RYAN LOMBARDI: Hello, Cornellians. It's good to be with you again. Ryan Lombardi coming from Ithaca, New York, just a few minutes after 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 6. It was an absolutely stunning day in Ithaca today for those of you who aren't local, just in the low to mid 70s, low humidity. It almost felt like fall. I know we're all excited for that I'm to be here for sure.
But for those of you that I haven't had a chance to meet, my name is Ryan Lombardi. I serve as the vice president for Student and Campus Life at Cornell, real privileged to hold that role. I'm glad to be with you tonight with my colleagues once again. As you know from my message yesterday, we're going to be focusing tonight on the student behavioral compact and a lot of related issues in that front. So we'll try to cover a lot of bases, again, as we always do, same format for those who have tuned into our previous webinars where we are addressing your questions, answering. There's not an interactive forum, again, just because of the sheer volume of people that tune into these. We try to answer your questions that you submit. We really appreciate you taking the time to do that. This is for all students. Everyone's welcome, plus families. We know a lot of you are tuning in too. We greatly appreciate that.
Although we're primarily focused tonight on the behavioral compact, I know that anxiety continues around New York travel advisory and quarantine states, and a lot of families still making decisions in this regard. As I expected, things continue to change. A state was added to the list. Rhode Island was added this week. Washington D.C. and Delaware were removed. Constantly in flux.
Just to reiterate where we were with that, and I think you've seen some of my subsequent communication, our forum last week, we really are encouraging those students who are living in a state that is on New York's travel advisory to start this semester at home and hopefully join us once that state's removed. We do know there are some students who've had other circumstances that allowed them to quarantine with family or other ways in New York or in another state that's not on the travel advisory.
Also, as you all know probably, the exception process went out earlier this week, and those are being reviewed now. We'll turn those around as quickly as possible. We know there is a lot of questions. We're going to keep plugging away here and doing the best we can to answer them. I do want to say how much I really appreciate your continued flexibility. These are very extraordinary times. I don't have to say that. All of you have acknowledged that. We feel like the average day of our work lives, enough takes place that it could feel like two weeks has passed over the course of one day as many decisions are made and things change. And so again, we just appreciate the flexibility, the goodwill, the generosity as the team just does incredible work trying to get us ready for opening.
So tonight we've got a great lineup for you. My colleagues that have joined us this evening will do much of the speaking tonight which I know will be very informative. You've met one of them before, but you haven't had the chance to meet two of them. So I'm going to take a moment to introduce them before I start with some remarks.
First, and the first time you've had the chance to work with her, I'd like to introduce you to Sharon McMullen. Sharon is the assistant vice president for health and well-being in our division of student campus life. She's an outstanding colleague, just joined us in January, so was not on the ground in Ithaca too long before we had to go into pandemic mode. So Sharon, welcome. You want to say hello?
SHARON MCMULLEN: Yes. Thanks, Ryan. I'm delighted to be here, look forward to sharing the information tonight.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Sharon. You all can be assured that Sharon has had the most atypical onboarding experience one would ever want to have. Next is a familiar face. At least I think you joined us a couple of times ago, a couple of sessions ago, and that's Vijay Pennebaker who is the Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley dean of students at Cornell.
VIJAY PENDAKUR: Hi, everyone. Thank you for tuning in today. It's such a pleasure to be with you, and I look forward to sharing and learning with you tonight.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Vijay. And the third colleague that's joining me tonight is Kara Miller McCarty, who is the Robert G. Engle director of sorority and fraternity life at Cornell. Kara.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Hey, everyone. I'm happy to be here with you. Thanks for joining us, and I look forward to sharing some updates about sororities and fraternities a little later.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Kara. Thanks to all my colleagues. We appreciate you being with us tonight and spending some time with students and their families. All right. So I'll start us off, as I usually do, and just talk through a little bit to contextualize that behavioral compact and share a little bit behind that before my colleagues get into a little more detail.
So obviously we released the behavioral compact yesterday. Students, you saw how this was released as a part of the reentry checklist. Others probably saw my email that had specific links to just one component of that. So I wanted to outline a little bit more about that. This is something that you have to complete as part of the reentry checklist before you'll be able to enroll in classes. So I do want to emphasize that. The enrollment list or the course roster list will be distributed tomorrow. That's not when you'll actually enroll in class as students, but at least be able to see what's being offered online, what's being offered in-person as you start to put together your schedule. As Vice Provost Nishii shared before and we also shared in our message, the provost and I, enrollment will take place in the last week of August. That's where you actually get assigned to specific courses, sections, and where they'll meet and what time they will meet.
