Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

The Physical Sciences Building stands nearly empty on March 20.

March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Updates: Cornell Suspends Classes, Encourages Students to Return Home

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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Cornell suspended classes effective March 13 and instructed students to return home as soon as possible. Here are all our headlines on changes at Cornell and in Ithaca related to the COVID-19 outbreak, in order of date published:

The Latest

There are 98 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins County, the health department said on Sunday.

One of the individuals with the coronavirus is a food service employee at Mango Mango, a Collegetown dessert restaurant. An employee who worked at the Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport and a Wegmans employee have also both tested positive.

Cornell suspended classes effective March 13. Classes will resume online beginning April 6.

University Updates

On March 13, shortly after President Martha E. Pollack's announcement to cancel all classes until Spring Break, students took to the slope to enjoy a "Slope Day" of their own.

Michael Suguitan / Sun Senior Photographer

On March 13, shortly after President Martha E. Pollack’s announcement to cancel all classes until Spring Break, students took to the slope to enjoy a “Slope Day” of their own.

April 3: As Classes Approach, Faculty Senate Rejects Push for Universal S/U
April 2: Office of Admissions Works Towards Welcoming Class of 2024 Amidst Remote Admissions Cycle
April 2: Cornell Fitness Centers Not Offering Refunds at This Time
March 30: Medicine and Therapy Go Virtual as Cornell Health Shifts to ‘Pandemic Operations’
March 30: Freezing Finances: Cornell Halts Hiring, Salary Increases
March 28: Annual Cornell Alumni Reunion to Go ‘Virtual’
March 27: Law School Implements Pass/Fail Grading System
March 20: First Members of Cornell Community Test Positive for COVID-19
March 20: Commencement Not Canceled: President Promises Senior Send-off
March 19: Cornell Extends Semester by Week, Allows Pass/Fail in All Classes
March 16: Slope Day Officially Axed as Cornell Rolls Out Latest COVID-19 Restrictions
March 14: The Sun Interviews Top Administrators on COVID-19 Policy Change
March 13: Administrators Work to Justify Friday Policy Twist, Calling COVID-19 Cases Inevitable
March 13: In an Unexpected Announcement, President Pollack Suspends All Classes, Effective at 5 p.m.
March 11: Pollack Provides Details of Rationale for Move to Online Classes, Encourages ‘Social Distancing’
March 11: Cornell to Close Classrooms in Unprecedented Step, Though Questions Remain
March 11: Cornell Not Alone in Class Cancellations: Tracking COVID-19 Reactions Across the Ivy League
March 10: Cornell Cancels In-Person Classes After Spring Break, Will Shift to Online Instruction Amid COVID-19 Turmoil
March 7: Cornell Braces for Virus as Upstate N.Y. Reports First Case of COVID-19, West Coast Colleges Close Classrooms
March 6: Cornell, TCAT Release New Set of Guidelines as COVID-19 Spreads in the U.S.

City News

Collegetown Bagels was empty on March 20 after dine-in operations were suspended.

Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Edito

Collegetown Bagels was empty on March 20 after dine-in operations were suspended.

