YU Announces Shift to Remote Classes and Final Exams for the Remainder of the Fall 2021 Semester

By: Rebecca Aduculesi  |  December 20, 2021

By Rebecca Aduculesi, News Editor

In an email sent out to the YU community on December 20, 2021, YU announced that due to the “significant increases in COVID-19 cases throughout New York State over the course of the past week,” all undergraduate classes and final exams will be remote starting on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

In the email, YU stated that although the university’s number of positive COVID-19 cases is low, it is nonetheless making this shift to “protect the health and safety of our community.” In addition, YU stated that it made this decision because “we expect that the NYC and the Tri-State area cases will continue to go up based on most recent available data.”  

Although classes will be remote, dormitory buildings, Batei Midrash [Torah studying hall], libraries, cafeterias and athletic centers will remain open to students. In addition, students will still have the option to stay on campus for Shabbat [Sabbath], and there will be in-person or grab-and-go meal options available. However, in all other university events and activities, food will not be available. 

The email stated that weekly COVID-19 testing will remain in place, and the university “will be in touch with details regarding testing requirements for the Spring Semester.” In addition, students are expected to continue wearing facemasks in all public indoor spaces unless they are eating or drinking. Finally, YU told students and faculty, “If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID, you should NOT come to class or work.”

The email concluded by telling students that YU will be “sharing additional information in the coming days with updates on COVID protocols for the remainder of the semester including updates on testing, boosters and events for the winter and spring semester.”    

Some students expressed positive feelings about this announcement. An anonymous student (YC ‘23) told the YU Observer, “There was a palpable fear among the student body that because YU was one of the first schools to go online when the first wave of COVID-19 came ashore over a year ago, YU would be hesitant to close down again. Given the proliferation of a disease with still unknown effects, I am happy to see YU put the safety of its students before the politics of the institution and the image that closing down early might create.” 

Chloe Schreiber (SCW ‘23) expressed that she found part of this announcement to be shocking. She told the YU Observer, “I think that because there are only a couple of more days left of classes in the semester, it made the decision to move fully online a lot less difficult. The requirement of finals to be given fully online is a lot more shocking, and I’m curious to see how teachers will be formatting their exams given the switch.”

However, some students were unhappy about this announcement. An anonymous student told the YU Observer, “I understand why it’s necessary, but last year was so lonely. I can’t imagine this being what everyone really wanted. Exams are going to be chaotic.”