JOHN SILICIANO: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm John Siliciano. I'm the university deputy provost. Welcome to this town hall for faculty and staff. We're very appreciative of you joining us now and also obviously very appreciative for all you've been doing for us under these unprecedented times. You've probably been to the town halls before. But we have a number of speakers. We've received a lot of questions ahead of time, well over 100, and I've tried to lump them into groups. But we also have a chat function for questions live. I must warn you, I'm pretty terrible at the Zoom stuff. But I'll do my best to field questions as they come in.
Let me introduce the panelists. And then we'll turn it over to the provost. So we have the university provost, Michael Kotlikoff, Mary Opperman is the vice president for human resources, Gary Koretzky, Vice Provost for Academic Integration, Ryan Lombardi Vice President for Student Campus Life, and Lisa Nishii, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, all joining us today. Let me turn it over to start to Mike Kotlikoff.
MICHAEL KOTLIKOFF: Thanks, John. And hi, everybody. Good afternoon. I know there are a number of things on everyone's mind. And I'll try and cover a little bit quickly where we are in a couple of areas. I do want to start, though, just by saying that we've now successfully moved in our students. We've started our classes. And I just want to thank-- I can't thank everybody that has been involved in this. But there have been a huge number of people working tirelessly behind the scenes to be able to get us to this point.
And that includes individuals in the testing arena, like Gary, who's on the video, but Kim Potter, Diego Diel, the whole Animal Health Diagnostic Center, and our partners at Cuba Health. On enrollment and curriculum, again, Lisa Nishii is on registrar, CTI, CIT, David Shmoys and his group-- a lot of people really working very hard to make sure that students could enroll successfully and get the courses they want and understand what they're enrolling for.
Then facilities, Rick Burgess, the dorms and the move in, Pat Wynn, Ryan Lombardi's team-- just a fabulous group of volunteers and staff, helping people move in. Our staff, our staff preparation and organization, Mary Opperman. Modeling of all our efforts and where we are and what we should expect in terms of testing, Peter Frazier's group. Cornell Health, Sharon McMullen, Anne Jones, that whole team really working very hard to oversee health of our students, and then health and safety through Joanne DeStefano and many people involved in health and safety to set up the campus in a safe way. So I just want to start by thanking the tremendous amount of people who've been really working enormously hard.
Gary is going to go over the testing results here. But I want to give you the big picture. We've essentially completed entry testing. That has gone very smoothly. We've build a new lab. We're prepared now to test 7,000 individuals per day, roughly 50,000 a week. We've identified many positives. We know the testing works well.
We had initially thought that false positives would be a bigger problem than they've been. But largely because we've had such a low prevalence, that has not been a big problem. And we've had some strategies that helped that. We have had a dramatically lower prevalence than we had predicted in terms of the individuals coming in and getting entry testing.
I've been on campus for the last four days. I think there's good general compliance. I'm seeing general mask wearing compliance, people generally taking this seriously. When I talk to students and ask people if they're out by themselves to make sure their mask is showing, I get good responses.
Our biggest problem, as many of you know, has been we've had a number of clusters. This is a bit confusing. The data emerges at different points. Tompkins County Health has a timeline. They announced their confirmed positives. We wait for them to confirm positives before we announce. So we lag a little bit.
But these databases-- our database, Tompkins County database, and if you look at the state database-- they all differ a little bit, not over time, but how many cases are on one day versus another day. I've heard a lot of concern about that. We're all on the same page in terms of reporting everything.
So far we currently have 47 active positive cases, all in isolation, and many quarantines. We've had over 100 individuals in quarantine. Virtually all of these students are asymptomatic. We've had one individual that was briefly-- went to the ER, but came back, is OK. Most people are completely asymptomatic or very-- we've had some with mild symptoms. So that's good. It's also good that we've really had no signs of spread to the community outside of our student body. And we've had some interaction with TC3 and their students, but nothing faculty staff or our community individuals that are beyond our student body.
The clusters have been a problem. These result from a number of parties that have occurred. You will see an announcement of this-- a message coming from Ryan and me in a few minutes-- that talks about this in some detail and indicates that we are moving the status of the university to yellow. Our criteria for moving to a yellow, as determined by Peter Frazier, is really a significant number of cases over three days beyond what we were expecting. And these clusters have pushed us here.
The clusters have occurred largely from student athletes who have gone to parties together and then spread this with contacts. As I say so far, we have responded to this by going in and doing what we've called adaptive testing, which Gary will describe a little bit more, but basically going in not just testing contacts, but anybody that might be-- the contact itself is a specific definition. But we expand that definition to get anybody that might be at risk. That has allowed us to identify what we hope are all the individuals around this.
But I should say that we do not know if this has spread further. We will know as we continue to test. And we're launching our surveillance testing. That started today and yesterday. And we will continue to know all cases, asymptomatic or if individuals go into Cornell Health for symptoms.
