Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Page last updated 8/3/2020

Preparing for the Fall Semester

St. Augustine

Preparing for the Fall Semester Plan

With the feedback and involvement of a broad cross-section of the St. John’s community, the Return to Campus Task Force has prepared a plan for the fall semester.

Preparing for the Fall Semester Plan

Dear Student,

Whether you’ll be joining us in person or virtually, we hope that you are as excited as we are to welcome you back this Fall. In the coming days you will be able to check UIS and see your updated Fall schedule. You’ll notice a few changes, which are based on state and local guidelines and the safety and well being of our campus community. Three key ideas:

  • We want those of you who choose to be on campus to have as many in-person classes as possible. A split schedule (some in-person, some on-line) may be necessary for some.
  • We must maintain appropriate social distancing to keep the community healthy, so each classroom will have a reduced capacity, which affects how we offer classes.
  • Though we hope to avoid changes in format, courses taught partially or fully in person will need to remain responsive to shifts in guidance from national, state, and/or local authorities; therefore, we have asked your faculty to be ready to move fully online at any time.

With those points in mind, this Fall’s classes will come in a few flexible varieties:

  • Fully In-Person Courses: These are the traditional classes you may be most accustomed to, with each in-person session taking place in the same classroom over the course of the semester.
  • Hybrid Courses: These courses come in two forms:
    • Rotating Courses: This is our newest format. In this model, your faculty member will teach each session in person, but you will attend either in person or online as part of a 2- or 3-week rotation (i.e., you’ll either spend 1 week in person/1 week online, or 1 week in person/2 weeks online). During your “online” weeks, you’ll participate in the class via a live stream and/or by viewing a recorded session.
    • Traditional Hybrid: In these classes, your faculty member and all your classmates will meet in person one day a week and online for a second weekly session.
  • Fully Online Courses: These courses also come in two forms:
    • Synchronous: In this format, your faculty member will live stream the course at the day and time on your schedule to you and your classmates, while also recording lectures/sessions for future reference.
    • Asynchronous: In this format, you will not need to log on at a specific date and time. Instead, you will complete assignments in accordance with a schedule provided by your faculty member. Any lectures or other materials will be recorded so that you can listen to/view them in keeping with class expectations

We understand that some of you may either choose not to come to campus or may be unable to physically return (for example, due to health concerns, you cannot get a visa appointment, etc.). In those cases, your deans will work with you to ensure that you have a schedule compatible with online learning.

Again, we are excited to welcome you back to a new and uniquely exciting academic year, that we are confident will provide you with distinctive opportunities to learn and interact with others and develop your full potential.


Office of the Registrar

June 24, 2020

We would like to provide you with further information regarding the delivery of Summer Session II academic programs as noted in the announcement dated May 1, 2020. The original plan was to offer a limited number of Summer Session II courses in an in-person or hybrid format based on public health guidelines. However, the latest New York state and local government guidelines stipulate that higher education institutions can only reopen under Phase 4, which is not expected to begin until late July. Accordingly, all Summer Session II courses will be offered in a fully online format. If you have any questions regarding your specific classes, please contact the dean’s office of your respective College or your academic adviser. 

As announced last week, the University is actively preparing for the reopening of the campus for the fall semester, which will now begin on August 24 and with in-person instruction ending prior to the Thanksgiving break. To provide you with the St. John’s campus experience, we plan to offer a combination of on-campus, in-person courses; courses in a hybrid format; and online classes. All classrooms will be reconfigured to accommodate social distancing during in-person instruction. To reduce density in classrooms, hybrid classes will allow students to attend some of their classes on campus and at other times attend classes remotely. Students who are registered for hybrid classes who prefer to take the class only remotely will be accommodated. More information regarding the fall semester is forthcoming; we continue to ask for your patience as we develop a schedule based on health and safety precautions. 

—Simon G. Møller, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Plan for Gradual Return to Campus – Summer 2020

Under the guidelines issued by the NYS Governor, the NYC region entered Phase 2 of reopening on June 22, 2020.  The Phase 2 reopening guidelines include certain on campus research activity and higher education administrative functions. In preparation for resuming certain on campus activities, in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, the University has developed this Plan for Gradual Return to Campus – Summer 2020 (the “Plan for Gradual Return to Campus”).

Read the Plan for Gradual Return to Campus – Summer 2020

Questions about how to access the COVID-19 Health and Wellness screening? Read our step-by-step instructions. (PDF)

    Academic Calendar Changes – Fall 2020

    Upon the recommendation of the University’s Academic Calendar Committee comprised of faculty, administrators, and students, and with the approval of Dr. Gempesaw, classes will begin August 24 instead of September 2 this fall.

    The main reason for the calendar adjustment is to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty, administrators, and staff by eliminating the need for students to return to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday.

    In order to accommodate for this earlier start date, the University will remain open and classes will be held on Labor Day, Veteran’s Day and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. No classes will be held on Election Day (November 3) and the University will be closed. Final Exam/Assessment week will be conducted remotely during the week following Thanksgiving, from November 30 to December 8. For additional information on the fall academic calendar, please refer to our online calendar

    Fall 2020: Additional Information 


    To provide you with the St. John’s campus experience while simultaneously keeping you safe, we plan to offer a combination of on-campus face-to-face courses, courses in a hybrid format, as well as online classes. All classrooms will be reconfigured to accommodate social distancing during in-person instruction. To reduce density in classrooms, hybrid classes will give students the option to attend some of their classes on campus and at other times attend classes remotely which can be synchronous or asynchronous. Students who are registered for hybrid classes that prefer to take the class remotely only will be accommodated.

    Social distancing and face masks

    Following public health guidelines, everyone on campus will be provided with a reusable cloth face coverings and be required to adhere to social distancing protocols. In-person gatherings are expected to be limited, and we are working on alternatives for large meetings and events using virtual technology.

    Hygiene and cleaning

    The University will implement increased cleaning and sanitization protocols to meet CDC and DOH requirements. The staff will be provided with personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and disinfectants. Hand sanitizer stations will be made available throughout campus. There will be signage posted prominently across campus to remind everyone of the importance of proper hygiene practices.


    To reduce density in residence halls, we have eliminated triple occupancy rooms. The University has also designated a residential building for quarantine and isolation purposes only, no other students will reside in this building. The Office of Residence Life will be providing resident students with more detailed information about returning to campus in the coming days.

    This page will provide additional updates on our return-to-campus plans as we progress in preparing for the fall semester.

    Prior COVID-19 Updates

    May 27, 2020

    It has been almost three months since St. John’s University closed its campuses in accordance with stay-at-home orders to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As states across the nation are gradually opening up, higher education institutions are planning and preparing for a return to campus in the fall semester.

    On May 1, 2020, I announced the appointment of the cross-functional Return to Campus Task Force (RCTF) to develop a comprehensive plan for the safe and gradual return to campus of our students and employees in the coming academic year. The task force, co-chaired by General Counsel Joseph Oliva and Provost Simon Møller, is comprised of administrators and faculty from various units. Guided by local, state and federal public health guidelines, the RCTF has focused on developing social distancing strategies, health and safety measures, outbreak responses, communication plans and mental health counseling initiatives. As always, the health and safety of students, faculty, administrators, and staff will remain our highest priority in developing plans for reopening the campus in the fall semester. 

    As presented during the virtual meeting attended by members of the President’s Advisory Council (PAC), Academic and Administrative Assembly (AAA), and invited campus leaders on May 22, 2020, below is a summary of the University’s current plans pertaining to the delivery of academic programs, health and safety measures to protect students and employees, and preliminary timeline of activities to prepare for campus reopening in the fall semester.

