- Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
- Thousands of undergraduate students must vacate their NYU residences, the school said in an email this week.
- Only certain graduate students and a “small number of students who apply for and receive exemptions” may remain in their dorms may remain, the university said.
- A university spokesperson said the school wants “to be in a position to help” the city with hospital overflow “if needed.”
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Across Manhattan and Brooklyn, students at New York University face an uncertain future: They may not have a place to live.
In the middle of an epidemic that has seen 2,382 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in New York City alone, NYU is removing undergraduate students from its dormitories.
On Monday, the school sent an email to its roughly 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students in NYU residence halls saying they must vacate by March 22, “or within 48 hours if possible,” a student wrote in The Guardian.
In a statement, NYU said it will close residence halls on March 22 with the exceptions of those for law and medical school students and graduate students studying biomedicine at NYU Langone Health.
Now, thousands of undergraduates are left in the lurch as the university scrambles to create extra space for sickened New Yorkers. Similar efforts may be pursued at SUNY schools, where dormitories could be converted into hospital beds, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday. The state has a severe shortage of hospital beds for anticipated COVID-19 cases.
- Andrew Kelly/Reuters
Officials have not yet asked NYU to clear space for makeshift medical units, a school spokesperson told the New York Post. “But we would want to be in a position to help if needed.”
“There are significant indications that the State, as part of its contingency planning, is looking at university dormitories as settings for overflow beds from hospitals,” the university told students un an email.
On Twitter, students said they were concerned about where to go, and said it wasn’t clear how the university could hold online classes given the large number of international students who were directed to go home. In a statement, NYU said only a “small number of students who apply for and receive exemptions” may remain in their dorms.
also how on earth is nyu going to keep up online classes and evict us when like half of the students are international and are going to be in completely different time zones
— tony cock (@sophcolette) March 17, 2020
NYU kicked us out of the dorms and gave students 48 hours to leave. We just found out it’s because they’re going to use our rooms as hospital beds. Bruh. pic.twitter.com/2ZLEN8DgXJ
— Juliana Galarza (@julianagalarza7) March 17, 2020
Marc Wais, vice president of student affairs, told the NYU community in an email cited by Washington Square News, the school’s main student news organization, that the school needed to help authorities stem the coronavirus spread.
“NYU has an institutional responsibility to help if things come to that here in the city,” Wais wrote. “For those of you still here (or within a day-trip) and in a position to pack up your room, your willingness to do so is potentially an important contribution to health measures that may come later.”
It’s not clear how the order would affect graduate students who live off-campus but receive rent subsidies from the university, as the state of New York put a moratorium on eviction activity starting this week. NYU didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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