SPEAKER 1: All right. Welcome, everyone. I see we have 370 faculty participating. Thank you very much. This town hall was suggested by a number of faculty as we think about how we approach the decisions surrounding reopening of the university. Some of those decisions we're working through committees and you'll hear from the individuals that are involved in those committees on this panel.
And we'll take questions about those committees. I just want to say, in general, we're trying to think carefully about how we open the campus, begin to reopen the campus. There are several aspects to that. One, of course, is welcoming students back particularly 15,000 undergraduates back to Cornell. That will happen at some time.
But we are now thinking about when that happens and how that happens. But before that, we're also considering other aspects of the university, when faculty can come back to their offices, when faculty can start working in research labs other than working on COVID-19. When the library will open. When the museum will open. When the campus bookstore-- the campus store-- and our cafes will open. All of those are parts of these decisions.
I also want to say that we're not completely in control of our own destiny. We're also relying on the guidance of the CDC and the federal government. And of course, New York state where the Restart New York or Forward New York Committee from the governors is very carefully looking at this. And I'm involved in those decisions around higher education, as is Martha. And we just, in fact, both of us just got off a meeting with the governor's representatives and many representatives from higher education across the state.
So with that, let me introduce the participants today. Lisa Nishii is Vice Provost for undergraduate education. She's chairing a subgroup of committee one, looking at reopening the campus in how we reopen our residential campus looking at various options on the side of teaching.
Joanne DeStefano is the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President for the university. And Joanne's committee is looking at these issues of starting up things other than our residential educational experience. Emmanuel Giannelis is Vice Provost for Research. Emmanuel is part of Joanne's committee in overseeing with Kathryn Boor, a subgroup looking at opening our research labs. John Siliciano is Deputy Provost. John is working on committee two-- is leading-- chairing committee two, which has a number of faculty and administrators looking at what an online semester would look like if that were to occur.
And who have I missed here? And then Gary Koretzky is Vice Provost for academic integration. Gary is a faculty member at Weill Cornell. He's an immunologist. And he's heading up a very important committee, the sub committee of group one which is looking at, really, the health-- public health effects of university in startup mode. What do we have to do with testing? What do we have to do about monitoring? What do we do around contact tracing and distancing-- social distancing, et cetera.
And all of these groups will come back and report, make recommendations. And then Martha Pollack will really make the determination, President Pollack, about how we move forward, what the risks associated are and what the plans are. But we're working this problem really, really diligently.
So with that, I turn it over to Wendy Wolford, Vice Provost for international programs. And Wendy is going to be our host for today. Wendy.
WENDY WOLFORD: Thanks, Mike. Good afternoon, everybody. So we opened up the chat for people to put questions in in advance. And we also have a Q&A open now for you to add additional questions as we go. We got great questions. We got 54 beforehand and grouped them together according to theme. So panelists will address different aspects of those questions. But please do put more questions into the Q&A. And anything that we don't get to today that we can answer we will put on the FAQ page and let you know about it when this is over.
So the first question is back to Mike. Sorry, Mike. This is the big question that you introduced, which is that you're making decisions about how to reopen in the fall and particularly our ability to be on campus and in-person teaching or research. So we're wondering what criteria you and the university will use to make these decisions about whether we can be in person. And when we will know and knowing that any of these decisions involve some risk, what is our risk tolerance?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah. I think it's a great question and the sort of existential question. The first thing I want to assure everybody is that we're making these decisions based on facts, based on everybody comes at this problem with this sort of different emotional feeling about it in terms of risk and safety. People come to this with a political viewpoint. What we've tried to do is really base our discussions on facts. Of course, we all know that a residential campus opening that up welcoming students from across the country and across the world is an enormously challenging endeavor. It involves social contact unlike in any other area of human enterprise, having our students be 19, 20, 21-year-olds who are socially active and involved.
So what we're looking at is how can we safely bring students back to campus? How do we ensure that the prevalence of viral infection is acceptably low? How do we assure ourselves that we can detect any increases in prevalence, any infectivity quickly? How do we assure ourselves that we have the ability to isolate those individuals that locally we have the ICU capacity to handle those individuals? How do we make sure that those individuals that are in vulnerable groups-- and the CDC says everybody over 65 is vulnerable-- how do we protect that group of individuals, also students that are vulnerable and have comorbidities.
And finally, how do we make sure, as I said before, that we're compliant with the constraints put upon us by the state government and the federal government. So these committees are really developing plans. They involve public health officials, officials with substantial expertise in their areas of public health and transmission of disease. Statisticians, because in some ways, this is really a statistical question about how to identify and keep transmission low. They involve faculty with experts, expertise like Kim Weeden, on interconnectivity of students and faculty. How do we think about how those individuals are interacting?
