Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi sent the following message Nov. 13:
The Tompkins County Health Department has identified additional positive cases related to the cluster that was described in yesterday’s communication. All students who have been identified as close contacts are currently in quarantine and undergoing testing; however, we anticipate that additional students may be contacted by the health department as contact tracing continues. The additional cases will be reflected on the university’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard when it is updated later this evening.
As a precautionary measure, the university has moved the Ithaca campus to COVID-19 Alert Level Yellow in hope to curtail further spread of the virus. While the overall prevalence of the virus remains low, this is a reminder for our entire community about how critical it is to follow all public health guidance at all times, on or off campus. As you go about your studies, work, and activities, please remember to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance of six feet or more whether indoors or outdoors, and practice frequent handwashing. Most importantly, gatherings should be limited and, whenever possible, be held outdoors.
With in-person courses concluding today, many students are looking forward to departing Ithaca, some as early as tomorrow. As a reminder, visitors (including family and friends) are not allowed to enter residence halls or other campus facilities. In addition, any student in quarantine or isolation is prohibited from leaving their place of quarantine without permission from the health department. If you are in quarantine or isolation at the time of your intended departure, the health department may not permit you to travel. Please keep this potential restriction in mind as you plan your departure.
As the prevalence of infection rises in New York state and across the nation, it is increasingly important to avoid all unnecessary travel. We are seeing a growing number of cases emerge following travel outside the region. For those who plan to remain in the Ithaca area after Thanksgiving break, please avoid all but emergency travel and adhere strictly to all travel guidelines, including self-quarantine and testing.
We have come too far as a community to ease up on our diligence in following all public health guidelines. As you will recall, earlier in the semester, after a surge in cases, we instituted a yellow alert for a period of approximately two weeks. The entire Cornell community responded remarkably well, particularly students, in taking appropriate steps to recommit to all protocols. We are confident that with the same commitment and vigilance, all of us will once again rise to this critical challenge.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to keeping our campus and the greater Ithaca community safe.