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March 04, 2020

A Message from Lehman College President Daniel Lemons

Dear colleagues:

As the number of confirmed cases in the New York City area has risen to 11 as of this update, Lehman continues to actively monitor cases in our surrounding community. We have also created a landing page for all relevant Covid-19 updates on our website, http://lehman.edu/coronavirus/

You may have seen news today about the City University of New York (CUNY)’s decision, along with the State University of New York (SUNY), to support students who are traveling abroad in Warning Level 3 countries to return or remain, depending on factors of each individual case. We have been in communication with Lehman students to whom this would apply.

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered home from Italy, Japan and South Korea, 300 study-abroad students, 260 SUNY students and 40 CUNY students. They will be flying to Stewart Air Force Base on Saturday. While they are not required to return to New York, the risk of not returning now is that they may be unable to return later should borders be closed. These returning students will be quarantined on a SUNY campus until they are cleared to go home. We will work with our quarantined students so they can complete their coursework for the term.

CUNY has another 150 students in other countries and could decide to bring them back but is not requiring them to return at this point. CUNY is, however, cancelling all spring programs for Level 2 and Level 3 countries but will wait to decide on summer and fall programs.

CUNY has also set up a Covid-19 task force chaired by Executive Vice Chancellor Hector Batista. Our campus administration will communicate with them and queries should continue to be directed to the most relevant administration area at Lehman.

While we have no reason at this point to consider closing the college, we obviously need to be prepared in case we would need to do that. The matter of maintaining academic continuity is being discussed with faculty and staff, and being planned for, but something every member of the Lehman campus community can do right away is to be certain that their CUNYfirst contact information is accurate and up to date so information and updates will be received. Every member of the campus community should also be sure they are registered with the CUNY Alert system.

While we have experienced events that have impacted academic continuity in the past, such as Sept. 11th and Superstorm Sandy, this is a potentially unique situation. For most our classes, it is not a simple matter to convert an in-person class to online and doing so requires NYSED permission. We are, however, examining options for leveraging technology to support remote instruction. VP Ron Bergman will be sending a detailed communication on this to the campus shortly.

We are also recommending that employees returning from a country designated as Warning Level 3 or Alert Level 2 by the CDC contact the Lehman College Human Resources office by phone or email before returning to work at human.resources@lehman.cuny.edu or call 718-960-8181.


Daniel Lemons

Previous messages from President Lemons can be found here.