I just want to indicate that ongoing vigilance is important. And ongoing compliance is important. There's a number of individuals that have put the rest of us at risk-- the entire residential semester in jeopardy. And that is being responded to. And we are making sure that individuals are accountable for their actions. But we also need to understand that the great majority of individuals have been conducting themselves safely and appropriately according to the behavioral compact. And I want to say that also applies to the great majority of our student athletes.
Let me now just say a couple of things about the government's guidelines because I'm sure many of you saw that on Thursday, the governor tweeted that the state would issue criteria for eliminating in-person class activities and other on-campus activities. Those guidelines came out the next day. We had a chance to weigh in on those guidelines and particularly to state our concerns that one, a campus like ours that is testing so aggressively will identify all potential positives and there is no accommodation for that, particularly in light of the second point, which is this is a 5% threshold for campuses, essentially for campuses below the size of 2,000, and 100 individuals for campuses above 2,000.
So for a campus like ours of roughly 30,000 faculty, staff, and students, that's 0.3% of our campus. And it's essentially seven individuals a day. We feel that we are quite capable of handling that degree of infection, identifying it, isolating the individuals, quarantining the contacts, but the state-- out of an abundance of caution and trying to really maintain New York state's status as a very low, having really brought the curve down, bent the curve down, and now being at a low level-- trying to preserve that in a way that is aggressive.
This is an issue for us. We will have ongoing conversations with the state going forward. But we are abiding by the guidelines at present. And now we are starting to track our cases on an ongoing basis as part of that effort. If we exceed that 100 cases within 14 days, or roughly seven cases a day, we will need to suspend our in-person teaching and suspend any on-campus activities, including in-person dining. So we're beginning to prepare for that and think about that. And you'll hear more of that as we start to track these cases over time and publish the preparations that we're making if we get to that point.
So with that, I think I've talked about this issue of where we are with these clusters-- Gary can go in little more detail-- and our guidelines, and I'll turn it over to Gary Koretzky to discuss our testing.
GARY KORETZKY: Thanks, Mike. So what I'd like to do is tell you a little bit about how we got to where we are and then provide the data that we've obtained so far. So as Mike said, we did not have a COVID testing laboratory when COVID became an entity. There was a laboratory that was able to test for COVID-- tested animals for COVID-- actually made a diagnosis of a tiger in the Bronx Zoo of COVID-- but we did not do human testing. As we thought about the need to do testing on a large scale-- if we were going to open the university safely-- we recognized that we had to take that burden on ourselves mostly, that we could not ask Tompkins County, we could not ask Cuyuga Medical Center to perform that function for us.
So what we did is that we imagine the laboratory. We renovated space. We bought equipment. We bought supplies. We developed technologies. We validated them against known samples. We then validated them with samples that we studied and compared them to Cuyuga Medical Center. All of this was done in collaboration. And now what we have is a fully-functional laboratory that, as Mike said, will be able to analyze more than 50,000 samples a day, and not take away from the local needs, which is just a really important point.
The other thing that we had to do is that we had to build an infrastructure, so that we could sample people, that we could get the samples to the lab, we could report those samples out, and that was actually a very difficult process. We'd never done this before. And we did it in a matter of weeks. So when I'm talking, I'm really talking about this, but I'm really talking about the hard work that was done by the individuals that Mike mentioned, and then others who are just really, really dedicated. And we never would have been able to pull this off without them.
There have been glitches. I've seen in some of the questions, why are there lines? Well there are lines because our systems are working out. We hope that the lines will go away for testing. We're very aware of that. I think that maybe in a moment or so we can talk about what we're doing about safety at testing sites. But we feel very comfortable that we're going to be able to meet the testing needs and hopefully do this in a way that is not onerous for our community.
The testing as you know will be done by anterior nares, the front of the nose, self collection that will be observed. We've moved away from nasopharyngeal swabs, which are these very long swabs. And we're very confident in the data. And we're confident that we'll be able to do the testing that's needed.
So let me tell you what we've done so far. So if I could have the next slide, please-- we, like I said, have this collaboration between Cuyuga Medical Center and the CCTL, the Cornell COVID Testing Laboratory, which comes out of the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory at the vet school. So far between our entities, 25,116 tests were performed as of September 1st. We have performed 14,000 tests on undergraduates, 8,200 on graduate and professional students, 1,600 tests on faculty and staff, and then others of the community have also been tested. Now some people have been tested more than once. So that number is all of the testing that we've performed.
It's really important to remember that our laboratory-- what I'm talking about now-- is not designed to test people who are symptomatic. If you are symptomatic, you should not get testing in our surveillance laboratory. The testing should be done at the mall, if you're a faculty and staff, or at Cornell's Health if you're a student. So we're calling that testing for cause. The numbers for testing for cause are not included in this table.