I do want to ask, if you haven't gotten into the reentry checklist, please do that. Most of you have, but we still have a handful of students who have not yet done that. It's really important to do that even though you're still making your decisions, to at least start that process to help us understand who will be here, who is still on the fence with that decision. It really allows us to manage the occupancy in our residence halls better, manage our course rosters. We build this stuff. So delays and engaging in that system really just slows down more information we can get out to everybody. So please get in there as quickly as possible and do it as accurately as possible, and we really want to make sure that gets done.
So a little bit more about this behavioral compact-- so it actually has three components. It's not just the document appearance that you may have seen. Students understand there's three components. There was the educational training. For some of you, you've probably completed this already. This was the roughl5- 45 to 60-minute tutorial that was provided, built into the reentry checklist. Our colleagues at Cornell health, Sharon's team put this together and did a great job with that. There was a brief quiz that everyone had to pass. And then, finally, the actual attestation of the checklist and the behaviors that we're asking students to abide by this year.
So I just want to address broadly why we would have this. That may seem like an obvious question and perhaps an obvious answer to many of you, but I think it's fair that I take a moment to talk through this. So one of the things that we love most about Cornell is that we are a global community. Students come from all 50 states, countries all over the world, and we certainly understand that there are different guidelines in different parts of the world, different parts of the United States right now. And so we think it's important to level set our expectations here on campus so that everyone is on the same page.
So that's one of the reasons we think it's important. Doing so allows us to better promote public health, and really to minimize any transmission of COVID-19 throughout the academic year. Frankly, without some general standards that we can all align ourselves with, we wouldn't build a reopen in-person and we wouldn't build a launch in this pathway that we're moving. So it's really critical that students take this seriously and really abide by it.
I also want to emphasize something that's unique about Cornell that other institutions certainly have, but not all of our peers. Ithaca, New York is a beautiful part of the country. It's a beautiful community. Tompkins county, though, is a relatively rural community. We're in upstate New York, not a huge town, not a huge city, as those of you who have been here know. It's beautiful and it's wonderful in many ways, but that means we have an extra special responsibility to our community to be good partners and to be good citizens. Our community members love the fact that Cornell is here. I think that's what brings a lot of people to live in Ithaca. At the same time, we have a responsibility back to them, and that means for our students that during a pandemic like this-- and at all times, but certainly during a pandemic-- we have to make sure that we're very diligent in practicing good public health guidelines so that we don't put the community at risk. We have a lot of senior citizens and a lot of other folks that might otherwise be in higher risk categories that we want to be sure to protect.
I'll say that Tompkins county, the prevalence of COVID-19 has been really quite minimal. We've had cases, but not a lot. I think at any given point, the most we ever had active was less than 40, and the cumulative total of cases that we've had I'm almost certain it's still under 300. Sharon can correct me on that. At last check, I think it was under 250 total cases since March. So again, it's been really, really managed well here in this area, and we want to keep that going as much as possible.
So we're excited to welcome students back. My colleagues know of all people on campus, as the vice president for student life, I have enormous faith in our students. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with them and believe in them and believe in our future because of them. But with that said, that's why we felt it was important to have this level-setting of expectations for everybody-- not because we don't trust you, not because we don't believe in you, but we want to make sure everyone's on the same page. If we didn't believe in you and didn't trust in you, we wouldn't be going down this path. So please do us right with this one, students.
Now just a couple of other questions before I go to Sharon. There is a question about why would we have all students complete the compact, even if they're not planning to return to Ithaca, and also the question about whether or not graduate and professional school students need to complete it. The answer is yes, all students-- graduate, professional, undergraduate-- need to complete the compact. And we asked everyone to attest to this because we wanted to allow for the chance that some students who maybe are starting off online and staying at their permanent residence, they might come to Ithaca at some point during the year. They might come at some point later in the semester. Let's say if you're in a quarantine state and your state's lifted, you come in. That way it's all taken care of. Maybe you come for spring semester. You're not coming for fall semester, but you are coming for spring semester. So we wanted to go ahead and have all students attest to this upfront.
But with that said, it only obviously applies to those people who are in Ithaca. We can't and won't be monitoring behavior that occurs outside of Ithaca. And so it's only in effect and only being applied directly to those people who are in Ithaca at any given time. So it's just important to clarify that for you.
Parents, if you haven't yet seen this, it is available on the website that I speak of frequently-- covid.cornell.edu. I encourage you to go there and check it out. If you look under the information for students tab on the left-hand side of the navigation and then click Behavioral Compact, you will see, again, the substance. The course that students have to complete is not there, but the substance of the actual policies are there.
