Illustration by Shahd Ngim.

Return to Campus Updates

A quick recap of the newest RTC updates as laid out by recent administrative communication.

Feb 7, 2022

The Return to Campus Committee shared an updated memorandum on NYU Abu Dhabi policies with the community on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 detailing changes in all areas of campus life. Here is a summary of these announcements.
In-Person Classes from Feb. 7
All classes are cleared to transition to in-person instruction in the third week of the semester, beginning Monday, Feb. 7. This is due to the relaxation of international travel restrictions, success of onboarding students and faculty as well as high rates of vaccination and boosters.
For the spring semester, all students are required to return to Abu Dhabi. In the event that insurmountable travel limitations arise, the Registrar's Office will contact students to discuss temporary alternatives.
Campus Cases Status
On campus, there is a significant drop in positive Covid-19 cases, which is consistent with the national trend over the last week. If things continue to progress as NYUAD’s public health experts predict, a complete return to campus life in the near future can be expected.
The RTC Team is optimistic that things will be able to return to pre-Omicron guidelines in the next weeks due to the high vaccination and booster rate, as well as the current public health efforts.
Classroom Instruction Guidance
Students and instructors must adhere to the following public health guidelines:
Masks must be worn at all times.
Follow the entry/exit pathways that are clearly marked and physically separated.
During instructional meetings/classes, eating is not permitted.
It is permitted to drink water. As soon as one’s finished drinking, they should put their mask back on.
There should be a two meter space between staff and pupils at all times.
Students and instructors should use the sanitizing wipes provided in each room to clean their desks at the start of each class.
Hands should be cleansed at the start of each lesson using the sanitizers located at the room's entrance.
Serco will help with deep cleaning on a daily basis.
Confirmed Case Protocol
The confirmed case protocol is available on the Student Portal. Students or instructors who are required to quarantine or isolate as hard contacts are not permitted to attend class and must participate remotely — if their condition allows for it.
D1 and D2 Indoor Seating Capacity
Beginning Feb. 7, the dining halls in D1 and D2 will offer limited and spacious indoor seating to students, faculty and staff.
Student Activity Rooms
Student activity rooms will be closed until March 1.
Office Hours and In-Person Meetings
Indoors, in-person office hours and meetings outside of the classroom are currently prohibited. In the absence of new public health guidelines, such meetings should continue to be held virtually or in outdoor spaces on campus.
In-Person Student Assistantships and Volunteer Work
On campus, in-person student assistantships and off-campus volunteer work will continue to be available online until Feb. 21, when it is expected they will resume in-person.
Booster Reminder
A Covid-19 vaccine booster is now required to retain a green Al Hosn for access to campus and public locations in Abu Dhabi, six months after the two first doses. Individuals who are due for a booster — six months after the initial course — but have not completed it by Feb. 7 will be denied admission to NYUAD premises. Failure to achieve the criterion may result in additional serious consequences for personnel, including being dropped from classes.
Mask Requirements
Face masks that cover the mouth and nose are required for all members of the NYUAD community. For the spring semester, disposable masks, preferably with a cloth mask over it to better fit, KN95 masks, KF94 masks and N95 masks are permitted. Cloth masks are insufficient on their own.
On campus, individuals may only remove their mask under the following circumstances:
When working alone in single-occupancy spaces with the door closed
While maintaining social distancing when actively eating
If they have an accommodation that precludes their wearing a face mask
Inside private residences
Rapid Antigen Testing
For the time being, NYUAD continues to require all community members who reside or work on campus to undergo mandatory weekly diagnostic PCR testing. To gain entry to campus, one must have a negative PCR test result that is at least seven days old, as well as a green pass on their Al Hosn app.
In the West Forum, a quick antigen testing station will be set up next to the PCR testing. In addition to any NYUAD or UAE mandatory diagnostic PCR testing, students will have the option of having a fast antigen test once a week. Students who choose quick antigen testing will be required to test and wait for results on site. If a student tests positive, they will be directed to the Student Health Center for further assistance.
Academic Progression During the Spring Semester
If the number of cases on campus continues to rise, faculty can expect many students to need to stay up with their classes online or through other alternate methods beyond the move to in-person instruction.
Faculty should arrange ahead of time to ensure that students who are unable to attend class in person may complete their coursework and are not academically disadvantaged. Faculty will decide what precise allowances to make for students to stay on track in their classes, considering the course's pedagogical demands as well as academic requirements and outcomes.
Students should not anticipate to attend in-person classes remotely for the entire semester, as flexibility is only available for a limited time.
Stefan Mitikj is Senior Communications Editor and Staff Writer. Email him at
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