Campus Access Limited to Few for Safety of All

By Christina Moylan, October 2, 2020
A message from Christina Moylan, Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness.

Public Health Column introduction video. 

While it may be tempting to make a weekend trip to beautiful South Hill, we are asking that everyone respect our remote status and remain away from campus unless approved to be here. As COVID-19 continues to spread, and hotspots emerge even within New York State, travel in and out of our community – to visit campus or friends living here – is a significant contributor to the positive cases we are experiencing. Furthermore, the continued attempts to access campus by individuals who should be remote, is taxing our current infrastructure.  

Only a few hundred students are approved to access campus this fall, about 9 percent of our usual student population. As President Collado previously announced, this includes students in select cohorts of health professions programs (specifically athletic training, occupational therapy, and physical therapy) where hands-on coursework is required by accreditation standards and/or preparation for licensure. Graduate students in our education, business, and music programs may also access campus for some coursework. Student workers designated as essential for business continuity are on campus, as are about 130 residential students approved through our exceptions process for extenuating circumstances. 

"Individuals accessing campus, even just to walk around, create a safety concern."

Christina Moylan, Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness

We have also asked our workforce to remain remote as much as possible. We are aware that this is an incredibly challenging request given proximity to the campus and eagerness to return to a somewhat normal routine. We all miss our life on campus. We want to get out of our basements, attics, dining rooms, and the corners of our bedrooms. Unfortunately, it is just not the time, yet. We are asking that you hold off – if you do not need to be on campus, please do not make the trip.    

Given our remote status, there are very limited services that are open and available. All academic buildings are locked, as are athletic facilities and fields, where possible. Dining locations and hours are restricted. Library services are available only for curbside pickup. Most residential halls are locked and closed. The Fitness Center and Wellness Clinic are closed. Our beautiful fountains are off. These decisions were intentional and signal our seriousness about this being a remote semester. 

Christina Moylan

Christina Moylan, Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Individuals accessing campus, even just to walk around, create a safety concern. It requires our public safety officers to engage. It creates hundreds of additional touchpoints for our facilities staff to clean. It exposes the people who absolutely must be here to unnecessary contact with others. It jeopardizes our ability to help certain students complete a semester that is absolutely not possible for them to do remotely.  

We were very intentional in regards to choosing a remote status. Students in remote status who have chosen to return to the Ithaca area should proactively make arrangements for how you will isolate or quarantine should you become infected with or exposed to COVID-19. Neither the college nor Tompkins County is providing hotels for students. Our on-campus capacity is limited to support those students approved to access campus. We encourage students to access our testing, and our Hammond Health providers will provide medical guidance, but we are not offering resources for broader quarantine or isolation support for remote students.  

We continue to move toward a spring reopening. The spring academic calendar is already available for planning. The specific restrictions on campus guests and visitors will not be fully clear until later this fall and will depend upon the severity of viral spread. For now, plan that there will be continued restrictions on travel and visits. This means that students should not expect to travel home throughout the spring semester and that family members and guests should refrain from coming to Ithaca.  

In the meantime, please take advantage of the many virtual opportunities that the college has made available, as have our partners at Visit Ithaca. We miss you and are ready and awaiting your return in the spring. 

Let’s keep our numbers low, and our spirits high!   


Christina Moylan, Ph.D.  
Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness