RYAN LOMBARDI: Good afternoon and welcome. We're so glad to be with you today. My name is Ryan Lombardi, and I serve as the Vice President for Student and campus life at Cornell University.
I'm so delighted to be with you with a number of my colleagues, whom I'll introduce in just a moment, to share a little bit about what to expect when you come to campus this fall, particularly around public health, but also around some campus and community engagement opportunities.
We have a great lineup for you today. And we're going to have lots of fun and hopefully, share lots of good information. I hope everyone in the audience is super excited to be on campus very soon. We are so excited to have you.
I will say it's beautiful in Ithaca, New York right now. Today is a gorgeous day in the 70s, light winds. It's just about as perfect as it could be. We're hoping to keep this weather on track for all of you next week when you show up to campus. Again, thank you for being with us.
I'm going to serve as the moderator. In my role as Vice President for Student Life, I have some information. But I am joined by some expert colleagues. But I'm going to really moderate this forum today, and we hope we're going to cover a lot of information for you.
You submitted questions to us in advance, and we're going to try to make sure that we cover those in detail for you to answer those questions that we could tell were on your minds. We have a good turnout today, and so we're glad to be with you.
I'll introduce my colleagues in just a moment, but as we go through this, you'll hear me ask my colleagues the questions. I'll call on them and ask them to respond. These are questions that came straight from you. So again, thank you for submitting those.
The purpose of our time together today, is so that we can share information and help make your transition to campus as smooth as possible, particularly in light of ongoing public-health challenges and other concerns that may be on your mind as you think about integrating into campus.
So before we get started and get into this, I want to talk a little bit about my role, but then I'm going to do a poll, and I want to know who's with us today. I mentioned my role as Vice President for Student and Campus Life. I have a great group of colleagues across the campus and also in the Division of Student Campus Life, that wake up every day thinking about how to support an exceptional student experience and to support the academic mission of the University.
We believe, fundamentally, in the purpose of higher education is to help have all of our students have a transformative experience. We have a lot of different programs and services and opportunities for engagement to contribute to that end.
Today, my colleagues represent a broad collection of campus experts, who I know you'll benefit from hearing. But before I introduce them, let me first find out who has joined us today. We're going to put up a poll that you'll be able to click on your screen in just a moment. You can read it there. How are you affiliated with Cornell? Are you a new student, are you returning student, the parent and family of a new student, or the parent and family of a returning student? If you would just take a moment to click the one that most applies to you, we would be grateful.
And I do recognize this a single choice. Some of you may be viewing together parents and students, families and students. That's certainly fine. So pick whichever one you want to go for there. You could fight over that one.
All right. I hope we've had enough time to vote. So I'll ask my colleagues if we can show the results here. All right. So, a large percentage of either new students, or the parent and family of new students, comprise the majority of the folks here. And then about 28%, it looks like, of folks who are with us today are either returning students or parents of a returning student.
So thank you so much for letting us know who's with us today. That helps us be able to make sure that we're answering your questions and addressing the right things as we go through this.
So we're going to focus-- we have two kind of distinct elements of our time with you together. The first section of our time together is really going to be focused around public health and what to expect on campus in relation to our support of those issues that continue to be on our minds when we think about public health. So that will be section number one.
And then the second section of our time together, will be focused on, in general, campus engagement, how to make the most of your time at Cornell and being a member of the Cornell community and what that means, as well as some resources for parents and a great colleague that we get to introduce you to.
The first segment, as I mentioned, is related to public health. And that's the one we're going to jump into. I do want to preface it, before we get started, before I introduce my colleagues. Of course, we've been saying this for now two and 1/2 years, when we talk about public health, everything is subject to constant evolution and change.
What we know one day might change the next day. So we do the very best and we share the best and most up-to-date information we have but do really encourage you to keep up with our websites and the other information that we email out so that you can stay most informed about how we're supporting the public health of our campus and our community.
We know that we're still in a pandemic, at some level, and we're not maybe fully at the endemic level, but we're going to talk a lot about today how we have begun to live and how we are living with COVID, as we move forward. So we've got a lot of strategies in place that we think will work really well, given where we're at right now.
The last thing I'll say is, students, those who are with us, especially our new students, who I know there are a lot of you with us today. You're a big part of making this all work. We've had a lot of success over the last couple of years at Cornell, and a lot of that success has been directly related to students doing their part to help keep this community safe. So we'll still need that to be a key consideration and something we ask of you. And we know you're up to it. Cornell students are the best.
So we're looking forward to a great semester ahead, so let me introduce, real quickly, my colleagues, and then we'll jump into this first segment. I'm going to introduce everyone who's going to be with us today even though just a handful of them will be with us for this first segment of the panel.
First, I want to introduce Gary Koretzky. I'll allow him to say Hello here. Gary is a Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Vice Provost for Integrated Academic Integration. Gary, you want to say hello.
GARY KORETZKY: Yes, thanks very much, Ryan. And thank you all of you for being here. I'm looking forward to this afternoon, but even more, looking forward to next week. Hopefully, I'll see a lot of you on North Campus when I'm working to try to help welcome our new students. So thanks very much for coming.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Gary. Next, I would like to introduce Jada Hamilton, who is the medical director at Cornell Health. Dr. Hamilton.
JADA HAMILTON: Yes, thank you, Ryan. And Hi, everyone. Great to have all of you here, and welcome, welcome to new students. I'm Dr. Jada Hamilton. I'm the medical director for Cornell Health and also a Buffalo native. So go Bills. I'm going to leave it at that. Thank you.
