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



July 6th, 2020 

Dear NYFA Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

I hope this letter finds you and your families in good health.

During these months of the pandemic NYFA has found new resilience and renewed purpose as a community and we have forged ahead together in our work as artists and educators. Our faculty and administration have been working every day to ensure that students have been able to continue their studies safely throughout, and we are looking forward to welcoming you to campus in the Fall.

I want to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on our plans for reopening our campuses, how we are going to continue offering hands-on programs safely, and to outline some of the steps we will be taking to protect the health of our students, faculty, and staff.

In designing our reopening plan, our Task Forces and Committees carefully reviewed all available guidance from government, health agencies, public health experts, as well as protocols being developed by the film industry for production. Additionally, NYFA administrators and personnel have been attending frequent meetings conducted by government and health authorities and joined a consortium of schools sharing best practices for safe reopening of campuses. We are confident we can deliver a high-quality educational experience where students will be able to advance in their studies in an environment that is consistent with applicable state and local health guidance and the best practices we have identified. All our decisions have been made through an intensive process of deliberation and always with the health of our students, faculty, and staff at the forefront.  

We have designed a comprehensive plan for the Fall semester that provides students the best possible opportunity to learn and create while meeting best practices for operation of schools during the risk of COVID-19 including: reducing the density of the campus, maintaining safe hygiene practices, tracking the health of all of our students, faculty, and staff,and providing for contingencies in the unfortunate event that there is an incidence of COVID-19 in our community. 

The details of our "COVID Safety Plan" are available for view on the NYFA Hub at this link. Prior to the start of classes, students will be required to acknowledge our safety guidelines and sign an agreement to follow them. Our COVID-19 Task Force meets daily and will revise these plans if conditions change prior to your arrival to campus or during the semester. Updates will be published on the Hub.  

Let me highlight some of the key elements of our Fall plan which are described in more detail on the Hub. Please know that all protocols are requirements and are intended to promote your safety and learning: 

Hybrid Model of Instruction 
In support of our safety and learning goals, our faculty and department leaders created a hybrid model of instruction whereby students will attend the classes on campus that most benefit from learning in person, such as hands-on production classes, and will attend most of their lecture and discussion-based classes online in the interactive Zoom environment that has been very successful in the Spring and Summer terms. In this model, students will attend less than half of their classes on campus each week and the remainder online. This will ensure that the campus buildings are always under 50% occupied, which will aid in the many other protective measures we will all be following. 

NYFA will also accommodate students who are not able to attend some or all of the on campus classes in person by employing technology that will allow them to get the best possible experience. As we have done in the Spring and Summer semesters, faculty will offer alternative project work for those students who cannot attend in person and need to complete their productions and projects remotely. In addition, all students will continue to have one-on-one consultations with faculty online. Please note, vulnerable faculty and students will have the opportunity to request accommodations.

Arrival and Self-Quarantine 
All students and employees are expected to arrive or reside in the region of the host campus for at least 14 days prior to their first day on campus and follow guidelines for self-quarantine which require staying at home, wearing masks for essential travel, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and other behaviors recommended by the CDC for protecting oneself and others from illness. For the Los Angeles and South Beach campuses this means students should arrive in the city no later than August 31st and for the New York Campus, it is September 7th. 

All students and employees will be required to get a COVID-19 test from two to six days before their first day on campus and will need to provide a negative test result and have no symptoms to be permitted entry to campus. While this testing requirement does not eliminate the risk of COVID-19, we have determined that ensuring that everyone has been tested shortly before their first day on campus is a useful measure. Depending on the evolving local and state guidelines, additional testing of asymptomatic individuals or random sample testing may be required during the semester. NYFA will provide guidance on finding the most convenient testing center, which test to get, and how to report results. 

Physical (or “Social”) Distancing 
NYFA already benefits from its small class sizes, usually 8-16 students. This maximizes student and faculty interaction, and will now allow us to practice physical distancing more easily than many schools. To further promote distancing we will be staggering class start times to lower the number of people entering our space at any given time. Each NYFA campus has its own additional measures appropriate to the facility to promote distancing that will be distributed at Orientation. 

Protective Facial Coverings (aka “Masks”) 
At this time, wearing an appropriate mask is considered one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting the virus. Therefore, all employees and students will be strictly required to wear masks or cloth facial coverings when entering a NYFA facility, and for the duration of time spent on campus and when participating in NYFA productions and activities. We will distribute one high quality NYFA reusable mask with one set of PM2.5 replaceable filters to all students and employees on their first day, however, all should arrive on their first day on campus wearing their own masks or face coverings.

Cleaning and Disinfecting 
All classrooms, furniture, equipment, and facilities will be disinfected before and after each use. All high-touch surfaces (elevator buttons, hallway, classroom and bathroom door handles, faucets) are protected by Nanoseptic Sleeves for continuously self-cleaning touchpoints. Students will be trained on special protocols for safely handling equipment in production. Hand sanitizer will be available in all spaces.

Monitoring and protecting the health of our community
NYFA has developed a simple web application that all students and employees will use to report any symptoms that could be indicative of COVID-19 each day they are scheduled to be on campus, and daily during the 14 days prior to the start of classes. This will allow NYFA to monitor and support the health of the community and limit possible exposure to the virus on campus. It will also help with the important work of contact tracing in the event that there is a case of COVID-19 in our community. Individuals who are experiencing any of the symptoms that have been identified as related to possible COVID-19 infection will not be permitted on campus until they have been tested and cleared.  

Safety Training 
Our safety protocols will only be effective if we cooperate and work together to keep our community safe. Every student and employee will participate in health and safety training to help them understand and comply with health and safety protocols and sign an acknowledgement agreement that underscores their responsibilities. This will be performed during the registration and orientation weeks. 

We know you will have many questions, please email us so we can address your questions and concerns, either individually, on our website or in subsequent communications: Please expect more detailed communications specific to your campus and program about health procedures, trainings, housing, registration, and orientation during July and August.  

I would like to finish by quoting Sandra Schein, NYFA's Director of Student Health and Wellness, and Dean of Students at the New York Campus. Dr. Schein has been an essential leader in our COVID-19 Task Force. She sums up our Fall semester plans, at times poetically:  

NYFA will uphold its mission to deliver quality instruction with caring and
responsive student support. Yet the campus will be changed. 
We will not gather in our common areas and lounges. 
We will teach and learn from a distance and sometimes on Zoom.
We will greet each other, communicating welcome and delight, not with our smiles and embraces, but with our eyes and subtle, yet thoughtful gestures. 
We will monitor and report our symptoms daily.
We will have our temperatures checked when we enter campus. 
We will be masked. We will be relieved of spending long days on campus. 
We may not always each day connect in-person with all of our friends and colleagues. Our schedules will be staggered to keep our hallways and classrooms more 
amenable to physical distancing. 
It will be a different experience. 
But together we will make it work!

I wish everyone a safe and happy summer, and I'm looking forward to seeing you in September!! 

Michael Young

P.S. Important Note for July and August productions

If you are planning to complete any production over the summer, you will receive summer-specific guidelines. Department Chairs will share schedules, procedures and protocols for production with students whose productions were delayed due to the pandemic. 


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