So we will look at this from the standpoint of can we-- what procedures do we put in place and we would have to put in place to assure safety? Not zero infection, but safety and not increasing morbidity and mortality. That is a disease amongst our population. And then can we do that? There's a lot of regulatory barriers, a lot of issues around testing capacity, et cetera. Can we effectively do that?
And coming out of that will be a recommendation, as I said, to Martha around these plans which will influence when and how. If we decide we can't do a full cohort of 15,000 undergrads, what subsets do we do? All those we expect to come out as recommendations.
WENDY WOLFORD: So Mike, you expect the committees and then Martha to have a formal recommendation to the campus or a formal decision by the end of June?
SPEAKER 1: By June 15, Wendy, we would have that recommendation from committees one and two. Joanne's committee, as she'll say, is May 15, so mid-May. And then that'll give us a little bit of time [INAUDIBLE] vice presidents, the trustees, et cetera to weigh in on these plans and make a final decision.
WENDY WOLFORD: OK. Thanks. Mike, one more follow up question for you. A few people asked beforehand, how are we going to protect high risk or particularly high contact faculty, students, and staff while ensuring equity?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah. It's a great question. I'm looking for the committee's best guidance around how to do that, whether that's-- they'll-- everything's on the table here. Of course, decreasing the density of our classrooms, decreasing the density of our dining halls, other areas, I'm looking for specific recommendations around how faculty that feel at risk and are at risk might interact with students in a classroom setting safely, might interact in terms of advising, et cetera.
I hope that solution doesn't come up with recommendations that simply say, you know, you have to stay separate completely from any contact and gets to the issue of equity, Wendy. But those are the kinds of challenges that the committees will be wrestling with.
And I do want to emphasize the breadth of engagement in those committees. So it's lots of faculty. It's students, graduate students, administrative individuals, experts, we've pulled in experts from outside, for example, Gary's committee, Gary's a physician and an immunologist. But his committee also includes an individual who's-- who was deputy in charge of the public health department in New York City for many, many years. So lots of expertise.
WENDY WOLFORD: Great. Thank you. Well, then, I'll turn to Gary. Because there were a number of questions about health and safety. And people were wondering what will infection testing look like? Virus testing and antibody testing, look like if everybody is back on campus and a related question about how closely we're working with Governor Cuomo on approvals for testing that we could possibly do from campus, and how closely are we are also working with Weill Cornell Medical on all of these aspects, including modeling the different scenarios for contagion.
SPEAKER 2: Yes. So great. Thank you very much, Wendy. And thank all of you for being part of this town hall. So those are big questions, Wendy. And the overarching goal, as Mike said, is to open the campus as fully and as quickly as possible but maintaining our eye on the health and safety. And this is for everybody in the Cornell community.
But also our committee is mindful of the fact that this is relevant and important for our partners and our colleagues in Ithaca and throughout Tompkins County. So we're trying very hard to think about the different scenarios to plan in the way and deliberating on the best methodology to test individuals on the campus, test individuals before they come back to campus for evidence of the coronavirus.
And I think we're-- one way to describe this is that we're thinking about two different types of testing. The first, and for want of a better phrase, we'll call it testing for cause. So that means somebody who is symptomatic. And we'll help the community know what that means. We'll provide information. We'll make sure that there's a help desk available that questions come up.
But if somebody is concerned, if they feel that they're symptomatic we want there to be no barriers for testing. Similarly if somebody does test positive, we want to make sure everybody with whom that individual came in contact is also tested. So that's one bucket of testing. And we are not able to open the campus unless we can do that. I mean that that is just an absolute requirement.
We will do that in partnership with Cayuga Medical Center. We hope, as one of the questioners asked, to be able to do that internally as well. We're still working on the regulatory elements. We have an incredibly competent lab to do that at the vet school. But in order to test human beings, there are regulatory issues and we're working very hard to address those. But beyond testing people with symptoms or individuals who have come in contact with people with symptoms, we also have to think about surveillance testing.
And the reason why is that we need to know our prevalence. We need to know what it is, when it starts, when we open, where we are now. And as we perturb the campus by bringing people here, perturb it in a very positive way, we need to know what that impact has been. So right now we're modeling this. And as Mike said, we're using all of the assets we've got-- experts on campus, experts at Weill Cornell, experts around the country who are part of the committee, consultants of the committee who will give us advice about what that surveillance testing needs to be. Who do we need to test and how often in order to be able to get a good sense of the direction that we're headed? Because this will be our earliest warning sign that we need to regroup, we need to reconsider our path to make sure that we're paying as much attention as we possibly can to the health and safety of our staff, our faculty, and our Ithaca neighbors.