RYAN LOMBARDI: [LAUGHS] Thank you, Jada. Next, I want to introduce my colleague Lisa Nishii, who's a professor in the School of Industrial Labor Relations and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. Lisa.
LISA NISHII: Hi, everybody. We're really looking forward to welcoming you. Thank you for joining us today.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Lisa. Next, I want to introduce my very close colleague, Marla Love, who is the Robert W Elizabeth C Staley Dean of Students. Dr. Love.
MARLA LOVE: Hi, everyone. I'm so excited to be here and for this conversation. And I can't wait to greet you in the coming days and to be your Dean of Students.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Marla. And last, but certainly not least, my colleague Lindsey Bray, who is our newly inaugural Director of Parent and Family Programs here at Cornell. Lindsey.
LINDSEY BRAY: Hi, everyone. I'm so excited to be here with you and to welcome our families who are here with us today and excited to see you all next week.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much. Like I said, we've got a great group that's with us today. So I hope you find it as helpful as we know it will be. This first segment, we're going to talk again about public health and the campus impact as we prepare for the fall.
I'm going to just say a couple of quick things to review and summarize a message that you received from myself and our provost, Mike Kotlikoff, a couple of weeks ago, about our general COVID practices. And then I'm going to get into asking some questions of Gary, Jada, and Lisa that they can help expand on what I say and some other information and some of the questions that you asked of us.
First of all, I want to remind and emphasize that the University continues to require proof of a primary series of COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption for all campus community members for students, faculty, and staff. And we also very strongly encourage, although we don't require it, we do strongly encourage everyone to receive every additional booster that becomes available to them, which we referenced in the CDC references as being up to date.
So again, to clarify, our requirement is around the primary vaccination series. And we strongly encourage everyone to be up to date on all their available booster doses, which indicates that you've received the latest one that you're eligible for based on your age or any other considerations.
As far as testing goes, we do continue to strongly ask that you, before departing to transport yourself to campus, that you be sure to take an at-home antigen test. And take that test as close to your departure as possible. If that test result is positive, we ask you to stay home and conduct your isolation at home before you travel to campus.
Please also be sure to let us know. Upload your results into the daily check. We will certainly accommodate you from a move-in perspective once you complete your isolation, but please don't travel until your isolation period has ended.
Once you get here to campus, we ask you to test again via antigen test, and again, if you test positive, you'll do your isolation here. We'll talk more about that in a minute, and also report that to us if you test positive once you're here.
And I should specifically say to graduate and professional students, even if you've remained in the area over the summer, you've been here, this may be your home, we encourage you to take an antigen test, also, before you reengage in teaching or research or your activities, as well. Antigen tests will be readily available on campus at various locations, our testing sites, and in community centers.
I will let you know, that our primary method of testing this semester will be via antigen tests. These are readily available and accessible, and we will have ample supplies on campus. Our PCR testing sites, our supplemental testing sites, will be discontinued after the end of August. And at that time, antigen test kits will continue to be available for the rest of the semester.
Of course, for those students who are ill and require support, Cornell Health will continue to offer PCR testing for symptomatic students who do meet the clinical testing criteria. But we won't be doing them as a supplemental surveillance approach.
And the last thing I'll say, before I ask Gary to expand on some of these and answer a few other questions, is around mask wearing. And we know that wearing a mask does make a difference, and certainly, indoors reduces the risk of contracting COVID or spreading COVID, so we continue to strongly encourage students and faculty, staff to make good decisions about mask wearing.
If you're concerned about your own risk of infection, you should certainly feel free to wear a mask at any time that you wish. That's a personal choice. And that's one that we ask our entire community to support. Masks are certainly still required in any of our testing centers, our health-care facilities, or when riding on public transit.
And certainly, if you're recovering from COVID 19, even if you're past your formal isolation period, you should continue to wear your mask until all your symptoms have abated, as per guidance from the CDC.
As for classrooms, and my colleague will expand on this, they will be strongly encouraged in the classrooms, as well, providing more protection for vulnerable students, faculty, and staff. Again, we will make masks readily available on campus, and we do encourage you to continue to wear masks indoors and if you feel like you need that for an added layer of protection for yourself.
And we'll talk a little bit more about some COVID etiquette and get into a little more details of that. But I just wanted to summarize some of the high-level points from the message that we sent to you. So with that, I'm going to engage my colleagues now.
And I want to start, Gary, by maybe asking a general question of you. Our COVID practices certainly have evolved over the last two or two and 1/2 years. And can you tell us why that is the case, and what information we've learned that has enabled us to have this evolution in our practices?
GARY KORETZKY: Sure, Ryan. So before I talk about how things have changed, I want to really emphasize one critical point, and that is, our principles have not changed. From the very, very beginning of the pandemic, it was Cornell's approach to do whatever we could to ensure the health and safety of our community, but also, at the same time, to do anything that we could to keep our lives as normal as possible.
So if you remember back to the fall of 2020, we had classes. We had people here on campus, and we did it in a way where we were also able to protect the health of the community. So things have changed dramatically since 2020.
The biggest reason for the change, is vaccination. As Ryan mentioned, we require vaccination, a primary series of vaccination of all members of our community, and that has dramatically changed the outcome of COVID. So COVID is still here. We're going to be living with this virus, but the key point is, we're going to be able to live with the virus because of vaccination.
