.
  • Wear a three-layer cloth mask whenever venturing outside your home.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid gatherings with people outside of your household or designated bubble.
  • Monitor your health daily and be alert for symptoms related to COVID-19.
  • Follow general precautions during the winter flu season by getting vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.
For additional health guidelines on how to protect yourself and access healthcare, should you become ill, please consult NYFA Health and Campus Guidelines and Information.

Caring for the Health and Safety of the NYFA Community
NYFA has adopted best practice safety measures in consultation with our public health consultant, Dr. Peter Bloland, to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission within our community, as students, staff and faculty engage in on-campus and off-campus in-person activity. For a complete and detailed account of the safety measures employed by NYFA on all its US campuses, please review the NYFA COVID Safety Plan.

Facilities Management:
Higher grade air filtration systems in classrooms have been installed based on the capacities of buildings and facilities. The occupancy of classrooms and hallways will remain significantly reduced to allow faculty, staff and students to maintain appropriate physical distance (6 feet/2 meters). All individuals entering campus and participating in productions are required to report their symptoms via the NYFA COVID -19 Symptoms Tracker and be temperature screened upon campus entry. All faculty, staff, new and continuing students are required to submit a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test result prior to participation in their first in-person class or activity for the spring semester. Wearing masks at all times is mandatory; NYFA distributes one reusable three-layer mask with PM 2.5 filters to all students, faculty and staff present on-campus. Frequently touched surfaces throughout NYFA campuses are treated with Nanoseptic nd cleaning and disinfecting protocols for classrooms, restrooms, and hallways meet best practice standards for maintaining sanitized environments.

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing:
NYFA will be adding surveillance testing to its current testing protocol. Presently, all students, staff and faculty are required to get an RT-PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test prior to participating in their first in-person class or activity, pre-production, and in response to experiencing one or more COVID-19 related symptoms. Surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff scheduled to participate in on-campus activities will begin the week of February 8 or the first week any campus resumes on-campus instruction Surveillance testing will be provided to students, faculty and staff at no cost.

According to the CDC, “Surveillance testing is generally used to monitor for a community- or population-level occurrence, such as an infectious disease outbreak, or to characterize the occurrence once detected, such as looking at the incidence and prevalence of the occurrence. Surveillance testing is used to gain information at a population level, rather than an individual level, and results of surveillance testing can be returned in aggregate to the requesting institution. Surveillance testing may sample a certain percentage of a specific population to monitor for increasing or decreasing prevalence and to determine the population effect from community interventions, such as social distancing.”

Students, faculty and staff reporting to campus will be randomly selected to self-administer a RT-PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test. Those selected will be provided instructions for where and when to report for on-campus testing. The RT-PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test requires each individual to, on their own, insert a swab ½ inch/1cm up each nostril to collect a viable specimen for analysis. Approximately 25% of the campus population will be required to test each week. Reports of test results will be submitted to individuals, through a private online portal, and to NYFA, once authorizations for release of information are signed. Test reports will be privately secured and all individuals authorized to read and receive such reports are trained to observe all relevant privacy laws. NYFA will send test kits to the lab for processing and results, once specimens reach the lab, will be reported to the individual and to the school within 48 hours.

Surveillance testing is particularly important to identify individuals in our community who have no symptoms but harbor the novel coronavirus and can potentially transmit the virus to others. Our testing protocol has been reviewed and approved by our public health consultant Dr. Peter Bloland, as a viable means of reducing health risks for our community. Any individual selected for testing is required to participate. Compliance with the NYFA testing protocol is integral to protecting the safety of the NYFA community.

COVID-19 Team Administrators:
Each NYFA campus is staffed by a team of COVID-19 Team Administrators, trained and dedicated to uphold NYFA safety protocols and provide guidance and support to those members of our community who have tested positive for COVID-19, report COVID-19 related symptoms, or have been in close contact with community members with diagnosed or suspected COVID-19. The NYFA COVID-19 Team Administrators designated as campus contact tracers have successfully completed the Johns Hopkins Contract Tracing Course and follow CDC guidelines for contact tracing, isolation and quarantine directives. They are also trained to adhere to all privacy laws related to storing and disclosure of protected health information. In adherence to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Occupational Health and Safety Association (OHSA) and the CDC guidelines for confidentiality and consent, NYFA COVID-19 Team Administrators conduct case investigations and contact tracing activities in a manner that preserves the privacy of all involved.

Below is the contact information for the COVID-19 Team Administrators on each campus:

New York: covidteamny@nyfa.edu, tel. 929.432.1432
Los Angeles: covidteamla@nyfa.edu, tel. 747.292.9992
South Beach: covidteamsb@nyfa.edu, tel. 786.687.4800

The Responsibilities of Each Community Member in Keeping NYFA Safe:
The safety of our community also depends on each member of our community being committed to practicing good personal hygiene and adhering to the safety protocols as described in the NYFA COVID Safety Plan.