I think that you asked about serologic testing, antibody testing. And that, in my view, is premature. I think everybody on this call probably is very, very eager to know the status of antibody testing, if antibody testing truly told an individual that they had had the virus and are now immune, it would be great. But right now the science isn't there. We're going to work with our colleagues.
WENDY WOLFORD: OK. Thank you. There are questions coming in that are related to the questions that are being answered. And if possible, we will add in those. But if not, then we'll follow up in the FAQ online. So moving on to a question about education and scenarios for the fall to Lisa, again people are wondering, there are a number of questions about resuming instruction in the fall. And so this is a multipart question. There were ideas that were posed that I know your committee is thinking about, such as starting the fall semester at a different time, later in the fall or even as late as December, doing hybrid online and in-person classes with particular accommodations for lab classes, limiting class size, teaching outdoors. Can you let us know what different options you are thinking about. And can you also let us know if faculty and students will have some sort of choice.
LISA NISHII: So I'd like to just start by saying we're pretty early in this process. We just brought our committee together last week. And there are really so many different nuances and options for us to consider. And we kind of think about it in terms of a continuum with the full reactivation in August that would be, you know, everybody comes back and the courses are in-person. This is one extreme.
And the other extreme would be everything is online. We're really anchoring our thinking in the former. That is, trying to figure out the conditions under which we can bring students back, as Mike said, and teach in person. From there, though, it really quickly gets very nuanced. And so we've identified, really, three main categories of factors that we need to think through in each of the scenarios.
They include calendar. So the start and end date of a term, but also the breaks. Do we have breaks? Of course, during breaks students would be able to leave campus and come back and what are the implications of that? The length of blocks, do we stick with the typical 14-week semester? Or do we, perhaps, go to a shorter seven-week quarter? There are also smaller blocks than that that we can consider. I want to also remind people that in almost every one of our scenarios, we have to build in significant amount of time, 14 plus days for students to come back, little by little, onto campus.
And so figuring out how to work that into any calendar is quite tricky. A second set of factors has to do with modality. So how we're teaching. Is it that some courses would be online and some in-person? Is it based on size, for example? So if we're assuming that we're in Phase 2 of the federal guidelines for reopening, the condition state that we can't have more than 50 people in any venue. We have to maintain social distancing. And vulnerable individuals have to continue to shelter in place.
Then that leads us to the question of how many classrooms do we have where we could actually have 50 students and maintain social distancing. So we're looking at a lot of classroom-related data and course roster data. So modality has to do with that. There are a lot of hybrid options, too. For example, in the larger classes, might we have some of the lectures online but smaller sections? Or maybe the courses are split into smaller sections?
We've also talked about shifts. So you can imagine there's like an A shift and a B shift, and you take turns being in person versus online. So there are many different combinations. And I think it's going to depend on the type of course that we're talking about.
The third set of characteristics we're thinking about have to do with phasing. So if we can't bring everybody back at once then how do we face this? And there are two elements of that. One is kind of the blocks of time that we might use to phase in one group and then a second group.
And then the other has to do with, well, which groups then might come back to campus first and why? And there are a lot of factors to consider there. Consider, for example, based on student need. Or seniors versus first year students have different needs and you can make good arguments for both. It might be based on region or involvement in research. They're graduate students, undergraduate students. So there are many different permutations for these scenarios that we're considering. Wendy, what else was part of the question?
WENDY WOLFORD: The second part of the question was whether and how faculty and students will have a choice in how they teach or participate in classes.
LISA NISHII: Yeah that's a great question. We're starting to discuss that now. We almost certainly need to collect information from departments. So one option would be to work through department Chairs to collect the information that we need about courses and from faculty. Another could be to reach out to faculty directly. We also have members of our committee who have what they're calling brain trust. So faculty senate members who are contributing input and the same for a graduate student and undergraduate student representatives on our committee. So that's one structure. We also have mechanisms for people to provide input and ideas through Charlie's Dean of Faculty website.
And I just learned today about College of Human Ecology is doing the [INAUDIBLE] that they do every year where they bring students together to hack a particular idea and given their expertise related to design health and policy, this year they've decided to focus on how do we reopen in the fall. So there could be also creative ways like that to engage students to give us input. The challenge, of course, is that we're working on a really compressed timeline. So how to get that input and get it into a June 15 recommendations are quite tricky.
It's one last thing I should say is as we're going through these scenarios, for each of them we're thinking about, you know, we have to factor in extra time between classes for sanitation protocols. We need to think about whether or not all classes would also have an online portion to accommodate individuals who need to continue to shelter in place or to accommodate students and faculty who end up needing to go into quarantine or isolation.