Do I think it will change as we go along? There's a very good chance of that. Everything has changed, like I said, just about every day, if not every week within this pandemic. Look, a lot of what we refer to in the compact refers to New York guidelines or other types of guidelines that the institution has, and those are absolutely subject to change. So if things do change, if parts of the compact adjust, we will be sure to notify you and make you aware of that as we go through.
I think the other thing that's important to know is this is a learning process for us too. Obviously, like all universities, we have a student code of conduct. It's very broad in nature. There are students that it's in place on a regular basis, but having an extra set of behavioral guidelines related to a pandemic is not anything we've ever experienced before. And so there may be things that we learn as we go through that we need to modify, adjust, or augment.
But at the end of the day, the ultimate goal here is to keep all of our students healthy and safe, also to keep our community, our faculty, staff, and our local community healthy and safe as well, and to really focus on our ongoing collective wellness. This is a great opportunity among many for our Cornellians to show not only Ithaca, but the world how well we can do this.
I want to just make one more point before I go to Sharon, which is around testing. And Sharon's going to talk about this, but I just want to highlight this, especially as it relates to quarantine, because this was a question that had come up. So any student that arrives to Ithaca, to Cornell and quarantines on campus, so as an exception, will be tested upon arrival, again, three days later even before initiating the regular testing program that will take place throughout the semester. So I did want to make that point, because we had gotten some questions about that for students who are granted the exception to quarantine on campus this fall. And again, Sharon will mention this, but all undergraduate students who are on campus this fall who are in Ithaca will be tested twice weekly throughout the semester. Sharon will go into more detail, but that is our expectation, and that is what we're prepared to do.
Our colleagues have mounted an incredibly impressive testing program that will better articulate that. And that was for undergraduates-- twice weekly. For graduate professional students, there's some variation depending on your level of risk and the risk infection. If you're a TA, it will be more frequent. If you're doing research remotely, it will be less frequent.
So those are a couple of the high-level questions that I wanted to hit before I get my colleagues involved here. I am going to go to Sharon first. I introduced her as the new in January-- I know she doesn't feel new anymore after this experience, but Sharon joined us in January and has been a terrific addition. And as I introduce her, she leads a team on campus that we call Cornell Health, and they are a mighty robust staff, a couple hundred clinicians, practitioners, and really dedicated staff members who have been working on the front lines of this pandemic since it started.
And I just want to give, as I say to many of our viewers on a regular basis, my thanks to all those who work in the health care industry. I want to give an extra special thanks to my colleagues on campus with whom I know I spend a lot of time with, or at least I did before the pandemic started. I get to be in their facility quite a bit. I just can't say enough about what the team in Cornell Health has done to continue to support our students and to promote the health and safety of our community. Sharon, I know you'll continue to relay those sentiments to your team on my behalf. But please, as I turn it over you, please, I know how much we appreciate all of the good work that you and your team have done. So with that, Sharon, it's all yours.
SHARON MCMULLEN: Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for your kind words and your support. I know that my colleagues in Cornell Health are delighted to support our students and really look forward to our students coming back. So friends, thanks for spending a little bit of time with me. I've got about 15 minutes, and I'd like to share some new updates related to my area of pandemic response. And I'll cover our public health approach. There are a couple of specific health-related questions that have come in that I'd like to talk about. And then, as Ryan mentioned, I'll be talking about our COVID testing program.
I also want to hearken back to what Ryan has said and what we've been saying all along-- that everything that we're talking about is subject to change based on incoming data and change in science. We are not in a static process. We're in an evolving process that mirrors the evolution of this pandemic.
OK. So while the Cornell compact, which my colleague, Vijay Pendakur, will talk about I think after me, while it's important to set expectations, what we believe will be most effective in addressing COVID-19, which is this complex issue affecting campus health and safety, is a comprehensive public health approach. Luckily, Cornell has a long and successful track record of doing this, developing approaches in which every member of the community has a role to play and is fully engaged, and in which every system is engaged-- education, policy, testing, enforcement, delivery of health care services. One of the elements of this approach is a university-wide health campaign, and I'll share the URL for that campaign in the chat box.
And this is designed to unite campus community around the core COVID prevention strategies. It will remind Cornellians that our actions have consequences, positive or negative. For example, by wearing a face covering and practicing physical distancing, we protect our own health as well as reduce COVID-related risks for the most vulnerable among us. Now, we recognize that Cornellians are coming back to campus from many different locations, places where expectations for individual behavior may be different than they will be on campus. And learning these new norms, like any change, can be challenging, but it's doable, and we have a slew of strategies to help with this.