    Delivery of Academic Programs

    The delivery of academic programs is a critical component in our campus reopening plans. Following social distancing guidelines, a flexible instructional format is being planned to provide students with a hybrid of face-to-face instruction and online instruction. Students on campus will be able to avail of both in-class instruction and remote synchronous/asynchronous instruction through various technology tools.

    As part of the scenario planning for the delivery of academic programs, the Office of the Provost is working with deans, department chairs and program directors to determine which fall classes are best suited for face-to-face instruction or for online instruction. Three possible scenarios are being envisioned for class offerings which will be refined based on public health guidelines as the summer progresses:

    • Hybrid Scenario 1: Mostly face-to-face instruction and less online instruction
    • Hybrid Scenario 2: Some face-to-face instruction and some online instruction
    • Hybrid Scenario 3: Less face-to-face and mostly online instruction 

    Based on recommended health and safety measures, a preliminary assessment of the seating capacity for all classrooms in Queens, Manhattan, Hauppauge, and Staten Island campuses has been conducted. Using the six feet social distancing guideline, the existing seating capacity for each campus ranges from 34 percent, 49 percent, 53 percent, to 39 percent, respectively. To expand the face-to-face instructional seating capacity, the feasibility of repurposing non-classroom venues (such as Taffner Field House and DAC multi-purpose rooms) for instructional purposes is being explored. The option of adding other temporary classroom facilities is also being considered.

    Since we started implementation of our strategic priority to enhance the teaching and learning environment, more than 85 percent of University classrooms have already been updated with technology tools that facilitate face-to-face, synchronous, and asynchronous instruction. These technology tools, including lecture capture and livestreaming, are being installed in additional classrooms this summer to provide more flexibility in the hybrid delivery of academic programs. Classes already being offered online in previous years will continue to be offered online in the fall. In addition, classes that transitioned successfully to an online format this spring semester and are anticipated to be offered in the fall will be considered to continue in an online format.

    To enhance the delivery of academic programs using technology tools, Canvas, a learning management system (LMS), will be available for use starting this fall semester. Canvas is the leading LMS in higher education today. In order to teach hybrid and online classes, the Online Teaching Essentials (OTE) certification program will be offered during the summer. Faculty who are not OTE certified are encouraged to avail themselves of this professional development program by informing their department chair who will coordinate with the Office of Online Learning and Services. The Office of Online Learning and Services has also developed two self-paced foundational modules. The first module (3 hours) deals with Canvas, WebEx, and accessibility and inclusion, and the second module (6 hours) focuses on the fundamentals of online pedagogy. Faculty who are not planning on becoming OTE certified over the summer are encouraged to complete the two self-paced foundational modules.

    In early March, when the campus was considering the possibility of transitioning to remote learning due to the spread of COVID-19, Provost Møller formed the Academic Task Force composed of faculty and administrators from various academic units and offices. The Academic Task Force has been working closely with the Provost, deans, chairs, and faculty in:

    • providing virtual support to faculty seeking assistance in online teaching
    • identifying gaps and solutions in course continuity from in-class to online instruction
    • conducting the academic technology survey and faculty transition to online instruction survey
    • reviewing various COVID-19 related academic guidelines, including the development of the optional pass/fail grading system, extension of mid-term exam due date and course withdrawal due dates for the benefit of students and faculty still in transition mode.

    In planning the delivery of academic programs, there are additional questions being considered:

    • Is it feasible to ensure that the majority of students will have at least one or two face-to-face classes in the fall?
    • Should incoming first-year students be given priority when scheduling face-to-face classes since this is their first year in college?
    • Is it feasible to adopt rotating classroom occupancy so that groups of students in the same class can rotate between face-to-face and remote learning using lecture capture and livestreaming technology tools?
    • Can we offer sufficient flexibility to students so that they can livestream face-to-face, on campus courses if they are not comfortable coming to campus?
    • Should we expand in-class instruction to seven days a week to allow for more classes to be offered and still maintain the recommended social distancing guidelines?
    • Can we offer two terms in the fall semester to allow students to split course credit loads and facilitate the transition to online learning in case of an infection surge in the community?
    • Should we plan for face-to-face classes to conclude during Thanksgiving break so that students do not have to return to campus, and instead allow review sessions, reading days, and final exams/projects to be conducted remotely during the last two weeks of the semester?

    The Academic Task Force will take the lead in exploring these questions and will submit their recommendations to the President’s Advisory Council and Provost Deans’ Council. The deans will discuss these recommendations with their department chairs and faculty. Input and suggestions from the campus community are welcome and can be sent to Associate Provost Linda Shannon ([email protected]), Academic Task Force chair. 

    Employee Work Environment

    A risk mitigation strategy for employees such as rolling occupancy is being developed, including flexible on-campus and remote working schedules and office spaces. Steps are being undertaken to ensure appropriate physical distancing in all work areas to reduce office density. Installation of protective equipment (e.g., Plexiglass barriers/shields) in high volume areas on campus has already started. Offices are being mapped out to identify critical high-traffic areas or potential hot spots so that the appropriate risk mitigation strategies can be designed. Employees who are concerned about returning to campus due to pre-existing health conditions are encouraged to contact the Office of Human Resources. 

    Health and Safety Measures

    As part of the RCTF plan, adequate supplies of face masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for students, faculty, administrators, staff, and visitors to St. John’s campuses are being secured. All members of the campus community will be encouraged to wear face masks. Face shields will also be produced using the University’s 3-D printers as additional PPE. Plans are being developed to provide a sufficient supply of hand sanitizer, soap, and individual hand sanitizer dispensing stations throughout the campus. Enhanced cleaning protocols will be implemented so that all physical space on campus is sanitized and disinfected daily, and high-volume areas will be sanitized and disinfected throughout the day. 

    Mapping the room configuration of residence halls has also been initiated to determine the appropriate density plan for occupancy. Based on public health guidelines, preliminary estimates show that the occupancy of residence hall rooms may have to be reduced to a range of 59 percent to 75 percent of pre-COVID-19 capacity. Similar mapping initiatives are being explored for cafeterias and other open spaces. Distance signage will be designed and placed in many key locations on campus to remind community members to practice social distancing whenever possible. 

    A plan is being developed to implement comprehensive testing, tracing, and monitoring protocols in collaboration with a local healthcare system and public health officials. Voluntary temperature checks will also be considered as another precautionary tool. Due to the possibility that individual community members living on campus might test positive or be exposed to COVID-19, a temporary quarantine facility is planned to be designated on the Queens campus for those living on campus and who do not need to be hospitalized. Decision processes for shutdown plans and emergency communications regarding building closures, dorm closures, and/or University-wide closures will also be developed in the event that there is a surge in COVID-19 cases. In addition, plans will be developed to expand mental health counseling resources for students and employees, including teletherapy.

    Preliminary Timeline of Activities

    Contingent upon the release of and adherence to New York State (NYS) guidelines on campus reopening for colleges and universities, a preliminary timeline of activities has been drafted in accordance with the recommendations provided to the Governor’s office by the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities Restart Task Force. This includes a gradual restart (May 2020 – August 2020) in which there will be no in-person classes with limited exceptions, and opening of residence halls to prepare for fall semester move-in with full operations to start in August. During the next three months, the preliminary timeline of activities and plan of work are as follows:

    • Continue ongoing development of strategies and action steps for campus reopening.
    • Present preliminary and updated plans to Board of Trustees, PAC, AAA, and campus leaders.
    • Communicate plan of action and provide updates to campus community.
    • Implement gradual campus reopening plans contingent on NYS guidelines for employees (June-July 2020) and students (July-August 2020).
    • Initiate return to campus plans, particularly those that will require lead time to implement.
    • Closely monitor implementation, seek feedback, and adjust strategies as necessary.

