Our Plans for Returning to Campus in Fall 2020
School of Visual Arts is committed to providing an excellent and fulfilling academic experience within an environment that is safe, healthy and supportive of its entire community. This plan for reopening has been created by SVA’s academic and administrative leadership in accordance with New York State’s phased plans for reopening New York City as well as the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities.
SVA welcomes students back for the fall 2020 semester on Monday, September 28, with a flexible model for learning that offers options for taking courses fully online or as a hybrid approach of online and in-person instruction. Students are asked to complete this brief form (Fall Intent Form) to indicate your plans for the fall semester. Please note you must be logged into MyID to access and complete the form. This information will help the College properly plan to meet your varied educational needs.
Upon reopening, SVA will follow government guidelines and higher-education best practices for social distancing, which include the following measures:
- limiting class size
- wearing masks while inside campus buildings
- limiting the size of campus functions and activities in accordance with state and local requirements
Read on for details about our plans to reopen, and be sure to check back often for updates. For more information about SVA's response to COVID-19, visit sva.edu/coronavirus.
- Jul, 28, 2020: Student Code of Conduct: Student Responsibility and COVID-19 released; please see "Campus Health and Safety."
- July 28, 2020: Employee Policies for Returning to Work released; see "Campus Health and Safety."
- July 28, 2020: SVA's International Student Office has added additional updates to its section and FAQ.
- July 14, 2020: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) requirements for the fall 2020 semester, announced July 6, were rescinded on Tuesday, July 14. Please see the "International Students" section, under "Fall 2020 Academics and SVA Programs," for more information.
Fall 2020 Academics and SVA Programs
SVA begins its fall 2020 semester on Monday, September 28. The semester will last for 12 weeks, ending on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. To ensure that SVA students receive the full benefits of instruction—and to meet the required number of class hours for a regular 15-week semester—the typical 3-credit course will be conducted for three hours and 10 minutes per class, as opposed to the usual two-hour, 50-minute class length.
In order to ensure the best academic experience for students returning to campus and those who cannot yet travel to New York City, the College will conduct a mix of in-person and online courses in the fall 2020 semester.
In order to ensure that SVA students, faculty, staff and guests have a safe environment in which to study and work, the College will institute a number of changes to its in-person courses for the fall 2020 semester.
The changes for in-person courses on SVA's campus include, but are not limited to:
- significantly reduced class sizes, to accommodate for social distancing;
- courses that utilize a hybrid of in-person and online instruction;
- requiring all persons on campus to wear a face mask or face covering while in the presence of others;
- the likely reduction of maximum occupancies for common meeting spaces and other campus facilities by one-third;
- requiring all SVA community members and visitors to complete a short health questionnaire, using an app that the College is developing, prior to being admitted to campus spaces.
Not every fall 2020 course at SVA will be available online. However, the College expects that students studying remotely will be able to access the following:
- all required first-year courses
- most required fall courses for fourth-year students
- many second- and third-year courses; the exact number will be based on current or projected registration figures
Nearly every art history course will be conducted online. Also, almost all sections of the foundation-level Writing and Literature course will likewise be offered fully online, as will many required and elective courses in Humanities and Sciences. These online courses will be available to all students.
Courses will feature a mix of synchronous (i.e., Zoom) and asynchronous (i.e., Canvas) content. To the greatest extent possible, the synchronous portions will take place at times convenient to students in different time zones. The final schedules will depend on how many students register for online courses.
The College-wide attendance policy will be suspended for the fall 2020 semester. However, students and faculty are expected to participate in all of their scheduled courses online.
Please note that individual faculty members may maintain their own attendance policies, and absences may affect your grade.
July 27, 2020 Update: Students with F-1 status enrolled in the Fall 2020 semester
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) requirements for the fall 2020 semester were issued on July 24. The SEVP requirements announced July 6, were rescinded on Tuesday, July 14. Please see below for clarification.
The information below is based on the options SVA is working on to provide its international students for the fall 2020 semester. It was updated to reflect the SEVP requirements for Fall 2020 issued on July 24.
International students who choose to study fully online for fall 2020
- Studying fully online (taking online courses only) while inside the U.S. will be permitted in the fall for students who are currently in the U.S. on F-1 status.
- New students may take courses from their home countries. They will not be able to apply for the F-1 visa to enter the U.S. this fall to start a new program entirely online. Their I-20 will be deferred to the following semester, spring 2021 if they choose to study fully online.
- International students who are currently in the U.S. may remain in the country for the fall 2020 semester whether they plan to study fully online, attend in-person courses, or enroll in a combination of both.