To contribute to the shared mission of learning and working safely and together, NYFA requires each individual to do the following:
  • Stay home if you are sick, report your symptoms to the COVID-19 Team Administrator and get a RT-PCR COVID-19 diagnostic test at a testing site near you. (local testing site information is available at NYFA COVID-19 Health and Campus Guidelines and Information.)
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, report your positive test result to your Dean of Students (students in NY and LA), Campus Dean ( students in SOBE) or Human Resources Director (employees).
  • Accept phone calls from the NYFA COVID-19 Team Administrator and honestly respond to questions related to your symptoms, your activities, and your contacts.
  • Self-isolation is required when individuals experience one or more COVID-19 related symptoms and when a person has tested positive for COVID-19. Follow guidelines for self-isolation, as provided to you by your COVID-19 Team Administrator. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and anyone testing positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate per CDC guidelines for self-isolation.
  • Self-quarantine is required when an individual has been in close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or when an individual is arriving to the campus region, post travel. Follow guidelines for self-quarantine, as provided by your COVID-19 Team Administrator.
  • Practice good personal hygiene each and every day, on and off campus.
  • Wear a three-layer mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever you are on-campus and whenever you leave your residence and cannot maintain a 6 feet distance from others.
  • Should you observe behavior that violates the NYFA COVID Safety Plan, respectfully and kindly remind your peer or colleague to follow safety guidelines and/or report behaviors that violate the NYFA COVID Safety Plan to your COVID-19 Team Administrator.
  • Refrain from travel outside your campus region during the course of spring semester. If travel is essential, adhere to quarantine guidelines upon return and closely monitor your symptoms throughout the quarantine period.
  • Adhere to all other equally important health and safety directives such as completing the COVID-19 Safety Training, submitting a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result to your COVID-19 Administrator before your first day of in-person class or activity, and reporting your symptoms to the NYFA COVID-19 symptom tracker each day you are scheduled to attend an in-person class or activity.
Coping With Anxiety and Loss Related to COVID-19
Living with fear, maintaining physical distance from friends and family, and being held accountable to follow rules and restrictions, even for the best of reasons, is exhausting, aggravating and stressful. It is normal to feel worry, sadness, frustration and a host of other troubling feelings during these unprecedented times.

Emotional support is available for students at NYFA Counseling Services.
New York: counseling@nyfa.edu
Los Angeles: counselingla@nyfa.edu
South Beach: counselingsobe@nyfa.edu

Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek emotional support by contacting:
  • NYFA Employment Assistance Program: Call: 800.854.1446 or Log in: www.lifebalance.net - User ID and Password: lifebalance
  • Emotional support hotline: Call 1.866.342.8842
Also NYFA publishes a monthly newsletter, NYFA Well News, announcing groups and workshops available to students and resources for all. Faculty and Staff are welcome to register for The Personal and Classroom Wellness Forum to be held monthly throughout spring semester.

For alternative resources, please explore these COVID-19 Digital Mental Health Resources available to all.

The COVID-19 Vaccine
There is light at the end of the tunnel. COVID-19 vaccines have been produced, proven effective, and released for worldwide distribution. The US vaccine distribution programs are being managed independently by states, but in most states, those individuals presently or soon eligible to receive their two required doses of vaccine are healthcare workers, essential workers, those living in nursing homes and congregate settings, those 75 years or older, and educators. But within the year, the hope is that most people will be vaccinated against COVID-19, herd immunity will be established, and our lives will return to normal. You can track your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine by visiting the sites below, but please know that many NYFA students will not be eligible to receive a vaccine until spring or summer. And for those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please know that for weeks after being vaccinated, infection is possible, as the body needs time to build and strengthen and its immunity to the virus. After receiving the first and second doses of the vaccine, continuing to practice good personal hygiene, wear a mask and keep a 6 feet/2 meter distance from others is strongly recommended.
New York: NYC Vaccine Command Center and New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Program
Los Angeles: LA County COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
South Beach: Miami Dade County COVID-19 Vaccine Program

In Closing
We hope that the information shared in this email helps our community safely engage, persevere and cope effectively with the physical and personal challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope, as well, that we continue to show respect and compassion for one another as we work, individually and collectively, to endure and thrive.

We look forward to your continued partnership as we welcome the new year.

For future reference, this email will be posted in the Health and Campus Updates. For support or clarification of any of the information shared or for guidance and support, please reach out to your campus resources. We are eager to assist you!

NYFA Resources
Students:
Sandra Schein, Dean of Students, NY: sandra.schein@nyfa.edu
Susan Ashe, Dean of Students, LA: susan.ashe@nyfa.edu
Maylen Dominguez, Campus Dean, SB: maylen.dominguez@nyfa.edu

Faculty/Staff
Pankti Shah, HR Director (LA): pankti.shah@nyfa.edu
Domingo Morales, Associate HR Director (NY, SoBE): domingo.morales@nyfa.edu

In hope and gratitude,

Sandi Schein, Ph.D.
NYFA Director of Student Health and Wellness

 

Need Help?

Visit our How-To Guides or FAQ

Still have questions?

 

Connect with us