March 31, 2020

Interview with Raphy Gendler ’21

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The global outbreak of COVID-19 has forced Raphy Gendler ’21, former sports editor, to cut short his semester abroad in Milan, Italy. Back in Ithaca, he now reports on the coronavirus and its impact on the Cornell and Ithaca community. He recently published an article detailing the economic impacts of the virus on the local businesses and promises he will continue to bring you the latest news and updates.

1. In what ways has the coronavirus impacted your personal and academic plans?

Things seem to be changing every minute and my semester — like that of so many students — has been chaotic. I’m back from my study abroad program in Milan (I’ve been away from Italy for more than 14 days, don’t worry) and am now back in Ithaca for the time being. I’m excited to be back with The Sun for this exciting time. I’m continuing my coursework using online distance learning, as are other students at the university in Italy, since in-person classes remain canceled. The transition is challenging as I navigate a constantly changing global crisis, but I’m happy to be safe and healthy and back on campus.

2. What is it like reporting on the outbreak for The Sun and how do you plan on addressing this topic going forward?

I’m helping a big team of reporters and editors cover the COVID-19 outbreak from dozens of different angles related to Cornell and Ithaca. Cornell’s announcement that it would shift to online learning led to many questions: What will international students do? Is graduation happening? Does Cornell IT have the bandwidth for 2,000+ classes to be done online? We’re trying to provide our readers with by-the-minute coverage as we try to answer some of these questions. We’re diving into the outbreak’s impact on sports, Ithaca’s economy long-term and housing, all while also keeping up with the news coming from the health department in Tompkins County.