International SVA students who choose to study in a hybrid format (a combination of in-person and online classes)
- New students who choose the hybrid format must be able to enter the U.S. with a valid passport and F-1 visa before the fall semester begins.
- International students who are currently in the U.S. can continue to study in the U.S.
- For international students who are subject to the U.S. travel restrictions, those restrictions must be lifted by the start of the fall 2020 semester.
This is a challenging time for international students, with many uncertainties about academic plans and life in the U.S. SVA and its International Student Office (ISO) is here to support the College’s international-student community to the best of their ability and will continue to send updates as needed.
The following resources are available to all matriculated SVA students. For more information about technology services at SVA, click here.
MyID (myid.sva.edu) is the single sign-on and multi-factor authentication solution at SVA. The MyID dashboard provides links to commonly used College applications, including SVA email, G Suite Drive, Canvas, Zoom, MySVA, the SVA Campus Store and the SVA Library.
If you need assistance with MyID, contact the SVA IT Help Desk, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canvas is the online learning management system at SVA. To access Canvas, log in to your account at myid.sva.edu and click on the Canvas icon.
Once logged in, you will find all of your active courses under "Courses" in the left-hand navigation bar. The course titled “Student Knowledge Base” offers answers to commonly asked questions, video tutorials and study tips.
For more information about Canvas, click here.
Zoom is a remote conferencing service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat and mobile collaboration. Zoom has removed the 40-minute time limit for schools affected by the coronavirus.
To access Zoom, log in to your account at myid.sva.edu and click on the Zoom icon.
Office 365 is available for all students, faculty and staff through MyID. However, before using this new tool, you will see a banner message with a green button in MyID telling you that one of your apps needs a plugin. Follow the prompts to install the plugin or "extension" to your browser and begin using Office 365 on your laptop or computer.
If you need assistance, please email email@example.com.
The SVA Library offers a number of online collections, databases and distance learning resources. To access the SVA Library online, log in to your account at myid.sva.edu and click on the SVA Library icon or visit library.sva.edu.
Office of Learning Technologies
SVA’s Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) has established online office hours for students, faculty and staff who need assistance with online educational or working tools.
OLT online office hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 4:30pm, for the rest of the spring 2020 semester. Click on this Zoom link during those hours to connect with an OLT staff member.
You can also email OLT at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at 212.592.2313.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) Accounts
SVA Information Technology is providing SVA students in China with VPN accounts. To obtain a VPN account, email email@example.com with your name and SVA ID.
LinkedIn Learning offers more than 15,000 skills-based and professional-development online courses, which SVA students can access for free. To access LinkedIn Learning, log in to your account at myid.sva.edu and click on the LinkedIn Learning icon.
Campus Health and Safety
SVA's policies for testing, tracing and quarantining are currently being developed using the latest guidelines from New York State, the American College Health Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Check back for updates.
All SVA students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to complete a daily health screening before being permitted to enter any campus space. The College will be using a mobile phone screening app to meet this requirement. Information on the app and training on its use will be provided to all students, faculty and staff when it is available.
Anyone who does not meet the daily health requirements, or who refuses to comply with this requirement, will be denied entry to SVA buildings.
July 27, 2020
There should be no more than 50% of a department’s staff in the office at any one time. Arrival and departure times should be staggered.
Employees must maintain a distance of at least six feet at all times, unless safety of the activity requires a shorter distance.
Any employee or visitor who must come within six feet of another person must wear a cloth face covering/mask (ensuring that mouth and nose are covered). Individuals must be prepared to don a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within six feet. Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering at all times when in indoor spaces.
Do not occupy tightly confined spaces by more than one individual at time, unless all individuals are wearing face coverings.
Depending on the elevator, occupancy is limited from two to four people at a time (as marked) with all individuals wearing cloth face coverings/masks.
Limit the density of in-person gatherings as much as possible and use tele-or videoconferencing whenever possible. Conduct essential in-person gatherings and meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing among participants and with cloth face coverings/masks where six feet of distance cannot at all times be maintained amongst participants.
If you share a workstation, clean and disinfect it between users.
Employees are encouraged to use the face coverings and any other personal equipment they are most comfortable with so long as they meet the standards set forth in this policy. Acceptable face coverings include (but are not limited to) cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana – not lace or similar open or web-like material) and masks. Face coverings must cover both the mouth and nose and may not include an exhalation valve. Clean and replace face coverings as needed and do not share your face covering with others.
A supply of face coverings will be maintained and provided to employees at no cost in case of a need for a replacement. Consult the CDC guidance for additional information on cloth face coverings and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions on use and cleaning.
