Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

The recommendations of one of President Martha E. Pollack's planning committees will determine if students can walk the Arts Quad next semester.

April 27, 2020

Here’s When Cornell Has Committed to Making COVID-19 Decisions

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In an email sent to the Cornell community on April 22, President Martha E. Pollack announced several dates by which several University committees will have an answer for the future of the fall semester and beyond.

Pollack also reported the University’s projections for financial losses due to COVID-19 and its aftermath. The email outlined four planning committees formed to “develop recommendations for reactivating the University and for saving resources.”

Read: Pollack: No Update on Plans for Fall Semester Expected Until June; Cornell Anticipates Hundreds of Millions of Losses

Here is a timeline of the dates Pollack committed to.

May 15

On May 15, the same date when New York State currently plans to lift its stay-at-home order, the Committee on Research and Operations Reactivation will present recommendations for returning to in-person teaching. There are several options being weighed, including “reopening the campuses in phases over a period of weeks” and “having only a subset of students return.”

June 15 to June 30

From mid to late June, the Committee on Teaching Reactivation Options also plans to have finished its work.

As of March 18, all non-essential research was indefinitely suspended on Cornell’s Ithaca campus, and the committee is developing a plan for resuming it. Chaired by Executive Vice President DeStefano, the group is evaluating what the University needs to do to run these research operations.

The two other committees — the Committee on Preparation for Online Teaching and the Administrative Functional Review Initiative — will also present their findings sometime between these two June dates.

The Committee on Preparation for Online Teaching is planning for the scenario that classes remain online throughout the fall semester. Chaired by John A. Siciliano, Cornell’s deputy provost, the committee will make recommendations on how to proceed, should a virtual fall semester become the reality.

The Administrative Functional Review Initiative is responding to the anticipated financial losses, looking for ways to meet these challenges. Its task remains to develop scenarios for 5 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent budget reductions.

These reductions will be considered across both the “central administrative units” and the “schools and colleges,” Pollack wrote.

This release of recommendations follows the same timeline as the second postponement of pre-enrollment, now scheduled to take place from mid to late June.

While Pollack confirms that the teams are committed to “making a decision as early as possible,” they do not plan to rush to a conclusion or sacrifice public health guidelines.

“We therefore don’t anticipate an announcement before the committees complete their work,” Pollack said.