So we have identified through our testing program 28 undergraduates that are positive. That's 0.19% of the tests perform. And then one faculty and staff, one grad student, and one other, with a total prevalence from the tests of 0.12%. But clearly, there are other positives on campus. They have come through the mall. Or they've come through Cornell Health. These are individuals that were either tested for cause or tested because they were contacts of somebody that was a known person with COVID.
I want to go to the next slide. And then I'm going to say a little bit more about the testing.
So I told you the total number of tests. Now I'll tell you the total number of people that we're testing. Prior to starting this semester, we've tested more than 11,500 because we did some testing on September 2nd-- undergraduates. I think we missed nine of all of the undergraduate and graduate and professional students that were planning to matriculate and live in the Ithaca area. So that was a huge lift. And we got it done. And that's really the credit of so many people who have really put together a lot of work to make that happen.
We've tested a total of 1,388 faculty and staff and 256 others. So 18,743 individuals have now been tested through this program, again with 31 individuals being called positive, which is an overall prevalence of 0.17, a number, as Mike said, was much lower than we anticipated. But again that doesn't include some of the individuals that were tested in these clusters. They were tested for symptoms or they were tested because they were known contacts.
And I will make another mention of adaptive testing that Mike brought up because a number of those individuals have also been tested. And either some through our testing program or some through Cornell Health. And the notion is that if we find somebody who is positive, the process is that that information is transmitted to Tompkins County Health. Tompkins County Health is the entity that reveals to the individual that they've been positive, that that is under their jurisdiction. They do a lot of work to make sure that it's not somebody that was previously positive, so that there is some behind the scenes work that's done by Tompkins County.
When Tompkins county does that, they talk to the individual who was known to be positive. And they identify contacts. Those are the close contacts that you might have heard about. They require quarantine. That is mandated through Tompkins County Health. And we get that information. And we're very eager to test those individuals.
But this notion of adaptive testing is that we broaden the circles, so that we recognize-- particularly in different populations-- there are social groups that might be together. There are people that live together. Where Tompkins County might not say that that is a close contact, we've elected to test above and beyond what Tompkins County requires as identification of close contacts. We've done this in collaboration with Tompkins County. They agree with the approach. I meet with the director of Tompkins County every week. We talk about all of the testing. And what we've identified so far, are individuals who are positive that would not have been identified through routine contact tracing.
We realize that increases our number of positive cases. We feel really good about it. We feel it's really important because what we're doing is that we're identifying people who are positive, that's good for them, so we can watch out over them that this is an important thing for their own health, but it's also good for the community because if we identify people that are positive early on, hopefully we can break the chain of transmission so then the clusters stop.
And that's where we are right now. We're working very hard to identify and test all of the contacts, but additionally individuals that we think might be part of social groups or part of other groups that might put them at risk of being positive. We're a ways through this process. Hopefully we're near the end of the process. We're still waiting for some data. But that's the notion of adaptive testing, which is, I think, a really important component to our entire testing program.
Routine surveillance testing started today. Again this is a cornerstone of what we're doing. And I want to just thank everybody for their patience as we work through this and also their participation. We won't be able to do this without everybody's commitment to help.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Gary.
GARY KORETZKY: Thank you.
JOHN SILICIANO: Let me jump back to Mike. There's been quite a few questions about the implications of whether we reached the 100 mark and have to close down, what that would mean. I'll summarize them. Would we need to suspend research again? Would faculty who are now teaching be able to teach online-- I mean, would they be able to continue to teach on campus through the various setups we've had? What resources like libraries would remain open or closed? What kind of guidance do we have from the governor's statement to answer those fundamental questions about whether if we go into a two-week hiatus, how much that looks like the shutdown that we had last March?
MICHAEL KOTLIKOFF: The answer to all of your questions is yes. Yes, we could continue to maintain laboratory activities under safe conditions. The guidelines mentioned a ban of activities on campus. So we're already in an activity-- suspending activities, so wouldn't affect that. It would not affect the ability of faculty to come in and teach from a classroom to an online cohort of students. Obviously it would prevent the students from coming in and being there in person. And it wouldn't impact the library or facilities of that nature. That's not in the guidelines.
What it really is meant to do is-- and this is an area where I think we will again have discussions-- we've had good discussions with Tompkins County Health so far-- about how we make sure that we maximize the safety of our community during such a shutdown because students will essentially be banned from classrooms where we have probably arguably a very structured environment, social distancing, everybody has to wear masks, and we'll have to make sure that they attend classes if they remain on campus, which they would, in a safe manner.