    As we continue planning throughout the summer, we will provide the campus community with regular updates and relevant information regarding reopening plans for the fall 2020 semester. I pray and hope that we can welcome all members of the St. John’s University community, most especially our incoming and returning students, to campus in the fall semester. 

    Best wishes for a safe and pleasant summer.

    —Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.,President

    May 15, 2020

    The events of the last two months have posed a challenge for our community, the country, and the world. However, the dedicated workforce at St. John’s University continues to respond and rise to the occasion. For that, I am both grateful and proud. Moving forward, we bear an individual and institutional responsibility to continue to do our part to assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and following the directives of local, state, and federal health agencies. 

    On Thursday, May 14, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.31 pertaining to Executive Order 202.28. This new Executive Order extended the provisions of ten other Executive Orders which closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, and required postponement or cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason. Collectively, the Executive Orders that constitute New York On PAUSE are extended until May 28, 2020, unless later amended or extended by a future Executive Order. In addition, Executive Order 202.31 also stipulated that all enforcement mechanisms by state or local governments shall continue to be in full force and effect until June 13, 2020, unless later extended or amended by a future Executive Order. 

    Government guidelines also indicate that New York State is reopening on a regional basis as each region meets the criteria necessary to protect public health. It is important to note that the reopening of New York is not happening statewide—all at once—and government guidance for some parts of New York may differ from other parts based on the impact of COVID-19 and local health circumstances.

    Designated regions meeting the metrics outlined by Governor Cuomo can reopen while the reopening of all other regions throughout New York State will be based on the clearly defined metrics. The State’s other regions will be allowed to begin reopening when they have met all seven of the required metrics. New York State has provided a Regional Monitoring Dashboard, which tracks each region’s progress toward meeting the seven metrics required for reopening. The Governor has indicated that this dashboard will be updated daily.

    It is anticipated that the regions of New York City and Long Island–the regions in New York State most impacted by COVID-19–will be among the last to reopen. All K-12 schools statewide remain closed and will continue to provide distance learning and other services for the remainder of the school year which ends late next month. Aligned with these public health guidelines, we have previously announced that all Summer Session I courses offered by St. John’s will be delivered in an online format.

    Accordingly, all New York campuses of St. John’s will remain closed, and nearly all employees must continue working from home until further notice. Exceptions include a very limited number of Public Safety Officers, Campus Facilities and Services personnel, and other employees who have to report to campus in support of critical academic and business functions. For those employees, you or your unit head must inform Public Safety in advance of your intent to come to campus when you are scheduled to work on campus and must indicate the duration of your stay.

    To learn more, visit a guide to the state's "NY Forward Reopening" Plan, along with the State's regional monitoring dashboard. Also, please remember to regularly check your voicemail, St. John’s e-mail, and to visit for the latest updates.

    May God bless you, your families, and the global family of St. John’s University.

    March 22, 3:00 p.m.

    On Friday, March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed NYS Executive Order 202.8, which stipulates that “effective on Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m., all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at all work locations by 100% no later than March 22 at 8 p.m. Any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions. An entity providing essential services or functions whether to an essential business or a non-essential business shall not be subjected to the in-person work restriction, but may operate at the level necessary to provide such service or function. Any business violating the above order shall be subject to enforcement as if this were a violation of an order pursuant to section 12 of the Public Health Law.”

    Accordingly, all St. John’s New York campuses will remain closed and all employees must continue working from home. The University has filed a petition seeking to be designated as an essential business in order to have a very limited number of employees work on campus in support of remote education, safety and security, and property maintenance and custodial services.  You will be contacted by your unit head if it is necessary for you to work on campus to perform any of these essential functions. If you have not been contacted, you are not permitted to be on campus and should continue to work from home. For those identified essential employees, you or your unit head must inform Public Safety of your intent to come to campus when you are scheduled to work on campus, and the duration of your stay. These protocols will be strictly enforced. If you have any questions, please communicate with your unit head who will follow up with Public Safety, as necessary.

    Remember to regularly check your voicemail, e-mail and to visit for the latest updates.

    We bear an institutional and individual responsibility in doing our part to assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and following the directives of local, state, and federal health agencies.  At this time of global suffering and disruption, we pray for God’s loving protection for you and your family.

    Joseph E. Oliva, Esq.
    Vice President for Administration, Secretary and General Counsel

    March 16, 4:30 p.m.

    As the entire St. John’s University community continues to adjust to the new and ever-changing realities of maintaining business operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health crisis, I am writing to inform you that effective immediately the University will be transitioning to a remote workforce and workplace until further notice.

    I ask all unit heads including deans and vice presidents to review their respective business continuity plans to make sure it is applicable to the current COVID-19 crisis and prepare for its implementation as part of the University’s transition to a remote workplace. If your unit does not have a business continuity plan, please consult with your dean or vice president so a contingency plan for working remotely can be prepared. It is important for the University to continue offering uninterrupted business services throughout this time.

    With the University’s extension of online instruction until the end of the spring semester, all academic and administrative departments will shift to a hybrid workforce made up of employees who will work remotely and essential on-site employees so we can maintain continuity in our administrative operations. Only those instructed to do so should report to work in-person at our campuses.

    We are asking all supervisors and unit heads to help coordinate this transition to a remote workplace. If you have any questions as to whether you are an essential on-site employee or what your plan of work will be while working remotely, please contact your supervisor or unit head. Any question must be directed to your supervisors and unit heads who will in turn seek guidance from their respective deans and vice presidents as necessary.

    Be advised that this is an unpredictable and fluid situation. Workload circumstances and special projects or events may require adjustments and changes to those designated as employees working remotely or essential on-site employees. Supervisors and unit heads in consultation with deans and vice presidents will regularly assess and implement timely work procedures and adjustments necessary to maintain University services.

    Remember to regularly check your voicemail, e-mail and to visit for the latest updates. The University will continue to communicate timely and appropriate information as it becomes available and will keep you updated of any new developments in our business continuity plans and implementation.

    Be assured that the health and well-being of every member of the St. John’s University remains our highest priority. I appreciate your continued understanding and support during these challenging times and thank you for your commitment to our enduring mission as a Catholic and Vincentian institution.

    Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D. 

    March 16, 11:55 a.m.


    I write to provide you with an update on the University’s response to the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The safety and well-being of our students and the entire University community continue to be our priority.

    In an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, the University announced the suspension of face-to-face instruction on Monday, March 9 and moved to online instruction effective Thursday, March 12 through Friday, March 27.

    On Friday, March 13, the University received a report that we have an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. On Sunday, March 15, we learned that a contractual employee working at St. John’s also tested positive for COVID-19. The DOH notifies individuals who may have had close contact with these two employees. We also took appropriate action including the deep cleaning of affected areas on campus by a third-party bio-hazard firm. As an additional precautionary measure, the University's Queens campus will be closed on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, except for essential personnel.

    Since the University suspended face-to-face instruction on March 9, we have learned more about the rapid spread of the coronavirus in our community, with New York now reporting the largest number of positive cases in the country. In view of this and the latest CDC recommendation of halting gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks, we have made the decision to extend online instruction for the rest of the spring semester.