One of those strategies is the creation of a group called the COVID-19 peer ambassadors. These are student volunteers-- undergrads, grad students, professional students-- that can reinforce the compact by sharing information and supplies like face coverings and hand sanitizer with peers to help reduce risks as students acclimate to the new expectations.
Another strategy is to engage students in upstream culture change to help us all adopt these new behavioral norms and reduce transmission of the virus. This is exciting, cutting-edge public health work. I'm so proud of my colleagues in the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives and our campus partners for working in this direction.
So to do this, we'll have a group of students called peer consultants, and they'll work within their respective social circles and organizations to help shape events and gatherings so that they can be both enjoyable and adhere to the behavioral compact. Their engagement will help to remind students that in agreeing to follow the compact, students are making a commitment to protect the health of the whole Cornell community. Now, if this sounds like work that you'd like to support, you can volunteer. I'll put a link in the chat about recruitment, and you can also find more information about this in the educational training that all students are required to complete.
OK. So I'd like to address a couple of health-related questions. Now, please know that my colleague, Dr. Anne Jones, medical director of Cornell Health, addressed many questions about the health support that we are providing to students in this pandemic, and that happened in a previous forum a week or two ago. You still have access to that forum. And so I encourage you to go to covid.cornell.edu to look that up if you'd like more information about specific health-related questions.
But a few new ones have come in, and so I'd like to address them in my time. The first one is a question about why do we need your local address. And I admit it maybe doesn't sound like a health-related thing, but it is. It's really important in this pandemic, and it's because contact tracing starts immediately upon identification of someone who has a positive COVID test. And so when the health department calls a student or anyone who has a positive result, they immediately start contact tracing. It means that we need to be able to get a hold of students very quickly. And so we need to know what your local address is, and especially what your phone number is.
The reason that contact tracing starts immediately is twofold. First is to help the person who has recently become aware of an infection to segregate themselves from others who may be susceptible. And second is to understand who may have been exposed to this person so that we can reach out to them and make sure that they take steps they need to protect their own health and the health of others.
OK. There's a question about the daily check. This is yet another layer of our public health approach, and it's something that's good practice anytime, but critically important during the pandemic, which is assessing one's health every day. Now, this applies to students living on campus and off, and the goal is to help students make a good decision about whether it's safe for them to circulate on campus, or if they should get advice from Cornell Health about any symptoms they may be experiencing, and that advice will be available in a same-day telehealth appointment as needed.
Students will be entered into the daily check according to their academic program or, for some students, employment on campus. And so what I mean to say is that students will be entered into that process maybe not on the same day. So look for that information to come to you specifically.
OK. And then I want to talk about flu vaccine-- critically important during a pandemic like this one, recommended all the time. We should all get flu vaccine, but this year it's required. And that's because we're aware that co-infection with both influenza and COVID can lead to really serious health outcomes. In addition, severe influenza disease every year floods local health care resources. And this year we need those local health care resources to be available for the potential for serious COVID illness. While we don't yet have a COVID-19 vaccine, the influenza vaccine is safe and effective to reduce severe disease.
Now, do you need to get that before you come to campus? No. We're going to provide it to you here. We've got a dozen or more clinics set up, physically-distanced clinics set up in September, October, and November where students faculty and staff will be able to get their flu vaccine at no cost. It's a quadrivalent vaccine, for those of you who are interested and that kind of thing. And our supplier assures us that they have adequate supply for our community. If going to a flu vaccine clinic isn't in your future, you can also make an appointment at Cornell Health. And again, no cost out of pocket to you. We'll be happy to bill your insurance, and insurances cover flu vaccine.
OK. How am I doing on time? All right. I want to spend the rest of the time that I have talking about a really critically important component of our public health approach, and that is ongoing surveillance testing of all members of the Cornell community. It's particularly important because many individuals may be infected and not know it, may not show symptoms. Early detection through testing along with immediate contact tracing helps to reduce the spread of infection by separating people who have COVID infection from those who are susceptible.
Now, we talk about testing a whole lot but recognize that testing is just shorthand. It's testing plus contact tracing plus isolation and quarantine. That's the total package. It's not just about a test. It's this entire infrastructure. So there are three components of our testing program. They are arrival testing, surveillance testing, and testing for cause, also known as diagnostic testing. You know that prior to departing for Ithaca, all students are asked to quarantine in place at their primary residence for 14 days, and if possible, to get a COVID-19 PCR test in their local area. Students who test positive will need to obtain medical clearance from Cornell Health, the telehealth appointment before coming to Ithaca. And then once you get here, all students will be tested for COVID-19 as part of their reentry to the community. So that's arrival.
