March 16, 2021 Notification
Planning Update for the 2020-2021 SVA Academic Year
Dear SVA Student:
This letter comes to you on the one-year anniversary of our transition to remote learning, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been, to say the very least, a difficult and confusing year for every member of the SVA community—but most especially for you, our students. Besides some of the obvious challenges that come with learning and creating art online, there has been loss, as well as a sense of isolation and disconnection that many of us have experienced this past year. I commend you for your fortitude and resilience in the face of such significant challenges.
But with the arrival of spring comes some very promising news regarding the major efforts underway to bring the pandemic under control in the United States, and for us to see a return of our lives to some semblance of normalcy, as is the case for much of the world. First and foremost is the rollout of several different COVID-19 vaccines, all of which are very effective at providing immunity to the virus, including most of the known variants you’ve heard about in the news. Eligibility and accessibility to the vaccine is increasing daily, with current projections indicating that all adults in the US will be able to be vaccinated in the summer. The vaccination program in the US and other countries does not, however, mean an immediate return to life as we knew it before the pandemic. We will still need to take precautions to protect ourselves and our friends and families.
With this in mind, I want to update you on our ongoing plans for the reopening of SVA to in-person classes for the fall semester. I would like to provide you with a bit more detail on what the fall semester will look like:
- Fully online classes in Art History and Humanities & Sciences will continue for the 2021-2022 school year, as well as certain lecture-based classes in your major.
- Fully online classes will be offered for international students who cannot travel to the US because of visa issues or travel restrictions.
- Hybrid classes will be offered in most courses that are taught in a computer lab. In order to limit capacity to 8-10 individuals in a lab, groups will alternate: half the class will meet in-person one week, while the other half follows along online; the following week, those who followed online will be in class, and so forth.
- Most studio classes will meet in-person, with a class size of between 10-12 individuals.
- SVA plans to open all its residence halls to capacity, with students sharing common spaces and bathrooms. Determinations on changes to other policies for the 2021-2022 year (guest visitation, other interim COVID-19 policies) will be made and announced in early to mid-summer, guided by and in conjunction with New York State COVID-19 guidelines, CDC recommendations and vaccine availability.
- Space will be available for students who need to quarantine.
- Returning students who are interested in housing placement for the 2021-2022 academic year may email: firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about housing placement options.
STUDENT HEALTH AND COUNSELING SERVICES
- SVA’s Office of Student Health and Counseling Services continues to provide free and confidential short-term services for current undergraduate and graduate students via secure and remote video sessions.
- To set up a meeting with a clinician or for assistance with accessing additional health resources you may email: email@example.com
PREVENTION, VACCINATIONS, AND TESTING
- Anyone who enters an SVA building will be required to wear an approved face covering and to follow all posted policies and protocols including requirements for physical distancing
- Every member of the SVA community is strongly encouraged to receive a full course of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that has emergency use authorization (EUA) through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or an acceptable equivalent of those vaccines administered outside the US.
- SVA community members that will be on campus this fall will need to comply with requirements for initial COVID-19 testing and ongoing surveillance testing. SVA will make necessary arrangements for these tests, there will be no cost to you or your health insurance for the tests. More details on SVA’s testing protocols will be provided as we get closer to the start of the semester.
- Throughout the pandemic, SVA has followed the continually evolving guidance of New York State for quarantine as well as isolation of people who have COVID-19. SVA reports cases of COVID-19 among community members recently on campus to the New York City Department of Health and has notified close contacts at SVA of their need to quarantine. SVA files a daily report to New York State and that information is available publicly at this New York State Department of Health page.
TRAVEL TO THE US
- It is our hope that most, if not all, travel restrictions into the US will by the summer be lifted or significantly relaxed, and that once all U.S. Embassies and Consulates resume normal operations, that student visa issuance is prioritized. This will allow international students to participate in the fall semester in-person.
- For students unable to travel to the US because of visa issues or the continuation of travel restrictions for certain countries, SVA will continue to offer remote learning.
- Stay in contact with the International Student Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for updates.
We have heard from a number of our Asian students concerns about the wave of anti-Asian activities in several American cities. A week ago, SVA’s leadership sent all students a letter https://sva.edu/features/reopening-sva condemning all verbal and physical attacks against Asians of all national and cultural backgrounds. Please know that SVA is committed to providing all students with a safe place to study and live. Our new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Jarvis Watson, is working to create venues for students to express their concerns about these anti-Asian activities—and discrimination and harrassment of all types.
I will continue to communicate with you every month to provide the latest updates on SVA’s reopening plans. We will also plan to conduct several Webinars later this spring with additional details about the College’s reopening. Students will have the opportunity to submit questions.
In the meantime, take good care. As I have said all along, we will continue to get through this time of unparalleled challenges together.
All the very best,
Christopher J. Cyphers, Ph.D.