Employees and visitors must wear face coverings in common areas including elevators, lobbies and when traveling around the office.
Limit the sharing of objects, such as tools, laptops, notebooks, telephones, touchscreens and writing utensils, as well as the touching of shared surfaces; if required, wear gloves when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched surfaces and wash/sanitize hands before and after contact.
Hygiene and Cleaning
Wash your hands often.
Use sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) when you can’t use soap and water.
Clean and use disinfectants before and after use of shared and frequently touched surfaces, followed by hand washing or use of hand sanitizer.
Clean and sanitize equipment at least as often as you, co-workers and contractors change workstations.
Do not share food and beverages (e.g. buffet meals).
Having COVID-19, Symptoms, Exposure and Returning to Work
If you are sick, stay home. If you come to work sick or become sick while at work, you will be sent home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with COVID-19 have had a wide array of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or need to contact SVA regarding a COVID-19-related issue, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow all CDC and New York State 14-day quarantine requirements for international and domestic travel. Current international travel information is posted at
A current travel advisory for travelers arriving from restricted states who are subject to quarantine is posted at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms AND EITHER test positive for COVID-19 OR did not receive a test, you may only return to work after completing at least 10 days of isolation from the date of the first positive test or, if not receiving a test, from the date of the onset of symptoms. Returning to work requires that:
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started.
- You never had a fever or have not had a fever for the prior three days without the use of fever-reducing drugs
- Your overall symptoms have improved.
If you do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms BUT test positive for COVID-19, you may only return to work after completing at least 10 days of isolation from the date of the first positive test (assuming you have no COVID-19 symptoms during that entire time).
If you have had close contact (being within six feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes) with a person with COVID-19 AND have symptoms, you may only return to work after completing at least 10 days of isolation from the date of the onset of symptoms. Returning to work requires that:
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started.
- You never had a fever or have not had a fever for the prior three days without the use of fever-reducing drugs
- Your overall symptoms have improved.
If you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 OR recently traveled to a location requiring quarantine as per the CDC or New York State AND have no symptoms, you may only return to work after completing at least 14 days of quarantine (assuming you remain without any symptoms during that time).
SVA Facilities is dedicated to keeping all campus spaces clean and safe for the College's students, faculty, staff and visitors. Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State, these efforts include:
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting throughout all campus buildings, including wipe-downs of all high-touch surface areas, such as door handles, bathroom surfaces, elevator buttons, etc.
- Training of Facilities staff for the proper use of disinfectants registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proven to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Introducing the use of electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces.
- Flushing and treatment of domestic water lines and tanks.
- Disinfecting heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and upgrading to high-efficiency filters to help reduce transmittal of airborne viruses and bacteria
- Posting signage throughout campus to foster social distancing, including reminders to stand 6 feet apart, indicators for maximum allowable capacity for spaces (elevators, studios, etc.), directional markings for traffic flow, reminders to wear masks and follow hand hygiene, etc.
- Installing protective shields in close-contact areas such as security stations, libraries and equipment check-out stations.
- Providing sufficient cleaning and sanitizer supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the entire campus population.
Anyone within the SVA community who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (see full list of COVID-19 symptoms here), or any illness symptoms, is urged to consult remotely with a health-care provider and self-quarantine.
In order to limit in-person interaction while you are ill, arranging a virtual appointment is strongly encouraged. Virtual urgent-care providers in the area include:
- NYU Virtual Urgent Care (accepts Cigna)
- City MD Virtual Care (accepts Cigna)
- Mount Sinai NOW Video Urgent Care ($25 consultations; does not bill insurance)
- New York-Presbyterian ($49 consultations; does not bill insurance)
In-person urgent-care facilities near the SVA campus can be found here.
STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT: STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY AND COVID-19
In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and to support the safety of our community, all members of the SVA community will need to take extraordinary steps to stay well and protect each other on campus and in the community.
The standards below are a temporary addition to the published Student Code of Conduct and SVA Residence Hall Violations found in the SVA Handbook. They are designed to provide the safest living-learning environment possible and are reliant on each member of the community to uphold them not only for their safety but the safety of others. Students who jeopardize the safety of others and/or fail to meet the standards would face College and/or Residence Life judicial action.
All students are required to:
HEALTH MONITORING AND TESTING
- Observe all daily self-assessment, temperature screening, and reporting of
symptoms and COVID-19 diagnostic testing as required.
- Not to attend any classes or college functions if they are ill.