Surveillance testing will be with us the entire semester. All members of the Cornell community-- students, faculty, staff-- will be required to participate. Now, because different members of the population have different risks for acquiring COVID-19, the frequency will differ between segments of our community. As Ryan mentioned, undergrads, for example, will be tested twice a week at first, as will some grad students and professional students, as well as employees who have frequent interaction with undergrads. So that's twice a week.
There'll be some members of the community who will be tested once a week, and that is for people who have less exposure to undergrads and some other reduced risk factors. And then there will be some who are working remotely, but only come to campus very intermittently, and they will be tested twice a month. Now importantly, these intervals that I'm sharing with you will change, and that's the right thing. They will change because we're adjusting things. We're pivoting as new data emerges and as circumstances reveal themselves. So for example, fewer cases of COVID among Cornellians is likely to result in less frequent testing, and that will be a sign of success. And then we'll ramp it back up when we need to.
Now, third type of testing is called testing for cause, also known as diagnostic testing. And this is if you have symptoms, we want to get you a test right away, and we don't want to put you into this surveillance process where far fewer people will be likely to have COVID infection. We'll bring you into Cornell Health in a very physically-distanced way, safely test you. We'll also do this for people who have been notified that there were at close contact with someone else who has COVID. So we want to treat this very quickly and differently than surveillance or arrival testing. Again, it's not just about testing, right? It's about identifying people who are infected and separating them from others to break the chain of transmission.
We're using PCR-based tests that are highly accurate, over 95% sensitivity and specificity. That was a question cost of surveillance testing. Please know that surveillance testing is covered by the institution. So it doesn't matter what the frequency is. And diagnostic testing, which is ordered by a licensed provider, is covered by insurance with no out-of-pocket costs to patients, and that's federal legislation.
There is a question about will all students in Ithaca be required to have a test even if they're taking classes remotely? Yes. Recognize that the Ithaca community and the Cornell community are integral to each other and linked. And because of that, all students in the Ithaca area, regardless of where they're taking classes, will be in some level of those intervals that I just mentioned. Folks who are studying remotely will have one element of potential exposure reduced, but they may be coming to campus for other reasons, for example, to access health care at Cornell Health.
OK. The question about student's right to privacy, this is a great question. I'm delighted to answer it. Privacy of protected health information is taken seriously by the institution, by Cornell Health, by Tompkins County Health Department. Test results are confidential. Now of course, it's important to know that confidentiality is balanced with public health priorities. The health department and Cornell Health work with students who test positive to identify their close contacts, to make sure that others in the community who might have been exposed get tested and are cared for.
As health care professionals, we also help students get the support they need, for example, for isolation housing, for students who are in residential halls. By making connections to campus partners, know that we hold the medical information and provide to campus partners only that limited information that they need to be able to provide the support. Here's an example of what that looks like. If a student needs to be in isolation for a period of time for COVID or any other communicable disease, we can, if needed, issue an academic accommodation for that specific period of time. So the student's able to recuperate and not go to class where they may expose others. We don't need to provide a list of the diagnoses for which that temporary accommodation is needed.
And we do this routinely. We provide these accommodations without negatively impacting students' right to privacy all the time. I get it that there's heightened anxiety about COVID. Know that we have core public health processes and experience to guide us.
OK. And the last question about testing-- I recognize that it's not possible for you to be scheduling your arrival testing just yet. A couple of things that we're working out-- first of all, we don't have the entire moving schedule finalized yet, and a piece of that is because the high incidence states that require quarantine is in constant flux. We also have to make sure that we have testing capacity for our students who are off-campus, either in Greek housing, for example, or off-campus apartments. And then there was a little glitch at the very beginning that allowed students to and actually encourage students to schedule multiple testing appointments. So we've got to get all of those out of the system. We're working on that. As soon as it's available to you, we will make sure that you're aware of that.
OK. So again, thanks for spending some time with me. I want to say in closing that I, as a public health professional, feel confident in Cornell's process. We are basing our process on the best available data and the best available science to chart the safest course forward. We'll continue to pivot and shift and adjust as new data and new science is understood, just as we have through this whole process. This will be a challenging semester, and it will take our shared commitment to do the right thing, not necessarily the easy thing, but the right thing, and we'll do that together. Thank you for your time. And Ryan, I think it's back to you.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Yes, it sure is. Thanks very much, Sharon. We appreciate your report and all of that helpful information that you shared with our students and families. You heard a couple of times that Sharon referenced links that would be put in the chat function of your Zoom tonight. Hopefully you can see those. They're not being posted by Sharon though. You're kind of wondering how is she doing that while she's talking so articulately. My colleague, Melanie Ciotoli, who is with us behind the scenes this evening, is posting those. So you should be able to see those if you open the chat function on your browser there.