So that's one of the areas that we're planning. But it will not be that kind of shut down-- to answer the question-- that we had-- the full campus shutdown that we had to undergo in March.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you. And just in terms of going to yellow alert that you mentioned as what's going to currently happen, does that change anything on campus? One of the questions is whether it changes or restricts the size of gatherings-- the kinds of things that led us to this situation.
MICHAEL KOTLIKOFF: Yeah. It will restrict our gatherings to 10 individuals or lower. And that's one way that we will have more formal control on this transfer of virus from one person to another.
JOHN SILICIANO: Let me turn now to Ryan Lombardi. Ryan, there are significant numbers, you might expect, of questions that are based on concerns around what are the responses to the clusters. And there is a level of concern and alarm about whether the university is aware of the extent of student noncompliance. And to the extent that it does have awareness, such as in the case of the clusters, is it taking an appropriately prompt and, in many cases, in advocacy for severe sanctions? So can you talk about how you're approaching this and what your thinking is institutionally about students that fail to comply with the behavioral compact?
RYAN LOMBARDI: Sure, John, I'd be happy to. And thanks for the questions. And thanks for having me. Since this is my first time on the screen, I want to add to the chorus of thanks. I've been on campus consistently since August 23rd, when move-in began, and literally just a Herculean effort by so many to help our students safely arrive to Cornell and get through their gateway testing, et cetera. So I just extend my gratitude to all of the staff and my colleagues who've been working so hard. I'm super grateful for that.
And I also want to extend the thanks of our students and parents. I got to exchange with a very large number of them. And they were so thrilled to have the opportunity to make this effort to have the fall semester work. Probably many of you don't hear that. But to a person, the parents and the incoming students were just thrilled. And so I want to pass along their gratitude as well.
I'd be happy to talk about behavior here. A couple of things I want to reiterate-- and this is our overall strategy and approach to managing this-- a couple of things I'll say. First of all, there is upstream and there's downstream. So we continue to work on our upstream tactics, which is education, awareness, public ambassadors-- we have student ambassadors that are doing great jobs. They're station around campus handing out sanitizer, masks-- being very proactive and encouraging good behavior.
Another thing I think I've spoken about on previous fora is that we have a group called the behavioral compact monitors. This is more than 100 staff who have been redeployed from their regular duties and are roving both on and off campus seven days a week very late at night till midnight off campus. And I cannot thank the staff enough for the work that they're doing. They're observing. They're intervening when necessary, correcting behavior, and in cases where behavior is either not correctable-- because it's too big or something like that-- they're reporting those concerns with detail to us so that we can follow up and address those concerns.
This group has been immensely helpful and valuable to us as an institution. And again I cannot thank them enough. They do report in large portion good compliance-- not perfect compliance, but good compliance-- with a lot of the major initiatives, mask wearing, et cetera. We know about the concerns with the small gatherings that the provost mentioned.
So downstream what happens when there is a violation? We've gotten many reports of violations. I think most of you know that the reporting forum is live and online. And we have a team that triages those and responds to those, depending on what the report entails. You can imagine that there are a variety of sanctions and escalations that happen depending on what's reported and also the level of detail that's provided.
It's very difficult if a report comes in that says, I saw someone walking on campus without a mask, versus I saw X, Y, or Z, or I saw this house that had a lot of activity. And here's some photographic evidence. If you've been on the reporting forum, there's a place to upload this information. The more information, the better, so that we can follow up. But every single report that is actionable that comes in is followed up on. We have addressed those. That would range anywhere from a conversation with a student to remind them of the good behavior that they must exhibit, all the way up to and including multiple suspensions to date.
And I want to speak a little bit about that. There were some questions that came in about the language that I used over the weekend when I spoke about this with temporary suspension. It's a technical term in our code of conduct that allows an immediate suspension to be placed for a student, which at that point, restricts their ability to engage in courses, come to campus, all those types of things, but also then affords them a process after the fact to be able to respond to it, which is important to make sure that we've gotten it right.
But while they're on that temporary suspension, activity is ceased. We had some students right around the enrollment time that had to be, unfortunately, temporarily suspended. And that put a hold up on their enrollment at that time. And so they faced that consequence.
It's important here also to note really critically-- and I think Mike touched on this a little bit and Gary maybe too-- one of the key tenants of our program here is the requirement, frankly, and the necessity that we're able to form a cooperative relationship with students to do this contact tracing, figure out who they have connected with, so that we can then test and isolate additional students. So it is also very critical that whenever a student comes forward with maybe being positive and reporting that they had attended a small gathering, that we maintain a relationship there that allows us to get the information that's going to do the to protect our community, which is to identify close contacts, other folks that we might want to bring into the testing program for this adaptive testing. And that's critically important here.
