August 31, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘Cornell Identifies First COVID-19 Cluster on Campus’

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To the Editor


I dropped my son off in Ithaca at his housing for the start of Cornell’s Fall term late last week. I have just read a few days later about a COVID-19 cluster on campus and a student on social media not following the guidelines and the  petition to suspend them.

I work for SUNY in an administrative capacity, so I am familiar with the problems and the issues of reopening safely. My primary concern is as a dad who wants this to work for my son’s sake. There are many media outlets that are waiting eagerly to see colleges to fail in their reopening endeavors so that they may write a story about how the college kids could not listen and how it is all their fault that the reopening failed.

Reopening is not without bumps in the road. And plans have changed and may continue to change. COVID-19 may infect a person a second time as we have seen in recent news stories. We may ultimately have a vaccine. But we cannot just wait for magic solutions. The Cornell plan is a work in progress. It will take everyone rowing in the same direction to make Cornell’s reopening work.

My faith is with younger adults like my son and the Cornell population to do the right thing and battle the virus. It is not time to throw stones at those that fail and make mistakes. It is a time to point out what was wrong, make adjustments and move forward.


James Hayes, Associate Director of Financial Aid, 

SUNY Downstate Health Science University