OK. With that, we're going to move on to the next segment. Vijay Pendakur, who you've met, our dean of students, is going to talk a bit more about the behavioral compact. His office is leading up that effort in terms of enforcement and compliance and everything that goes along with the behavioral compact. So we'll turn it over to Vijay to give you a little more information.
VIJAY PENDAKUR: Hello, everyone. Thank you, Ryan, for offering me the chance to share a little bit about our enforcement model with the audience tonight. So we have had many chances so far to talk about the compact. And students, you've seen the compact. You can access it readily now. And as valuable as it is to have a roadmap for how we need to behave during the pandemic, we also have to have an accountability structure to help keep our community safe. So today, a lot of my remarks will be about accountability and consequences at Cornell during this pandemic.
The Cornell Compact Compliance Team, or C3T for short, is hard at work thinking through how to hold individuals and groups accountable to the behaviors listed in the compact. This compliance team is staffed by employees of the university, primarily from the Division of Student Campus Life. While our plans are not finalized as of yet, I hope to use this forum to share a high-level overview on our approach.
The guidelines and the compact apply to individuals and groups, and are critical to keeping our campus safe and healthy. If individuals or groups choose not to follow these rules, there will be consequences. The enforcement response will vary based on the context of the infraction, and we will try to balance our need for safety with an educational approach, as we recognize that changing the way we live as Cornellians is not an easy or simple task.
Infractions can be reported through an online reporting tool, the Behavioral Compact Reporting Form, which will be launched and available for use by the time classes begin. Infractions resulting from a failure to comply with our testing protocols will also be routed directly to the Cornell Contact Compliance Team. And given how serious and important testing is, as you've heard from Sharon, to keeping our community safe, missed tests will be taken very seriously.
Another way that infractions may find their way to the C3T will be through the work of our behavioral compact monitors, a group of staff that will be moving about the campus during peak hours to observe behaviors in areas where students tend to gather. These monitors will focus on real time intervention, meaning if they see students without their masks on, or students gathering in high density, for example, they'll walk up to these individuals or groups and politely ask that the problematic behavior stop. The monitors will act with respect and candor, and we trust that our students will respond in kind and adjust their actions in the moment. If, however, monitors meet disruptive resistance or an inability to comply with their requests, they will be using the reporting form to send cases over to the C3T.
Repeated and egregious violations of the compact will engender an escalating response from the compliance team, and ultimately serious cases will be transferred out of the C3T's purview and over to the Office of the Judicial Administrator. The OJA can effect temporary suspensions or even a separation from Cornell, if necessary.
We've received requests and questions about the appeals to compact-related accountability processes, and I wanted to share that any cases that move out of the Cornell Compact Compliance Team's purview and over to the OJA will have the full right of appeals granted to students in our code of conduct. Again, we truly hope that these tools do not have to be employed, but we also want to be transparent that they are in place.
We expect that the rules in the compact will be followed at all times, even in residence halls and classrooms. In these contexts, our faculty, residence life staff, West Campus faculty and staff, and student leadership will be really important parts of our overall approach to health and safety. Students that choose not to follow the rules in the halls or in classes should be prepared for staff and faculty, or student leaders like our TAs or RAs, to approach them with respect and request that they change their behavior.
While on the subject of housing, we've received questions from families about parents' ability to drop off additional moving items at some point after the big move-in process. And I wanted to share that we are still currently working on an idea of a remote drop off location for this very purpose. But this remote drop off idea is still in its concept stage, and so we remain clear on the overall guidance that parents, families, and guests will not be allowed in our residence halls this semester.
One final note. We know that there is going to be significant temptation to host or attend large parties. These parties are often an iconic part of college life, and we understand your desire to continue these traditions. We also know that these gatherings, due to their high density, close proximity, and length of time, represent the greatest potential of a super spreader event. Due to the risk being so high, we will be holding students who are caught hosting large parties accountable with increased consequences.
Now, I can't end on that dour of a note. Everything I've said to you has been pretty tough, and I know that. So I just want to share that we know that this is not likely the student experience that you've been dreaming of. We understand that you may feel great disappointment at all the things that won't be happening for you this fall, and that's natural and understandable. Please know that you'll be making sacrifices that help us live Cornell's commitment to a caring community. The things we cannot do this fall will allow us to demonstrate the ethic of care to those who face greater risks from this virus, and I hope that's something we can all get behind.
