On Wednesday, in a CornellALERT email, the University announced that its Ithaca campuses are moving to yellow alert, noting that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases has surpassed the University’s expectations.
The move to yellow alert comes nearly 10 days after the University eased masking requirements for the majority of indoor, on-campus locations and nearly a month after the University lifted surveillance testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.
In a statement released to the Cornell community, Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi and Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Mary Opperman cited that academic disruption and isolation housing requirements for infected students prompted the University to take action against the spike.
The statement continues recommending that members of the Cornell community take voluntary steps to contain the spread. These steps include wearing high-quality masks at events and parties, staying home if feeling unwell and using supplemental and opt-in surveillance testing. The statement urges those who have recently traveled, attended a large gathering or may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to schedule an asymptomatic test.
As of Mar. 22, the COVID-19 dashboard currently reports 151 new positive cases on Tuesday, Mar. 22 and 263 active cases overall.
Additionally, the statement said that the majority of positive cases that have been reported so far are from symptomatic testing, indicating that there are even more asymptomatic cases within the community.
The statement urged students to get tested before and after spring break by picking up two antigen test kits from one of the COVID-19 testing sites on campus. Students should complete one test before the start of break on April 2 and one at the end of break before they return to campus, uploading the results to their Daily Check
The statement concluded by urging the Cornell community to keep each other safe.
“We are all ready for the pandemic to be over, but we must continue to confront the realities of COVID-19 and the impacts that it has on our ability to support the campus community” the statement read.