Student Government Assembly addresses downward trend in COVID-19 infections and more | by Emma Taylor Connolly | October 2021
According to the vice president of student health, Dr Carlo Ciotoli, the number of COVID-19 cases on campus has declined as the fourth wave of the pandemic approaches. He explained: “The fourth wave appears to have plateaued and is actually starting to improve,” noting that the city’s case count is also declining.
According to Dr Ciotoli, “We had a bump immediately after everyone got here,” which, he explained, was expected with tens of thousands of people returning to campus. Dr Ciotoli said the initial rise in NYU infection rates was actually “much lower than that of other large institutions, like Duke and Cornell.”
Immediately after the first week case spike, the next three weeks followed a downward trend in the number of cases, which he attributes to NYU’s COVID compliance protocols. Last week, 102 cases were recorded, compared to 157 immediately after the welcome week, according to Dr Ciotoli.
“If we look at the data, the number of cases has trended downward largely because everyone did what they are supposed to be doing,” said Dr Ciotoli. âIf these trends continue, we can explore easing restrictions in some areas. “
Expansion of rapid testing on campus
NYU’s Student Health Center is working to expand rapid testing on campus, according to Ciotoli, although it will likely be in a few weeks. âBut as cold and flu season approaches, that would be a welcome update on campus,â he said.
The Student Health Center and the COVID-19 Response Team are also implementing discretionary testing on campus. This allows everyone in the NYU community to test once a week if they are feeling nervous for reasons other than exposure, symptoms, or not being vaccinated. These reasons may include traveling or attending a large social gathering.
While discretionary testing is a welcome resource for students, representatives at the meeting raised concerns that more testing is not mandatory in such circumstances, such as travel.
“Obviously it will be even difficult to keep track of what the students are actually doing, but if we are aware of a high risk situation, we can contact these students and tell them that we would like them to get tested,” Ciotoli said. . âTesting is not mandatory, but it is encouraged. “
Vaccination rates on campus
NYU immunization rates have been largely satisfactory, Ciotoli said, with rates ranging from 96 to 97% among staff, 98 to 99% among students, and 99% and above for full-time faculty.
Ciotoli explained that this is an important part of their COVID-19 prevention strategy, with people who are exempt or not fully vaccinated to be tested weekly. The Daily Screener, he clarified, guarantees that anyone entering an NYU building is either fully vaccinated or has an exemption and has tested negative.
Updates on COVID Compliance Protocols
NYU’s COVID-19 prevention response in classrooms has reduced the risk of infection on campus, according to Ciotoli.
âWe can try to punch holes in our security layers,â Ciotoli said, âBut collectively we can be assured that we have a pretty solid plan in place and that we look good or even better than most. of the colleges that we have seen. “
Ciotoli explained that the high overall vaccination rate of the NYU student body and faculty, as well as wearing the mask, completing daily screening, and encouraging sick students to stay home have all been effective in preventing the spread in classrooms. According to the data he shared at the meeting, there was virtually no clustering of cases from classrooms, with almost all of the clusters of cases related to social and off-campus activities.
When a member of the SGA asked why the daily check is still required, Ciotoli explained that the entrance checkers are mandated by New York State HERO Act and probably won’t be changed anytime soon. He also said visitors to campus this semester will likely be limited to those visiting for academic reasons.
Regarding changes to NYU’s COVID-19 security protocols, Ciotoli explained that he’s working closely with faculty on the issue of flexibility, saying he’s concerned that students show up in class with symptoms because they fear the teachers will not be accommodating. He encouraged sick students to stay home and said he had worked with the provost’s office to remove sickness note requirements for students who are feeling symptomatic or who may have been exposed.
Divest NYU urges university to freeze investments in fossil fuel companies and private prison system
Divest from NYU, an initiative launched by the Sunrise NYU student group, urges the university’s board of trustees to immediately and permanently freeze any new investment in the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. Student activists have unveiled a new list of demands for the NYU endowment investment. They hope collect at least 1,000 signatures in support of this proposal to be submitted to the school board.
Other divestment initiatives include ending NYU’s involvement in private prison companies and pushing for the university to allocate more funds to the Office of Sustainability. The petition, which has over 700 signatures, has been signed by the student government executive committee and is currently being considered by the student senator council.
The petition, which demands that NYU use its endowment as a “vehicle of opportunity” to “improve the education of its students and reflect the values ââof the institution,” has been endorsed by a number of community groups, including NYU YDSA, Felicia Singh, Democrat for the New York City Council Campaign, and Hour H, a youth-led climate justice advocacy group. Student leaders at the SGA meeting urged NYU-elected senators to present the petition to their respected community organizations to gain more support for the Divest Campaign to use in its meeting with the administration of the ‘university.
NYU’s Vice President of Global Campus Security discussed public safety protocols and law enforcement presence on campus
Fountain Walker, Vice President of Global Campus Safety, opened the floor for questions on campus safety and the role of police on campus. This follows a shooting at the Tandon School of Engineering which injured a student in September.
His opening remarks focused on the three aspects that Campus Safety seeks to improve after the shooting: communication, training and the role of law enforcement on campus.
Regarding communication during incidents, Walker acknowledged that the wording of the alerts after the shooting at 6 Metrotech Center was vague: in the area.
âWe realized there was an opportunity to say more,â Walker said. Walker also acknowledged that the wording of the post made it easier to reject students, given that Metrotech Plaza, where a courthouse is located, usually has a heavy police presence.
Regarding training, Walker assured that the university offers optional active threat training on the NYU Campus Security website for students, faculty and staff.
One of the main concerns in the assembly was whether or not NYU would allow police presence on campus and what alternatives, if any, the school was considering. Walker explained that Campus Safety can only defuse situations that occur in NYU buildings and cannot help with criminal activity. In the event of a medical emergency, a police officer is always called to the scene, according to New York City law. He explained that the NYPD is only called if the circumstances are beyond NYU’s authority.
âNYU is not a traditional campus,â Walker said. âWe are integrated into the infrastructure of New York City; we are built in twelve different police stations in the city.
Another concern raised by meeting attendees was about police entering buildings in the event of a non-emergency or failing to comply with NYU’s COVID-19 prevention restrictions. Walker agreed mask compliance has been an issue with law enforcement on campus and explained that the best course of action is to report these cases to the Public Safety Bureau.
Wasserman Center for Career Development Launches New Networking Program
In lighter news, the Executive Committee announced that the Wasserman Center is adopting a new networking program, called the Student Club Partnership Program, allowing clubs to partner and build relationships with off-campus employers. The program will offer diversity networking nights, access to internship and career development opportunities, and industry-specific professional training.
Senators proposed new initiatives on inclusion training resources
SSC Vice President Mira Silveira announced that in collaboration with the NYU Administrative Management Board, pronoun training will be required for students and faculty for the spring semester.
Similarly, Ron Hall, Senator for the School of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced that in partnership with the Center for Multicultural Programs, NYU is unveiling a training model for global inclusiveness, with a semi-finalized program which will hopefully be completed. by November. It will be sent to priority groups, such as SGA. Hall said he hoped to make the program mandatory for next year, similar to required programs like AlcoholEDU.