I truly look forward to seeing all of you students this fall and having the safe and healthy fun that we can. I'll turn it over to Ryan now, and I think you have some comments from our fabulous colleague Kara to look forward to as well.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thanks very much, Vijay. We appreciate that, sharing more detail about the compact and its enforcement, very helpful for everyone. OK, our last panelist tonight that I introduced to you, Kara Miller McCarty, who is the director of sorority and fraternity life, wants to talk with you a little bit about how Greek life will be different on campus this fall. And this isn't just for those students who choose to join a sorority or fraternity, because Greek life does play a role in social life on campus, as our returning students know. So she wants to address some of these points for all of our audience, even if this is not an area where you see yourself becoming a member. So with that, Kara, I'll turn it over to you.
KARA MILLER MCCARTY: Hello again to members of the Cornell family joining us. I'm happy to have some time to share some relevant updates with you. I know I've answered some emails and some queries from some of you already. So hopefully this will give some more information. In our office, which is called the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, we've been spending time working with both students and alumni leaders who are both really important to our work to determine what expectations for sororities and fraternities would be this fall in light of a global pandemic.
We're really proud of our student leaders and our alumni. They've come together to decide that there will be no social events with alcohol for the fall semester. We're calling it a social moratorium, and we know that's hard. I echo everything that Vijay just said about the college experience. We're really pleased to see this responsible decision and a commitment from our student members to provide a safe and healthy community for everyone in the Cornell community, as well as our Ithaca community as we come back to campus this fall.
We're still working some final things out, but we're encouraging most of chapter operations, like meetings, to be virtual. We are developing a process for registering what we're calling in-person small events 30 or under that would follow all social distance rules, mask rules, would not have alcohol for fraternities and sororities. They'd have to be registered, because as we've heard, contact tracing is really important. We will do training for our students and education about how that would work as soon as it's fully developed.
And I will make a note here that if you're thinking that it's possible more than 30 students might live in a sorority or fraternity house or might eat in a sorority or fraternity house, that's true, and we are considering those general house operations that would not need to be registered. I want to make it clear that both recruitment and intake for all three of our councils will continue to happen this fall. It will largely be virtual, and what that means is if an interested student decides to not return to Ithaca, they can still participate. Remember as well that students are not eligible to join a fraternity or story of their first semester, but that transfer students are eligible to join their first semester.
Some of the questions that we have received-- We know it's difficult to know if a fraternity or somebody is on or off campus. We've gotten that question a fair amount. So the university-owned, because some of our fraternity and sorority houses are university-owned, they are considered on campus even though it's not quite a residence hall. So if you, as a student, live in a university-owned fraternity or sorority house, when you fill out the re-entry list, you should mark that you live on campus.
We are following the campus process for move in. And so we're starting move in primarily on August 23. We are allowing a few select officers to move in early, because we know that your officers are really helpful in that process and get everything ready and really demonstrate a lot of leadership in that process. Similar to residence halls, if you live in an on-campus university-owned house, testing information will be communicated to you. We're essentially asking the leadership in the fraternity and sorority that's university-owned to make a move in schedule by day, and then we will communicate the testing to you. But essentially, the day that you would arrive is the day that you would also receive your test. University-owned fraternity and sorority houses should be communicating directly with the residents about all these processes and procedures.
However, more of our fraternity is already houses are privately-owned. So that means that either the national organization or, in most cases, an alumni corporation owns the space. My office has spent a lot of time since March actually hosting webinars and sharing resources with alumni house corporations student leaders to help them prepare and plan for a move in like we've not experienced before. Similarly, we encourage them to follow the model that we are following in the university-owned.
One nuance is that if you live in a privately-owned house, you sign up on the re-entry link as an off-campus student. That's how you sign up for a test. Similarly to the university-owned, if you live in a privately-owned house, it is the student alumni leadership that should communicate with you about when you move in. If you have trouble knowing that information, feel free to reach out to my office for assistance as well.
We know that another question is how will this social event moratorium be enforced and be managed. We are widely communicating this information with members of our societies and fraternities. It really started with good, earnest conversations with presidents of our sororities and fraternities led by their counsel leadership. That printed policy we hope will be shared in its final form next week, and we will certainly host our usual training that we every semester, though it won't be completely usual this year, but we'll have it again with required officers. It will be virtual. We will walk through all of these steps and answer any questions.
You heard a few moments ago that there is a link to report violations. That is one way that any potential violations of the social moratorium can be reported. And any potential violations would be referred to our already existing sorority and fraternity judicial process, which has a few different tiers depending on what happens, which elicits an investigation. Things can happen from a warning all the way to a loss of recognition, which is closure of a fraternity or sorority.
