Dear Ithaca College community,
I am proud to share with you the Ithaca College Return to Campus Plan, provided to the New York State Department of Health earlier today. This document reflects the diligent, hard work of so many members of this community and offers a detailed, specific outline for how this institution plans to navigate the coming academic year — from facilities preparation, to repopulating our campus, to concrete steps we will take to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. I hope you will take the time to read this document carefully.
It is important for me to state clearly that this plan was created within — and in response to — a particular moment in the midst of this evolving and unpredictable public health crisis. At the time of this plan’s submission, we see the number of COVID-19 cases rising around the nation — particularly as schools begin to reopen — and frequent additions to New York State’s restricted states list, which requires travelers from identified states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York. Due to this volatile time, and in continued alignment with our iterative, nimble decision-making process, we recognize the possibility that we may have to shift or amend this plan as circumstances dictate in order to maintain our deep commitment and responsibility to the wellbeing of our communities.
The submission of this plan represents the completion of the work of our Return to Campus Task Force, which has dedicated an incredible amount of focused, thoughtful, and highly coordinated effort since the spring to create a path forward that we all can walk together.
I want to take this opportunity to offer my tremendous gratitude to the members of this task force, led by co-chairs La Jerne Terry Cornish, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Rosanna Ferro, Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life; the task force’s Health and Safety Advisory Group, which specifically dug into important details around our COVID response; and the 10 task force subgroups and their co-chairs. Your courage, humanity, and heart is invaluable to Ithaca College, particularly during such an incredibly difficult time. I want to also applaud the many individuals who contributed to the task force’s work, either through participation in formal subgroups, or by providing honest feedback and insights during the many meetings and surveys that informed the plan’s creation. This document was created by and for the members of this community in support of the IC student experience and in support of Ithaca College.
As this pandemic evolves over the next year and we look ahead to a reality in which the preservation of public health is of paramount importance to this institution, it has become clear that the college needs to create a dedicated position to lead our efforts. I am pleased to announce the appointment of Christina Moylan as the Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness. Christina moves into this role from her position as associate dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, and will direct the implementation of our campus response to COVID-19, monitor our compliance with the New York Forward plan, and advise the senior leadership team regarding our response to the pandemic. Her work will be done in collaboration with an inter-departmental team to address wrap-around services and other operational needs. You may read more about this position here.
Christina holds a doctorate in public health policy from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has an intimate knowledge of our return-to-campus plan through her pivotal leadership on the Return to Campus Task Force. Prior to her tenure at IC, Christina honed her tremendous expertise in public health policy and regulatory compliance both as an independent consultant and through roles in the public and private sectors. I trust her experience and instincts, and I am tremendously grateful that she has agreed to serve in this critical position during such a tumultuous time in Ithaca College’s history.
Our beloved college is not unfamiliar with challenging moments — and our community is not unfamiliar with moments that ask us to reimagine and rebuild a resilient future together. We are in another one of those moments right now, and we need your strength and determination front and center. Most importantly, we must collectively realize that the return-to-campus plan can only be successfully realized with your serious commitment to our shared responsibility to one another and to our Community Agreement. The behavior and humanity of every member of this community will determine our ability to move forward together to the other side of this challenging crisis.
Shirley M. Collado