April 5: ‘We Are Making No Money’: Collegetown Restaurants Struggle to Stay Open
April 5: Statewide Stay-at-Home Order Delays Dos Amigos Restaurant Opening
April 3: Cayuga Medical Center Prepares to Add Beds As PPE Shortages Loom
April 3: The CARES Act’s Impact on Ithaca and Cornell
April 2: During COVID-19 Shutdown, Ithaca City School District Provides Students Meals At Home.
April 2: Common Council Assembles On Zoom in First Virtual Meeting
March 30: Calls for Ithaca Rent Freeze Ramp Up; Mayor Supportive but Calls on Federal Government to Act
March 27: Employee at Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport Tests Positive for COVID-19
March 27: The Shops at Ithaca Mall Powers Down to Mitigate COVID-19 Spread
March 25: Collegetown Mango Mango Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
March 25: Collegetown Bagels Opens ‘Pay What You Can’ Community Kitchen to Provide Food During COVID-19 Pandemic
March 25: Ithaca Homeless Shelters Find Ways to Serve Community Amidst Pandemic
March 25: Virtual ‘Ithaca Tip Jar’ Provides Financial and Moral Support for Local Service Workers
March 24: Running House Campaigns From Home: NY-23 Candidates Adapt to COVID-19
March 24: Tompkins County Gets ‘A’ Rating for Social Distancing
March 23: Crisis Calls For Desperate Measures: Activists Push for Emergency Fund, University Adds Sick Days
March 23: Tompkins County Opens New COVID-19 Testing Center to Replace Drive-Through Location
March 22: Local Police Scale Back Services, Incorporate Social Distancing into House Calls
March 20: Cornell Faculty Call on University to Help Mitigate Local Economic Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak
March 19: Myrick ’09 Calls for Rent Freeze as COVID-19 Outbreak Affects Renters, Collegetown Landlords
March 19: TCAT Temporarily Waives Bus Fares and Curbs Ridership
March 18: Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Opens in Ithaca
March 17: Tompkins County Jail Suspends Inmate Visitation
March 17: N.Y. Judge Bans Evictions Statewide, Local Activists Push Protections for Renters and Workers Against COVID-19 Induced Financial Woes
March 16: Late Night TCAT Trips Suspended Immediately, Broader Cuts Effective Thursday
March 16: Public Barred from City Facilities, Effective Immediately
March 15: Planes Arrive in Ithaca With Empty Seats, and Airlines Field Droves of Calls to Reschedule Tickets
March 15: Online Grocery Shopping Platform Provides Food for Locals Amidst Coronavirus Scare
March 14: Tompkins County Confirms First Case of COVID-19
March 13: ‘I Hate It’: Ithaca Service Workers React to Cuomo’s Executive Order Halving Capacity
March 13: Tompkins County in State of Emergency; Area Colleges Closed
March 13: Local Storage Services Left Boxed-In After New Cornell-Paid Solution
March 13: Friday Update: No Confirmed Cases in Tompkins County, 15 People Being Tested for COVID-19
March 13: Uncertainty Swirls for Ithaca Workers; Myrick ’09 Calls for Swift Federal Action and Calls on Cornell to Help
March 13: Shelves Cleared Out At Wegmans Amidst COVID-19 Concerns
March 13: Texts, Live Streams and Phone Calls Become New Venues For Prayer in Ithaca
March 12: ‘When Cornell Leaves, Our Business Goes Away’: Ithaca Businesses Brace for Impact of C.U.’s Move to Online Classes
March 11: As Outbreak Worsens, Rush to Prepare Leaves Ithaca Store Shelves Empty
March 11: TCAT Braces for Drastically Reduced Ridership in Wake of Cancellation of On-Campus Classes
March 3: Tompkins County Workers Center Calls for Paid Sick Leave as COVID-19 Spreads Within New York

Photo Gallery: Campus Empties as COVID-19 Outbreak Worsens

Student and Campus Life

Students walked on Ho Plaza following the March 13 announcement that the University was suspending classes.

Hannah Rosenberg / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Students walked on Ho Plaza following the March 13 announcement that the University was suspending classes.