We're also thinking very carefully about instructional capacity. So do we have backup instructors for courses in case an instructor gets sick? Do we-- you know, what is the lift that will be required of faculty to alter the way that they teach to fit any one of these scenarios? And then we really care obviously about the student experience. What's the impact on the student experience?
WENDY WOLFORD: So now a question for Emmanuel. In addition to the general questions about reopening campus, which of course research is subject to, there were several specific questions related to restarting research. Namely, when can we start research again? And specifically, what does the summer look like? Can you tell faculty or researchers anything about that? And about how the decision would be made in regards to restarting? And then even more specifically, will students be allowed on campus to do research this summer? And when will faculty be able to hire postdocs on research grants?
EMMANUEL GIANNELIS: Great question. I started saying that I understand the desire to come back into the labs and reopen the research activity. I am an active researcher myself. And I have these very difficult conversations with my own group. As to when we are going to be able to open the labs, I think that is a question that I would not be able to give you an answer today because, as the Provost mentioned earlier, that is a decision of course that needs to come, first of all, from the governance office, from the federal government. But also it's a decision I believe that our leadership will make.
What we are trying to do from our side is to provide a plan that would allow us to at least partially open the campus. And then moving forward from this partial reopening to a 100% occupancy through the weeks and months to come. So it was already mentioned that I'm cochairing a committee over reopening the research labs with Kathryn Boor, the Dean of CALS.
And what we are going to be sending out very soon is basically a checklist of items that we want faculty to be thinking about. Then we'll make the decision of how we reopen this partial face of the research labs. Very possible. And it would allow us to activate quickly.
It was already mentioned that our committee has a very aggressive timeline. We are supposed to give our recommendations back by May 15. And we hope to be able to open, at least partially, the research labs soon after, assuming of course that the state government, the federal government, and our own leadership agrees with that recommendation.
WENDY WOLFORD: OK. Great. Thanks, Emmanuel. A question for John Siliciano and the [INAUDIBLE] committee, can you give us any updates about the major themes you're tackling in that committee? And you know it goes without saying that faculty feel very strongly about teaching well and want to know how it is that we can make sure or we're going to make sure that our instruction is the best possible in the fall if we're online. And a subsidiary question about the role of [INAUDIBLE] Cornell and what it could do for that.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thanks, Wendy. So quality instruction is obviously the goal of all faculty. And it starts and ends with the faculty. What we are doing in our committee is thinking ahead. We have, in some sense, the luxury though none of this feels like a luxury, obviously. But the luxury of being able to think plan fully in the event that some or all of our instruction in the fall needs to be online, that it's different than what happened in March where we had to flip an entire curriculum and thousands of classes from in-person instruction to online within several weeks. That was a heroic effort on the part of many people, but primarily on the part of the faculty and of course of the students.
But at the university level, it was a day and night effort by the Center for Teaching Innovation, the Cornell IT groups, eCornell, the library, and then at the level of the units there's the deans and department chairs. But first and foremost, it was obviously the work that you all as faculty did.
In looking forward, in quotes, to the fall, my committee-- our committee is looking at a variety of things. We're focusing on several key things. One, it gives us an opportunity to think about the substance of a curriculum, the modes of delivery, the support in the student's experience.
In terms of the substance, the question there is simply do we do what we did in the spring where we had no choice but to stick with the courses we had. Or do we rethink our curriculum in a way that might make it more amenable to online instruction? Do we limit the scope of offerings? Do we change the coverage? Do we alter major requirements? These are all the creative things that we might do to facilitate excellent fall instruction that we didn't have the option to do in the spring.
Related to that is the tremendous amount of thinking that needs to go into modes of delivery. We all sort of learn through a crash course what worked and what didn't work. And now we have a database to think more carefully about how we deliver the instruction, however we reconfigure the curriculum. How do we deliver it. Are there better ways to do with large classes with things that aren't amenable that well to online instruction, labs and studios? Is there issues with scheduling that we can do to optimize that? So a series of things about how we deliver the instruction.
The third area we're looking at is support for effective online instruction. And all of you who engaged in teaching in the fall saw the robust effort to provide you support under exigent circumstances. But CTI, CIT, eCornell, the library have continued as an ongoing effort to refine and deepen the ability to support faculty. So we're looking at training, support, technology issues, licensing, ADA accessibility to give you the tools to continue to teach even better. In the fall, we go in that direction.
And then finally we need to pay attention to student experience. Students are acutely aware that being off campus is different than on campus. There's limits to which we can replicate a residential experience of if we're online. But we are thinking about ways through co-curricular planning or related enhancements that we can supplement online instruction.
WENDY WOLFORD: Thanks, John. So a follow up question for John that I'll also kick over to Emmanuel-- do you advise faculty to begin, even now, developing plans for turning especially large classes, maybe even over 400 students, for turning those into online classes? And then the question for Emmanuel on research is whether or not you would advise departments or even PIs to be developing their own plans now for opening research labs that are based on the physical nuances of their particular demands and facilities. So first, John.
