As Cornell prepares to welcome students back to Ithaca, the university is creating a student ambassador program to help enforce the behavioral compact according to the Cornell Daily Sun. The COVID-19 student peer health ambassadors’ program is designed as a volunteer opportunity for students to increase public health awareness and help advocate for the university’s novel coronavirus prevention guidelines.  

There will be two levels of ambassadors: level one will have a lower time commitment, and will include tasks like handing out PPE, and supporting the university public health campaign. 

Level two will involve students who will advocate for policies that will prevent the spread of the virus, and will include members from Cornell’s athletic teams and Greek life. 

The school is expected to release the behavioral compact this week, and will include guidelines on how the school will plan to discourage partying, and what students will be required to do when school resumes. Every Cornell University student will be required to sign the compact, regardless of whether they live on or off campus. 

In more school reopening news, a recent survey conducted by graduate and professional students at Cornell University has found that their peers are concerned about their health safety upon return to campus. 

The Ithaca Times reports that over 2200 students have participated in the survey. 69 percent of Ph.D. students, 57 percent of Masters students, and 47 percent of professional students are concerned with “personal health and safety as a student and member of the Cornell community.” In addition, many graduate students have expressed frustration with needing a specific reason for opting out of in-person requirements such as teaching assistant duties.

There has also been discussion over the distinction between treating Ph.D. students as “students” or as “workers,” as individuals in this position tend to fill both roles. As of now, individuals concerned with personal health conditions or potential exposure to the virus are expected to register with the Student Disability Service for accommodations.

And over in Schuyler County, the Watkins-Glen school board is hearing out residents’ concerns over the district’s potential reopening plans for the fall, the Odessa File reports. 

On a zoom conference call held last night, Superintendent Greg Kelahan communicated that no final decisions would be made until Governor Cuomo announces to what extent he will allow schools to open, if at all. The response from residents was a mix of parents concerned with their children’s return and others favoring in-person instruction. 

While no concrete decisions were reached, a poll taken had a consensus that teachers should still work from school even if students have to do remote learning. The plan for Watkins Glen’s school district, released Friday, notes that the preferred plan would see Pre-K through 8th grade in school each day. Grades 9-12 would alternate days on-site and remotely.

At the meeting Monday, many parents say they wish to have the option of whether or not they send their children to school.

The New York Academy of History is honoring a Tompkins County historian with the 2020 Lehman Prize for Distinguished Service, for her lengthy career in documenting local history. The Ithaca Voice reports that Carol Kammen was given the award for outstanding lifelong contributions to New York History.  

Kammen has been the Tompkins County historian since 2000, and has also written several books in that time. She is known in particular for telling the stories of women and people of color throughout the history of the county -- including her most recent book on women’s suffrage in the early 20th century. 

The award was voted upon by her peers, and will be celebrated with a gala whenever it is safe to do so.

Watkins Glen International, or WGI, has announced that the second of its two major auto races has been moved south, according to the WGI and the International motor sports association.

Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen will not be run the weekend of September 3-6 but will be staged on the same dates on the Road Atlanta course in Georgia.  Originally scheduled for June 25-28, the Six Hours at the Glen was first rescheduled to Oct 1-5 this year, then rescheduled to the September dates before being canceled and moved to Atlanta. 

The other major event at Watkins Glen International, the NASCAR Cup series, was scheduled for August 16 but was moved to Daytona International Speedway.  Watkins Glen has a number of smaller events on the calendar including the long-running Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix occurring September 13.  Fans holding Watkins Glen tickets will get full refunds. That information and more updates, at TheGlen.com. 

Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday that Rhode Island has been added to the State’s travel advisory list. According to the Governor’s office, Delaware and Washington D.C have been removed from the 30+ states included in the advisory. 

Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, as of the time of our 6pm broadcast, there are 2 new cases of the virus, and 1 recovery in Tompkins County. According to the Health Department, there are 26 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

There were no new cases of the virus in Schuyler county Tuesday. There is one active case and 22 recoveries.

Contributing writing by WRFI News interns Jon Donville and Phoebe Harms, and News Contributor Fred Balfour