Cornell has become the latest university to announce that it would go digital after spring break, following a wave of colleges nationwide that have canceled in-person classes due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Although no case of the virus has been reported in Tompkins County yet, students will be asked to leave campus at the start of spring break and stay home for the remainder of the semester. Classes will be online after spring break and faculty members must start transitioning to virtual alternatives now, according to a March 10 statement from President Martha E. Pollack.
All on- and off-campus events with more than 100 people will now be prohibited; classroom teaching is permitted until March 27. The University will reassess visitor restrictions with a final decision by April. In the statement, Pollack also strongly discouraged any domestic or international travel for any Cornell-related purposes.
Graduate and professional students can continue research or individual rotations on campus, but must limit other travel and group activities.
As an extra precautionary measure, the University will start implementing enhanced cleaning procedures for its facilities.
Although Tompkins County has yet to report a confirmed case of COVID-19, New York has continued to face an onslaught of growing cases — quadrupling in the past four days from 44 on Friday to 174 as of Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that he would deploy the national guard to create a one-mile containment zone around New Rochelle, a Westchester County city that is responsible for 108 of the state’s cases.
This story is breaking and will be updated.