    St. John’s University will remain open with essential programs and services available albeit most, if not all, of these services will be provided using remote technologies. Resident students, with written authorization to remain in the residence halls, will receive detailed information from the Office of Residence Life regarding the process and deadline for vacating the residence halls. All students, including resident students who checked-out of their rooms or those who did not apply for authorization and are currently away from campus should not return to campus until further notice. Residence Life staff will make arrangements at a later date for resident students who have departed to retrieve belongings that they may have left. Finally, all resident students who have paid their room and board fees will receive instructions regarding a pro-rata refund from the Office of Financial Aid.

    Furthermore, effective immediately, all University in-person events are cancelled for the remainder of the spring semester. Event organizers are responsible for informing guests and attendees that their event has been cancelled. This includes outside organizers renting space at St. John’s. In the weeks ahead, we will make an announcement about plans for the University’s various Commencement events and activities, currently scheduled to begin on Thursday, May 14. The coronavirus situation may prohibit these events from being held in person.

    Please be reminded that the University has set up a COVID-19 page to post communications and up-to-date information regarding St. John’s preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of the members of our community at

    We recognize that this extension of online instruction for the rest of the spring semester may generate more questions. Faculty are requested to consult with their program directors, chairs and deans. Administrators and staff will receive additional information as soon as plans are confirmed for teleworking and identification of essential personnel. We ask for your patience as we continue to develop contingency plans on how we can best ensure the safety and well-being of the entire St. John’s community while planning for academic and operational continuity.

    We hope and pray that St. John’s proactive approach will help to limit the potential exposure and transmission of the virus not only within our campuses, but in the greater community as well. I wish to thank all of you for your continued support and understanding during these challenging and unprecedented times.

    Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D. 

    May 1, 2020

    Like many communities across the nation, the St. John’s University community has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We keep in our thoughts and prayers our community members who passed away, those who have lost loved ones, those who are afflicted with this disease, and those who are facing financial hardship due to the global public health crisis. 

    In responding to this pandemic, St. John’s University has endeavored to make decisions by prioritizing the health and safety of our students and employees.  This led us to quickly transition to online instruction and remote working which caused major disruptions in our normal academic and business operations.  With stay-at-home restrictions, our homes have now become places where we teach, learn, work, and worship remotely.    

    Over the past several weeks, one question that has often been asked is when we will be able to return to on-campus academic and business operations. While the continued uncertainty surrounding this pandemic leaves us with many unanswered questions, we have to look to the future and be proactive in planning and preparing for the return to our campuses. 

    To this end, I would like to announce the appointment of a cross-functional task force – the Return to Campus Task Force (RCTF) – to develop a comprehensive plan for the safe and gradual return of our students to campus in the coming academic year. The work of the RCTF will be guided by federal, state, and local guidelines and recommended best practices to control the spread of the virus. As always, the health and safety of St. John’s students and employees will remain our highest priority as we plan to return to campus in phases, hopefully, starting sometime in the summer. In addition, contingency plans must also be developed simultaneously in the event of another major outbreak that may require a return to remote learning and remote workplace situation.

    The RCTF will be led by Joseph Oliva, Vice President for Administration and General Counsel and Simon Møller, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs who will serve as Task Force Co-Chairs. The members of the RCTF include the following:

    • Kathryn Hutchinson, Vice President for Student Affairs
    • Chris Vaupel, Vice President for Advancement and University Relations
    • James O’Keefe, Vice Provost, Staten Island Campus
    • Brian Baumer, Associate Vice President for Campus Facilities and Services
    • Linda Shannon, Associate Provost for Administration & Institutional Accreditation
    • Mike Cragg, Athletic Director
    • Nada Llewellyn, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Chief Diversity Officer and Deputy General Counsel
    • Anne Rocco Pacione, Chief Information Officer
    • Denise Vencak, Executive Director of Public Safety
    • Provost Faculty Task Force Members:
      • Gina Florio, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
      • Manouchkathe Cassagnol, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Health Professions
      • Marc Gillespie, Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences 

    Initially, the work of the RCTF will focus on the following five key areas:

    • Social Distancing Strategies
    • Health and Safety Measures
    • Outbreak Response
    • Communication Planning
    • Mental Health Counseling

    Since we have to adapt to a new normal until the pandemic is over, developing the plan to return to on-campus academic and business operations will require innovative solutions that can only be successfully implemented with everyone’s support and cooperation. I encourage members of our community to send your ideas and suggestions to any member of the task force. I ask the RCTF to submit their preliminary plans as soon as practicable so that their recommendations can be presented to the President’s Advisory Council, Provost’s Deans Council, Academic and Administrative Assembly and other constituent groups to seek feedback and comments.  We hope to share the recommended plan of action with the campus community by this summer.I thank the RCTF members for their leadership in developing a pathway forward for us to safely return to our beautiful campuses. As we navigate these unprecedented challenges, we must continue to work together in ensuring the health and safety of everyone. I am hopeful that we can welcome all members of the St. John’s University community, including our incoming and continuing students, back to campus in the near future.

    Update for Resident Students

    As we prepare for you to retrieve your belongings, the Office of Residence Life is pleased to share plans that have been carefully developed to ensure a scheduled, regulated process. In order to support the entire St. John’s community, the next steps will require all involved to adhere to safety guidelines that include social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (i.e. gloves and masks).

    Detailed information on this process was sent via email to all resident students on Tuesday, May 26. If you have any questions regarding move-out, please see the Move-out Frequently Asked Questions.

    Dear Student Name,

    Congratulations on the completion of final exams!  We send a special congratulations to our graduating Seniors; we are incredibly proud of you!  Thank you for your patience during our efforts to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of all members of our community. 

    As we prepare for you to retrieve your belongings, the Office of Residence Life is pleased to share plans that have been carefully developed to ensure a scheduled, regulated process. In order to support the entire St. John’s community, the next steps will require all involved to adhere to safety guidelines that include social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (i.e. gloves and masks). 

     Move-out options vary based on your permanent address:

    • All students who live within 300 miles of campus will engage in self move-out.
    • Students living more than 300 miles from campus will be given the option to engage in self move-out or to authorize St. John’s to work with professional movers to pack/store or ship your belongings (note that the number of boxes shipped will be limited).

    Please provide your input by filling out this Room Check-Out Survey by 9:00am EDT on Monday, May 18th.

    This information will assist us in setting up the number of check-out times and dates. 

    Provided that public health conditions allow, students will begin to return to campus on the date and time they register to move out of their rooms. We anticipate the first move out appointments to begin on or around June 1, 2020.  Please note that the availability of this option could change at any time should conditions require further adjustments.

    Additional FAQs and detailed directions will be provided in the coming days, so please check this page regularly.  We will also email you with updates to ensure you have the latest information.

    We will provide the link to register for an appointment during the week of May 25th.  Students who live more than 300 miles away from campus will be emailed directions for pack and ship/store options by the end of May, unless these students indicate in the survey they will be coming to campus to engage in self move-out. 

    Please continue to check your St. John’s University email for more information.  We wish you, as well as your families and friends continued health and safety.  The St. John’s community stands with you and looks forward to the time when we can all be together again.  If you have additional questions not addressed in this message, please contact your Residence Director, using the contact information on the Residence Life website.

    Be well,

    The Office of Residence Life

    We appreciate your understanding as we planned for your return to campus to remove your residence hall or apartment belongings. The Office of Residence Life has been carefully organizing this process to ensure the process is safe, efficient, and accommodating for our students and their families.  We have put together these instructions along with a series of frequently asked questions to assist you in this process. 

