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Cornell says it’s “simply too soon” to say students will be back on campus this fall

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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Cornell University Provost Michael Kotlikoff says it is “simply too soon” to say if the school will be able to resume campus operations this fall. He made the comment in a letter to the Cornell community that the school posted Thursday on its website. (Photo credit: Cornell University)

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University remains “hopeful” that it will be able to resume campus operations for the fall semester, but as of now, “it is simply too soon to make that guarantee.”

That’s part of a letter that Cornell University Provost Michael Kotlikoff wrote to the Cornell community, a missive that the school posted on its website.

Kotlikoff referred to a recent message from Cornell University President Martha Pollack that indicated the university has established four planning committees “to help us to determine the best path toward reopening.”

“New York state is developing guidelines to reopen by region, which will play a key role in our timing. We are currently working with local and state public-health partners to develop protocols for testing and monitoring that will be necessary to operate safely,” Kotlikoff wrote.

He went on to say that when Cornell does reopen its campuses in Ithaca and New York City, “the virus will likely remain a part of daily life and social distancing measures will need to remain in place until that threat passes.”

The planning committees are also developing recommendations for how to accommodate faculty, staff, and students who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as well as exploring accommodations for international students who may face challenges traveling to the U.S. due to visa or government-imposed travel delays.

Kotlikoff also added that for new and returning students, “much will depend on the progression of the virus, availability of testing and guidance from New York state officials.”

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