So, John, I think I'll leave it with that. Again we have taken a whole gamut of responses to misbehavior. I am not going to get into the practice of-- of course, we're not going to speak about specific students. Nor are we going to be tallying the number of suspensions or the number of other actions we're going to take. I think that's counterproductive for our efforts. But I do want to assure the community, as the provost and I did in our message today, that we are addressing those concerns that come in to us.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Ryan. Let's have one follow-up to you that isn't about the enforcement issues, but just about student life day-to-day. So I'll read a question. And then maybe you can fill it out. So since there's no eating or drinking in any of the non-food service buildings, and the majority of food is offered only to go, where will students eat during inclement weather? What do they do? Can you give us a little bit of a sense of how students are adapting given the incredible restrictions on what would be normal student life?
RYAN LOMBARDI: Yeah, sure, John. And look, that's one of our big challenges this year. Campuses are not quiet places. And they're not places that are normally spaced out the way that we're trying to manage this year. When weather's good, I've seen a lot of students having great lunch circles and other things like that with good distance between them, sitting out on the quad. I saw this dozens and dozens of times last week when I was on north campus.
We do have tents set up on a number of places on campus, where I've seen students also take their meals, if they have takeout containers and to-go containers. I also know that a large number of students are taking their meals back to their rooms and eating in their residence hall rooms or eating in their apartments. We encourage our students, and we're going to continue to be diligent with our monitors and others, even when you're eating-- because you have to pull down the mask at that point or put up the mask, however you choose-- to keep your distance from each other because that's obviously creating risk without a face covering on at that time, and really encouraging that as well.
So outdoor space in their personal residences-- and of course some students in our dining halls, as people know, are eating in there. We've got them spaced out. We've got a reservation system available for them.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Ryan. I want to turn now to Mary Opperman and talk about the question of repopulating the campus. When we shut down in March, it was chaotic. But the basic vector was to leave the campus. And since then we've been repopulating the campus in a more planned way. But it does involve a lot of complicated conversations about who should be on campus and who should continue to work at home.
And if you could just talk generally about what that process would look like, I'll read you one particular question. And there's a number of variance on it. But it says, what should we do if we are being asked to return to campus by our supervisor or director department, even if our work can be completely done remotely?
MARY OPPERMAN: Thanks, John. And at the risk of sounding like we're all saying the same thing, I do want to take this moment to thank the staff and faculty and students who have been helping us to get ourselves to this point. I've seen people working 24/7 for months and months now. And I'm just so appreciative of all the different efforts that have been occurring on campus.
So it is the case that many of our staff left in March and have been working remotely. It's also the case though that we've had a number of staff who have not left the campus. They've been working throughout and in their different roles. As we planned for the students to return, more of our jobs have moved back-- all or part-- onto the campus. We began that when we reactivated research. And we've been moving different elements of work back onto the campus.
If you are being asked to come back to campus and you believe your job can be fully accomplished remotely, I'll give you the advice I would give you whenever you seem to have a difference, which is to ask the question. Ask what it is that you need to do on campus that you can't do from home. It may be that fully achieving the role that you have has changed since the students have returned. It may be that only part of your work needs to be done on campus, in which case you might be able to work remotely for part of your time and return to campus for other parts of your time. If your conversation with your supervisor does not give you the answers that you need, please talk to your local human resource officer to work out any differences. Thanks.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Mary. Lisa, a number of questions, but let's start generally. There is a question, I know a lot of faculty are teaching online. How many faculty ended up teaching in person? And if students wanted classes in person, were they available? How is that decided? That's a specific question. Maybe you could frame it in terms of a more general discussion about how the teaching deployment went. I know there's bumps in all the roads. But talk about that and then how classes were formulated this way.
LISA NISHII: Thank you. So it's been, like everything else, in our preparation for a reactivation reopening, an incredible effort. So many people have contributed to this. I don't think we fully realize how hard it is to put a roster together because in regular years, we rely on historical data, and we just make some changes along the edges. And this time we just had to completely dismantle it and rebuild it from scratch. And it was really hard. And so many people really contributed to this. So thank you. You know who you are. Thank you.
So the good news is students are enrolled. Like others have said, there have been bumps along the road. We had to implement a lot of changes that have never been implemented before and with no time to test our programming and our logic and all of that. And so thank you for your patience as we continue to try to work these things out. Students are enrolled, however. I have gotten a lot of pictures of students in class in these distance classrooms and faculty who are excited to be with their students again and teaching. So that's all great news.
About 40% or so of our primary instructors are teaching in some type of in-person course. And so that aligns roughly with the percentage of courses that have an in-person component, which is around 36, 37% of courses. So I would say I'm happy with where we are.
JOHN SILICIANO: A follow-up question, looking forward towards the end of the semester-- I know that seems a long way off-- the plan was first announced would that there be in-person exams for students leaving at Thanksgiving. Is that still the case? Is it going to-- how will that work for students studying remotely? Will students have time to travel with the exams and then getting home for Thanksgiving?
LISA NISHII: These are all great questions. Yes, we still have an in-person semi final period. That is like our regular final period, just moved up a little bit in the semester. I know a lot of people have asked these questions. Some people are here in person and some people are not. Right now it looks like-- our data shows that about 80% of graduates are indeed here in Ithaca. The numbers are a little bit lower when you go to graduate and professional. But the vast majority of students are here.
It does mean, of course, 20% of our students or so are not here. And as it always is, it's up to the faculty members, the instructors to decide how they're going to manage the two different populations when it comes to exams. But given the space limitations that we have and the large courses, a lot of the large courses are ones that really want an in-person semi final exam. And so we necessarily need to take all the days we would normally take in a final exam period to be able to fit those in. We're not taking more. We're taking the normal number. They just appear in a funny place in the academic calendar that we're not used to.
Of course students-- this is true also in regular years during finals. Students who no longer have in-person obligations coming up, exams coming up, they can leave earlier. We're still combing through the data. There's just been so much for us to go through. So semi final exam schedules are not yet posted. But as soon as they are, students can start to make their travel arrangements and shuffle out little by little over that period to go home for Thanksgiving.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Lisa. Gary, let's come back to you. There are a large number of questions here wondering about the lag or the discrepancy between-- there's an appreciation for the COVID tracking website for sure, but questions about the lag or the discrepancies between data and various sources. Can you march through briefly how that occurs? There is some suspicion that it's not full transparency in some of the questions. So can you go through that?
GARY KORETZKY: And I'll just point out, if people can see the answered questions-- I know that Mike has answered a number of these in the chat-- this is one that comes up a lot. And I'll just say categorically, there is no intent to dissemble. There is no intent not to be transparent. The intent is the exact obverse, to be completely transparent and make sure the community knows what the landscape is.
The reason for the delay is quite simple. And that is that we do not call positive cases. They're called by Tompkins County Health. We do the testing. We get a result. We send that result to Tompkins County Health. And then it falls under their jurisdiction. They do a number of things. They look to see whether or not the test was of an individual that was previously positive. That's got implications. Then what they need to do is that they need to contact that individual.
They don't tell us that we are ready or we're able to be broadcasting any of that information until they have done that task. And they also have the opportunity to interview that individual to know about context. They feel that that is very important, so that they're able to transmit the message in a way that they have found to be most beneficial to get the information that they need. And it's only then when they release the information. So we can't release information about positive cases until after they've done that.
So there is a necessary lag right there. They release information several times a day. We've elected to this one today at 6:00 PM for consistency Monday through Friday. And then the other thing is that there still might be some conversation about individuals, whether we know something about whether or not they might have been previously positive. And we want to make sure that there's enough time so that those conversations can occur, so that we don't have to then go back and alter the record, that we want this to really be the authoritative record.
So there is a two-day delay at the most, that when we report this, we'll report it at 6:00 PM. So it'll be for the day before. And that's I think a standard that we are comfortable with-- we hope the community will be comfortable with. But the idea is to be completely transparent.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Gary. Ryan, let's jump back to you. There is an interesting question here. Between COVID uncertainty, the political moment and racial justice efforts, there's enormous amount of pressure on students-- also faculty and staff, it notes-- as far as counseling and mental health resources. Is Cornell tracking capacity to provide the support needed as pressure is increased with academic demands?
RYAN LOMBARDI: Sure, John. Thank you. And let me thank whoever asked that question for your care and concern for our students, but also for your colleagues, faculty, and staff. I appreciate you saying it because aside from the COVID pandemic, so many other issues going on in our world-- the systemic racism, and all kinds of violence that we're seeing, terrible things-- and so election coming up, just a lot of concern around being able to support our students, our colleagues, so I just want to say I really appreciate that.
The team and student campus life certainly is keenly dialed into this and trying to support our students in the best way possible. A number of our team is working virtually. But we also have some folks on the ground who are reaching out, connecting with students-- I myself was exchanging with a number of students today. I set up a couple of meetings in the next few days really just to do pulse checks on how they're doing.
It's obviously early in the semester. But as you pointed out-- the person who wrote the question-- a lot of other issues just besides Cornell and besides the COVID pandemic that folks are struggling with right now. So trying really hard first and foremost to keep our pulse on things and make sure that we're hearing students and supporting them in the best way possible.
Specifically related to mental health-- I do want to talk about that-- there are a couple of things to mention. One I'll share from a faculty staff perspective, that there has been a counselor added in the faculty staff assistance program, thanks to Mary Opperman and her team supporting that-- and the Cornell Health Team. But from a student perspective, a number of initiatives. So the vast majority of therapy this year will be held in a virtual setting. So our students responded to that very well in March. And throughout the summer, we actually were able to maintain our staffing and maintain our support for students very fluidly. I have to give a lot of gratitude and thanks to our therapy team and the team in CAPS.