    Move-out Appointments

    Dates and times students can return to campus are by appointment only.  In order to minimize the number of people on campus at a given time, each building has a window of days available for appointments, with a limited number each day.  To ensure appropriate social distancing, roommates and suitemates should not sign up for the same appointment times.  Please connect with your roommates and suitemates to ensure you are not arriving at the same time.  Students who show up on campus without an appointment time will not be allowed to participate in the self move-out process. The phased move-out schedule is below:

    Move-out Schedule (by appointment only)



    Start Date

    End Date

    Appointments per Day



    Monday, June 1

    Sunday, June 7




    Tuesday, June 2

    Sunday, June 7




    Friday, June 5

    Saturday, June 6




    Friday, June 5

    Tuesday, June 9


    Arlo (SI Campus)

    Staten Island

    Sunday June 7

    Monday, June 8




    Sunday, June 7

    Monday, June 8




    Monday, June 8

    Monday, June 15




    Friday, June 12

    Sunday, June 14


    St. Vincent


    Saturday, June 13

    Monday, June 15




    Tuesday, June 16

    Tuesday, June 23




    Thursday, June 18

    Monday, June 22




    Thursday, June 18

    Tuesday, June 23


    Before making an appointment to participate in the move out process, please review the following guidelines to ensure that you are selecting the proper move-out process that is intended for you:

    Students Participating in the Self Move-Out Process

    For our students that live within 300 miles of campus, or those students that live beyond 300 miles that still plan to come to campus. You must schedule your move-out appointment by Friday, May 29th at 11:59 p.m. EST by clicking the Appointment Scheduler link.  After your appointment has been scheduled, you will receive arrival instructions from the Office of Residence Life with specific instructions. 

    • If you do not have an appointment time, do not come to campus.  Only those students with scheduled appointments will be allowed to enter campus. 
    • Students who miss their self-move out appointments can contact Residence Life to see if another appointment is available. If no appointments are available we will default to pack and store at your expense.
    • During self-move out, students must remove all belongings from the room. Anything left behind at the conclusion of the appointment will be donated or discarded.
    • Students may bring up to 2 helpers to assist with the move out process (only 1 person in addition to the student can enter the building, however). All will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
    • Students who do not take action regarding removal of their belongings by the end date (for building of residence) listed above will have their items donated or discarded.

    Seton/DePaul (select students) Baggage Claim

    Those Seton and DePaul students who were notified their belongings were moved to storage in the month of March will not need to return to their apartments.  Rather, those students will schedule an appointment for the Seton/DePaul Baggage Claim.  Please follow the Appointment Scheduler link and select, “Seton/DePaul Baggage Claim” for available dates and times by Friday, May 29th at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Distribution will take place in the University Center. 

    Seton and DePaul Storage Baggage Claim


    Start Date

    End Date

    Appointments per Day

    Seton/ DePaul

    Wednesday, June 10
    11am to 5pm (by appt)

    Friday, June 19
    11am to 5pm (by appt)


    Students who do not take action to remove belongings by the end date listed above will have their items donated or discarded.

    Packing, Storage, and Shipping Vendor

    For students living 300 miles or more from campus, we wish to make you aware of our packing and shipping service provider, TSI.  TSI has 30 years of experience in the shipping, moving, and logistics businesses based out of the Northeast, with capabilities in all 50 states.  For 25 years, they have been the Preferred Shipping Partner for the UPS Stores.  TSI is currently assisting a number of schools nationally with their student residence hall packing services. 

    Below is the process that we will use at St. Johns to assist TSI so that eligible students’ items are handled professionally and that extreme attention to detail is taken in all cases.

    1. Registration:  TSI will have a unique landing page specifically for St. Johns to collect all the pertinent details of their move.  This is a highly automated process.
    2. Scheduling on-site:  TSI will work collaboratively with the university administration to determine what buildings will be serviced, how and when they will be let into rooms and where equipment can be placed on the campus to insure safety but also reasonable logistics. 
    3. In Room Packing:  TSI will use local professional organizers with tremendous attention to detail and customer service to engage the students one on one for a video chat experience.  At that time, the organizer will review the room with the student(s) to clarify what are their belongings.  The technology records the interaction and saves that video for further review to protect all parties should there be a discrepancy on what services were to be performed on what items.   The organizer will then pack all the boxes at that time, label boxes and adhere shipping labels to boxes that are being shipped.
    4. Mover Work:  Later that day or the next day a moving crew will come to the room.  They will prepare any large items that could not fit into a standard size box.  They will remove all boxes and items from the room and transport them to the appropriate location for shipping or storage.
    5. Return of Items:  TSI will return items to students’ new residence assignment from storage (if they are returning to campus housing in the Fall). In addition, for students not living in University managed properties in the Fall movers will transport the items from storage to the desired destination, including off campus locations within 3 miles of campus.

    Eligible students who indicated they cannot come to campus will receive a separate communication in the coming days with registration information, and pricing information for the services.  Note, the University will cover packing and storage fees for students (through the end of August), however shipping costs outside of 2 boxes will be subject to additional fees.

    If you have any questions, please contact your Residence Director using the contact information on our website

    Be well,

    The Office of Residence Life

    Dear Student,

    It is our hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. All of us in the Office of Residence Life look forward with great anticipation to the fall semester, as we imagine you do as well. Thank you for understanding as we made arrangements to reopen our communities with enhanced measures in place that will make for an even safer and more comfortable living environment.

    We are pleased to announce the return of the Housing Selection Process! We have maintained the order of selection appointment times that were in place for our April process. Your appointment information is below:

    Your self-selection appointment is the earliest time that you may log in to the St. John's Housing Portal. The portal will close on Friday July 10, 2020 at 4:30pm. Students who do not select a room assignment or meal plan by Friday July 10, 2020 at 4:30pm will have one automatically assigned to them. Please note that your housing selection appointment time and housing assignment are subject to change. During your appointment you will return to the St. John's Housing Portal to select your room and meal plan. Please read this email carefully to ensure you fully understand the next steps of the housing selection process.


    Keeping in line with city and state guidance, we have made room/suite density modifications and will only offer double and single occupancy bedrooms in our residence halls and apartments this year. These changes have reduced our junior triples and quads to doubles. Please refer to the St. John’s website for the revised room rates.

    Room changes will be very limited this year. It is important you make the best choice available to you at the time you self-select. When you completed your housing application you may have agreed to be another student’s roommate. If so, keep in mind you have entered into an agreement that allows them to pick your space for you or you to select their space for them. We encourage you to reconnect with these students and discuss a selection plan. You can coordinate to live nearby through conversations about your preferences and options before your self-selection appointment time. This may be helpful for students who were intending to live in a triple or quad configuration this year, but now will be selecting a double or single.

    If you do not receive a confirmation email within 5-10 minutes of completing your selection, return to the housing portal to make sure you have completed all required steps. If all steps are completed and you still have not received the confirmation email, please contact the Office of Residence Life to report the issue.


    We strongly suggest you review the Living At St. John's Guide, the Housing Selection Tutorial and the information located on the Housing Selection Website prior to your selection appointment date and time. We ask you to pay particular attention to the section IMPORTANT RESOURCES AND GUIDES. Here you can find helpful videos and answers to most questions. In addition, Residence Life will provide phone assistance to any student with an active appointment from 9am to 4:30pm on Wednesday, July 8th through Friday July 10th. Please call 718-990-2417 should you require assistance.

    *Note, our office number does not take voice messages. Please be patient, as we expect high call volume during this time, and we will respond to students as quickly as possible.