JOHN SILICIANO: I think that's a key question. And to broaden it a little bit, you know, one way or another, we're thinking of instruction in the fall. So faculty should obviously want and are wanting to begin to think about that now. For large classes, it's interesting is that if we're fully online, we'll obviously have to teach-- think about how we're going to teach large classes, what classes are too large, whether they work well.
If we're residential, in other words, we go with Plan A with a residential instruction, we still may need to teach large classes online anyway because the spatial limitations of our classroom combined with social distancing effectively reduce our classroom capacity enormously. And so we may need to have an online mode for certain kinds of instruction in the fall.
We're urging all faculty to begin thinking in a contingent way about instruction in the fall. We will reach a fork in the road sometime in June after the committee's report out where we'll have a better sense. But given the lead time for effective preparation, it's not too soon.
EMMANUEL GIANNELIS: And if I may add to the question about the research labs. By the way, thank you for the follow up question because it allows me to amplify a couple of the points that I should have made earlier. The idea, of course, is that when we reopen-- and the key word here is it's a phasing reopening-- we will not be able to have everybody come back at full force. Every lab, every PI needs somehow to come up with a plan that allows us to maintain a certain density on campus.
Of course, recognizing that for a work that can be done remotely, we are to continue doing that work remotely. And we need to bring back to campus into the labs only work that can now be done without being present on campus. So let me give you a hypothetical scenario. Let's assume that we've decided to go at a 30% capacity on campus as we reopen it from what we are right now.
One could imagine that every PI there would need to come up with a plan that allows us to maintain that density per building that would be sort of below 8% capacity, or at 1/3 capacity level. So for bigger labs, they're going to have to think about-- we are going to have to think about shifts. We're going to have to think about how do we basically maintain the associate distance team. How big is the laboratory that's available. What do we do with it the shared laboratories and so on.
But that's exactly the kind of questionnaire that we are going to be putting out. So then people start thinking already about what it is expected from them to submit so that we can be ready when our leadership decides that we are ready to go.
WENDY WOLFORD: Great. Thanks, Emmanuel. Mike, I'm going to step in with a question to you here. One of the participants has asked, who we're talking to as we make these decisions given that all of the universities across the country are dealing with similar issues. What's your peer group? Who are you talking to?
SPEAKER 1: Great question. So we are connected to all these groups. I have now a weekly meeting with all the Ivy Plus provosts. A number of the panelists here and not here are meeting with their counterparts. Joanne of course is meeting with hers on a constant basis. As I said, we are coordinating with CICU which is the independent colleges and universities throughout New York state that is Columbia and NYU all the way down to Wells College.
And lots of conversations and thinking, of course you've heard, on different ways these individual institutional leaders are framing these discussions. At Purdue, it's we're opening and we'll tell you how we're doing it later. But we're opening. In other places it's much more nuanced and we're going to make the announcement once we understand all the parameters and the constraints in how we solve the problems as I described. But we are fully engaged.
And then finally, Martha talks to the Ivy presidents on a regular basis and through AAU and the AAU president. So we're really, really connected with this problem. And we're sharing best practices.
So for example, on our health modeling we have a faculty member Peter Frazier is working with Gary on statistical modeling of disease prevalence. And we're sharing that information and others are sharing their points of view with us.
WENDY WOLFORD: OK, great. A lot of work. Joanne, I have a question that I'm particularly interested in for you. Many of us can't go back to teaching in person or necessarily being on campus in person until local daycares-- I guess schools are off the table now for the rest of the spring. But certainly local daycares, are we coordinating our return to campus with the local school district?
JOANNE DESTEFANO: Thanks, Wendy. Yes, we have contacted the local school districts. We've also contracted Ithaca College and local community people also so that we can have a coordinated approach to coming back. I don't know if we'll all come back at the same time. But if we're all aware of our plans then we will know how to make certain decisions. So we are very interested in understanding the daycare ramifications.
WENDY WOLFORD: Great. Another question about the facilities for Joanne. Once we're back on campus, we're researching and teaching, how are we going to sanitize the buildings, take care of all of the buildings sort of maintenance and other spaces, particularly at one-- two people asked about performance spaces and how we might be able to allow people to participate in in-person performances and how would we specifically deal with these things on move in day in the fall.
JOANNE DESTEFANO: OK. Our environmental health and safety group has developed a set of protocols for cleaning. And they have already provided training to all of the building care folks. And as the requirements for cleaning changes, they stay on top of it and they'll continue training all the building care folks.
