Important Coronavirus Updates

New York Law School’s management team is working around the clock to finalize plans for Fall 2020 while protecting the health and safety of our community and following the guidance of federal, state, and city public health agencies.

Campus Access 

No one except a minimal number of essential staff may access campus at this time. Essential staff will be notified. All other staff should continue to work from home unless notified.

Spring 2020 Community Messages

Friday, March 20: NYLS Campus Response to New Statewide Restrictions

Dear NYLS Community,

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new statewide restrictions for New York in response to the spread of coronavirus. The restrictions go into effect on Sunday, March 22, at 8:00 p.m. It’s important that all members of our community follow them.

Here’s a broad summary of the new restrictions:

  • All employees of non-essential businesses must stay home.
  • Healthy people should limit their activities to essential errands, like buying groceries and medicine, but isolated outdoor exercise is OK. Everyone should maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public.
  • People should only use mass transit if they must.
  • Non-essential gatherings of any size are prohibited.
  • People aged 70 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying illness should take even stronger precautions.

Read more.

Here’s what the new restrictions mean for NYLS:

  • Campus is closed, effective immediately. No one except a minimal number of essential staff may access campus at this time.
  • Essential staff will be notified. All other staff should continue to work from home unless notified.  
  • Students living in the St. George Residence Hall may stay there. Residents must continue to follow all guidance from public officials, NYLS, and EHS. Residents who have questions or do not wish to stay should contact Dean Mae Estrada and Crystal Escabi, Admissions Counselor and Housing Coordinator.

I know that these changes are unsettling, and I too have experienced the same concerns that many of you have shared with me—concerns about balancing family, work, and well-being during this stressful time.

I have also seen our city and our school community rise to the occasion and demonstrate the grit and resilience for which NYLS—and New Yorkers—are known. Soon I will share resources for those who may be struggling right now. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves, remain calm and informed, and do not hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

–Dean Crowell

Tuesday, March 18: A Note About Commencement 2020

Dear Graduating Students,

I hope you are feeling well and balancing your studies with time for self-care, which is so important right now.

Several of you have asked if Commencement will be cancelled. We would never cancel your graduation, and we do not foresee a delay in you receiving your degrees. However, we will need to reschedule the graduation ceremony to best protect our community and in line with guidance from government and health leaders.

Stay tuned for more details as we work through a rescheduling plan. This may take a few weeks because circumstances in New York City continue to change rapidly.

Thank you for your patience, and please continue to focus on your studies. Rest assured that we—along with your proud families and friends—will celebrate your hard work at a time when it is safe to do so. I very much look forward to sharing that special day with you.

With warmth and pride,

Dean Crowell

Monday, March 16: Important Academic and Campus Updates

Updated at 2:00 p.m.

Dear NYLS Community,

Please find important updates—including changes to our campus access policies that apply to all students, faculty, and staff.


Health guidance for New Yorkers is changing rapidly.
As COVID-19 continues to spread in New York City, officials are asking all New Yorkers—whether sick or healthy—to stay home as much as possible. The Health Department has said that “everyone in New York City should act as if they have been exposed to coronavirus. That means monitoring your health closely and staying home …” Read the latest guidance.


Courses will be held online for the rest of the spring semester.
Our decision follows the latest health guidance and best protects our community. Remember: Online training days are today and tomorrow; times and links can be found in prior emails. Students engaged in clinical work, externships, or pro bono programs will hear from faculty members or program directors.


All events for the rest of the semester are cancelled. Commencement plans are under review.
The CDC has recommended against gatherings of 50 or more people during the next eight weeks. The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are implementing crowd capacity limitations throughout the region starting today. Accordingly, the Gala will be rescheduled, and we will make every effort to reschedule other events.


Our campus access policies have changed:

Campus Access

  • Campus hours are 8:30 a.m. to 9:40 p.m., Monday through Thursday. NYLS is closed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Mendik Library hours have changed; find the latest schedule. Campus and library times are subject to change.

Campus is only accessible to:

  • Individual students and faculty who are (1) not sick/do not have symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever, or sore throat and (2) need to visit campus for WiFi access, computer equipment for academic purposes, or essential academic work for the clinical program.
  • Individual staff who are (1) not sick/do not have symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever, or sore throat and (2) designated essential staff.
  • Pre-registered, existing clients who are (1) not sick/do not have symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever, or sore throat and (2) need to visit campus to access in-person legal services. (All efforts should be made to address client needs remotely.)

No one else can access campus.


