Coronavirus Update,

Cornell president Martha Pollack is backing the University’s plan for reactivation in the fall. According to the Cornell Daily Sun, Pollack sent an email to the University community, noting that welcoming students back to Ithaca was “the best option available”. She also says that all decisions were driven by the school’s “responsibility to safeguard the health and well-being” of the campus community, not by financial considerations.

Pollack also says that the school is expecting to find several hundreds to a thousand cases of COVID-19 in the Cornell Community during the upcoming semester. She affirms that without having classes in person, that number would be 6 to 9 times higher, according to modeling conducted by the school.

Cornell also released the behavioral compact, which will include a quiz that all students must pass before they enroll in classes. Pollack and VP of Student Life Ryan Lombardi are both offering assurance to the community that the compact will be enforced, with a range of penalties including the loss of access to facilities, to suspension from the University.

Cayuga Health System announced this week that “Kids-care” after hours pediatric care is re-opening at the Ithaca hospital. The Ithaca voice reports that the Cayuga Medical Center program has been closed since April 24th due to the COVID pandemic, but will be returning with summer hours. Kids-care serves pediatric and adolescents, to infants and children under the age of 17. The treatment they offer is different than emergency rooms or other urgent care clinics. 

The summer hours are Monday to Friday from 5-8PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5PM. Pre-registration will be required, and patients and parents will be required to wait in the car until they are called. In addition, only one parent or guardian and one patient will be allowed in the hospital. Siblings who are not also patients will not be allowed in the hospital. 

Parents can pre-register by calling 607-274-4356, or going online at Parents are reminded that in the event of an emergency, parents should take their children to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, as of Thursday, there are no new cases of the virus, and 5 more recovery in Tompkins County. According to the Health Department, that leaves 21 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

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

New York Teachers Unions are demanding clear protocols for how school districts will handle potential outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools. The New York State United Teachers and United Teachers Federation are both pushing the state on a number of issues, according to the Albany Times Union.  

One of their recommendations is a mandatory two-week closure period in the event of a potential outbreak, with a return to online learning until the school is deemed safe. The unions are also pushing the state to explain how contact tracing will be administered, and how quarantine will be enforced for those who get the novel coronavirus in the school system. 

Governor Cuomo is expected to make an announcement on school reopening by tomorrow. One of the major issues that will need to be established, is who will be responsible for administering COVID-19 tests. 

In comments Governor Cuomo made on Tuesday, he seemed to indicate that school districts might be responsible for sampling the community. That would be in direct opposition to previous health department guidance that says schools should not be testing their own communities. Another concern is that schools do not have the capability or professional staff to conduct testing on their own.  

Contributing writing by WRFI News intern Jon Donville