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To the Academic Calendar subgroup/task force:

As administrators (and staff and faculty) continue to decide about the return to campus, the faculty in Politics would like to submit questions and a suggestion. While we hear that the Return to Campus Task Force composed of administrators, and the subgroups composed of a mix of constituent groups are working with local officials and partners in the community, as well as following the guidance provided by Governor Cuomo and his NY Forward Plan, we are failing to see much logic around the public health approach that puts us all in situations of danger during months when the flu season would be upon us.

We have been reading the plans of many other schools. Nearly all involve starting in August and then sending the students home after Thanksgiving and not bringing them back for a few months. All schools adopting this approach cite the desire to depopulate the campus when flu season and a possible second wave of Covid 19 arrive. As far as we know, only IC has a schedule that would basically have the students on campus during the height of the flu season. All the scenarios Cornell is currently considering would have students leave campus at Thanksgiving and not return for 2-3 months.  UNC Chapel Hill is doing something similar based on the advice of their "public health and infectious disease experts." 

Currently, as we understand it, we are looking at a tentative academic calendar as follows:

  • Fall semester in-person classes start Oct. 5
  • No Fall break
  • No classes on Thanksgiving or the following day, but incentives for students to remain on campus / in Ithaca rather than travel home
  • A two-week Winter break, with fall semester classes resuming on Jan. 4 and finals the last week in January (possibly virtual, and informed by state and federal public health guidelines)
  • Spring semester beginning Feb. 4 (informed by state and federal public health guidelines)
  • A four-day weekend break in March, with incentives for students to remain in Ithaca
  • Finals the week of May 17, with Commencement tentatively scheduled for May 30

As we keep hearing that scenarios around this tentative calendar seem to be adaptable, we would like to propose considering a simplified schedule for Fall much in accordance to other schools, and something that would have us not have students return after Thanksgiving. Here is just one possibility: https://www.unc.edu/posts/2020/05/21/return-to-campus/

Could IC consult with public officials, Cornell administrators, county health department on this alternative? It is unclear who is the faculty working on this subgroup, and if you let us know who it is, we would love to forward this to them.

Sincerely,

All of the Faculty of the Politics Dept.

 

 

letter from Politics to Academic Calendar task force | 2 Comments |
The following comments are the opinions of the individuals who posted them. They do not necessarily represent the position of Intercom or Ithaca College, and the editors reserve the right to monitor and delete comments that violate College policies.
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letter from Politics to Academic Calendar task force Comment from jablard on 06/04/20
Thank you. The October 5 date was both prematurely
announced with little input from faculty or health
professionals (on and off campus) and, ironically, calls
for a start date that is too late. There is widespread
consternation among faculty, confusion on the part of
students and prospective students, etc. Administration
needs to push reset and rethink.
letter from Politics to Academic Calendar task force Comment from kmulligan on 06/05/20
Thank you to my colleagues in Politics.