Holidays, Summer Hours, and Fall Planning

Dear Cooper Union:

This has been an unusual end to the spring semester. More than ever, after months of remaining in or close to our apartments or homes, we are all looking forward to enjoying some warm weather and being able to enjoy the outdoors as governors open parks, beaches, and recreation areas. 

We hope you all enjoy this Memorial Day weekend. As a reminder, in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, 2020, all of Cooper Union’s online services will be closed. 

Preparing Reopening Plans
Our physical campus will continue to remain closed to all but essential personnel after the Memorial Day weekend. We are closely monitoring Governor Cuomo’s Moving New York Forward initiatives for information on when New York City will be released into Phase One of reopening. The indicators are that New York City should enter Phase One of reopening sometime in early to mid-June. The Governor’s decision will be based on the continuing decline of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 and a continued decline in hospitalizations and deaths. 

Even after New York City moves into Phase One, most Cooper Union employees will continue to work from home throughout the summer, as there will still be state and city restrictions in place on the number of people that can be in our buildings. As previously announced, summer classes for degreed programs and continuing education will all be held online. We do not want to put any of our faculty, staff, or students at risk by returning to campus too soon. Social distancing, testing, and contact tracing protocols along with enhanced campus cleaning protocols that strictly follow CDC and state guidelines must all be established and activated before in-person work and learning begins again, and we are working on those initiatives now so that we are ready when the city and state allow for a reopening. We will be making decisions regarding the fall semester in the coming weeks.  (See today’s message from President Sparks.)

Campus Access to Retrieve Personal Items
We have received requests from students, faculty, and staff to return to campus to pick up belongings left behind in the Residence Hall, lockers, studios, labs, offices, and classrooms. We are working on a schedule to be released next week so that those who wish to can register for a date and time to collect personal items from campus. Everyone who comes on campus will be required to follow strict health and safety guidelines. Students will be able to return books to the library during their registered timeslot on campus.

Summer Hours for Staff
We will continue Summer Hours even while we work from home. Summer Hours will begin the week of June 1 and end the week of August 24, 2020.  

As in past years, and in accordance with the Agreement between Cooper Union and U@CU, the Summer Hours will be as follows: 

  • Employees will be off on Fridays. The first Friday off is June 5 and the last Friday off is August 28. 
  • On a revised schedule based on social distancing and allowances from the Governor for essential personnel to work in New York City, Buildings & Grounds employees may be called to campus to provide essential duties for up to 35 hours, comprised of four working days, from Monday through Thursday, of nine hours and 15 minutes per day, including a 30-minute lunch break. 
  • All other staff employees, unless directed otherwise, will work remotely for 30 hours, comprised of four working days, from Monday through Thursday, of eight hours and 15 minutes per day, including a 45-minute lunch break.  The normal work day will be from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.

Important Dates

  • Independence Day will be celebrated as a four-day weekend (this year only), including Friday, July 3 (a summer Friday off) and Monday, July 6, 2020.
  • Fall semester 2020 will begin on Monday, August 31, 2020.   
  • Labor Day will be celebrated on Monday, September 7, 2020.

Vacation Days
The Cooper Union’s vacation policy has not changed. Employees with unused vacation time should schedule time off with their managers. Most employees can carry over up to 11 days of unused time into next year. If you are concerned about your ability to use this year’s vacation by the end of August, please talk to your manager.

A Heartfelt Thank You
We recognize that without everyone’s efforts, we would not have been able to convert our programs to online learning so quickly and successfully to complete the spring semester.  Thank you for your work and commitment in making it possible to provide a different yet meaningful academic experience for our students during these past few months.

This Memorial Day weekend, in addition to honoring those who died while serving our country in the military, let us all take a moment to honor and thank the many heroes in our communities who have put themselves in harm’s way to serve us through this pandemic, and let us remember all – fellow New Yorkers and those across the nation and the globe – whose lives have been lost.

Let the summer sunshine bring us rays of hope for finding a vaccine and effective treatments.  We look forward to seeing everyone again on our Cooper Union campus when it is safe to do so. 

Enjoy your summer!

Natalie Brooks
Chief Talent Officer

  • 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.