So Lisa mentioned that there might have to be cleaning in between classes, of each classroom. We will be ready for whatever those protocols are at the time that we do start. One of the interesting things is-- and one of the concerns we have is just hand sanitizers. We've had them back ordered since the spring and we still don't think we have enough in. So there's still issues that we have to deal with. But we will make sure that everyone who's involved in building care may do less of other things to keep the buildings safe and clean.
The other part of your question had to do with move in day. Student and Campus Life are already planning for how they might do a phased move in approach. They're trying to figure out whether parents would even be allowed to come for part of the move in. Much has still to be determined as well we're working through the plans. And then the events that people would like-- part of our team is also looking at event protocols and what we might be able to do. And it'll all revolve around what the social distancing requirements are at the time that we reopen campus.
WENDY WOLFORD: In terms of social distancing, there were a few different questions about students and social distancing and how-- what are plans are for ensuring that students follow those guidelines, both undergraduates and graduates.
JOANNE DESTEFANO: So it's about education and communication with the students. And right now we have about 500 students living on campus in the dorms. So Student and Campus Life has had some good experience with those 500. So they've learned. Now we'll have to scale for more populous campus as we start bringing more students back.
It'll be more challenging as there's more students come back. Cornell police has been good, not about, you know, arresting students when they're not behaving. But talking to them and educating them and explaining the reasons. And to date, and this goes back to the fall when we were, when everyone was leaving the campus, when they spoke to groups of students, they honored the requests and they usually split up, dispersed. So it's all about the communication I think. And having people monitor.
WENDY WOLFORD: Right. The best that we can do. Right?
JOANNE DESTEFANO: Right. Yeah.
WENDY WOLFORD: So now for a bit of change in topic, turning over to Mike and asking about the budgetary implications of the crisis, which we know are huge. And there are a number of different questions that have come in about this. People are wondering, first of all, how you see the crisis right now affecting our acceptance rate from students and whether you think there is a big possibility of students taking some sort of leave in the fall. And then there are a number of questions about the kind of decisions we might take to ameliorate the economic losses and if you have specifics on what those decisions or what those strategies might look like.
SPEAKER 1: Wow. That's a big one. So we know, I think, we know pretty well what fiscal year 2020 looks like. And we've taken the actions that we've taken, many of which I've written to faculty about, are pretty much cover-- I pretty much covered that. That's associated with the loss of some revenue, largely loss of lots of individual programs. Cornell Abroad is one of those costs associated with international students. Reimbursing students for housing and dining was a big one. Do you think we have that handle?
Going into FY '21, I would just say to the faculty, you know, the big things here that we're looking at that will hit all of us almost certainly will be around, one, financial aid because we're seeing, I think I saw 19% unemployment now. That has an impact on students' ability to pay the cost of education.
Of course, we're need blind and need full needs. So we will-- anybody that comes into the financial aid need category, we will take care of. We think that would be, across the campus, maybe $90 million. That's our-- these are all assumptions. But based on an aggregate across the year of 15% unemployment, that's what we're thinking about.
And then that will ripple through in subsequent years. We've made some-- and then, of course, there are other things. There's state. We know that the state has said they'll cut back their allocation by 10%. And likely we'll have a second round of state cuts that we'll hear about even before the beginning of the fiscal year. So a lot of things are coming down at once.
Now, assuming that we have a fall semester and I'll talk a little bit about that because it's a big assumption right now, but assuming that we have a fall semester, we are looking at a problem to solve that is in the 150-- total of $150 to $200 million range. We have done a number of things. We've stopped construction or paused a lot of construction.
You know that we've foregone the salary increases for the whole campus for the next year. We've had the restrictions on travel and other guidelines. We're pausing individual hiring. We will have this reorganization discussion about how we operate as efficiently, administratively as possible. And there are likely to be other financial aspects of this that we're talking about that try and be shared pain across the entire institution.
Our goals, Martha articulated, I think, very clearly. That is maintain Cornell's long term excellence. Do the right thing for our staff and community in terms of preserving the most jobs possible in our community. Meeting our student needs fully and completely, all of those will be our priorities and guide how we address things. So you'll hear a little bit more in the coming days about additional steps that we may take.
Let me just flip to the idea of admissions. I understand we've hit our target for May by our May decision day. But there's lots of things that are yet to come. If we have a fully online semester, we may see lots of deferments. People have different views about whether that will happen or not. But this will all depend on what we do in the fall, whether this grows or not.
Right now we slightly increase the accepted pool of students and markedly increased our wait list so that we're able to respond in terms of wait list. A lot of open questions. Of course one really big one is our international students, whether they'll be able to get visas in time to get over here. And that affects not only our undergraduate population but our master's programs, et cetera.