- If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they will notify Student Health and Counseling Services at email@example.com immediately and follow their guidance to either leave campus/residence halls or relocate to an isolation area on campus. They will only return to the residence halls or campus if/when they are medically cleared.
PROTECTIVE FACE COVERINGS AND PERSONAL HYGIENE
- Wear an appropriate face covering or mask, which covers the nose and mouth at all times while on campus, when not in one’s own residence hall room.
- Pay close attention to personal hygiene including frequent handwashing with soap and water and/or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as phones, or assigned studio/lab items
SOCIAL DISTANCING: MAINTAINING 6 FT OF DISTANCE FROM OTHERS
- Maintain appropriate social distance from others in any location on campus.
- Abide by all posted signage indicating reduced elevator occupancy as well as adhering to corridor and stairwell directional signs indicating up or down direction of travel.
- Not to use the lobby of any building as a gathering space
- To observe appropriate social distancing when swiping/scanning into a building/space or waiting for an elevator
CAPACITY LIMITS IN COMMON SPACES
- Students must abide by stated capacity limits in common spaces including but not limited to the SVA Library, Student Center, gallery spaces, elevators, studios and lobbies.
COMPLIANCE WITH ALL COVID-19 POLICIES
● Violation of these policies may put the health and safety of other members of the SVA community at risk. While we acknowledge that these restrictions are strict and very different than usual, and difficult to follow, they are necessary to lower the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the community. Even small deviations from these policies can jeopardize your health, the health of other members of the entire SVA community. Your strict adherence to these policies is essential to the health and wellbeing of the community. Sanctioning for students who violate these policies will be subject to College judicial sanctioning up to suspension.
RESIDENTIAL POLICIES: RESIDENT RESPONSIBILITY AND COVID-19
In addition to COVID-19 related student responsibilities outlined in the Student Code of Conduct in the 2020-2021 SVA Handbook, all resident students are required to adhere to the below policies:
VISITATION AND GUESTS
· All guest privileges in the residence halls are suspended until further notice; resident students will only have access to their assigned residence hall.
· No resident students can have visitors in their room, only occupants of a room/suite/apartment are allowed until further notice
· If residents become ill/test positive for COVID 19, they must comply with prescribed isolation procedures.
· If a resident is determined through contact tracing to have come into contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, including, but not limited to classmates, roommates/suitemates/apartment mates, they must comply with 14 day quarantine protocols.
PROTECTIVE FACE COVERINGS IN COMMON SPACES
● Wear an appropriate face covering or mask, which covers the nose and mouth at all times in common spaces including but not limited to lounges, kitchens, elevators and lobbies
CAPACITY LIMITS IN COMMON SPACES
● Residents must abide by stated capacity limits in common spaces including but not limited to lounges, kitchens, elevators and lobbies.
COMPLIANCE WITH ALL RESIDENTIAL COVID-19 POLICIES
● Violation of these policies may put the health and safety of other members of the SVA communication at risk. While we acknowledge that these restrictions are strict and very different than usual, and difficult to follow, they are necessary to lower the risk of COVID-19 spreading in our resilience halls. Even small deviations from these policies can jeopardize your health, the health or your fellow residents, and the entire SVA community. Your strict adherence to these policies is essential to the health and wellbeing of the community. Sanctioning for residents who violate these policies will be subject to residential judicial sanctioning up to residential suspension and referral to the Director of Student Affairs for possible College level sanctioning.
COMPLIANCE AND RESPONSIVENESS TO COMMUNICATIONS (EMAIL, ZOOM, PHONE)
● Residents must be responsive to all communications received from the Office of Residence Life. Communications may occur via Zoom video conference, Email and Telephone (where applicable.) Communications may be related to necessary follow-up to COVID-19 case management, but also include follow-up to wellness assessments and occupancy verifications and judicial processes.
All SVA community members and visitors are expected to observe all recommended COVID-19 safety and prevention measures when on campus and throughout their daily lives.
For more information on best practices for avoiding the transmission of COVID-19, please review the following resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- How to Protect Yourself and Others
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
- Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use
- Face Coverings Do’s and Don’ts
Fall 2020 Residence Life
SVA is welcoming students back to its residence halls for the fall 2020 semester with their health and safety as the top priority. The protocols listed below may change in accordance with public health guidelines and policies dictated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Departments of Education and Health.
- To ensure social distancing, the check-in process will be by appointment only.
- Incoming resident students will be provided a schedule of check-in times. Check-in times are being arranged by students’ last initials.
- Each student will be allowed one relative to assist them in the residence halls during move-in.
- Parents and students should refer to the instructions they will receive from SVA Residence Life via email for more information.