So as Ryan mentioned, also, and I will encourage everybody at every opportunity that I've got, to get boosted when boosters are available to you. The CDC calls this being up-to-date with your vaccination.
There'll be new boosters available in the fall. And it would be really important to obtain those boosters because that's what keeps us safe and enables us to have the more open environment where we're able to enjoy classes. Where you're able to enjoy the college experience at a much, much different level.
So the basic notion is, is that we now know how to manage COVID in a way which will keep people safe. It's not going to keep you from getting the virus. That's impossible. The virus will still be around, but the consequences are much, much less severe now due to the vaccinations.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thank you so much, Gary. I mentioned, previously, that we're primarily going to be relying on antigen testing this fall. So can you speak a little bit more about the circumstances under which a student should consider testing?
GARY KORETZKY: Yeah, so antigen tests are going to be freely available to everybody in the community. As Ryan mentioned, we hope that you'll do that before you leave to come to Ithaca if you're positive to complete your isolation before you come to Ithaca.
We'd like all students to antigen test once they arrive. They'll be available at our testing sites after the semester begins. They'll be available at the service centers for the dorms. It will be easy to get an antigen test. Throughout the entire semester, you'll be able to pick up an antigen test at the Willard Straight Hall, one of the student unions.
And when should you test? There isn't a requirement, and there isn't even a recommendation to do regular antigen testing. However, if you're symptomatic, it'll be really important to test.
If you've learned that you've been a close contact of somebody else who does have COVID, it will be important for you to test. We also strongly recommend that if you're going to be interacting with people who are medically vulnerable, you're going to go home for the weekend and see an elderly relative, we have antigen tests available for you, so that that will give you information as to whether or not you might be positive even if you're not symptomatic
So there won't be a requirement for regular testing. But there will be the availability of testing for people to use their judgment and to make those decisions where testing will then be appropriate for what it is that they are going to be doing as they go through their lives.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thank you, Gary. That's very helpful. One more question around testing, and this is about what happens if a student tests positive. What exactly should a student do if they test positive? Should they report it? Is there a time when they won't have to isolate anymore, in general? Anything you can expand on a little bit with regard to that process.
GARY KORETZKY: Yeah, so let me take a few minutes to go through this because this is really important, Ryan, and that is, it is very likely that some students will test positive during the course of the semester. And these are the steps that one should take.
And we really packaged these steps into what we're talking about as COVID etiquette. And that's available on the website. It's available in the message that you've gotten. It's really about taking personal responsibility and remembering that we're part of a community.
So if you do test positive, it's very important that you report that on the daily check. And the reason why that's so critical, is that it gives us a sense of how much virus there is on campus. It also is very important for you because it will trigger a number of events that Lisa might want to talk about where you'll be able to get accommodations because you won't be going to class.
So that if you test positive, there's a required five-day isolation period. There's a requirement that you wear a mask whenever you're in contact with others. And that even after that five days, you'll continue to wear a mask for the next five days because it is possible that you, even though feeling better, will still be possible where you could potentially transmit the virus.
Very importantly, also, would be to tell contacts that you tested positive for COVID because it's important for them to know so that they would then be able to make a decision for themselves about whether it's important for them to test.
So I'd just like to go through some of these notions of COVID etiquette. So first of all, really importantly, if you're not feeling well, if you're ill, don't go to class. Don't go to social gatherings. If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID, seek and perform an antigen test. They're freely available.
And Jada is here with us, and she'll emphasize this again. If you're feeling particularly ill, it's the time to call Cornell Health. Cornell Health is there to support you. And we don't want people feeling particularly ill without letting us know.
And as I mentioned, if you test positive, report your result through the daily check. That will give you the opportunity to get a temporary accommodation so that you can not worry about an absence from class. You might also want to contact your student service office for additional support if you need that.
Tell your roommates, tell your close contacts that you have tested positive for COVID, so it will allow them to take the necessary proactive steps to monitor their own health. Wear a high-quality mask at all times, except for when sleeping. When you are in your residence hall with others, you need to follow the isolation guidelines. They're easily available through the Tompkins County Health site.
Limit the time away from your room to just getting meals, eat them privately, and clean shared areas in the bathrooms and the kitchens immediately after use, for the next individuals that we'll be using those areas.
And I'll just mention one other thing about roommates. And that is if you have a roommate who is COVID positive, you should also wear a mask in the residence halls and again, except when sleeping. Get tested yourself. If your roommate is positive, you will be a contact.
A few days later, test again. Sometimes it takes a while before you would test positive because the virus takes time to incubate, so even if you're not symptomatic, it's wise to test. And of course, if you become symptomatic, then you should test as well, and again, take extra precautions with cleaning.
So this is bundled in this notion of COVID etiquette. It's really incumbent upon all of us to remember that and remember that we're still in the midst of a pandemic. However, we're able to live with this virus, but the way to do that, is by being cognizant of ways to help our colleagues, to help our friends to try to avoid spread of the virus.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Gary. I appreciate you going through that in detail. And I just want to underscore his comments around etiquette and responsibility here. We really are asking and counting on the community to adhere to this etiquette and really think about, not only themselves, but those around them, as they make decisions and really follow closely these guidelines.
So I want to continue on this thread a little bit but with a slight adjustment. I'm going to go to Lisa next. Lisa, can you help us understand will faculty be notified if a student tests positive? How should students communicate that if they do? Will online courses be offered? Can you talk us through that a little bit?
