Coronavirus Update, July 14, 2020

On Tuesday afternoon the Trump Administration rolled back a recent reversal in policy that would have resulted in the deportation of millions of international students in America if they did not register for in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester. According to the New York Times, this greenlights a policy put into place in March that gave international students the ability to take all their college courses online, and hold onto their student visas.

New York state Attorney General Letitia James was one of the 18 attorneys general suing the Trump Administration for the reversal in policy. In a press release issued Monday, Attorney General James argued that this was a threat to the education and immigration status of these students, public health, and the larger economy of New York state.

Cornell was one of the schools that joined other institutions in an amicus brief last week to support Harvard and MIT as they pursued litigation to stop the new immigration rule. Today, the Federal government and the universities reached a resolution, according to the Judge Allison Burroughs.

The ruling applies to international students that attend schools all over the nation.

In a press conference Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state will use positive infection rate and the re-opening phase of a region to determine whether K-12 schools in that area will be allowed to re-open this fall. The Ithaca Times reports that schools will be allowed to re-open if their positive test rate is below 5% for a 14 day rolling average, and they are also in phase 4 of New York’s reopening plan.

Regions will be notified during the first week of August if they qualify for re-opening. In addition, if regions have over a 9% infection rate on a seven day rolling average, they will be forced to shut down immediately. Students and staff will also be required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown told the Ithaca Times that the most likely scenario for the district is a hybrid method that will combine virtual and in-person elements.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin have been added to the list of states that people traveling to New York from are required to quarantine for 14 days. Anyone arriving from a state with a positive test rate that is higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or has a 10% or higher positivity rate over a week average is required to quarantine.

A travel enforcement program began today at airports to make sure that travelers are following the state’s COVID-19 guidelines. The other states under the travel advisory are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin. Delaware has been removed from the list.

Looking to the local COVID-19 caseload, 167 of the 176 people infected with the virus have recovered, according to the county health department. In Schuyler County, 15 out of 17 people infected with COVID-19 have recovered, according to their health department.

Contributing writing by Tessie Devlin, Jon Donville, and Phoebe Harms