Playing Defense Against COVID at Cortaca

By Bill Kerry, November 5, 2021
A message from Bill Kerry, executive director of public safety and emergency management.


The calendar has turned to November, which not only means the final stretch of the semester is in sight, but also one of the most anticipated events for our campus community is only a few short days away! On Saturday, Nov. 13, our IC football team makes the short trip up the road to face SUNY Cortland, marking the latest clash in this historic rivalry affectionately known as the Cortaca Jug.  

Cortaca weekend is a time of unbridled school spirit and IC community pride as we hope to cheer on our beloved Bombers to victory in one of the greatest rivalries in all collegiate athletics. This weekend is also an occasion that is frequently associated with large-scale gatherings and other behaviors that can prove detrimental to the health and well-being of our campus community, especially within the context of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.  

To this point in the fall 2021 semester, our IC community has done an amazing job of limiting the impact of COVID, both on- and off-campus, through vigilant dedication to strong public health practices. Face coverings, good hand hygiene and physical distancing when possible have been staples of our continued effort to keep COVID-19 at bay and should absolutely be a part of your gameday plans. Let’s make sure we keep up the great work with these practices to ensure a smooth finish to what has been a great semester thus far.  

Here are some important reminders as you gear up for Cortaca.  

Traveling to the Game 

With the game being played at Cortland this year, safe and responsible travel to and from the game is important. If you are carpooling to the game or utilizing one of the sponsored gameday buses available from campus, be sure to wear your face covering.   

In the Stadium 

SUNY Cortland strongly encourages all patrons of the game to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status and being outdoors. Physical distancing will be a challenge due to the large crowd expected to attend the event, so wearing a face covering is an important measure to limit your potential exposure. Disposable face coverings will be available at the entry gates.  

COVID Prep Your Tailgate or Watch Party 

Whether you are attending a gathering in the tailgate parking lots or a Cortaca watch party back in Ithaca, there are several ways to prep your gathering to limit the impact of COVID.   

  • Avoid sharing cups or partaking of shared refreshments. If possible, utilize a new cup whenever it comes in contact with a non-sanitized surface.  
  • Avoid food, snacks and dishes that are shared such as chip and dip bowls and other high-touch and trafficked offerings. 
  • Limit your gatherings to people you interact with regularly if possible. Large gatherings increase the number of individuals you may encounter and make physical distancing more difficult to observe. Stay within your Bomber bubble.  
  • Wear a face covering whenever you are not actively eating or drinking.  

Being Vigilant with Visitors 

Cortaca is often a time for friends or alumni to return to Ithaca to participate in the festivities of the weekend. Although the college has relaxed its visitor policy for the fall 2021 semester, it is important to be mindful of your health and your guest’s health when welcoming visitors this weekend. Don’t be afraid to ask about your guest’s recent travels. As a reminder, all visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must utilize face coverings when entering indoor facilities on campus.  

COVID does not need to put a damper on our Cortaca festivities. Let’s remain committed to the actions and behaviors that got us to this point in the semester successfully and GO BOMBERS!  


Bill Kerry  
Executive Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management