Three days after announcing the reopening of campus, Cornell’s administration has released more specific information, including guidelines around the August move-in and testing protocols, according to the Cornell Daily Sun.
In an email to the Campus community yesterday, Cornell’s VP for Student and Campus Life, Ryan Lombardi, outlined the Cornell behavioral compact, which includes a list of social distancing measures that are required on-campus. Among the measures, students must participate in Cornell’s virus screening protocols, self quarantine 14 days before arriving on campus, and practice social distancing by staying 6-feet away from others, and wear a mask.
The university will begin screening for coronavirus in mid-July and will continue screening throughout the semester. Testing frequency is still unclear. On-campus students will be required to participate in a Daily Check questionnaire, and may be referred to health services if any answers appear concerning.
Student organizations will be allowed to meet in person, but must take attendance, and social distance.
A decision regarding fall sports at Cornell will be announced next week.
Watkins Glen is creating a pedestrian-friendly “Village Square” area to allow more space for restaurants and shops to operate safely amid social distancing guidelines, the Odessa File reports.
The area will be located between the corners of Franklin and 3rd streets, which have been blocked off using concrete barriers from the new wastewater treatment plant. The move was approved by the state’s Department of Transportation, and final plans are still being worked out. The area will have seating, lights, and potentially music.
It has not yet been decided how long this pedestrian area will stay, but its services will be of assistance to businesses struggling to operate properly because of the pandemic.
After a June 24th Executive order from President Trump made it harder for international students to work in the U.S. after graduation, a number of community members are concerned for their futures. According to the Cornell Daily Sun, the order limits the issuance of a variety of visas for workers without US citizenship. Included in the limitations are H1-B visas, which are given to people who usually work in the healthcare, science, tech, engineering, and math industries.
International students can still use Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training, which allow students to work in the U.S. for up to a year. But when many would look to find employment after that one year, that will no longer be possible.
Among other repercussions of the order, students who are not currently in the US will lose their status as an H1-B worker. That means if a recent international graduate was in their home country due to the pandemic, they would lose their status, even if they were scheduled to begin work this fall. If they had a visa, these students will be restricted from entering the U.S. until December 31st, when the proclamation is scheduled to end.
Governor Cuomo’s office announced this week that swimming pools located at State Parks would be opening for the summer beginning this weekend.
The announcement provides detailed guidelines pertaining to use of the pools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most notably, pools will only allow for 50 percent capacity. Visitors are cautioned to have alternate plans at the ready in case the pool that they are hoping to attend is at capacity when they arrive.
Swimmers will be asked to sign in with contact information to enable potential contact tracing measures. Visitors must wear a mask when inside changing and bathing facilities and at certain times outside. Seating areas will be kept 10 feet apart and attendees are asked to maintain groups of 10 people or fewer.
The closest state park with a swimming pool is Watkins Glen State Park in Schuyler County. To learn more about guidance for state parks with swimming areas, go to parks.ny.gov/covid19.
Additionally, it was announced late this afternoon that the Alex Haley pool at GIAC will reopen to swimmers starting tomorrow, and will be open all weekend to the public at a limited capacity. GIAC staff will collect contact information, conduct a temperature check, and ask three COVID-19 screening questions to visitors.
As a note, changing locker rooms will be closed but bathrooms will be open. And admittance is on a first come, first serve basis.
The Alex Haley pool will be open from noon-3:15 and 3:45-6:15 all weekend. It’s located at 301 W Court St in Ithaca. More information on parameters to swim at the pool and hours next week can be found here.
Gyms, yoga and pilates studios in New York State were initially told they could open under phase 4 reopening guidelines but were later removed from that list of phase 4 businesses.
Spectrum News reports that the owners of about 3,000 of those gyms are now considering filing a class action suit against New York state. They allege that the state has denied them the ability to maintain their business while other state businesses have been allowed to open.
Michael Ganim, co-owner of Harbor Fitness in Brooklyn, tells Spectrum News that he had been preparing to re-open under the Phase 4 guidelines, but then had to re-furlough his entire staff.
The Governor’s office notes, in a statement, that they could not comment on a suit that has not been filed yet. Cuomo’s office adds that they’re currently studying how indoor gyms and fitness centers can re-open safely amid COVID-19.
Locally, the home page of the Ithaca YMCA notes that, “Governor Cuomo’s last minute decision to exclude us from Phase 4 has temporarily delayed our reopening plans.” The statement also indicates that the Ithaca YMCA is actively lobbying their state representatives to reverse the decision.
Looking to the local COVID-19 caseload, In Tompkins County 167 of the 168 people infected with the virus in Tompkins have recovered as of Friday, according to the county health department. 14 out of 15 people infected with COVID-19 in Schuyler County have recovered, according to their health department.
Contributing writing by WRFI volunteers Susan Fortson, Esther Racoosin, and news intern Phoebe Harms.