LISA NISHII: Sure, so as Gary explained, the first thing you need to do if you test positive, is upload your results in daily check. This will trigger the temporary accommodation process. You will receive an email with detailed guidance about what you should do during the isolation period, a lot of what Gary just said, but it'll be there in the email, including when you can expect to return to campus activities.
And what to do if after five days from your test date or the day your symptoms started, day zero, you still have a fever or your symptoms aren't getting better. You will also receive a temporary accommodation letter that's issued from Student Disability Services, you'll hear people refer to it as SDS, for you to share with your instructors and/or advisors to let them know that you won't be able to participate in academic activities in person, until after the date that's specified in your isolation guidance.
The letter, it asks faculty to grant flexibility and other reasonable accommodations that may be needed while you're in isolation and can't attend class activities in person. Please keep in mind that the SDS office will not send this letter directly to your instructors. You are asked to forward the official letter to your instructors. If you just contact them and tell them that you are in isolation, you'll likely be asked to forward that letter to your instructors.
Now, faculty then use their best judgment, depending on the elements of the class, about how to support students who are in isolation. And so to Ryan's question about whether online courses will be offered, I should say that, actually, there are very few classrooms that really can support both visual and audio connection via Zoom. And so it's not going to be an option in a lot of classes.
But there are many, many other ways for faculty and your classmates to support you while you're in isolation. So it's important for you to communicate regularly with your instructors. Be conscientious about keeping up with your coursework, as your health allows, of course.
And the same goes if you have an exam. You should work directly with your instructors to make alternative testing arrangements if you're unable to attend in person. Same goes if you have an on-campus job. You should inform your supervisor that you can't go to work until after your isolation period is complete.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thank you, Lisa. That's very helpful detail. A couple of other things back to Gary. Gary, implied in this, if your roommate has tested positive and you're testing negative, can you still go to class? Is it still OK to go to class?
GARY KORETZKY: Yeah, and the answer to that is yes, Ryan. We would strongly encourage you to wear a mask and in class, of course but around. If your roommate has tested positive, it means you're a contact. We know that you're a contact.
And again, as part of the etiquette, part of being cognizant of your peers and colleagues around, we just recommend that at that period, during that period, that you wear a mask. And masks matter. They decrease transmission. They decrease the risk of getting the virus yourself.
So it's really, really important to do that. And as I mentioned, there is this incubation period for the virus. So if your roommate tests positive, you should test immediately. If you're negative, continue going to class with the mask, doing your activities. But then test again a few days later. And certainly, if you become symptomatic, you shouldn't go to class. If you become symptomatic, then you should test.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Gary. And I want to just give you the chance if we want to say anything else. We've been clear, and we've explained that this year we're really adopting an isolation-in-place policy, which is a shift from in the past when sometimes we were using hotels for this purpose or other things, and this includes for those students living in residence halls and even students living in doubles. Is there anything you'd want to expand on to explain the change and why we're going this direction this semester?
GARY KORETZKY: Yeah, Ryan, again, this is part of living with the virus. That as you mentioned early on, when there was somebody positive that we isolated them in a hotel room. That was before vaccination when the risk of getting COVID was much, much greater for one's own health. Vaccination has really changed that dramatically.
We are comfortable now that this is an infectious disease that we will be living with. It is transmissible, so if you're positive, you should wear a mask and your roommate should wear a mask. But we feel it's no longer necessary to disrupt the lives of so many people by doing the separation and finding hotel rooms.
We have testing available. Cornell Health is available, in case somebody feels particularly ill. but this is the direction that we're comfortable we can move in right now to, again, meet one of our critical goals. And that is to maintain as much normalcy as possible, in the face of this resolving pandemic.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Gary, and I know we're hitting on this a lot, but there were a lot of questions about it. So Jada, I'm going to come to you next, and just see if there's anything you'd expand on. Gary's talked about a couple of points.
But if I remain concerned about getting sick from my roommate, what precautions would you emphasize that I take? And if I'm immunocompromised or feel that I'm in particular risk, any advice you'd give us, Jada?
JADA HAMILTON: Sure, thank you, Ryan. And as we all heard, just a few moments ago, vaccines are so important. And so the COVID vaccine is really, really important in helping to protect our entire community.
They help prevent severe illness and complications due to COVID 19, as we've already heard. And of course, vaccination for COVID is required at Cornell. And of course, another big reminder, if you're eligible for your booster dose, we definitely encourage you to do so for added protection.
And as we already heard, masks are not required in most areas of the campus, but it's still very important to prevent and decrease transmission. And that well-fitting, high-quality mask, which is a KM 95, or a really good surgical mask, will provide additional protection for all of us.
The other thing about-- we talked a little bit, touched on the COVID etiquette piece. So just good hand-washing, maintaining clean environments, distancing if needed, and and then of course, don't go to class, et cetera if you're sick can also decrease risk to the community and transmission.
The other piece, about students who are at risk for severe disease due to certain immunocompromising conditions, as defined by the CDC, and you can definitely talk with your clinician or provider at Cornell Health. Those students are encouraged to register with our Student Disability services.
And this will allow us to extend health-related accommodations in a timely manner if it becomes needed. So that's pretty much what I wanted to bring home about that piece about other health concerns.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great, thank you so much, Jada.
JADA HAMILTON: You're welcome.
RYAN LOMBARDI: I really appreciate it. One other question that came in was about meals, and we kind of touched on this, but I just want to reemphasize that for students who are isolating in place in the residence m we're doing grab-and-go meals, so they can go to the dining halls, go to the dining facilities.