But in addition to that, they've expanded now additional drop in through a Let's TeleTalk program, so therapists setting up Zoom rooms, where a student can come and request entry. The therapist will take one student at a time, process things with them, and set them up. And they're trying to increase the frequency by which we offer that support.
Another thing that I will say in regards to the therapy specifically, so we are challenged right now with the students who are outside of the state of New York. And we are working diligently to try to provide a resource of support. And we just authorized the acquisition of a support that would allow students who are either outside of the state of New York or international to obtain teletherapy as well. So that's an added enhancement that we're providing, knowing that many of our students are remote, that we want to make sure to do.
This was not as big of an issue in the spring because we were able to get some flexibility with expanding licensure beyond state lines in New York. But that has tightened back up as of recently. So we had to acquire this additional resource.
Lastly, I'll say one of the most important things that can be done to support mental health and general well-being I think are connections. And so our team in campus activities, in collaboration with a whole lot of offices on campus and student organizations, has put together an amazing series of programmatic offerings for students to be engaged with their peers virtually. You can find information-- it's called the First 30 Days. It's an amazing array of programs. They also did this during quarantine time. It was called Q Week. Some really outstanding programs that I'd want to highlight, and just continuing to encourage students to build-- as I've said frequently-- small but really meaningful and important connections with each other.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Ryan. Lisa, back to you for two questions. One is quantitative. It's just there's questions asking how many students came back, and just a rough breakdown of students who stayed remote and are working online either nationally or internationally, versus those that returned to campus. And then I'll have a second question.
LISA NISHII: So you asked the first question in a way that I am not sure I can answer. But we have about a little over 17,000 students who have returned to the Ithaca area-- have enrolled in the Ithaca area. What percentage of those are enrolled in all online versus in person, that's still in flux. So it's difficult to answer. The drop period is still of course open. And we have close to about 5,000 students who are not in Ithaca. And then the remainder have taken a leave or deferral.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you. That's exactly right. The second has to do with the interaction between faculty and students who have some disciplinary status. They've either skipped their testing, or they're on suspension. Or they're in class and are not complying, a fair amount of faculty anxiety about the role that the instructor has relative to students. Will the students know that they're not able-- should not attend class because there's a hold on that? Can you set that out?
LISA NISHII: Hmm, because there's a hold on their ability to attend? If we got to that point, then we would inform the faculty so that they know. In terms of how faculty might respond to students who are not complying with the behavioral compact, their expectations, there are resources that Cornell Health-- the Skorton Center-- has developed with different scenarios that faculty can read through with suggestions on how to respond.
I don't know, Ryan, if you want to add any more to that? Sorry to put you on the spot.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Oh, that's fine. I would encourage you to review those documents. I think they're I'm the Dean of the Faculty website, among other places, for tips. And please do, if you have students who aren't compliant, let us know about them, so that we can make sure to follow up.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you. Let me open this up at the moment to the panel to see if there's anything else pertinent that you feel you should inject. We have a lot of questions. As I mentioned I'm not great at sorting through them. Mike, Gary, Mary--
GARY KORETZKY: There are a number of questions about the dashboard, and is it accurately representing the data as we have it? And as Gary said, there is absolutely no effort here to do anything but be completely transparent. I would note that many of our colleagues, if you look at their dashboards, they're updated once a week. We've taken this step to try and be as up to date as possible, but also as accurate as possible. So we've delayed posting data until they're accurate.
I do see questions about are you really obscuring the prevalence by what was the prevalence before students came back? It's really not the case. What we saw remarkably was before students came back, about 0.1% percent of positivity rate, and so indicating a very local prevalence, as we thought. But we were also seeing that in the returning students before these clusters. The clusters have been what's really increased the prevalence overall.
So I would just reassure everyone that everything that you see on the dashboard is real. And further than that, despite the fact of all the work that we have done to try and mount a successful in-person, in-residence semester, we have a data meeting every day at 5:30 to look at the data. And we will make changes all the way to shutting down the university, if it's called for. We are not expressing the kind of hubris that would say, we know what's going on. We have predicted what's going on. And we're not going to change.
What we did is say, on the contrary, we're going to proceed with science. And we're going to look at the data as it comes in. And we're going to respond to the data, not to figures or what's happening someplace else or in another state or another university. But if the data indicates we're out of control, we will make changes all the way to shutting down and make sure that we assure the safety of our Cornell community and our larger community.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thanks, Mike.
GARY KORETZKY: John, can I just comment about some of the questions? I just want to mention something about testing and particularly testing for faculty and staff. There are questions about faculty and staff come rarely to campus. Will they be going to a testing site with lots of students? And the first thing to say about that is that we're standing up-- I think we'll be ready in about 10 days-- a testing site that will be off campus. It will be for faculty and staff only in East Hill Plaza to make it a little bit easier and to make it-- also to add another testing site, so we decrease the burden on the others.
