Cornell University Reports 903 COVID-19 Cases, Many Students Infected With Omicron

United States North America COVID-19 Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 17, 2021

Cornell University

Cornell University has reported 903 COVID-19 cases among students between December 7 and 13, and a high percentage of students have been infected with the Omicron variant.

Due to the spread of infections, the university has announced the closure of its campus in Ithaca, New York which has 25,600 students, Erudera.com reports.

In a letter written to students on December 14, President Martha E. Pollack said that the university is moving to the Alert Level Red and has introduced immediate measures.

“While I want to provide reassurance that, to date, we have not seen severe illness in any of our infected students, we do have a role to play in reducing the spread of the disease in the broader community,” Pollack wrote in her letter.

As of December 14, Cornell University decided to move all final exams to an online format. It has also canceled all activities involving undergraduates as well all university-sponsored events, including the December 18 recognition ceremony for graduates, which was planned to be held tomorrow (December 18).

“Students utilizing Cornell Dining are strongly encouraged to “grab-and-go”; if you must eat near others, please do so at a distance,” the letter adds.

Pollack also announced that libraries are closed to students and athletic competitions are also canceled, while offices and labs remain open, however; undergraduate students are not allowed to participate in any work-study or lab work.

According to the statement, students who have tested negative within the past 48 hours and want to leave the campus are allowed to do so, whereas those who have not tested negative in the past 48 hours should receive a supplemental test as early as possible. The latter are advised to stay in their residences until receiving test results and reduce contact with other people.

The university already has a mandatory vaccination requirement for students but it also grants exemptions on religious and medical grounds.

As per employees currently enrolled, the mandatory surveillance testing continues to be effective while supplemental tests will be available for all employees.

Employees at the university are also required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain medical or religious exemptions approved by the university by January 18, 2022 in order to comply with President Biden’s executive order.

As of December 15, there are 26,017 students and 13,306 faculty and staff who have completed vaccination. 97 percent of community in campus are already vaccinated against COVID-19.

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