They should be masked of course, whenever they leave their room. They can get a grab-and-go container, pick up some food, as Gary mentioned before. Take it back and eat that privately in their room or in another private location outside away from people. They should really be careful and thoughtful, but they will be doing grab-and-go for students who are isolating.
Lisa, there was a frequent question, and we did talk about this, but if you could expand on it about whether or not students should wear masks in the classroom and other campus buildings. Can faculty members require it? Will masks be provided in the classrooms? If you could expand on that?
LISA NISHII: Sure, mask wearing in classrooms is strongly encouraged because well-fitting masks reduce your chances of getting sick by, actually, about 80%. That's pretty high. And every time you get sick, you risk infecting others and missing class. So it's a good idea.
But also, remember that classroom conditions and individual's vulnerabilities vary considerably. And so we ask, as Gary said earlier, as part of COVID etiquette, to respect requests from others to wear masks. You should expect that some of your faculty may ask that all students wear a mask in their class.
And the expectation is that students will then reliably do so to follow that guidance. So this is a critical part of that COVID etiquette. You should always have a mask with you on campus, but we will also make sure that masks are available in classrooms so that if you forget yours, but are asked to mask, you'll easily be able to do so.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, so much, Lisa. Gary, I think I have just a last question for you here, which I appreciate all the information you provided. Can you imagine a scenario or are you concerned about there being an instance when classes would go fully online again? Are we keeping track of new variants that might emerge? Or any thoughts you have on that big picture question.
GARY KORETZKY: Yeah, so of course, this is a question that can't be answered with absolute certainty, but I can just tell you my sense. So the first thing I just want to mention is, we have learned a tremendous amount during our response to the pandemic.
One of the things that has been absolutely critical, is the relationship we've developed with the local health department, with the local health-care delivery system, how you get medicine. Everything we've done, we've done together. And we still talk regularly. In fact, I meet with the director of the health department every week.
And we have pivoted. We have responded. At the very beginning of the pandemic, we were with online classes at times. And we were able to bring students back, and we did it in a way where we examined every case on campus. And we had a strategy that kept evolving as the virus evolved, as the pandemic evolved, and importantly, as vaccination became available.
So the answer is, that we're going to continue to watch things. We still meet every day to look at what's going on campus and whether or not we've got the right approach. I can't promise that we won't go online again. We don't know what will happen with viral variants.
But I am really, really assured by the process that we put in place, and what we've learned from that process, so that if the virus were to change, we will be able to react even more quickly than we were able to do in 2020. So that's not a promise, Ryan, but I'm certainly hopeful that we will continue to become more and more normal as the semester and year unfolds.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Absolutely, thank you so much, Gary. And for those-- I know there were some returning students and parents, I think many of you felt that this past spring and spring of '22, we felt like we were really able to enjoy a lot of the college experience, and we certainly expect that only to continue in the future.
Jada I'm going to close out this segment-- before we switch gears into doing campus engagement, I'm going to close out this segment around public health with you. I've just got a couple more questions, and I will try to be succinct in these.
First of all, about boosters, just focus in a little bit here. Are they available on campus? Where can a student get boosters as those become available?
JADA HAMILTON: Yes, thank you, Ryan. So, yes, boosters are available. Currently we have the Pfizer and Moderna boosters available at Cornell Health for students. Students can access a vaccine appointment by calling or there's also an online portal that they can actually schedule for vaccines over the computer.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, so much, Jada.
JADA HAMILTON: Absolutely.
RYAN LOMBARDI: We mentioned before that if a student feels particularly ill, they should seek support at Cornell Health. Can you tell us a little bit more about when students should reach out to Cornell Health because we know that often the symptoms are mild, and that a antigen test and self isolation does the trick. But what are those times when we should reach out to Cornell Health?
JADA HAMILTON: So, a student can always call Cornell Health 24/7, yes, 24/7, to consult about questions related to their health in general. And of course, anybody who is in isolation for COVID-related concerns, if you're not feeling great, if you still have concerns, you can reach out to us at any time.
Obviously, during office hours, business hours, there's always a nurse or a staff member to answer questions and get you to where you need to go. After hours, we do have a 24/7 on-call provider that we utilize, in addition to a clinician that's also on call to provide support to all our on-call providers.
So any time a student is needing to ask a question or has a concern, we'll have available support when they need it.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great, thank you so much. Jada, I've got one more question for you about public health, but it's switching gears a little bit here. And this is another public health challenge that we've all been reading about, and that's about monkeypox.
JADA HAMILTON: Yes.
RYAN LOMBARDI: And so what do we need to know and what would you want to share with folks about protecting themselves for monkey pox, some symptoms, when to seek help, and what safety measures are we thinking about on campus in relation to monkeypox. If you could talk a little bit about this, then that'll close this off for the public-health section here.
JADA HAMILTON: Sure, so our colleagues here at Cornell Health are working with community and campus partners to sort of monitor the situation regarding monkeypox. And we are basically following the guidance from the local health departments to make sure we are all on the same page as far as tracking symptoms, tracking cases, and what we need to do if a student or person has a case of monkeypox.
We have been working very hard to update some resources on the Cornell Health website and, I think that raising that awareness about symptoms and what to look for. We do know that monkeypox is most common, epidemiologically, in certain populations, but anybody can get monkeypox.
It's a skin-to-skin contact virus. It's typically very mild. It's very different than COVID, and what we know now, is that anyone who is concerned, they have a new skin lesion, they develop fevers, lymph-node swelling, cough, anything that's flu-like, we definitely encourage them to seek advice at Cornell Health.
