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Dear Students,
 
As I’m sure all of you have already seen, New York City has entered a new stage in its response to the threat posed by the coronavirus. The mayor announced last night that New York City public schools would be closed at least until April 20 and has instituted significant restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other venues where people congregate in large groups in order to encourage increased social distancing.
 
Following the city’s lead, Bank Street programs will also be closed until April 20 and we will be holding classes and conference groups online during this time. You can find additional resources, including online learning tools and information about contacting Student Services, on our website. We are also working to close the Bank Street Bookstore starting tomorrow and are taking steps to fully shut down our building at 112th Street as well.
 
Our primary concern right now is making sure that everyone in our community is safe, healthy, and supported to the extent that we possibly can. I want to personally urge all of you to take this threat very seriously. Ultimately, experts have shown that social distancing is the key to slowing the spread of this virus, enabling our health care system to adequately prepare for this illness, care for those who need it, and save lives. This simulation from the Washington Post provides a clear visual for how this works—and demonstrates how “a single person’s behavior can cause ripple effects that touch faraway people.” More than ever, this time shows how deeply connected we all are and I hope that you will each take the steps needed to protect everyone in our community. 
 
I also want to acknowledge that these changes and the ongoing uncertainty are emotionally difficult. As a reminder, if you find yourself feeling anxious or in need of additional support, you can reach out to Peggy McNamara, mam@bankstreet.edu, who can help refer you to counselling services.

Even as we work apart from each other, please take every effort to connect via phone or Zoom, to check in on each other, and to care for each other. As Lucy Sprague Mitchell put it in our credo, this is a time when we most need “the courage to work, unafraid and efficiently, in a world of new needs, new problems, and new ideas.”

Warmly,
Shael

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