We really want to support the student experience in sororities and fraternities and to be a resource for all of our stakeholders. So just email us. We'd be happy to help you with more information if you don't know an answer. And our email is hopefully memorable. It's just Greeks@Cornell.edu. That's a great way to get to us.
Those are my highlights. So thank you for being with us, and now I'll bounce it back to Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thank you very much, Kara. Very helpful information. I want to underscore a point that Kara made here and why we thought it was important for her to join tonight to talk about the community, but also this social moratorium. I do want to thank our students for their leadership, our alumni leaders as well. We think it's critical that we take a break from these large events. You heard Vijay reference large events as potential for super spreader situations with COVID-19. Therefore, it's certainly the responsible thing to do.
For returning students, you may be thinking to yourselves there's a nuance here with off-campus social events that may happen at annexes, informal annexes, or other types of personal residences that students host their friends at. I want to reiterate that for any student that chooses to do that, we will hold whoever hosts that event responsible. So Kara talked a bit about the organizational misconduct, but anyone who chooses to host a large event against our policies, whether they're affiliated with Greek life or not affiliated with Greek life, will face individual accountability and, as Vijay said, at an escalated fashion, elevated fashion.
So for my closing now, just to wrap up and give a few other updates as we look to our next forum, I've mentioned this each and every time, Sharon spoke about it tonight-- everything we're doing, all the decisions we make around opening and around next steps are really to try to promote the best possible educational experience for our students while also promoting the health, safety, and well-being of our campus and surrounding community. All of the science and literature supports, as Sharon has indicated, that opening safely can be done with a robust testing and surveillance testing program to, as she indicated, identify and isolate positive cases, and also with good public health guidelines and behavior from students. These are critical to success and is why we wanted to focus tonight's panel in this manner.
A couple of other updates to share with you. You did receive, again, as I referenced, housing exceptions. Those were sent out earlier in the week. The team is looking at those and processing and will turn those around just as quickly as possible. Also, expect more move in information to arrive tomorrow. One of the things that's challenging about move in this year that I just want to share with you-- normally, move in, you get a move in slot. It's pretty straightforward. There's lots of instructions and lots of details and lots of nuance. But as Sharon mentioned, this arrival testing strategy that we're doing is everyone gets tested on their way into campus.
When you get your information, you'll actually in many cases go somewhere for this test before you even drive onto campus to get started. So it's not as simple as just giving you a move in time slot, piece of cake. It's actually coordinating a testing site, a testing location, and making all this come together effectively. So we really appreciate your patience, because there's 100 additional pieces of logistics for every student that we're thinking and trying to manage their arrival as safely as possible. So again, just very much appreciate your patience as we work through all this. We know that makes travel planning hard. We know that means there's going to be changes to when you need to arrive. That means we know that means people are going to be arriving late. We understand all of that, and patience and flexibility are some of the key words for all of us this fall.
I want to thank my colleagues again for joining us tonight. I want to thank the team behind the scenes. There are a few people that join every one of these that you all don't get to see and hear from that are helping us do all kinds of things, whether it's technology, whether it's posting links in the chat function for you to see. Look for invitations to the next forum coming soon. Our next one that we're currently planning is specifically for new students, and I'm hoping to be joined by a few of my colleagues, but also a few students a few of our students who have been at Cornell and have a little bit of experience under their belt. And they want to share some of their experiences with you and tell you how excited they are to help welcome you back to campus, or to campus for the first time in that case.
I also want to re-emphasize that this has been recorded again tonight and will be posted on the COVID website. And as I always do, remind you to visit that site frequently, as it's continually updated-- covid.cornell.edu. Very important and useful information up there.
With that, we've come to the end of our time together and the information we have to share. I want to thank you all again for your support, for your patience, for your commitment to making this fall the best possible experience we can have under these circumstances. Like I said before, I'll end by saying this. I believe deeply in our students and in our ability to be successful as a community this fall. It is without question in my mind that we will be able to go through this together in the best way possible.
I thank you in advance for your commitment to that, each of your individual commitment, and our collective appreciation for the community and the care of each other. Until the next time I get to be here with you, I hope you have a good couple of days and that good health and well-being continues to come to you and your families, and I look forward to being in touch. Thank you very much, and have a great evening.
We've received your request
You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. The process may take up to 5 business days. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions about this request.
Note: The information shared in this video is accurate as of August 6, 2020 but continues to develop. Please visit covid.cornell.edu for current updates and for links to the most recent recordings.
Vice President Lombardi hosted a forum for students and parents on the Cornell Behavioral Compact, August 6.