One question on the minds of many prospective students and their families right now is how universities across the country are keeping students safe in light of the global pandemic. And rightfully so. College life looks very different today than it did last year. So information about student safety is crucial to making an informed decision about where to apply for college. 

At NYU, we stand firm in our commitment to student safety. As a result, we have adapted many of our existing protocols and policies to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations. In addition, we’ve implemented some new guidelines to curb the spread of the virus. Below are a few of the ways NYU is keeping students safe this semester.


The Go Local Initiative

NYU’s global network allows our students to seamlessly learn and study all over the world. Our network is made up of three degree-granting campuses and 12 global academic sites. And this semester, we have used our global resources to support our students in almost every corner of the world. Through our Go Local initiative, students are able to attend in-person classes at an NYU site near their home.

In addition, students have the option to enroll in virtual courses at a global site, where classes are offered in their local time zone. This has eased a huge burden for many students who would have had to manage travel restrictions and other hurdles in trying to return to New York. By tapping into our rich global resources, we have kept our students safe. And they have been able to continue their studies without interruption.

Public Health Ambassadors Program

NYUʼs Public Health Ambassadors (PHA) program is another way weʼre keeping students safe. The PHA program began this fall as a way to promote positive public health behaviors on campus. PHAs, who are current students, act as role models by obeying COVID-19 guidelines. And they educate their peers on the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus. They’re also supplied with masks and hand sanitizer to pass along to NYU community members in need. This program is not only a great way to keep students safe but also a great reminder of NYUʼs amazing community. Even in the midst of a pandemic, students are working together to take care of one another.

Students in a classroom wearing masks.
An NYU student using the daily screener and a tote bag that reads “keep each other safe.
Free and Accessible Testing

NYU offers free COVID-19 tests to students to help prevent the spread of the virus on campus. Through the Student Health Center, NYU students have access to testing and other medical resources. Testing is regular and ongoing. And students who plan to live and study on campus are required to participate. Students also complete a daily online screener to gain access to NYU buildings.

Virtual Connections

Campus life may be different in light of the pandemic, but itʼs still thriving! NYU keeps students safe by hosting virtual gatherings. To start the year, NYU Welcome featured over 600 virtual events to welcome new and returning students. Events included a presidential welcome, paint nights, comedy shows, and virtual receptions. There was even a special virtual performance by John Legend.

Student clubs and organizations are also still flourishing this semester. The NYU Engage platform has made it easy for students to connect to clubs, organizations, and events. Students are able to attend a virtual club fair through NYU Engage. The platform allows students to meet with representatives from more than 300 clubs and connect with like-minded students.

Hosting events to help students make connections with their peers was a key focus. But the mental and emotional wellness of students has been a top priority as well. MindfulNYU continues to offer free virtual meditation and yoga sessions. And our Student Health Center is open for virtual counseling and wellness workshops. They also have virtual “drop-in” hours students can take advantage of throughout the week.

Final Thoughts

If 2020 has taught us anything, itʼs taught us how important it is to be flexible in this ever-changing climate. We changed the way students connect with one another and how they engage in class. And we used our resources in ways weʼd never imagined. We learned a lot as an NYU community this semester as a result of the changes. And the lessons learned will inform how we approach safety in the future. But the one thing that remains unchanged is our commitment to keeping our students safe.

Camille Wilson is the Assistant Director of Visitor Relations & Special Events in the Division of Enrollment Management at NYU. She’s spent the last decade in Higher Education working to nurture and inspire student leaders by supporting their holistic growth and development. When she’s not mentoring college students, she’s helping her readers toast to life’s memorable moments on her blog.