Definitely, if a rash develops, we definitely want students to reach out and get an appointment with one of our clinicians to get further evaluation. We have some testing availability that we send off locally or nationally.
And current recommendations is that if a student or a person who we have a suspect case of monkeypox, currently, the testing takes three to five days to get results back. So what is recommended, is that a student is isolated for that time period waiting for those results. And there's some clinical decision making about that kind of duration.
If you are confirmed case of monkeypox, current recommendations is two weeks to four weeks of isolation. And we are still working with discussions with the health department locally and some of our campus partners about what that means and what that means about academic continuity and also working with our SDS partners to figure out what is the best path for students.
Vaccines are limited right now as far as to help prevent against monkeypox. But that's a case-by-case basis, and we'll be working very closely with our Tompkins County Health department to determine which persons, patients, or students may fall into criteria of needing vaccination, as one method of decreasing spread. Did I answer all of those? It was a long question.
RYAN LOMBARDI: I know there is a lot.
JADA HAMILTON: There's like so many.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Yeah, a lot of questions around monkeypox. I appreciate it. I think a couple of points I would emphasize there that were shared. This is very different from COVID. And I think that's very important for folks to understand. The transmission is very different from COVID requires much closer, much more intimate, level contact and prolonged close contact, different from COVID. So the risk levels are very, very different in this case.
I also do, though, want to emphasize two other points that Jada mentioned, which is if you're concerned, you should seek treatment at Cornell Health. And they will test for this. But the clinician will have that discretion to determine whether they think it's a high probability or a lower probability. And that will really dictate whether or not the student needs to isolate as they're pending those results. So really important to clarify some of these distinctions.
I will share with our viewers here, that we're continuing to monitor this. It evolves very quickly. And we're learning new information from the CDC and from our local health department every day, and we will continue to update the website link that was posted in this forum as we get more information. So please keep your eyes on that link.
JADA HAMILTON: And can I add one more little tiny thing?
RYAN LOMBARDI: Please.
JADA HAMILTON: Just with all the media attention to monkeypox and attention to certain communities, I just want to make sure that we're all-- just want to make sure that at Cornell Health, we are wanting to practice cultural humility and inclusive treatment of all patients and students.
And that monkeypox is not related to your identity. It's based on close intimate contact, regardless. So I just want to make sure that if anybody has a concern, please, please, please seek us out.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thank you so much, Jada, and I appreciate you emphasizing that point. And OK, we are going to switch gears a little bit now. So a couple of our panelists, Gary and Jada, will we'll step off and move on. But Lisa is going to stay with us, and you're going to get some time now with my other colleagues Marla and Lindsey as well.
So in this segment, we really want to talk about campus engagement, getting involved on campus, community responsibilities being a part of the Cornell community. And so I have a few more questions that came in from all of you on these topics that we'll walk through now.
I want to say, just before that, just a couple of comments. My colleague, Pat Wynn, who you've probably heard from, she and I wrote an email to parents, recently, about move in. So she asked me this morning, just to reiterate a couple of points about move in.
First of all, remember to check your messages and keep up with all the detailed instructions for next week. Do expect it to be busy. We have thousands and thousands of people arriving to campus in just a few short days. There will be congestion. There will be traffic. Please be patient.
Please be patient with each other in your car. Please be patient with those of us that are going to be out there helping you and directing traffic and doing all those kinds of things.
One other point, she asked me to reiterate was, that if you haven't yet signed up for a parking lot assignment to be sure to do so before you come to campus. This kind of indicates where you should be placing your car when it's not in use. And that's really important.
So we do welcome families-- different from when we're in the depths of COVID, we welcome families to come to campus and support their student during move in. We do ask families to stay with the vehicle.
Don't leave your vehicle unattended while you're here, there's way too many cars, way too many people moving around. So that just very brief touch on move in, but my colleague, like I mentioned, asked me to do that. Most important thing, keep up with the emails that have been coming to you from housing and the move-in team.
First I'm going to go to Lindsey. We just mentioned that we welcome families to campus. And as a director of parent family programs, what should families plan to do while they're on campus after they've gone through this move-in process?
LINDSEY BRAY: Well we highly encourage our new families to join us for family orientation. So we will have programming every day of move in, so the 15th, 16th, and 17th that families can take advantage of, including our informational sessions that go over transition to Cornell, academic success panel, our health and well-being panel from Cornell Health, campus safety, which we know is always a big topic for our families concerned about their student, and then money matters, of course, which is also a big topic.
We also are hosting our Big Red Welcome Fest from 11:00 to 3:00 that families can come to, and then, to end the day, as well, we would love for our families to come join us in Willard Straight Hall, for one of the best views of campus for our welcome reception, as well.
And all of these programs are offered each date, so families, depending on when their student is moving in, can decide what works for them. So if they move in on one day and need to come the next day, they also have that option to do that, as well.
And I also encourage our families, our returning families to continue to check out campus. They can always enjoy the Cornell Dairy Bar, or the Cornell Store, as well, to get a little bit of that Big Red for themselves to take home. But this is really just a great time for families to help and support their student while they're on campus and let them take the lead during this move in time and along the way.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great, thank you, Lindsey. And I will second the plug for the Cornell Dairy Bar. They have wonderful ice cream up there. Marla, I'm going to come to you next. What should students be doing in the days after arriving on campus? And new students, transfer students, will we be having events? Will they be in person? Can you explain this a little bit more, Marla?