We're also adding another one in College Town. We really want to avoid lines. People should register and go when they're scheduled to help us avoid lines. It's really important that we have quick throughput for everybody's convenience, but also keeping the sites as safe as possible. And we think that these additions will really help.
But I do just want to make one other statement about testing. And testing, we're doing it. This is a cornerstone of our policy. We will identify individuals that are positive for the virus. We really want to prevent people from becoming positive for the virus. So testing and the frequency of testing does not absolve individuals of being really careful. It's masks. And the mask on campus now are really gratifying. People are wearing them. It's great.
But there's also gatherings. And it's gatherings with masks. If you're going to gather in small groups, wear your mask. It's not just what's happening on campus, but off campus. And that's going to be whether we make it or we don't. That's the bottom line, is that testing will really help. But it only identifies people after they're positive. And we want to be preventing that.
JOHN SILICIANO: Gary, there's a lot of questions that are detailed-- if I missed my day, how do I reschedule? If I'm not coming in that day-- without answering those, where should faculty and staff look for that kind of testing protocol?
GARY KORETZKY: Yeah, so we're collecting questions like that. And they'll be on the testing website. We are getting our feet wet. Today was the first day of surveillance testing. And there was a computer glitch with the daily check and a computer glitch with the scheduler. We expected one, not two computer glitches. But I think we got a lot of people tested. We're working through this. We're working through the process. And we'll have answers to those questions available on the website. We know there are a lot of questions. And we're working through this all together.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you. One last question for you, Mike. And it's at the detail level. But you reported 47 cases and then 100 in quarantine. Some folks want to know the distinction between that, what quarantine means versus isolation. And how is the quarantine being handled?
MICHAEL KOTLIKOFF: So both quarantine and isolation really are the responsibility of Tompkins County Health Department in determining specifically who is positive-- and that specification, I think Gary mentioned if someone had previously been positive and tested positive again, they don't require isolation. This is a determination by Tompkins County Health Department. But isolation is a term that applies to individuals who have tested positive or known positive and need to be isolated from others.
Quarantine is the term for individuals who are suspected or at risk of having been infected and are not known to be not have been infected. So contacts who are suspected of having been exposed to the virus are put into quarantine. Now the restrictions are quite similar in terms of exposure to other individuals. I will say that the specifics around who is a contact, who goes into quarantine, are determined by Tompkins County Health. We are taking responsibility for anybody that is diagnosed as positive.
So any isolation we will put in the Statler Hotel and isolate those individuals, deliver their food, et cetera. Quarantines, if they are on-campus students, we will quarantine either in the Statler-- if that fills up, we have other spaces. We have as many as 1,000 to surge to, so we make sure we have the capacity. If individuals are living off campus, then Tompkins County Health determines what the living conditions are, whether it's appropriate for quarantine, then we have a conversation as whether we quarantine them, and that's really a collaboration between us and Tompkins County Health.
In terms of how they're managed, they are called on a daily basis. And they're monitored in terms of their overall health, their symptoms, et cetera, and their compliance with the guidelines of isolation and quarantine.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you, Mike. So we're almost out of time. I want to thank everybody for joining us and thank the panelists. Mike acknowledged a lot of folks working at the university level. But an awful lot of thanks goes to all of you that are faculty and staff that are on the frontlines of all of this.
It does remind me that we're essentially on a wartime footing. This is an unprecedented situation. I think when the allies-- they planned for three years to retake Europe-- extensive planning-- and then on D-day, just about everything that could go wrong did. But the critical point is they got on shore. And so as you know, there's slippage that we've discussed here. But the effort itself is just tremendous on everyone's part. So we are very grateful for all of that and for you for joining us today. So thank you.
MICHAEL KOTLIKOFF: Just one more comment. Please send your questions. We'll try and answer your questions. I've tried in real time to answer a number of these. But haven't been able to get to all of them. We'll respond to those questions as well. Also my thanks to all the panelists and all of the faculty and staff who have done-- independent of setting up for this, the people that I mentioned-- those of you who are really extending extraordinary efforts for our students on behalf of our students. So thank you so much.
JOHN SILICIANO: Thank you.
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John Siliciano, Deputy Provost, moderated a faculty and staff town hall Sept. 3 to answer questions about student and campus life, testing for COVID-19, quarantining, course enrollment, workplace issues, and other concerns related to the fall semester.
Panelists: Mike Kotlikoff, Provost; Gary Koretzky, Vice Provost for Academic Integration; Ryan Lombardi, Vice President for Student and Campus Life; Mary Opperman, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer; and Lisa Nishii, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.