Coronavirus Update, March 17, 2020

It was announced today that Ithaca College will be switching to remote instruction through the end of the semester, according to a message from President Shirley Collado. The school had planned to originally start up classes again on Monday, April 6th. Additionally, Ithaca College has set August 1st as the new target date for commencement. These decisions come amidst New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s motion to restrict events with more than fifty people.

Tompkins County Health Department has announced a third confirmed case of coronavirus, or COVID-19 in the county. 69 test results are pending, and 82 are in quarantine and monitored by TCHD. As of the time of broadcast, New York State's has reached over 1300 total cases, according to the state Health Department.

Cayuga Medical has set up a drive-by testing lab at a site on Craft Road in Ithaca, according to the Ithaca Voice. The facility, located where the Cayuga Centers for Dermatology and Women’s Health operates, launched yesterday. There patients can get tested with a nasal swab without having to leave their vehicle.

Testing hours are noon to 5pm Monday through Friday, and patients don’t need an appointment ahead of time. However, the test must be ordered by a physician of the patient, who must show symptoms of a cough, fever, chest pains, or shortness of breath.

All New York Village Elections have been postponed until April 28th, impacting village elections of Dryden and Trumansburg. According to a press release, Governor Cuomo said “delaying village elections will help ensure poll workers and voters are not potentially exposed to the virus and at the same time maintain integrity in our election system."

Tompkins County has also announced that all licensed childcare facilities in the County will close tomorrow due to the risk of COVID-19.

Additionally, the Odessa File reports that the international Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen will also close to the public, and possibly reopen April 13th.

Tompkins County Area Transit, or TCAT, is reducing their services in response to a decline in ridership, reports The Ithaca Voice. Their new reduced schedule will be in effect this Thursday, through Saturday, May 23, which is also the normal end of TCAT’s Winter/Spring schedule.

The most immediate scheduling changes went into effect last night, and impacts Route 11N, Route 90, Route 92, and Route 93. Along with scheduling changes, TCAT announced it will be closing the popular indoor waiting area at its Green Street station.

TCAT is expected to release more details about its reduced schedule by tomorrow as they continue to examine ridership data. TCAT says further restrictions may be necessary, and recommends riders check the TCAT website, as well as travel apps like Bus Tracker and MyStop, to be updated about further scheduling changes.

Cornell faculty are developing innovative ways to teach students digitally as the school transitions to online instruction, reports the Cornell Chronicle. In-person classes were suspended for the rest of the spring semester on Friday, March 13, to curb the spread of COVID-19, and faculty are preparing to start virtual instruction on Monday, April 6.

Cornell is helping prepare all faculty for the transition by having webinars, in-person presentations and one-to-one consultations for specific questions. Cornell Information Technology staff are also working to ensure that hundreds of classes that now need to transition online will have laptops, cameras and WiFi.

Contributing writing by WRFI News Volunteer JT Stone