Coronavirus Update -- March 23

To all members of the Cooper Union Community: 

On Friday March 20, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State would be executing several measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. As of 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 100% of the workforce must stay home (excluding essential services). Furthermore, he has temporarily banned all “non-essential gatherings of individuals” of any size and for any reason. Many businesses, such as barbershops and hair salons, gyms, theaters, and shopping malls are closed until further notice. Restaurants and bars are closed for dining, but takeout can be ordered at this time. Following best practices set forth by the CDC, the Department of Health, and others, it is also recommended that people remain indoors, wear a mask in the company of others, stay at least 6 feet from others, and avoid public transportation if at all possible.

A full listing of these directives can be found here. You can also learn more about New York’s PAUSE.

Thankfully, as of now, there is still only one member of the Cooper community (faculty, students, or staff) who is known to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Any new cases that are revealed to us will be reported on our website, and we will notify all individuals who are known to have been in contact with the affected person. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 (even if you were not tested in NYC), particularly if you have been on campus in the past 14 days, we strongly encourage you to notify us by sending an email to

It is important to reiterate that COVID-19 is actively circulating in the community. Furthermore, the New York City Department of Health is no longer conducting contact tracing, is limiting testing for more serious cases and those needing hospitalization, and is focused on efforts to reduce community transmission.

As of now, the residence hall remains open for a limited number of students who have made a decision to stay on campus. All students staying in the residence hall are in private bedrooms to maintain appropriate social distancing. The Foundation Building, 41 Cooper Square, and our offices in 30 Cooper Square will be closed to anyone other than essential personnel.

Today also marks the beginning of our “Independent Study Week”. During this time, students are encouraged to engage in coursework that can be completed independently (for example, catching up on readings, writing assignments, and/or assigned problem sets). This is also an opportunity for faculty, students, and staff to become more familiar with the technologies that will enable them to continue being vital contributors and participants as part of our community. If you have any questions about this transition, please email Even if we are physically distant, let us stay socially connected.

Wishing all the best for our community,

Thomas Tresselt, Director of Campus Safety and Security
Ruben Savizky, Ph.D., Campus-Wide Faculty Safety Coordinator

  • 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.