The campus is closed and staff will work remotely at least until the governor announces the reopening of the New York City Region. See the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates page.

Coronavirus & Remote Learning FAQ for Faculty

Why are students logging in to class from their bed?

This might be the only place they currently have that is calm or quiet enough for them to attend class or simply the only place where they’re currently staying where there is space. 

Why aren’t students activating their video in my Zoom/Teams classes?

While no one likes talking to a blank screen or a screen full of small black boxes with names printed in them, there are a variety of reasons why students may not turn their video on during class.  Here are a few:

  • Slow or limited internet – voice connection uses much less bandwidth than video and will hold longer if the connection is weak; many students are using their family networks to tele-connect along with parents, siblings, and other family members
  • Non-functional camera or lack of camera on the device they are using for the class (many desktop computers do not have built-in cameras) or they may be attending class on their phone and are not able to engage fully while holding it to face them
  • Feeling uncomfortable with faculty/peers seeing where they are currently living and what assumptions others might make about them because of it, particularly for reasons relating to their social class or culture
  • Other people being seen in the video if the student doesn’t have a dedicated and private place to work
  • Not wanting to be show themselves due to illness, stress, anxiety, or other health-related reasons
  • Fear of bullying from peers and/or judgement from faculty for something the video feed could reveal (e.g., things in a parent’s home that the student themselves does not agree with)
  • Feeling like it is an invasion of their privacy
  • Needing to balance attending classes while taking care of other responsibilities at home at the same time (e.g., watching younger siblings; helping around the house)

While it is easier to feel engaged with the students whose faces you can see, please try not to make assumptions about students who are present but unseen.  While one may be asleep or watching Netflix, most are dealing with one or more of the situations described above.

One of my students does not have access to the technology needed to participate in their classes.  What resources are there to help them?

For students who do not have personal technology that will allow them to access your online course, please reach out to the IT Department who has been working with students to help them get connected.  For other issues relating to technology and your course, are there other ways that the student could have access to a different experience that will help achieve a similar learning outcome?  Work with the student individually to determine a best course of action that is accessible to them and within their means.   

Our class is at the same time it has always been.  Why aren’t students logging in during the scheduled time?

While many Cooper Union students are still located in the tri-state area, others have returned home to their families in time zones across the world and may no longer be able to attend class at the same time.  Even students who are still present in New York City may be experiencing changes to their normal routines that prohibit them from attending synchronous class – they may need to work to support their family; they may need to assist with childcare for younger siblings or the children of their own siblings; they may have become the primary caretaker for an ill or elderly relative; they may be struggling with their own health and wellness; or they may not have access to a computer or internet connection during the time when your class meets.

Please be understanding of the challenges your students may be balancing during this difficult time and create ways for them to engage in the course content outside of your scheduled class hours.

What are some things to consider for asynchronous engagement?

  • Written responses to material covered in the recorded class session
  • Work with students to ensure any group projects or teams will work across the time zones they are in
  • Create mechanisms for class discussion that can happen outside of the class hours
  • Utilize online resources such as youtube demonstrations, recorded lectures, and virtual exhibits to supplement information given during class
  • Review resources for ideas:

What do students need from their faculty right now?

  • Expectations-setting: Be clear with your students about what they can expect from your class for the rest of the semester; update your syllabus with any alterations to assignments, deadlines, and class materials; and remind them to communicate with you about any challenges they face in meeting those expectations.
  • Accessibility: You may need to ask your students directly what will work for them in terms of how they connect with you through email, virtual office hours, and any other methods that you might want to employ.  Please remember time zone challenges when creating office hour alternatives and use a reasonable amount of flexibility with students about meeting times or viable alternatives if your day is their night and there are no concurrent times that work. 

What other things can I do to help students succeed with the remaining part of this semester?

This semester is not easy – for faculty or for students.  Role model the kindness and resiliency you hope they show during our time away from Cooper and from each other.   Refer concerns to the appropriate dean or office.  Remember that there are many possible reasons behind actions someone is or is not taking to engage in your class and that everyone is dealing with stress in ways particular to themselves.

One of my students has not attended class and is not responding to my emails.  What should I do?

Please let your academic dean know, and email to let the Student Affairs team know as well.  The dean will check in with that student’s other faculty to see if the issue is limited to your class or more wide-spread.  The Student Affairs team will do additional outreach to the student and to other relevant offices on campus to try to make contact. There are a variety of reasons why someone may not be responding, including illness, lack of internet access, family situations, and being in a travel-related quarantine in their country of origin.

What resources can I give students who are struggling with non-academic things?

Mental Health

Student Affairs is sending a weekly email of the counseling options available to students, including scheduled remote sessions with onsite counselors, CooperCare*, and the off-campus network of counselors who work with our students.  Additionally, please email or with any specific questions, concerns, or referrals regarding the mental health of one of your students and someone from the Student Affairs team will be in touch.  For emergency situations, 911 remains your best resource.

Domestic violence

You may have seen reports in the media that the ongoing stay-at-home orders in much of the nation are resulting in an increase in domestic violence.  There are resources available to students who are struggling with homes that may be unsafe.  Please refer any concerns of this nature regarding your students to the Title IX Coordinator, Grace Kendall (, and she will reach out to the student with the appropriate resources.  If you have concerns about your own safety or that of another employee, please reach out to Mary Ann Nissen ( in Human Resources for assistance.

Financial issues

Students seeking to have their financial aid package reevaluated due to job-loss or other change in finances should contact the financial aid office.

Students experiencing financial emergencies should complete an application for emergency assistance at via this page: Dean Chamberlin reviews all applications and connects students to available resources. Please do not guarantee that any funding will be possible; resources are limited, though work is actively being done to increase emergency funds.

Why is CooperCare not available to some students right now?

Unfortunately, due to licensing limitations, CooperCare is not available to users who are physically outside of the United States, regardless of their nationality.  All currently enrolled Cooper students who are still physically present in the U.S. can still access CooperCare for medical and mental health needs free of charge and without needing to use any kind of health insurance. 

The Student Affairs team is working with Hala Alkasm, the Assistant Director of International Student Services to provide resources for students currently located outside of the U.S.  Please email to request outreach to any students abroad.

One of my students emailed me that they (or their family member) has Covid-19.  How should I reply?

Below is some sample language you can use to reply to a student who emails you about a Covid-19 diagnosis.  Please feel free to adapt it to something that feels natural to you.

“Dear [student], 

Thank you for reaching out to me.  I am so sorry to hear of the stress and fear [you/your family] is going through and send hopes for [your/your relative’s] health and recovery.

I know you must be managing a number of needs outside of your academics, and I wanted to share some information with you that you may find helpful. 

If you are still in the U.S., please remember that you have 24/7 access to telehealth through for physical and mental health needs.  This access is free and do not require health insurance.  If you are currently outside of the U.S. and seeking mental health support, please visit Befriender’s Worldwide to search options in your area.

In case you have not already reached out to them, I am going to share your email with [Academic Dean name] and with Dean Chamberlin, so they can offer you additional assistance in reaching out to other faculty and navigating the semester. 

Once you are feeling better and able to reengage with courses, I will work with you on how you can complete the remaining work for my class.  Be well and stay in touch.”

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.