During their regular meeting Tuesday night, the Ithaca City School District Board of Education approved the expenditure of $1.2 million dollars to enhance buildings for reopening schools during the pandemic.

The Ithaca Voice reports over $300,000 will go towards repairing deficient or outdated HVAC and air filter systems to strengthen airflow and combat the spread of COVID-19. The repairs will begin on September 24 in 10 school buildings: Belle Sherman Elementary School, Belle Sherman Annex, Boynton Middle School, Enfield Elementary School, Lehman Alternative Community School, DeWitt Middle School, Ithaca High School, South Hill Elementary School, Fall Creek Elementary School and Beverly J. Martin Elementary School.

Cornell University Provost Michael Kotlikoff attended Tuesday night’s BOE meeting and mentioned the possibility of expanding the university’s pool-testing capacity to assist ICSD with surveillance testing.  ICSD will begin in-person classes in the first week of October.

 

Local residents can now track data about Covid-19 cases on the Cornell campus.

On Tuesday, the Cornell Provost and Vice Provost offices launched a web-based dashboard that provides information about COVID-19 testing results and other metrics on which the data are based.

One graphic shows the number of tests given and confirmed positives per week. A simpler graphic shows new positives for the current day and week, and for the total positives on campus since February 20. Other indicators provide information about available quarantine, isolation, and hospital capacities.

The top of the dashboard includes a color-coded window showing alert levels. The current green stands for normal.  Yellow, orange, and red colors would indicate rising case numbers. Green means cases are rare and transmission is controlled.  Red would indicate a significant rise in incidents, accompanied by limited quarantine, isolation, and/or local hospital capacity.

If a red alert is indicated, the campus will be shut down and all classes will be offered remotely.

Detailed descriptions for each alert level can be found on the dashboard page at covid.cornell.edu/testing/dashboard/.

 

Students at Cornell University have voiced concern over not receiving their financial aid packages before the start of fall semester classes, the Cornell Daily Sun reports.

Cornell required new and returning students to sign a financial responsibility agreement that states they will pay their tuition and fees in order to sign up for classes. However, several students have either not received their financial aid, or have errors in their billing statements that they cannot afford to cover.

Many students have complained that paying their tuition during this time is especially difficult because of the economic fallout during the coronavirus pandemic, and that paying full tuition before knowing what they owe is not always an option. Multiple students who claimed to turn in financial aid forms on time are still facing these issues.

 

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that certain “low-risk” high school sports will be able to resume activities in late September, according to the Ithaca Voice.

Sports that present a lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 include tennis, soccer, cross-country, field hockey, and swimming. Teams playing these sports will be able to hold practices and games. Higher risk sports with increased physical contact like wrestling, football, rugby, and ice hockey can commence practices on September 21st, but will not be able to play in games for the time being.

Cuomo did not indicate when higher risk sports would be able to resume play. He also did not address “moderate-risk” sports, like basketball, baseball, gymnastics, volleyball, and softball.

Travel games for low-risk sports will only be within their regions, and guidance from the Health Department has been posted for reference.

 

Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, the latest numbers, released Wednesday, August 26th from the Tompkins County health department, indicate that  there are no additional positive cases and no new recoveries. According to the County Health Department, that leaves 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

In Schuyler County, there are no new cases of COVID-19 reported as of today, according to their Health Department. All active cases have recovered.