    Last week the governor of New York issued new guidance for higher education. The return to campus task force is working on that for the University and will be releasing information in the coming weeks. We realize you are already planning for your arrival to campus, so we have provided a link on our website and the Move-in Survival Guide with considerations of items to bring with you this fall. Please check back over the next few weeks as we continue to provide additional information and updates.

    According to the academic calendar in person classes for the Fall semester will end November 20th, this is prior to the Thanksgiving Break. Since final exams after the break will be facilitated remotely, students should make travel arrangements to depart housing for the fall semester on or before Sunday, November 22nd. Students will not be able to return to their rooms after Thanksgiving until the start of the Spring semester with the exception of a small group of international students who will be unable to return home.

    We know you are more than ready to self-select your space for the upcoming year. We miss you and we are equally eager to have you on campus, which has not been the same without you.

    Thank you for making St. John's University your home this year!

    Dear Student,

    Please note: We ask all members of our St. John’s community to recognize and accept that we may need to change our plans based on public health concerns, changes in NYC and NYS guidelines, and for other considerations.

    St. John’s Residence Life Move-In 2020

    The residential experience for students in St. John’s University housing for the 2020–2021 academic year will look different than in years past, as we live in the COVID-19 environment.  We will continue to monitor and adjust our plans in accordance with guidance from the city and state. The Office of Residence Life remains committed to creating an environment that promotes the health and well-being of our community, while offering programs and services, many virtually, that will help students build community in new ways. 

    As each of you confirms your fall plans, we ask that you and your families discuss and commit to your own health and safety, and well as that of your peers, your faculty members, the staff of our residence halls and dining facilities, and all members of our St. John’s and local communities.  By electing to come to campus, you commit to taking these steps:

    • Wearing face coverings in all campus spaces (outside your room), at all times.
    • Maintaining six feet of social distance from others, including your classmates, faculty, and staff in all spaces outside your room.
    • Reporting symptoms on the St. John’s COVID screening app accurately and consistently every day.
    • Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.
    • Complying with contact tracing efforts, isolation protocols and quarantine periods as directed.
    • Limiting social gatherings—either on or off campus— to minimize contact with large groups of people.

    Move-in Expectations

    • Students may be accompanied by one individual to assist with move-in.
    • Everyone is expected to wear face coverings, wash their hands often, and maintain social distance.
    • Anyone experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to stay away from campus during move-in.
    • Everyone who attends move-in will need to complete the St. John’s COVID screening app prior to being allowed on campus. 
    • Starting with move-in and continuing through the semester, outside guests will not be permitted in the residence halls. Overnight and daytime visitation (including from room to room) will be suspended. 
    • Students are strongly encouraged to bring only belongings needed for the fall term. By minimizing belongings, it will be easier for students to keep their room clean and will allow for greater social distancing space between roommates.


    The reopening of St. John’s University housing for the 2020-2021 academic year will meet the requirements and guidance provided by the State and the City of New York.  We will notify you in the event their guidelines require us to make changes to move-in plans, and will continue to update the “Move-in Survival Guide” with Information and instructions. Reminders will be sent to students’ St. John’s email account, so please monitor your email daily.

    Arrival Information

    Move-in will take place by appointment over an 11-day period, which will be staggered to reduce crowd surges on campus from Thursday, August 13th to Sunday, August 23rd.  Classes will begin on Monday, August 24th.  To schedule your move-in appointment, please visit the Move-in Appointment Scheduler Application.  Early arrival requests will not be able to be accommodated under any circumstances.

    State & National 14-day Quarantine Requirements

    New York State has issued a travel advisory requiring a 14-day quarantine for anyone returning from states that have a high level of COVID-19 community spread. In addition, national guidance requires international students from specified countries to quarantine for the same period of time. (Note: this link refers to “travelers prohibited from entry,” but recent regulatory guidance suggests that recipients of F visas will fall within the “exceptions” mentioned within the page. We will keep international students informed as we learn more.) These travel advisories are subject to change. Students have a few options for meeting this requirement.

    Option 1: Quarantining On-Campus

    • We are happy to offer this option for students who are able to arrive to campus on Saturday, August 1, and if the number of students selecting this option is significant we will add another move-in day on Sunday, August 2.  In order to choose this option, students from restricted locations must complete the Residence Life Quarantine Notification Form immediately!  Unfortunately, students who do not complete the form by Friday, July 24, 2020 and/or who cannot arrive on either August 1 (and potentially August 2) will not be able to complete the quarantine on campus.  The University has provided the following accommodations for students choosing to quarantine on campus:
    • Quarantine Housing & Costs- Though quarantine housing falls outside of the school-year housing agreement, to make this difficult situation easier for families, there will be no additional residence hall cost for quarantining on campus.  There will be a charge for meals, which will be delivered directly to student rooms, as detailed below. On-campus quarantine may take place in one of two locations:
      • Residence hall bedroom (not available for residents of DaSilva or Goethals): unless both residents of room need and choose quarantine on campus, this option is preferred.
      • St. Vincent Hall or Henley Complex: All residents in DaSilva and Goethals will be assigned to a space in these buildings. In cases where two residents of a room (in a different residence hall) both need an on-campus quarantine, the student assigned the “B” bed in the housing portal (i.e. Donovan Hall R301 A vs. Donovan Hall R301 B) will live in either St. Vincent or Henley. At the end of the quarantine period, students who do not display symptoms will move to their assigned space for the fall. 
    • Meal Plan- Our campus dining partners at Chartwells have developed a special student meal plan with dining choices for $32 per day during the quarantine period, with the standard dining plan beginning on August 17. Food will be delivered to students each day. Because students cannot leave their rooms for the duration of quarantine period, this mandatory plan includes delivery to student rooms. The meal plan will be charged to student accounts. 
    • PCR COVID Testing- St. John’s has partnered with New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital (NYPQ) to administer a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID test to students who will quarantine on campus. The test will be completed on initial arrival to St. John’s. Students who test positive will be relocated to St. Vincent’s Hall for the remainder of the 14-day period. They will be monitored by the New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital (NYPQ) COVID Care Team to ensure that they are well-cared-for during that period.  The cost of the PCR test to students is $130 and is covered by the St. John’s health insurance. It may also be covered by other insurance for students who have different plans. Please Note:  Additional instructions for students choosing to quarantine on campus will be sent next week.

    Check-in Date


    To Schedule an Appointment

    Saturday, August 1 (and potentially Sunday, August 2)

    14-day Quarantine Students (including RAs needing to quarantine)

    To schedule an appointment, click HERE  starting early next week

    • Student Adherence to Quarantine- Students in quarantine will need to commit to a behavioral health contract outlining the requirements of the quarantine prior to move-in.  Students who break quarantine, refuse to engage in the daily symptom log, refuse PCR testing, or violate other standard rules of residence life will need to restart quarantine off-campus at their own expense.  Students will be expected to abide by the code of conduct at all times while on campus including the quarantine period. 