- SVA Facilities will consistently disinfect high-touch surfaces and areas within residence halls, such as elevators, handrails, appliances and cabinet handles.
- Residents will be expected to wipe down surfaces in private bathrooms and kitchen areas after each use.
- No more than four students will be allocated to any bathroom or kitchen/cooking area per living space.
- All housing assignments will be subject to change in the interest of de-densification.
- Common areas (elevators, lounges, laundry rooms, etc.) will have occupancy limits posted to ensure adequate distancing.
- To minimize risk, no guests will be allowed in the residence halls during the 2020–2021 academic year.
- To minimize risk, no resident students may visit other rooms, apartments or suites for which they are not assigned.
- Masks or face coverings must be worn in all common spaces of residence halls, including hallways, elevators, lounges and lobbies.
- Masks will be available in the lobbies of each campus building.
Resident students' responsibilities related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in the Residence Life and Student Code of Conduct sections of the 2020–2021 SVA Handbook.
I am writing to follow up on my July 7, 2020, letter to students, wherein I provided an update on the fall 2020 semester. Some of you may have recently received a version of this letter.
I appreciate all the feedback provided by students and supporters of our community, and I want to use the opportunity of this email to clarify some points raised in various student responses I have received in the last week.
There appears to have been some confusion over the matter of a tuition increase for the 2020-21 academic year. At its December 2019 meeting, the SVA Board of Directors approved a tuition increase for the undergraduate programs of $750 per semester. In March, as the scope of the pandemic became clear, it was decided that the increase would be eliminated for matriculated continuing undergraduate students. Thus, each matriculated continuing undergraduate student will receive a grant of $750 per semester (or $1,500 for the 2020-21 academic year) to effectively zero-out the increase. This grant already appears on your statement.
This award is in addition to the CARE grant some of you may have received last semester. So to clarify, there is no tuition increase for matriculated continuing undergraduate students. Moreover, those returning students who plan to live in the residence halls were recently informed they would be given a discount for the 2020-21 academic year, in recognition of the fact that the fall semester would be 12 weeks in duration. On the subject of the 12-week semester, it is important to note that the number of contact hours have not been reduced. SVA secured the permission of the New York State Education Department and the US Department of Education to operate a 12 week fall semester.
We completely understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has created for many families some economic hardship. Any student who is facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic is encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid to review your eligibility for possible additional funding.
Several expressed concern that our international students are being “disadvantaged” because they will pay the same tuition as someone taking classes in-person. The decision to make it possible for not just international students, but anyone who cannot or chooses not to come to New York City, was in direct response to an abundance of requests that those who cannot or wish not to come to campus may continue to study full time without interruption. Meeting this very understandable need is a massive undertaking—and it is being done to help students, not hurt them.
There is the question about why tuition is not being discounted for those taking all their classes online. The cost of delivering courses online is near twice the cost to deliver a class in-person. SVA is absorbing those additional expenses. And, importantly, students taking their classes online in the fall will not be charged the usual departmental fees for the fall.
Additionally, faculty members who teach online are not being paid any less than their colleagues who teach in-person. In fact, it is well documented that faculty provide more contact hours when teaching online courses.
The emails I received further state that “simultaneously, there is no assurance nor initiative to protect students affected by new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) laws for those who wish to remain in the United States.”
SVA signed, along with 180 American colleges and universities, an amicus brief (i.e., “friend of the court”) as part of several lawsuits filed against the Trump Administration’s draconian policies that threaten the status of international students in the US whose institution offers only online courses, among other problematic measures. I’m pleased to report that a federal judge just ruled against the Trump administration. The positive outcome of this suit now makes it possible for international students in the US to study fully online without fear of being forced to leave the country.
A number of students have posed the question about how their tuition is spent. The following chart illustrates how each dollar of tuition collected is spent. This same information is available on the SVA website, though in a slightly different format. You may view this information by following this link or clicking on the image below.
As a reminder, I ask that if you have not already done so, please complete this brief form (Fall Intent Form) to indicate your plans for the fall semester. Please note you must be logged into MyID to access and complete the form. This information will help the College properly plan to meet your varied educational needs.
We know this time is very difficult and challenging, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to revise our plans for the fall semester based on constantly changing circumstances.
Christopher J. Cyphers, Ph.D.
Provost Q&A Sessions
Three virtual Q&A sessions will be held by the SVA provost to address students' questions and concerns about the fall semester. Register at the links below.
Tuesday, July 14, 9:00am ET | Session for students who plan to attend fall classes in-person at SVA.