For Students

  • Stay home unless you need to visit campus for WiFi access, computer equipment for academic purposes, or essential academic work for the clinical program.

For Faculty

  • Stay home unless you need to visit campus for WiFi access, computer equipment for academic purposes, or essential academic work for the clinical program.

For Staff

  • Stay home unless you have been designated an essential employee.

If you must come to campus, spread apart (follow social distancing guidance), and wipe down all work areas.


Open on a Modified Basis
Locations subject to change

  • Mendik Library (Library hours have changed; find the latest schedule.)
  • C-building student lounge and lockers
  • W-5 student lounge
  • Individual faculty and staff offices

Closed to All

  • Dining services
  • Classrooms
  • Student organization offices

Thank you as always for your cooperation and partnership as our community navigates this unprecedented situation.

Dean Crowell

Thursday, March 12: Coronavirus Updates and Health Guidance

Updated at 10:10 p.m.

Dear NYLS Community,

I am writing to follow up on our announcement earlier today regarding a student who tested positive for COVID-19.

I have spoken with officials from the New York City Health Department and New York City Office of Emergency Management to ask for their assistance with a protocol for contact tracing and to ensure that we are notifying our community appropriately.

I have learned that the previous process of identifying people who may have been in contact with a patient, and requiring them to self-isolate, is no longer the preferred approach because COVID-19 is now spreading throughout the community in New York City.

Health officials have shared the important points below to guide our community:

  • If the Health Department determines there should be direct outreach to any community members, the Department will reach out to those individuals directly.
  • People are far less likely to spread COVID-19 when they are asymptomatic, as our student was the last time they were on campus (on March 3, three days before they began to exhibit any illness).
  • The vast majority of COVID-19 cases resolve on their own and feel like a bad cold or even a flu.
  • Getting a positive test doesn’t change the treatment regimen for the majority of people (rest at home, drink fluids, and self-isolate).
  • Previously, before COVID-19 was spreading widely here, most new cases were linked to direct exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 patient—or travel to an area where the CDC has said coronavirus is spreading widely. Now, the origin of many new cases is unknown.
  • Because COVID-19 is now spreading similarly to how seasonal colds and flus spread, similar precautions should be taken:
    • If you are sick, stay home.
    • Avoid spreading germs, and distance yourself from others as health officials have advised.
    • Stay vigilant about symptoms, especially fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
    • If you develop symptoms, contact your doctor. Call before going since you might be contagious.
    • You don’t need to self-isolate unless you feel sick and have been advised by your doctor.
    • If you’re sick, be mindful that COVID-19 is likeliest to spread to household members, and do your best to create distance inside your home.
  • While the virus is spreading widely, health agencies are directing the most resources to those most who are sickest and at highest risk of serious complications because of chronic conditions.

I realize that many of you are anxious about possible exposure to the virus, and I fully understand your concerns. Remember, the absolute best action you can take is to monitor yourself closely for symptoms, call your doctor if they develop, and stay at home to rest. For many people, this is the path to recovering. I will continue to share further updates with you on our campus situation and actions.

Dean Crowell

Updated at 2:45 p.m.

Dear NYLS Community,

We learned today that an NYLS student has tested positive for COVID-19. This is separate from the situation we were monitoring last week.

The student who tested positive was last on campus on Tuesday, March 3. Our student did not feel sick (thus they were asymptomatic) when they were last on campus. On Wednesday, March 4, the School closed for three days to conduct a full campus cleaning and disinfecting as a precaution. Our student began to feel sick on Friday night, March 6.

We are in contact with officials and are working to provide them with all relevant and necessary information. You will hear directly from us or health officials if you have been in direct contact with this student, and we are in the process of conducting this outreach.

While these can be scary and difficult times, I urge the entire NYLS community to remain calm. I commend this student for showing care and concern for our community by communicating with us.

In the meantime, we are continuing to clean our campus daily. As announced on Tuesday, March 10, campus is now accessible on a modified basis and with enhanced security procedures. We have shifted all courses to an online format beginning next week, after Spring Break.

We will keep you updated as we learn more about this quickly evolving situation. As health officials have urged, anyone who believes they may be exhibiting symptoms—including fever, cough, or shortness of breath—should immediately contact a doctor. Please also let NYLS know. As you go about your daily routines off campus, please continue to review the CDC’s full prevention guidance.

Thank you as always for your partnership.

Dean Crowell

Tuesday, March 10: Coronavirus Response Update and Campus Plan

Updated at 8:50 p.m.