MARLA LOVE: Yes, we will definitely be having events and they will definitely be in person. We are so, so excited about that. Move in is just the start of our students getting acclimated and onboarded to their life at Cornell.
Our orientation staff, our new student office staff at the Tatkon Center and our students that have been working closely with the orientation group, as well as many offices across campus, have thoughtfully designed programs and events for students to learn more about Cornell, including life outside of the classroom, and to find those intentional ways for students to connect and to meet some other students and to meet us staff members.
And so I really encourage students to just take the time to, not only plan for their academic semester, but also to plan for their life within the academic semester and outside of the classroom. Our transfer students are definitely invited and encouraged to join us for our orientation programs.
There's opportunities to check out the gorge. There's opportunities to learn about resources, academic resources to learn about student organizations. And I'll chat, probably, a little bit later about this but there's the Week of Welcome, which provides great opportunities to learn about the social engagement, the social opportunities.
There's Club Fest and that's an opportunity to learn about more than 1,000 student organizations here from dancing, to the cheese club, to a literacy club so lots of different opportunities.
We want you to really think of this as your new community and so to think of this as your new home, where you have new housemates a new neighborhood, new resources and new restaurants and our dining areas. And we want you to check them out. We want you to engage to get to know them to figure out what will I love? What will be my favorite? What will be my least favorite, but I still love it, anyways?
And to really learn about the values and what it means to be a part of this one Cornell community. You have that opportunity to talk about what life and community means in your residence halls with your residence-hall staff in those first days.
But we also encourage you, buy into the community of the classroom to get to know your faculty member, to find those spots of quiet for study that are available, both in the library, and then also, our North Campus residential expansion has really created even more community space for studying and social gatherings.
And so there will be so many things for you to explore. The orientation guide and the orientation schedule gives you the opportunity to go in and build your schedule. And so we hope that you'll take time to think about the things that you want to learn about in our community.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thank you so much, Marla. Sounds like an exciting time of the year. Lisa, on a similar vein, I guess, in some regards, what advice would you have and what should students keep in mind in that first month of transitioning into the college environment and the academic environment here at Cornell? What advice would you provide and any other information?
LISA NISHII: Yeah, sure, I think the first thing I want to say, is that everybody around you is going through the same thing. The same transition of being in a totally new environment, new people, schedules, academic expectations.
And I know that a lot of students-- so, this summer, we've had a lot of opportunities to ask incoming students about their hopes and fears and what they're nervous about. And you might be comforted to know that there's crazy commonality across what people have to say.
There are primarily two things that students are worried about. So if these two things sound like what's going on in your mind, just know you're not alone. So one is academic. Am I going to be able to manage? Is it going to be overwhelming? Will I still be able to get the kind of good grades I got in high school?
And the second is social. Across the board, students are concerned about making new friends, will I find my people, feeling lonely and finding community. So here are a few words of advice about the academic part of the transition.
I would say don't overload yourself, period. Don't enroll in too many classes. Listen to guidance from advisors if they tell you that you're taking too many credits. And I would also say, there's a lot of value in taking your time in learning about and joining all these clubs that exist, the extracurricular activities.
While they can be a really wonderful way for you to meet people, another thing I often hear from students, is that they join too many things too quickly. And then all of a sudden it starts to feel like work, not fun. So that's also part of the balance.
Another thing we hear a lot from students, is that before coming here, they didn't really have to study much, or if they did, it meant reading notes before an exam, often at the last minute. But that coming here, that they've had to learn totally new and much more active study skills in order to keep up with coursework and manage their stress levels at Cornell.
And so I encourage you to really do the same and start early in developing new study skills. So for example, doing practice problems, self testing, teaching content to someone else, joining study groups, and also, most importantly perhaps, not waiting until the last moment.
The Learning Strategy Center, that's lsc.cornell.edu, has a lot of really wonderful tips. I highly encourage you to take a look. Tips on how to start your semester strong, making the most out of office hours, which you should do, by the way, office hours aren't just for students who have questions about class.
You can go and just get to know your professor, ask them about their research, how they ended up in the field that they're in and what they love about it. And one other piece of advice, I would say, is communicate often and early with your instructors and advisors.
Do it earlier rather than later if you have questions, you're feeling lost, overwhelmed, confused, or you just need an adult to help you think something through. There are, literally, thousands of people here on campus to be that person for you.
And study spaces, we have lots of them, like Marla was saying, beautiful libraries. People usually find their go-to place. It might be near a cafe, might be a place with a beautiful view, deep in the stacks of the library, so you'll find many great places to study.
A few words about finding community and making friends. Don't be afraid to talk to random people because you're all in the same boat, trying to make friends. And of course, remember, your friendships will evolve. You're going to meet new people in new settings.
A lot of you have already gone through your Community at Cornell sessions. If you haven't, you will soon. But during those sessions, you had an opportunity to engage in dialogue with other students, where you it went below the surface and had a chance to get to know people.
We always hear from students, that having these kinds of conversations to get to know people, like really get to know them in a meaningful way, is a lot easier than they expected. So remember that. Go be curious. Ask real questions and get to know people around you. I'll put some resources in the chat from the Learning Strategy Center.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great, thank you so much, Lisa. Marla, what other advice would you have when you think about that first month of college? Any events or programs that students should absolutely be sure to attend?
MARLA LOVE: So, definitely, I mentioned before, Weeks of Wellness, but also, many of our cultural centers host lots of opening events, resource fairs, and open houses so that you can get to know them.