Thursday, July 16, 9:00am ET | Session for students who plan to take their fall classes fully online.
Thursday, July 16, 9:00pm ET | Session for anyone who is unable to attend the morning sessions.
ISO Q&A Sessions for all F-1 International Students
Immediately following each of the provost's meetings and using the same Zoom links, SVA's International Student Office (ISO) will host Q&A sessions for all F-1 international students.
Note: The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) requirements for the fall 2020 semester, announced July 6, were rescinded on Tuesday, July 14. Please see the Fall 2020 Information for International Students section below for clarification.
Tuesday, July 14, 10:00 – 11:00am ET | Register here
Thursday, July 16, 10:00 – 11:00am ET | Register here
Thursday, July 16, 10:00 – 11:00pm ET | Register here
I hope you and your family are doing well, and that you are enjoying the summer.
Since SVA closed, in mid-March—and we transitioned all classes online—a special Pandemic Recovery Task Force has been hard at work every day preparing for the start of the fall 2020 semester. Our decision making has been shaped to a large extent by the guidance provided by public health experts, and federal, state and local government authorities.
When last I wrote to you, I reported that SVA would open the fall semester on Monday, September 28, with in-person classes. We chose to delay the opening of the semester to give ourselves as much time as possible for international travel restrictions to be lifted, the opening of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, and for New York City to be in the best possible position to reopen to college and university students.
In the time since I reported on our decision to open in the fall with in-person classes, I have heard from domestic and international students alike that traveling to New York City may either be impossible or, for public health reasons, undesirable.
Therefore, SVA is working overtime to allow students who cannot travel to New York City, for whatever reason, to take their fall semester classes fully online.
SVA is committed to providing a safe and excellent academic experience for those students who plan to attend the fall semester on our New York City campus; we are equally committed to providing the same fulfilling experience for those who opt to take their fall classes online.
That said, those choosing to take the fall semester online need to understand that not every class scheduled to run in the fall may be available online. As of now, this is what we believe will be accessible to students studying online:
· All required first-year classes
· Most required fall classes for fourth-year students
· Many second- and third-year classes; the exact number will be based on current or projected course registration figures
As I indicated in my previous letter to you, nearly every art history course will be conducted online. Also, almost all sections of the foundation-level Writing and Literature course will likewise be offered fully online, as well as many required and elective courses in Humanities and Sciences. These particular online classes will be available to all students.
Unlike the online classes we conducted during the spring 2020 semester, most of those being offered for the fall will be a blend of synchronous (i.e., Zoom) and asynchronous (i.e. Canvas) content. There will be, where it makes sense and is in students′ best academic interest, some classes conducted via Zoom. SVA is committed to providing students who take some or all of their fall classes online with the best possible experience.
For those students who plan to attend the fall semester in-person, you will notice many changes, some of which have been described in previous communication from SVA President David Rhodes and me. The campus you left in March will look quite different. These changes are intended to ensure that students, faculty, staff and guests have a safe environment in which to study and work.
Some of these changes include:
- class sizes that will be significantly reduced to accommodate social distancing
- some classes will be a hybrid of in-person and online instruction
- every member of the campus community will be required to wear a mask while in the presence of others
- the capacity of common meeting spaces and certain campus facilities will likely be reduced by one-third of normal capacity
- every campus community member will be required to complete a short health questionnaire using an app that the College is developing.
Further details about the fall semester will be sent over the course of the summer to those who will be studying on campus.
So that the College’s faculty and administration can adequately prepare—and to accommodate our students’ various needs—it is important that we know as soon as possible your intentions for the fall semester. I ask, therefore, that you complete this short form to indicate your plan to take the fall semester online, and submit it within 10 days of receiving this letter. If you choose the online option, you will be contacted via your SVA email to discuss registration options and procedures once the course offerings are finalized.
Fall 2020 tuition will be the same regardless of which option a student chooses. For those studying fully online, your departmental fee for the fall semester will be waived, since you will not have access to departmental facilities.
Pursuing the fall semester online might mean the schedule of classes may change from what was originally planned. You will be advised by your advisor and/or the Registrar of any schedule changes.
International students should consult the “Fall 2020 Updates” section of the “International Students” tab on SVA’s COVID-19 response page, sva.edu/coronavirus, before making a decision about the fall semester. International students who are now in the U.S. under an F-1 visa may not take all their classes fully online; doing so will require these students to depart the U.S. Such students may take hybrid courses that meet both in-person and online, or a mix of in-person and online classes, or may take all available classes in person. Remember, full-time study (12+ credits) is necessary to remain in the U.S.