Dear NYLS Community,

I am writing with important campus updates related to the spread of coronavirus in New York City. The goal of these changes is to keep the NYLS community as safe and healthy as possible amid changing circumstances and guidance.

All scheduled on-campus events now through April 5 are cancelled.

  • This includes events by student organizations, academic programs, and external clients.
  • We understand the impact this has, and we will make every effort to reschedule events.

All classes March 18 through April 5 will be online only.

  • We will share detailed written guidance with faculty and students in the next 48 hours.
  • We will hold distance trainings on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17.

Staff may work remotely (to the extent they can do so) from March 12 through April 5.

  • Supervisors will speak to staff, and there will be two small town hall meetings for questions tomorrow.

Campus will be accessible on a modified basis from March 12 through April 5.

  • During this time:
    • We will have enhanced security measures.
    • Only the main 185 West Broadway entrance will be open.
    • All visitors must pre-register with the person on campus they are visiting, sign in when they arrive, and be accompanied by a community member.
    • Campus will be cleaned with disinfectants regularly.
  • Be aware: Officials have strongly encouraged the elderly and people with certain health issues to avoid unnecessary gatherings. If this applies to you, please exercise the same caution in coming to campus as you would in visiting any other public space.
Campus Access Who Cannot Come to Campus
  • Individual students, faculty, and staff who are not sick
  • Pre-registered individual visitors/clients who are not sick and need to access in-person legal services on campus
Open on a Modified Basis
(8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. Daily)
Closed
  • Library (Check the Mendik Library webpage for hours)
  • The Plumeri Center
  • C-building and W-5 student lounges
  • Individual faculty and staff offices
  • Dining services
  • Classrooms
  • Student organization offices

We may change and extend these policies as conditions and official guidance change. Please continue to review the latest guidance for preventing the spread of sickness. Alert your doctor if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Any community member impacted by COVID-19 is asked to let NYLS know.

Dean Crowell

Friday, March 6: Latest Coronavirus Updates

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Dear NYLS Community,

I am grateful to report that our student has tested negative for coronavirus. There is no additional action that they, or other community members, need to take.

Again, I applaud our student for quickly alerting us to their potential exposure, self-isolating, and working with health officials to get tested as early as possible. I encourage any other member of our community to follow suit if they have symptoms or are concerned about recent exposure. I’m also proud that all of you have shown a calm and compassionate response to a stressful and evolving situation.

Campus Updates

  • The deep cleaning and disinfecting of our campus, which we undertook as an extra precaution, is now complete. I commend our maintenance and facilities teams for their extraordinary work.
  • Students and faculty who wish to access campus may do so beginning tomorrow.
  • The Mendik Library will reopen Sunday.

Traveling During Spring Break

  • If you are traveling during spring break, please do so safely and smartly, and follow the CDC’s latest travel notices. Think carefully about postponing personal international travel in light of recent developments, including restrictions on re-entry into the United States for some travelers.
  • Per guidance from the New York City Health Department, all New Yorkers who return from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan—or any other country where the CDC has advised that transmission is ongoing—should self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. Please reach out to NYLS for additional guidance if you have or are planning to visit one of these countries.

Staying Healthy in New York City

Coronavirus continues to spread in New York City. As health officials have urged, we must remain vigilant while going about our daily lives.

Protect your health and our community’s health:

  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • Wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve—not your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath, contact your doctor. Call 311 if you need help finding a doctor.
  • Consult trusted sources like the New York City Health Department and the CDC.

Thank you again for your support and your continued attention to the latest health guidance.

Dean Crowell

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

Our status remains the same:

  • No member of the NYLS community has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Test results are still pending, and we will provide an update as soon as we have more information.
  • Our student and their roommate remain asymptomatic (no fever, cough, or shortness of breath) and self-isolated.
  • Campus, including the Library, will remain closed tomorrow while we await the results.
  • Please continue to follow best practices for preventing the spread of illness. If you feel sick, stay home and contact your doctor.
  • If you are traveling during spring break, please do so safely and smartly, and follow the CDC’s latest travel notices. Think carefully about postponing personal international travel in light of recent developments, including restrictions on re-entry into the United States for some travelers.
  • Per guidance from the New York City Health Department, all New Yorkers who return from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan—or any other country where the CDC has advised that transmission is ongoing—should self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. Please reach out to NYLS for additional guidance if you have or are planning to visit one of these countries.

We will continue to update you during the weekend.

Thursday, March 5: Latest Coronavirus Updates and School Closure Tomorrow

Updated at 4:30 p.m.

