Excited Cornellians will have to postpone their hopes to partake in a full homecoming for at least another year — Fred Van Sickle, the vice president for alumni affairs and development, announced Friday that most in-person events this year will be canceled or modified.
The Fan Festival, fireworks, laser show and all other in-person events planned for the weekend of Sept. 17 to 19 — except for the Homecoming football game and some advisory council meetings have all been canceled. Sickle cited the high volume of people traveling from areas with high transmission rates and those who may not be fully vaccinated as the reason for modifying the event.
“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution, weighing the risks of overcrowding and the potential for inviting larger numbers of individuals to campus who may not be fully vaccinated or are traveling from regions with high transmission rates,” he wrote in the Friday statement.
The University stated that the Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony will proceed in-person with limited attendance and mandatory masking for attendees. The ceremony will continue, after being canceled twice since March 2020.
The shift comes as Cornell and Ithaca see its largest wave of COVID cases throughout the pandemic following the start of classes, with the CDC labeling Tompkins County as an area of high community transmission. The county identified the most new cases in a single day — 131 — on Aug 31. and saw active cases peak at 488 on Sept. 5, shattering previous records.
Update, Sept. 10, 12:14 p.m.: This story has been updated to include COVID-19 data for Tompkins County.