April 5: ‘It Doesn’t Feel Alive’: Seniors Cherish Their Final Moments in an ‘Apocalyptic’ Ithaca
April 5: N.Y. Construction Ban Puts North Campus Expansion Timeline Up in the Air
April 5: Bartels Hall Volunteers Sew Over 3,000 Surgical Masks
April 3: Are Virtual Visits Enough? Slashed Preview Days Cause Newly Admitted Students to Consider Schools They Haven’t Seen
April 3: Virtual Classes Beyond Cornell: How Other College Students Are Coping With Digital Transition
March 30: From Send-Offs Cut Short to Concerts Canceled, Student Organizations Adjust to Life Off-Campus
March 30: Accessibility Accommodations Evolve as Classes Move Online
March 29: Student Dining Workers Left Unemployed Due to Downsizing
March 29: Cornell’s Online Content Creators Innovate in Quarantine
March 27: Amid Growing Support for Mandatory Pass System, Big Red Choice Calls for Opt-In Pass/Fail Grading
March 27: Cornellians Resort to Online Fitness in Response to Social Distancing
March 27: AAP Students Express Concern Over Transition to Online Classes
March 27: Statler Hotel Sends Love Across the Ithaca Campus
March 25: ‘It Was Inevitable’: How Teachers are Handling the Transition from In-Person to Online Instruction
March 24: As Campus Labs Halt Research, Cornell Pools Resources for New York Medical Centers
March 24: Two Weeks After Promise of Room and Board Rebates, Refund Details Still Up in Air
March 24: COVID-19 Complicates Student Research Plans, But Opens Some New Doors
March 24: How Cornell Departments Are Helping in the Fight Against Coronavirus
March 23: Growing Number of Students Call for Mandatory Pass Grading Option
March 23: Commencements Across Ivy League Range from Indefinite Suspension to Electronic Ceremonies
March 23: Hotel School Alumni Pair Launch Fundraising Campaign as COVID-19 Rattles Ithaca Restaurants
March 19: Commencement Weekend Left in Limbo as COVID-19 Sweeps the Nation
March 19: Young and Healthy?: Chronically Ill and Disabled Students Grapple with COVID-19
March 18: Cornell Dining Ends Dine-In Service
March 18: Students On and Off Campus Adhere to Social Distancing Guidelines
March 18: Durland Alternatives Library, Prisoner Express Close Doors in Response to COVID-19
March 17: 7 Days at Cornell: How COVID-19 Changed Campus in 1 Week
March 17: Student-Generated Spreadsheet Provides Safety Net for Those In Need
March 17: ‘A Moment of Joy’: A Cappella Groups Honor Seniors One Last Time
March 16: Cornell Students Avoid ‘Sink or Swim’ Ultimatum as University Waives Swim Tests and PE Classes
March 16: Climate Activists Turn Digital During COVID-19 Outbreak
March 15: While Some Cornellians Self-Quarantine, Others Pack Parties in Response to Campus Shutdown
March 15: In ‘Public Health Plea’, Lombardi Urges Students to Stop Partying
March 14: First-Year Students Pack Their Bags and Return Room Keys Following Class Suspension
March 14: Continuous Policy Changes Put International Students’ Plans in Further Disarray
March 14: Medical Students Proceed with Caution as New York City Campuses Maintain Some Activity
March 13: ‘I Don’t Know What to Do’: Students Reel as University Announces Class Suspension and Urges Immediate Return Home
March 13: Despite Class Cancellations, S.A. Passes Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution and Suspends Elections
March 13: After Trump Announces Europe Travel Restrictions, Students Studying Abroad in Spain Scramble to Come Home
March 13: Coronavirus and Divestment Dominate Discussion at Packed Faculty Senate Meeting
March 13: Student Leaders Bridge Gap in University Resources Through Office of Student Advocate
March 13: Cornell Freshmen Express Disappointment Amid Widespread COVID-19 Concerns, Prepare to Move Out for the Semester
March 12: C.U. Student Studying Abroad in Spain Diagnosed With COVID-19
March 12: As Cornell Transitions to Online Classes, How do Professors Plan to Adapt?
March 12: Two S.A. Presidential Candidates Suspend Elections Following Pollack’s Announcement on Class Cancellations
March 12: Cornell IT Confident in Zoom, Canvas Preparedness as Thousands of Courses Move Online
March 11: ‘Martha Can’t Make Us Leave’: Students React With Confusion, Frustration to Class Closure
March 11: International Students React to Coronavirus Cancellations, Plan To Stay in U.S.
March 10: Cornellians Respond to Announcement of Online Classes With Memes
March 10: With New York State Cases of COVID-19 on the Rise, Professors Experiment with Alternatives to In-Person Lectures
March 9: As Coronavirus Escalates, Widespread Cancellations Hamper Spring Break Plans
March 3: Cornellians Returning From Countries Heavily Impacted by Coronavirus to Be Placed Under Quarantine
March 1: As Markets Tumble Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak, Professors Weigh In On Future of Chinese Economy


The Ivy League canceled all spring sports on March 11.

Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

The Ivy League canceled all spring sports on March 11.

April 1: ‘I Didn’t Rehab 9 Months for This’: A Cornell Athlete’s Lament Goes Viral
March 30: COVID-19 Cuts Gymnastics Season Short, Leaving Seniors Heartbroken
March 24: Future Looks Bright for Men’s Lacrosse in ‘What Could Have Been’ Season
March 23: Senior Wrestlers Grapple With Season Lost to COVID-19
March 15: Schafer ’86: ‘Nothing Has Been More Painful’ in 34 Years of Coaching
March 12: NCAA Cancels Hockey Tournaments, Ending Top-Ranked Cornell Hockey Teams’ Seasons
March 11: ‘We Never Thought It Would Actually Happen’: Ivy League Cancels All Spring Sports Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

State and National News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers an update on the coronavirus in New York, at the state Capitol in Albany on March 7.

Cindy Schultz / The New York Times

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers an update on the coronavirus in New York, at the state Capitol in Albany on March 7.

March 28: New York State Presidential Primary Postponed to June 23
March 20: In Executive Order, Gov. Cuomo Restricts All Non-Essential Workforce Travel
March 17: Restaurants Limited to Takeout Food Only, Casinos, Gyms, Theaters Shut Down Across New York State
March 16: Cuomo Proposes Converting SUNY Dorm Beds into Hospital Beds
March 13: Trump Declares National Emergency, Waives Interest on Federal Student Loans Until Further Notice
March 10: Gov. Cuomo Unveils $40 Million in Emergency COVID-19 Funding

Girisha Arora, Mihika Badjate, Sydney Browne, Christina Bulkeley, Amanda H. Cronin, Tal Dotan, Emma DiGiovanni, Ari Dubow, BreAnne Fleer, Liam Galey, Alec Giufurta, Raphy Gendler, Alex Hale, Caroline Johnson, Shruti Juneja, Tamara Kamis, Meghna Maharishi, Alek Mehta, Sean O’Connell, Anil Oza, Catalina Peñéñory, Shriya Perati, Luke Pichini, Anika Potluri, Emma Rosenbaum, Madeline Rosenberg, Sarah Skinner, Meghana Srivastava, Kathryn Stamm, Johnathan Stimpson and Olivia Weinberg contributed reporting.