    Option 2: Quarantining at a Hotel or with Family

    Students choosing to quarantine on their own may be interested in doing so with family or in an off-campus hotel.  While we cannot accommodate families on campus, we have identified a few locations near the Queens campus, and others in Manhattan, that have offered specialty pricing for St. John’s students and their families during the quarantine period.  Note that students who chose this option will be required to provide a negative PCR COVID test to Student Health Services prior to entering campus for either move-in or, in the case of students living off campus, the start of classes. Available hotels:

    Adria Hotel/ Best Western Hotel- Bayside
    221-17 Northern Blvd, Bayside, NY 11361
    $99 per night (parking is included)
    The Adria Hotel  Promotional Code is SJ20
    The Best Western Promotional Code is: T36HI9G6

    Archer Hotel
    45 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018
    $99.00 per night (plus taxes and fees).  Booking code: 4538STJU.  Contact [email protected].
    Website: Archer Hotel

    Courtyard by Marriott- Fresh Meadows
    183-15 Horace Harding Expy, Queens, NY 11365
    $105 per night (parking an additional $15 per night)
    Group rate for St. John's University

    Millennium Premier New York Times Square
    133 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
    Queen Guestrooms - $99 + tax
    Double Bedded Guestroom - $139 + tax
    Via Booking Link:  Millennium TSQ St. John's Group Booking Link  (Choose your preferred room and edit dates on the right hand side of the page)
    Via Phone: Call toll free # +1-866-568-0896 (ask for St. John’s College special group rate)

    Move-in At a Glance

    Move-in will take place by appointment only. Unfortunately, students who do not have an appointment will be turned away.  Appointments are staggered to ensure appropriate social distancing.  Students can schedule their appointment using the Move-in Appointment Scheduler Application.  Please schedule your appointment based on the chart below:

     Check-in Date


     Residence Hall

     Thursday, August 13

     Law Students, RAs only

     DePaul and RA Assignments

     Friday, August 14

     Resident Assistants only

     RA Assignments

     Tuesday, August 18

     3Y, 4Y students only

     Carey, Goethals,

     Henley,  Seton, Founders, and


     Wednesday, August 19

     2Y, 3Y, 4Y students only

     O’Connor, Century, Founders,

     DaSilva, Henley

     Thursday, August 20

     2Y, Grad students only

     O’Connor, Century, DaSilva, Henley,

     and DePaul

     Friday, August 21

     1Y, 2Y students only

     O’Connor, Century, DaSilva, Henley,


     Saturday, August 22

     1Y students only

     DaSilva, Hollis, Donovan, and

     Staten Island

     Sunday, August 23

     1Y, 2Y and Transfer students only

     Hollis, Donovan, Century, and

     Staten Island

    Move-in Assistance

    Students may bring one (1) person to assist them with the move-in process.  Access to campus and the residence hall will be limited to the student and that one person, so we ask that families plan ahead.  Students should pack only the most necessary items.  Though a limited number of moving carts will be available to be signed out that day, we encourage students to bring a hand truck or dolly to assist in the unloading process. Each St. John’s cart will be sanitized after use. 

    Stored Items with TSI

    Students who stored items with TSI over the summer will have their belongings returned to campus during the move-in period.  When possible, items will be delivered to your new assignment prior to arrival.  Students who are required to complete a 14-day quarantine and who do so on campus will receive their items following the end of the quarantine period. 

    Microfridge Rentals

    St. John’s students can elect to order a microfridge unit for their room from our preferred partner, University Logistics.  To learn more about microfridges, please view this short informational video, or visit their website at  To contact by phone, their call center can be reached at 1-800-525-7307

    Note for students quarantining on campus: be sure to order your microfridge by Friday, July 24th to ensure it is in your room prior to arrival.  In addition, be aware that student rooms in Donovan Hall are not equipped with a microwave or refrigerator provided by the University since there is no common space. 

    Move-in Survival Guide

    For added convenience, St. John’s has developed the Move-in Survival Guide online which contains information including packing lists, mailing addresses, arrival times, and answers to frequently asked questions about move-in in one location. 

    We are excited for your arrival on campus! Welcome Home!

    The Office of Residence Life

    Update on Summer 2020 Academic Courses

    Due to the continued high number of COVID-19 cases in New York, the Governor announced today that all K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, which runs until the end of June, 2020. Aligned with this announcement we have made the difficult decision to offer all Summer Session I courses in an online format.

    The University continues to monitor ongoing COVID-19 federal, state, and local government guidelines and if the public health situation improves, our plan is to offer Summer Session II courses in a hybrid format, with limited face-to-face instruction in designated courses. However, if the public health situation does not improve to permit the safe reopening of the campus for in-person instruction, an announcement will be made on or before the end of June 2020, that Summer Session II courses will be delivered in a fully online format.

    If you have any questions about Summer 2020 session, please contact your academic advisor or the Dean´s Office staff.

    April 14, 2020

    Although the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic remains largely unclear, St. John’s University plans to offer the Summer 2020 academic courses in a hybrid format, with limited face-to-face instruction, provided there are significant improvements in the public health situation. This may include some laboratory classes, experiential learning programs, and other designated courses.

    The University continues to monitor ongoing COVID-19 federal, state, and local government guidelines. If the public health situation does not improve to permit the safe reopening of the campus for in-person instruction, an announcement will be made on or before Monday, May 4, that the Summer 2020 courses will be delivered using a fully online format to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, and other employees.

    Presummer and postsummer session academic courses that are not currently in an online format are cancelled. Students who have already registered for presummer and/or postsummer session academic courses will be notified and provided with the opportunity to register for Summer I and/or Summer II academic courses. If you have any questions about the Summer 2020 session, please contact your academic advisor or your dean’s office.

    A Message from the President

    A Holy Week message from President Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.

    During this time of Holy Week, we are confronted with the fragility of our human lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In response to the disruption and uncertainty caused by this global public health crisis, St. John’s had to make hard decisions and to implement unprecedented measures to protect both the health and safety of the University community.

    The past few weeks have been very challenging and the months ahead will present new issues that will test our resolve. Our Catholic and Vincentian values and educational mission to ensure the success of our students will guide us in making these difficult decisions. As it has done for almost 150 years, St. John’s University will persist and persevere with courage, commitment and compassion in the face of challenges and obstacles.

    Especially in these tough times, we must continue to support each other. I draw inspiration and motivation from the daily updates which describe how our faculty, staff and administrators are finding new and innovative ways to remotely serve our students no matter where they are, how our students are remaining active and engaged in their studies, and how our alumni and employees are generously contributing to the Emergency Funds for Students.

    I am encouraged by the inspirational messages that many of our University leaders have communicated to their respective units in an effort to connect all of us while we continue to work remotely. I take pride in the work of several of our colleagues who have volunteered their services to provide much-needed assistance to hospitals, health care workers, and to the community in a true spirit of service that is a distinctive hallmark of our University. I am also thankful to those St. John’s employees who have been reporting to campus to ensure the safety, academic and business continuity, and operations of the University so the majority of us can work in the safety of our homes.

    The journey of Holy Week leads us to the darkness of Good Friday, followed by the joyful redemption of Easter Sunday. Let us find hope in this journey – that with God’s grace we will emerge from this pandemic stronger in faith, more resilient, and more compassionate especially to those most in need. I look forward to the day, hopefully, sooner rather than later, that together we can all safely reconvene on our beautiful campuses. Until then, be assured that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    —Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.,President

    Update on 2020 Commencement Exercises

    On April 6, 2020, I communicated to you that after very careful consideration, due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the University will not be able to hold spring 2020 Commencement Exercises and related events for graduate and undergraduate students as originally scheduled. I recognize that this news was a great disappointment for you. However, your health and safety and that of your fellow students, your families and the entire St. John’s community remain our primary concern. Public health guidelines in New York which are still in place prevent large gatherings and require social distancing.

