Ithaca College will have enhanced safety precautions, including campuswide testing and limitations on who is allowed on campus, as in-person instruction is slated to begin for the fall semester.
La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Rosanna Ferro, vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Life, provided updates about the measures in an email to the campus community July 17. The plans could change because of the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic and updates to state or local health and safety guidelines, the email stated.
Students from states that are on New York state’s travel advisory list who have not remained in New York state over the summer will not be allowed to return to campus and will have to take classes remotely until their state has been removed from the mandatory quarantine list, the email stated.
The states on the list currently include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. People entering New York state from these states must quarantine for 14 days before traveling to New York state. The college previously announced that students from these states are prohibited from moving out of their on-campus residence halls and have to have their belongings shipped to them or stored in the college’s warehouse.
“Unfortunately, the college simply does not have the resources or infrastructure to manage quarantining either on campus or off campus for the large number of students affected by this order,” the email stated.
Students will have the option to take classes remotely for Fall 2020, and the college will provide more information in the coming week, the email stated.
All students are asked to be tested for COVID-19, if possible, and quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. Students who test positive should stay home to recover before they return to campus, the email stated. All students will be tested when they arrive in Ithaca by staff from the Cayuga Health System and will be required to sign the Ithaca College Community Agreement, which means they will abide by all campus safety guidelines.
The college announced June 30 that there will be a phased return to campus with hybrid instruction, including both remote and in-person classes. All students will receive an email Aug. 10 that will tell them their move-in group and give them access to sign up for a testing appointment, the July 17 email stated. Students who live off campus must also schedule a testing appointment.
Testing and move-in will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the move-in dates. The first group of students will move in Aug. 28–29. These students are graduate physical therapy students who need to participate in physical therapy boot camp. The second group will move in from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6 and is composed of freshmen, transfer students and students from academic departments who have majors or classes that involve hands-on instruction that begin in the first week of instruction.
According to the email, the third group will move in Sept. 11–12, and is composed of students who are in academic departments who have majors or classes that involve hands-on instruction that begin in week two of instruction. The fourth group will move in from Sept. 17 to Sept. 19 and includes students in academic departments who are in a class or major that includes hands-on learning starting in week three of instruction. All other students will move in Sept. 25–26 or Oct. 2, the email stated.
Students who have not been requested to return early by their academic programs will be allowed to sign up for a move-in and testing appointment on the day that their residence hall has access to the sign-up system, the email stated. Students who live in double rooms will not be allowed to move in on the same day as their roommate, so both can be tested, the email stated.
Students are asked to limit the number of belongings they are bringing with them to campus. Students living in residence halls can bring two suitcases, or the equivalent, and a backpack, and students in apartments can bring two suitcases, two additional boxes and a backpack, the email stated.
Students will have to move their own belongings into their rooms because no guests will be allowed into the residence buildings. Students can ship belongings to campus before they arrive. According to the email, students will be asked to bring their belongings home with them when they leave for Thanksgiving break, but, if they are unable to, students can have them stored or shipped in case the college does not open for Spring 2021.
The college is working with Cornell University and Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) and is following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York State Department of Health and Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) to develop plans for the upcoming academic year, the email stated. Cornell University will begin the fall semester with a mix of in-person and virtual instruction Sept. 2, and TC3 will bring its students back for dual instruction Aug. 31.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be notified by the TCHD. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated and are expected to participate in contact tracing efforts, the email stated. Individuals who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive will be notified by the TCHD and are expected to quarantine for 14 days, the email stated.
According to the email, members of the campus community will be expected to maintain a 6-foot distance from each other, and the college will work on changing spaces on campus to reduce density, increase distance and decrease traffic flow.
The college will follow cleaning and disinfecting practices and use disinfectants recommended by the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency. Restrooms and high touch points will be cleaned on an increased schedule, the email stated.
The college is limiting those who have access to campus to faculty, staff, students and those who have been approved by a vice president.
The college will provide an update during the week of July 19 concerning tuition and room and board, email stated. The tuition for the 2020–21 academic year is currently set at $46,611. The total cost of attendance, including tuition, a standard double room and the unlimited meal plan required for students in the dorms, will be $62,457 for the 2020–21 academic year.
The official Return to Campus plan will be finished and submitted to New York state in early August, and the plan will be made public at that time.