At the end of a phased move-in process for Spring 2021, Ithaca College has received multiple reports of COVID-19 guideline violations.
In a Feb. 5 message to the campus community, Rosanna Ferro, vice president for student affairs and campus life, said large gatherings where COVID-19 guidelines were not followed are concerning. Cornell University also raised its COVID-19 alert level Feb. 5 because of a cluster tied to a party in Collegetown. Currently Ithaca College has 15 active cases: seven are residential students, six are off-campus students and two are staff members. As of Feb. 8, there are 22 students in public health and isolation quarantine and four in travel advisory quarantine.
“This absolutely cannot continue if we are to be successful this spring,” Ferro said in the message. “IC must truly be in this together, and it will take each and every one of us to be on board to navigate this semester smoothly.”
Ferro stressed that students should refrain from gatherings that do not adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Gatherings of any size that include people who do not live in a student’s residence hall, apartment or house can increase the spread of COVID-19 if there are no masks, social distancing or hygiene, the message said. New York state prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 10 people.
“Violations of the IC Community Agreement in this manner will be handled swiftly, with sanctions rising to the level of a deferred or full suspension,” Ferro said.
Tom Dunn, associate director and deputy chief of the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management (OPS), said campus police respond to on-campus complaints of a possible Community Agreement violation. Campus community members can submit a violation through the Community Agreement Reporting Form. For off-campus complaints, he said that where the possible gathering or other violation takes place determines if the City of Ithaca Police Department, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s department or New York State Police respond. A form is sent to OPS detailing the complaint, and OPS will send the complaint to Student Conduct and Community Standards, Dunn said.
“We would certainly encourage anybody reporting a concern about what they see is a public health violation to complete that form [Community Agreement Reporting Form] and send it to [the Office of] Student Conduct and Community Standards,” Dunn said.
However, he said that for violations that need immediate attention, students should call OPS. Dunn said students can also use the form to report violations that occurred days prior.
Tompkins County has 217 active COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 7, according to the Tompkins County Health Department. The health department reported that on Feb. 6 a nursing home resident died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of resident deaths in the county to 26.
Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County public health director, issued a statement regarding Super Bowl Sunday, taking place Feb. 7, and asked people not to gather between households.
“Each time we’ve had a holiday where people gather together from different households, we’ve seen a spike in COVID-19 cases,” he said in the statement. “Active cases have been on the decline over the past few weeks, and we have the opportunity to continue this trend. … Don’t let the Super Bowl become a superspreader.”
In the Feb. 5 message, Ferro also reminded students that no family, friends or other guests of students are allowed on campus. She also said events will continue to be held virtually this semester to de-densify spaces on campus. Events that need to be held in person must be preapproved and follow health and safety protocols.