So a lots of unknowns, but I think we've thought about this very carefully. For those of you faculty who were here in 2008, as I was when this hit, we are in better shape for two reasons. Not that these are that parallel, but the two big things that are better about this situation for us than previously is one our liquidity, which Joanne has secured and we have the flexibility to respond in ways that we didn't previously. We got caught without much cash and to meet payroll and things like that, we had to do some things that were difficult and had long term consequences.
Secondly as Paul Streeter points out quite a bit, we have a visibility because of our budget model and our budget systems that we didn't have campus wide previously. Before, every college was sort of on their own. Now we can do things across the board that anticipate and then respond to these stresses. So stay tuned. But we're working hard on making sure that we're able to secure those priorities that Martha has articulated.
WENDY WOLFORD: Mike, another difficult question. I know this is on everybody's minds. How are we going to or how can we ensure that these measures that we have to take in order to last out the crisis. How can we ensure that they won't have a lasting negative impact on the university's standing as well as on its ability to attract top faculty?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah. Well, that is the key question. That's, you know, goal number one. And you know, any time we make decisions like forgoing SIPS, or Salary Improvement Program, or any kind of other changes in staffing or faculty, that is a paramount concern. The only thing I can say is, you know, on the [INAUDIBLE] as somebody asked before, I know what all our cohorts are doing virtually every [INAUDIBLE] addressing the same kind of challenges. So we are thinking about and making sure that we don't lose our competitiveness for faculty and staff. We don't have this as an occasion to have in other places cherry pick our faculty. And so we're looking at that very carefully and making sure that we maintain our competitiveness.
We're also, I think, want to use this opportunity to try and make some efficiency changes across the university that are difficult to achieve in other times. So that's the fourth group, a fourth committee that we've set up is this restructuring effort that Joanne and I are overseeing.
In many ways, many of our support systems and administrative systems have grown up in a serendipity way in which one college builds one thing, one, another. A third reproduces it. A fourth reproduces it. Then there's something in the center. We haven't strategically looked at how we do this across the institution, what should be done locally, what should be done centrally. And this is an opportunity, of course it's very hard to do in normal times, this is one of those times where you can, I think, address that.
The example that I use that over the last couple of years that we've achieved is enrollment. We've, to some extent, thought about enrollment as a university, how we market the university, how we admit students across the university. We are in much, much better shape meeting this crisis because of having recruited Jon Burdick and have a Vice Provost for Enrollment who works with all the colleges but does this as a coordinated practice.
WENDY WOLFORD: Mike, everything that we've talked about so far also relates to our programs in New York City. Can you talk at all about how we're coordinating our response how they're protecting staff and faculty in the city and making decisions about reopening?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah. Great question. So the Cornell Tech is fully integrated in these committees. Deborah Estrin is a member on committee one, an active member. I talk frequently. Of course, Greg is part of the dean's meeting. We're coordinating this. There are some differences.
They have, for example, their students really mostly haven't gone home. They're still in their house in their residence on Roosevelt Island and taking courses online. They have a local condition prevalence that's much different than our local condition. So there are differences. But we're really coordinating how we address them.
On the medical college, Augustine is part of all of our meetings. They are going through extraordinary financial challenges. They've closed all their regular clinical practices, which they're now starting to contemplate reopening. And they're really on the front lines in terms of emergency treatment.
They've had a huge financial hit. Because of that, they're thinking about bringing back their medical students for instruction in the fall. Of course, they have a different challenge then bringing back 15,000 undergraduates. But we're coordinating our efforts.
WENDY WOLFORD: Great. I'm going to turn to Joanne again and say that there have been comparisons between cruise ships and our dormitories-- college dormitories, and maybe for more than one reason, but particularly for the air circulation systems. And I'm wondering if you can talk about how we'll be addressing clean air in the dorms in the fall.
JOANNE DESTEFANO: So that's under discussion. One of the biggest discussions is how many students per room and more in the restroom facilities than the air quality handling has been the biggest concern. We don't have an answer yet that we're working at it. And Lisa's team, as part of the residential education program, is the one that's going to make the recommendations then of how many students in the dorm rooms. We do know that some of our peers have-- particularly peers in metropolitan areas have secured hotel rooms so that they can have less students in the actual on campus dorms. I know that's not our preference. So we're trying to do everything we can to keep our students on our campus.
WENDY WOLFORD: OK. Great. Emmanuel, I want to ask you another question just because there was some confusion about when people will know what plans they can make for the summer in terms of research.
EMMANUEL GIANNELIS: Well, the committee is supposed to give a recommendation by May 15. What we are working on on our subcommittee that several are members of, our faculty and students and staff are members for [INAUDIBLE] some kind of what I would call a checklist that would basically allow faculty to think about what it is that they need to put together before we even give everybody the OK. And so we hope to be able to get that checklist completed in a few days and communicate that with the faculty so they put those plans together.