Our status remains the same:

  • No member of the NYLS community has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Test results are pending, and we do not expect to have updates before our start time tomorrow.
  • The student and their roommate remain asymptomatic (no fever, cough, or shortness of breath) and self-isolated.
  • Campus will remain closed tomorrow while we finish cleaning and await the results. Regular classes and activities are cancelled. The same parameters as shared in yesterday’s update apply.
  • Please continue to follow best practices for preventing the spread of illness.
  • Spring break begins tomorrow. Please travel safely and smartly, and follow the CDC’s latest travel notices.

We will share any additional updates on this page.

Wednesday, March 4: Latest Coronavirus Updates and School Closure Tomorrow and Friday

Updated at 4:00 p.m.

Please find our latest response measures and next steps:

  • We are continuing our thorough cleaning and disinfecting of campus, out of an abundance of caution, and we remain in contact with the Health Department.
  • At this time, we do not yet have updates on testing results. We do not anticipate receiving updates before our start time tomorrow.
  • Accordingly, campus, including the Library, will remain closed, and regular classes and activities are cancelled for tomorrow, March 5.
  • Some faculty are electing to offer small classes or hold client/small-group meetings off campus and will contact their students directly about arrangements. Students should continue to attend their internships and externships.
  • Spring break begins Friday afternoon. There are no regular classes scheduled for Friday, March 6, and campus will remain closed that day to allow for any final cleaning steps. Any mid-term exams to be held before spring break will now be held after spring break.
  • Staff who can work from home should do so. To those ends, all staff should consult with their supervisors.
  • As a reminder, no one needs to self-isolate simply because they were on campus. We encourage you to continue going about your daily routines outside of campus. Starting tomorrow, if you need to visit NYLS to collect essential belongings or work, we should be able to accommodate you. Please email Paul Repetto at paul.repetto@nyls.edu to arrange for this.
  • We will fully reopen the facility as soon as we have enough information to make a decision we are comfortable with. We do not anticipate that this week’s closure will impact our overall academic calendar.
  • Remember, handwashing, wiping down surfaces, and staying away from sick people are good preventative measures throughout cold and flu season. If you feel sick, reach out to a doctor right away. Continue to consult trusted sources.

We will share any additional updates on this page.

Updated at 8:30 a.m.

Please note these updates in response to questions from our community and following conversations with the Health Department:

  • We are cleaning out of an abundance of caution and were not directed to do so by health officials. No one on campus has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The Health Department advises that New Yorkers should continue to go about their daily routines. Accordingly, no one needs to self-isolate simply because they were on campus. Students should attend their off-campus internships and externships today.
  • People are most likely to transmit the virus when they are symptomatic with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. This was not the case here.
  • For 80 percent of people, symptoms are relatively mild. Older adults and those with underlying health issues are at increased risk for complications. The same is true for the flu.
  • Handwashing, wiping down surfaces, and staying away from sick people are good preventative measures throughout cold and flu season. Find the latest information here.
  • Those who need help finding a doctor can call 311. In addition, the Health Department’s information line is also accessible via 311.

We will continue to share any additional updates on this page.

Posted at 6:00 a.m.

Dear NYLS Community,

I am writing to share important updates related to coronavirus.

Last night, a student let NYLS know that they were in contact with the attorney identified in the New York Law Journal as having tested positive for coronavirus. This is the same lawyer with whom a Cardozo Law student, now in self-quarantine, was also in contact. Our student acted responsibly and with great consideration for our community.

I have spoken by phone with the affected student and the New York City Health Department. The affected student and their roommate are now in self-quarantine and will be interviewed by the Health Department and tested.

Consistent with our commitment to ensure the health and safety of our community, we are closing school at least for today to do enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of our entire facility. Accordingly, to allow us to reach this baseline, no one should come on campus while we clean. All classes, exams, and activities today are cancelled. Campus, including the Library, will not be open for study or meetings. Staff who can work from home should do so. To those ends, all staff should consult with their supervisors. We will let you know about tomorrow as soon as possible.

While we await further guidance from health authorities, we remind you to be vigilant about observing all health and safety protocols outlined in our previous communications. We will provide you with all relevant updates when available, and until then, you are asked to remain calm, continue to wash hands thoroughly, avoid sick people, and if you feel sick, stay home and contact a doctor as needed. Review the CDC’s full prevention guidance.

If you need to speak further, these contacts are available:

  • For students, Dean Sally Harding
  • For faculty, Deans Bill LaPiana and Oral Hope
  • For staff, your supervisors or Vice President for Human Resources Jody Pariante

Of course, I am always available too. Thank you for your partnership.

Dean Crowell