During the week of July 13, my colleagues and I will conduct several Q&A sessions:
- A session for students who plan to attend fall classes in person at SVA will be conducted on Tuesday, July 14, 9:00am EST.
- A session for students who plan to take their fall classes fully online will be conducted on Thursday, July 16, 9:00am EST.
- A session for anyone who is unable to attend the morning sessions will be conducted on Thursday, July 16, 9:00pm EST.
In the meantime, any questions regarding registration for the fall semester should be directed to the Office of the Registrar, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact your academic advisor directly with any questions about either registration or scheduling your classes. Any questions about your tuition bill should be directed to the Student Accounts, at email@example.com. Should you have any questions about new student orientation, please contact the Student Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, international students may write to the International Student Office, at email@example.com, with any questions about the status of your visa and what one must do to remain in status.
As with all colleges and universities in the U.S., we are in uncharted waters. No matter how much planning we undertake, there will be circumstances that are beyond our control. This creates a good deal of uncertainty. But everyone at SVA is doing their absolute best to prepare for a successful fall 2020 semester. It will be important that you routinely check your SVA email for any updates about the fall semester, and visit our Reopening Plan webpage, for the latest information.
My colleagues join me in expressing our confidence that we will do everything possible to provide every student with a challenging and rewarding fall semester. Things will certainly be different than what you’ve experienced in the past, but different doesn’t have to come at the expense of excellence. We are all committed to excellence when it comes to your education as artists and designers.
Wishing you all the best, I am,
Christopher J. Cyphers, PhD
Provost, School of Visual Arts
Dear students, faculty and staff,
On May 27, we celebrated the graduation of some 1,280 degree candidates of the School of Visual Arts in our 45th Commencement exercises. While the ceremony was conducted virtually, the achievements and artistic energy of this new group of SVA alumni were as palpable and real as ever.
Reaching this milestone within the apex of a global pandemic is a truly remarkable accomplishment. We achieved it by working collaboratively, moving swiftly to a new model of remote learning and working, and taking measures to ensure a safe environment for residents and essential workers. I appreciate the part you played in making the spring semester successful. In a few short but intense months, we have developed ways—and are continuing to develop ways—to not only pull through this ongoing crisis, but to create effective new modes of operating in the future—modes that provide a wider range of flexibility, deeper levels of innovation and higher levels of safety and security.
On May 8, Provost Christopher Cyphers announced our plan to reopen the College on September 28. Many of you are asking how this will happen. This letter begins to answer your questions, based on actions we’re taking and information currently available to New York State institutions of higher education and the public at this date. Additional information will be provided to you as the summer progresses and the plan is finalized.
The plan for reopening SVA is being developed by a Pandemic Recovery team that includes SVA’s Emergency Management Committee (EMC), in collaboration with a crisis recovery consultancy. This plan follows the latest guidelines and requirements provided by federal, state and city authorities and the American College Health Association. Every decision we make about reopening is informed by those guidelines and requirements, the expertise of EMC members in leadership positions from across the College, and our firm commitment to providing a safe, healthy environment for everyone at the College.
A Safe, Phased-In Return
Returning to SVA will be done carefully, in phases that are in accordance with New York State’s phased plans for reopening New York City. Phase 1 of reopening NYC began on June 8, for manufacturing, construction and retail. Phase 2, which we anticipate may be as early as June 22, will enable institutions of higher education to reopen with a reduced workforce. During this phase, SVA may begin allowing a limited number of staff to return to prepare for the fall semester. Here is what we can expect during Phase 2:
- A reduced staff will return on a staggered schedule. Scheduling will be determined by individual department heads
- Some administrative departments will continue to work remotely
- No students will be permitted to access academic buildings
- Social-distancing and face-covering practices will be in effect (see below)
We are keeping facilities clean and safe for essential employees, and preparing for the returning SVA community by taking the following measures:
- Performing frequent cleanings and disinfecting throughout all buildings, with additional, frequent wipe-downs of all high-touch surface areas, such as door handles, bathroom surfaces, elevator buttons and countertops
- Introducing the use of electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces throughout the buildings
- Flushing out pipes in all buildings
- Replacing HVAC filters with high-efficiency filters to help reduce transmittal of airborne viruses and bacteria
- Preparing social-distancing markings for common spaces, including lobbies and elevator banks
- Posting health-protocol communications
- Installing protective shields at security stations, libraries, equipment check-out stations and other close-contact areas
- Procuring sufficient cleaning and sanitizer supplies for all buildings
- Procuring required protective supplies for the full community, per New York State guidelines
Personal Protection and Responsibility
New York State schools will be opened during Phase 4, which is expected to align with our September opening date. At this time, students can return, as well as a larger number of administrative staff, with others continuing to work from home, at least in some capacity. Everyone at SVA will be expected to play their part to protect the health of themselves and others in the community. Here is what you can expect during Phases 2–4:
- Daily health attestation and self-symptom screening
- Social distancing in all SVA spaces
- Required wearing of masks or face coverings
- Supplies of masks and gloves will be provided as long as we are required to do so
- Cleaning supplies for the interim cleaning of classroom and office surfaces
I appreciate all of your patience and understanding as we continue to refine the reopening plan and develop details on new policies for learning and working at SVA. I know these are anxious times and it is difficult to deal with uncertainties. I am confident that, just as we have in the past, the SVA community will work together to persevere through this challenge and come through it stronger than ever.