And I saw a question, if I'm allowed, on the questions that were coming in. How this would be made? Well, of course, there would be differences if there are individual PIs or shared facilities or user facilities of course. And so there would be a process by which we envision all this happening so that we can ensure that we maintain the capacity that we set ourselves to achieve. And so we'll be getting that clarity and that kind of information out shortly. I hope
WENDY WOLFORD: OK.
SPEAKER 1: Wendy, if I could just quickly add. I just want to assure the faculty and Emmanuel said this but I want to repeat it from me. We want to get people back in their labs and offices as soon as we can. We want to make sure that we can do that safely and that we comply with New York state and don't get ahead of the Forward New York plans of New York state. But rest assured, we understand the frustration of faculty in terms of doing the discovery and the scholarly activity that they do.
And that's critical in terms of maintaining our excellence. And that's something we're working on really hard and will almost certainly occur well before the other more complicated issues of bringing students back to our campus occurring.
WENDY WOLFORD: Great. Thanks. So last question as we're finishing up and I'll address it Mike, but then others please jump in if you have additional comments. A lot of the work that we're doing right now, we're in crisis mode. It's necessarily, reactionary. We're responding to the immediate threats that are posed by the virus. But how do you think that this experience might change higher ed or Cornell in the longer term? And what are the opportunities or innovations that we could be or should be exploring? How might faculty be able to contribute ideas around those?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah. I think it's a terrific question. And it is one, by the way, Martha is setting up a panel. It's a longer term question, of course. And Bruce Lewenstein has recommended this and Martha has responded. And there'll be a faculty panel that looks at this in the fall and provides some feedback from the faculty. Let me just say one-- give one brief example. And that is, you know, we're all working in our homes and, you know, being effective is certainly, in some roles, we're being quite effective.
And one of the things that has become clear to a number of people-- I talked to Dave Lifka for example, who runs see CIT, Computer and Information Technology. One of the things he is convinced of is that he can have most of his individuals working at distance and supporting faculty from their homes with some sort of hoteling facilities when people need to be in. But there has to be far fewer of those individuals on campus directly sitting next to people or leaning over you and telling you what to click.
So I do think broadly, we will be thinking a lot about how we use space, how we effectively use the creativity and the talents of people without necessarily constraining them to be in one place. That could have an enormous financial impact for the university in terms of what we build, what we maintain, et cetera. That's one small example. But I think there are many others. I see Lisa's hand is up.
LISA NISHII: The other day in a meeting of the Sustainable Cornell Council, we were talking about how we've heard so many of our colleagues say that this has helped them to rethink whether or not they really do need to travel to give that presentation or to collaborate with faculty. And so that might be another benefit is for people to reduce their travel and therefore carbon emissions, and for us to help contribute to a more sustainable world.
WENDY WOLFORD: John, did you also have a comment?
JOHN SILICIANO: Along the same lines, we've heard from many faculty that this sort of brutal forced march into online instruction had a deeper effect of having them rethink their basic curriculum which they may have taught the same course in the same way for 20 or 30 years. This caused-- just because of the exigencies of time-- to rethink what they deliver and what sequence, what made sense, what works in a different technology. And I think that general rethinking in some senses inspired some faculty to sort of move forward thinking about these questions as we go forward into the fall. Whatever mode of instruction we adopt.
WENDY WOLFORD: Great. Thanks. Mike, do you want to sign us off?
SPEAKER 1: Yeah, just a closing. First of all, thank you all 453 people still on this Zoom. Just tremendous. And again, I want to thank the faculty for everything that they have done on the teaching domain to sort of quickly pivot to deliver instruction. I've heard so many good things about that response on the efforts and the lack and the patients in terms of not doing the things that you're so capable of doing.
I hope this town hall has given you some confidence that we are thinking about the things that you were thinking about. We've put in place plans to try and address them. We've got great individuals leading those efforts. We had faculty input into those efforts. We can always get more. And I've learned some things already in trying to respond to some of these questions and getting feedback.
But the main thing I wanted to convey is a sense of what is going on behind the curtain to faculty. I think that's what we were asked for. And I hope this reassures you that we're not just sort of sitting back and reacting and waiting for things to happen. We're really, really working hard to see if we can define our own future as we go forward. So thank you very much.
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Panelists: Michael I. Kotlikoff, Provost; Joanne M. DeStefano, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; John A. Siliciano, Deputy Provost; Lisa H. Nishii, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education; Emmanuel Giannelis, Vice Provost for Research; and Gary A. Koretzky, Vice Provost for Academic Integration. Moderator: Wendy W. Wolford, Vice Provost for International Affairs.