    Based on feedback from an internal survey of graduating seniors, a majority of students indicated that they would appreciate a virtual recognition ceremony now and would be interested in returning to campus for an in-person ceremony to be held at a later date when public health guidelines permit. The University is exploring the possibility of holding an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 next spring. When finalized, the details of these events will be communicated to you well in advance. The timing of any future in-person ceremonies is separate from the formal completion of your undergraduate and graduate studies. Upon successful completion of your academic requirements, your degrees will be conferred on schedule.

    Your Commencement will not go unrecognized, nor will the fact that you have earned your degree and are now a graduate of St. John’s. This milestone marks your place among the ranks of our family of 190,000 living alumni.

    I want to advise you of some important dates and information:

    • Prior to May 16, all students scheduled to graduate will receive a formal letter from Provost Simon Møller and me to formally recognize your academic achievements.
    • On Sunday, May 17, all Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan undergraduate students will receive a digital congratulatory message from Provost Møller and me.
    • Graduate-level students scheduled to graduate will receive a digital congratulatory message from their respective Deans to coincide with the previously scheduled dates of the Graduate Commencement Exercises between May 15 – May 20.
    • On Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, the University will be hosting online virtual recognition events for all graduating undergraduate students and for each of our graduate-level schools and colleges. These virtual recognition events will include a separate celebratory slideshow with individual graduate recognition. Please note this digital program is not intended to be a substitute for any in-person commencement ceremony, but is meant to recognize your degree completion now.

    Additional information and event details for the Class of 2020 will be shared with you during the coming week. Please continue to check your University email account and visit for the latest information.

    The Class of 2020 holds a special place in our thoughts and prayers at this time of great disruption due to the COVID-19 global health crisis. Through it all, you have demonstrated the resolve and resilience that allowed you to complete your studies in a timely fashion. We thank you for your efforts and commend your adaptability to these challenging circumstances. On behalf of the St. John’s faculty, staff and administrators, I wish you the best of luck with the conclusion of the spring semester and final exams. 

    In the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, we have consistently sought to protect the health, safety, and overall well-being of our students, faculty, administrators and staff. With so much uncertainty about the impact and scope of COVID-19, we have made both short- and long-term decisions which we believe to be in the best interest of St. John’s and the broader community.

    After very careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we will not be able to hold the spring semester 2020 Commencement Exercises and related events for graduate and undergraduate students as originally scheduled. We will explore possible options to have a suitable event to honor our graduating students at a later date. This decision will not impact the timing of degree completion for May graduates and issued diplomas will reflect each student’s actual graduation date.

    To our graduating students, we fully understand how profoundly disappointing this news may be for you. Commencement is the culmination of years of hard work and is a special moment to celebrate the completion of your studies. However, the health and safety of everyone should be our priority in making this difficult decision. Please view our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

    We ask for your patience and understanding as the University seeks to manage the significant and far-reaching impacts of COVID-19. I look forward to the time when, together, we can safely reconvene as a University community to celebrate the proud accomplishments of the Class of 2020.

    Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.

    New information about the COVID-19 is being updated daily sometimes hourly. Please visit the CDC website for the latest information about the situation.

    All concerns regarding COVID-19 and potential cases should be directed to Student Health Services at 718 990-6360 (select option 4). Student Health Services will work with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to take appropriate action.

    It is always good practice to follow self-care habits to stay well – wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap and water, cover your cough, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t share food or drinks. If you get sick, stay home and rest.

    The University is dedicated to fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus community where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. Acts of bias or discrimination stemming from the association of COVID-19 with a particular population, ethnicity or, nationality will not be tolerated.

    • On January 30, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. This acknowledges that, while the COVID-19 was initially seen to be a risk primarily in China, it is now of serious concern beyond its borders and calls for a coordinated international response.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. government has issued travel restrictions and an advisory warning against all travel to China.
    • St. John’s University officials are receiving guidance and working closely with the US Health and Human Services, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of International Education, and other offices to monitor this evolving situation and respond appropriately.
    • For a summary of related to the COVID-19, see correspondence from St. John’s University in the section above.

    Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. For those with a weakened immune system, there's a chance the virus could cause much more serious respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis. Because it is cold and flu season, and this virus has similar symptoms, it is important to not make any assumptions and have any respiratory illness evaluated by a healthcare provider. At this time, the COVID-19 is primarily related to the outbreak in China.

    It is flu season! Take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season. Wash your hands often, cover your cough, and if you feel sick stay home. For more information, visit

    Frequently Asked Questions

    For additional frequently asked questions, please visit these pages:

    In addition to the assistance of your faculty colleagues and Dean’s offices, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Online Learning and Services, the University LibrariesOffice of Information Technology, and Office of the Provost stand ready to assist you through this transition and will continue to update the Course Continuity Planning page as additional information and resources become available.

    Further information and University updates are available in the Coronavirus Internal Updates “organization” which can be found by clicking on the Organizations link in the left-hand navigation once you have logged into Blackboard.

    The coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about 2019 novel coronavirus.

    According to the CDC the risk of contracting the COVID-19 in the United States is very low. Most patients with COVID-19 have been linked to those who live in or visited Wuhan, China. There is only one documented case in the United States of human to human transmission of COVID-19 and in this case it was the spouse of someone who recently returned to Wuhan, China.

    Concerns about a new and unfamiliar illness are understandable.

    If you are feeling anxious or uneasy, please don’t hesitate to turn to the Student Health Services (718-990-6360, select option 4) or the Center for Counseling and Consultation (Queens, 718-990-6384; Staten Island, 718-390-4451) or the St. John’s University Mental Health Helpline (718-990-6352).

    For information and support resources, please visit Following an Emergency Situation or a Traumatic Event.

    St. John’s is using multiple communication channels to keep the campus community informed. This includes:

    Everyone should:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
    • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard it in a closed container.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.

    For people who are sick:

    • Stay home.
    • If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.
    • Keep sick household members away from others. If you have a separate room that is best.
    • Use soap and water, a bleach and water solution, or EPA-approved household products. You can make your own cleanser with a mixture of 1 cup of liquid unscented chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of water.
    • Avoid sharing personal items.
    • Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their healthcare provider for more information.

    The CDC is continuing to evaluate and adjust its recommendation about wearing masks. Please visit the CDC's website for the latest recommendations on wearing masks.

    As of April 17 at 8 p.m., anyone in New York must wear a face covering in any situation in public where you cannot maintain social distancing. For more information about this Executive Order, please visit The New York State Novel Coronavirus website.

    COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms are similar. The majority of the cases of the illness have occurred in and around the city of Wuhan in China. If you have not been to the area of the outbreak, chances are you might have the flu.

    If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and body aches, it is important to not make any assumptions and have any respiratory illness evaluated by a health-care provider. Students should call Student Health Services immediately at 718-990-6360 (select option 4). If Student Health Services is closed, please call the Department of Public Safety at 718-990-5252. Faculty, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider.

    If you recently traveled to China or have been in contact with someone known to be infected with the COVID-19 AND have a fever and cough or shortness of breath, you should:

    • Seek medical care right away.
    • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Students should call Student Health Services immediately at 718-990-6360 (select option 4). If Student Health Services is closed, please call the Department of Public Safety at 718-990-5252. Faculty, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider.
    • Wear a face mask if you need to leave your home when sick.
    • After you have been seen by a health care provider, stay home and avoid contact with others until you are well.
    • Avoid travel on any public transportation (e.g., buses, subways, trains, airplanes, car services, taxi, Uber,) until the illness resolves.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Remember hospital staff will not ask patients about their immigration status.

    CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health care systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.

    Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time.

    CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection. There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel.

    Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

    Past Communications on COVID-19

    University Communications

    Student Communications