President, School of Visual Arts
*Note: This notification was edited on June 19, 2020.
I hope this letter finds you and your families well. To say you are missed by the faculty, staff, and administration would be an understatement. Life is just not the same without you.
In my 30-year career in higher education, this spring semester has been by far the most challenging—personally and professionally. The toll the coronavirus has taken on our friends, families, and communities is difficult to articulate or comprehend. Nearly every aspect of our lives has changed, and we all desperately want things to return to some version of normal; we want to move forward with our lives. And move forward we shall.
A special task force consisting of faculty leaders, administrators, and executive management has been carefully monitoring federal, state, and local guidance on the Covid-19 virus, and working daily since the College closed its buildings and transitioned classes online, to develop a plan for reopening SVA and resuming in-person classes as soon as conditions permit.
To that end, we plan to begin the process of reopening SVA, in phases, beginning this summer.
The fall semester is now scheduled to begin on Monday, September 28, 2020, and will end on Tuesday, December 22, 2020; the semester will be 12 weeks in length. To ensure students receive the full benefits of instruction and to meet the required number of class hours for a regular 15-week semester, the typical 3-credit course will be conducted for 3 hours and 10 minutes, as opposed to the usual 2 hours, 50-minute class period. The time between classes will be reduced from 20 to 15 minutes. In addition, faculty will be encouraged to augment a regular, in-person class with additional course content through Canvas. The College-wide attendance policy will be suspended for the fall semester.
The spring semester will start on the previously scheduled date of Monday, January 11, 2021, and will run for the full 15 weeks.
The reason for the delayed start to the semester is quite simple: we want to give ourselves and all our students the best odds for beginning the new school year without major disruption. We are hopeful that by late September, moreover, international travel restrictions will have been eased or lifted, thereby improving the likelihood our international students will be able to travel successfully from their home countries to New York.
Upon reopening, SVA will follow government guidelines and best practices in higher education for social distancing, which could include some or all of the following measures: limiting class size, wearing masks while inside campus buildings, and limiting the size of campus functions and activities in accordance with state and local requirements. To create additional space to accommodate smaller studio classes, some introductory-level Humanities & Sciences and Art History classes will be offered online. Academic buildings will likely close at 12:00 midnight, and reopen at 7:00am, to allow cleaning crews to sanitize our facilities and equipment. Each of these measures are intended to keep every member of the SVA community safe and healthy.
As you have no doubt discovered, what we knew to be “normal” back in February no longer exists. While the coronavirus will likely ease this summer and fall, it is equally likely to return this winter. That is just simply a possibility with which we would need to contend. But good planning and taking all necessary precautions should prevent the next wave of this pandemic from being as disruptive to our lives.
What I have described here is by no means unique to the School of Visual Arts. Thousands of colleges and universities in the US and abroad are taking all the same steps to keep their communities safe, and to minimize the effects of possible future disruptions to students’ educational experience.
I’m sure you have many questions about the fall semester. To help answer your questions, I will be hosting a series of virtual town hall meetings, where I will share the latest information about the fall semester, and you will be able to ask questions. The dates and times of these meetings will be announced soon.
In the meantime, please direct your specific questions to the appropriate offices listed below.
As I noted at the start of this letter, everyone at SVA misses you very much; we cannot wait for your return; and we are excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. This is, to be sure, a time of change—and challenges—but as a community we will persevere, and we will make things better than they were before this virus interrupted our lives.
I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Wishing you all the very best,
Christopher J. Cyphers, PhD
Provost, School of Visual Arts
BFA Academic Advisement: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Aid: email@example.com
Student Health and Counseling Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Accounts: email@example.com
Student Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Student Office: email@example.com
Residence Life: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note: This notification was edited on May 9, 2020.