Cornell University changed its COVID-19 alert level from green, which means cases are rare and transmission is controlled, to yellow, which means there is a low to moderate risk of transmission.
The university identified a cluster of at least 12 positive student cases, Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said in a message to the Cornell community. The cases are tied to a party in Collegetown that multiple Greek life organizations attended. Masks and social distancing guidelines were not followed, the message said. The alert change comes three days before classes start Feb. 8.
“The disregard of public health guidelines, all of which are requirements of the student behavioral compact, by some of our students represents a significant risk to the health and safety of our community,” Pollack said in the message.
Pollack said the number of positives is likely to grow over the next few days. Since Jan. 28, there have been 70 positive cases at Cornell, and the university is at 49% of its quarantine and isolation capacity.
“The pandemic is not over,” Pollack said. “We’re faced with increased virus prevalence locally and in the nation, and, most recently, the emergence of one of the virus variants in our community.”
Ithaca College has had four new positive cases in the week of Jan. 31–Feb. 6. There are 15 total active cases: seven residential student cases, seven off-campus cases and one staff member case. The college has 23 students in public health and isolation quarantine and 20 students in travel advisory quarantine. Tompkins County has 239 active cases as of Feb. 5.
Testing for the spring semester is done through a saliva self-collection process. Samples can be dropped off by 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at the Campus Center, the Athletics and Events Center and Terrace 13. Symptomatic members of the campus community are not allowed on campus and should seek testing at The Shops at Ithaca Mall sampling site or downtown sampling site.