NYU Law School Student Tests Positive for COVID-19, Only Law School Community Notified

NYU administration has yet to notify the wider NYU community of the two confirmed cases.

NYU Local reports

A student at NYU School of Law has tested positive for COVID-19, Washington Square News reported, making them the second confirmed case in the NYU community.

The student attended classes on Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10, and exhibited symptoms associated with the disease by Tuesday night, according to an email sent by NYU Law Dean Trevor Morrison on Sunday afternoon, March 15. A faculty member at the law school had previously tested positive last week.

The student reported “feeling okay” and “in good spirits” by Sunday morning, according to the first email Morrison sent. The law school notified students and faculty who came into known contact with either individual of their potential exposure via email. But only students and professors who had classes with the student were originally notified on Sunday afternoon.

Morrison later emailed the entire law school community by 7:52 p.m. on Sunday about the new case. He reiterated that the administration’s policy does not include updating the entire community about each new case.

“…[G]oing forward, absent unusual case-specific circumstances warranting a broader notification, we will not necessarily provide community-wide notice of every positive test,” Morrison wrote. “I am sending this message now to reconfirm this notice policy.”

The individual, a first year graduate student, did not live in NYU Law residence halls and had returned home before showing signs of exposure to coronavirus last Tuesday, according to the email.

The risk of transmission to other NYU community members is low, the email continued, citing Carlo Ciotoli, the executive director of the NYU Student Health Center.

“Still, we have advised those who are known to have had direct contact with the student to actively monitor themselves for symptoms through March 24,” Morrison wrote. “[A]nd we have advised them on additional steps to take if they develop symptoms.”

At the time of publication, NYU administration has not sent a campus-wide message about the cases to the entire NYU community. University spokesperson John Beckman has not responded to a request for comment.

Some students expressed discontent with the lack of campus-wide notifications from NYU about the confirmed cases.

Joy Donaldson, a CAS senior studying political science, has taken classes with NYU Law professors and in the law building classrooms, but was not notified about the individuals who tested positive because she is not enrolled as a law student. “They’re continuing to act as if the law school is a completely separate entity when that’s just not the case,” Donaldson said.

“NYU loves to call itself a global university,” she continued, “but the fact is that they’ve abandoned their students during this time of need and aren’t providing the crucial support they promised their students upon committing to this school.”

Jae Thomas, a CAS senior studying journalism and English literature, was “extremely nervous” upon hearing about the two confirmed cases. “I had an appointment at the student health center scheduled for tomorrow for a personal health problem, but now I’m considering rescheduling,” Thomas said.

“Some of the staff and medical professionals may have already been exposed, and as someone who is immunocompromised, I can’t risk being exposed.”

Anna Giordano, a Steinhardt junior studying global public health and food studies, said it was “a bit of a shock” to hear about the cases of COVID-19 in the NYU community.

“I‘m a bit disappointed, actually,” Giordano said. “[B]ecause I thought at least the School of Public Health would be on it in terms of updating their own students and I haven’t heard a word.”

“For NYU to not notify everyone in their community is honestly scary because we come from literally all over the world,” she continued. “This is how these viruses spread so easily and it’s shocking they wouldn’t take action to alert the community and cause this distrust.”

Katia Altern, a CAS senior studying political science, was unsurprised by the lack of notification from the administration. “I guess I expected more from NYU since this is a literal pandemic,” Altern said, “but hey, at least [NYU] is consistent in its character.”