They are also in the Weeks of Welcome calendar, but an opportunity to get to know the folks in the Asian, Asian-American Center, the LGBT Resource Center, the Women's Resource Center and to really connect. And to find your group and to find the thing that maybe you were passionate about it in high school, and you want to continue that passion.
The Einhorn Center for Community Engagement. It's a great opportunity to think about if you enjoyed service and giving back to communities and learning through community engagement and community service. There are many opportunities to do that here on campus.
I would say, in that first month, you're going to experience a lot of freedom. You're going to be doing your own laundry. You're going to sometimes be cooking your own ramen noodles in the middle of the night. And so this is a real opportunity to reflect and to think about what does my life look like now as a college student?
What are my passions? What do I want to explore? You're really creating your own journey and your own path. And so I would really encourage you to think about taking really healthy risks going to events that maybe you wouldn't have gone to, or maybe you really thought maybe you love knitting or always wanted to explore knitting. We have a club for that.
So really taking the risk getting to know other folks, going to events. Maybe your roommate's not going, but you're going to try it yourself. I think that these first weeks really help to sort of shape what this community will be, how you'll engage the things that you want to explore. And it's really that first month you really have a lot of time to do that.
And I would say, and I would agree with Lisa, pace yourself, and even pace yourself in the social life of campus and the social life outside of the classroom. It's amazing how many students can get engrossed in the life of the community where they've signed up for every single organization. And now you're getting every single email. So really think and hone into what is it that I already enjoy, and maybe there's something that I want to explore.
And I would also say, keep in mind that you are living in a new environment, again, a new neighborhood with new roommates, who have different ways. Maybe they go to sleep with the light on. Or they listen to whale calling. And now you have to navigate that in your room.
So this also is an opportunity to start practicing some of those interpersonal conversations through conflict because conflict will arise. And so what does it look like for me to come up with a good plan with my roommate? What does it look like to be in a group project in class and to have to make decisions about when we'll get together to work on this group project around all of your other activities?
So in that first month, you're really navigating. This is a new social scene. What is my responsibility to the community in this social scene?
RYAN LOMBARDI: Marla, that's all great advice. Same with you, Lisa. Thank you very much. Lisa, I want to just come back to you for one more. Is there a certain cadence or recommendation you have around how frequently a student should engage with their academic advisor? And you mentioned the Learning Strategy Center. Any other resources like that or tutoring resources that you'd advise people using?
LISA NISHII: Yeah, so you should absolutely meet with your college academic advisor, who might be a faculty member or someone in the College student services office, very early in the semester. We also recommend that you schedule a time to meet again, midway through the semester, for a check in to talk about how things are going also maybe to talk about courses for the spring semester.
We have great peer advisors. They're a really excellent resource because they've gone through what you're going through. They're enthusiastic, super friendly. I would recommend that you also seek them out. And these relationships with peer and faculty and staff advisors, are really important for your adjustment to campus. So when in doubt, err on the side of going to them and having more rather than fewer meetings.
In terms of tutoring, tutors can be found across the University, but the Learning Strategy Center, I would say, is the primary location for you to go to for tutoring support. Some departments also offer their own tutoring support, like the Math Support Center.
Teaching assistants and course instructors are eager to help you learn the material. Use the weekly office hours as a place for you to get additional help that you might need with your courses.
One last thing I will say, is the Learning Strategy Center also offers some, what we call, supplemental courses that are companion courses to some of our entry-level courses in biology and chemistry and math and economics. And they can really help provide you with effective learning strategies and opportunities to practice. So check them out, talk to your advisors about those, as well, if you don't yet know about them.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great, Lisa, thank you so much. It's great advice. And we really appreciate all the suggestions and input you provided today. Marla, you were just talking a little bit about the early and the adjustment to college and kind of taking ownership and putting yourself out there.
Do you have any closing advice for students how they can think about getting the most out of this experience recognizing the last two years have been really challenging? They've altered our behavioral patterns, our in-person engagement, our social comfort, and just some of the milestones we achieve as young adults. Any kind of closing advice you'd offer to folks in that regard?
MARLA LOVE: I would say that to get the most out of your college experience you're going to need to put in the work. You'll have opportunities to fail and succeed, but you have a lot of ownership. And you're joining a community of students, 6,000 students, or not 6,000, but many students on North Campus if you're moving to North.
And I'll continue with this idea of neighborhood. You're joining with folks that are coming from different neighborhoods, with different experiences, different traditions, and you'll be given the opportunity to invest in that community. We want you to show up as your authentic self.
So the success of your experience depends on your engagement, and sometimes, engagement needs hard conversations and making decisions that will benefit others versus just yourself. And along the way, you might make mistakes. And we're here for you when you make mistakes. We're here to support you and to help you navigate the difficulties.
But we in SCL and across campus and in lots of offices both in Student Campus Life and in academic areas, are committed to a transformative student experience. And that includes members of my team, and we're here to support you during tough times and offer you tools to learn and grow from mistakes or setbacks.
We have expectations of you, and we know that you have expectations of us. And we will be learning from each other, and we will have good conversations. In the fall checklist, you had to check out the student code of conduct. And so we hope that you'll familiarize yourself about our expectations about community.
But finally, and I would also say, that this sort of all of these sort of tips, also translate to your life and experience as a student in the classroom. We are all ready and eager to have you on campus and to see the ways that this place will change you and to grow you and to see the ways that you participate in them.
So, I think if I were to end my thoughts, it's that we're hoping that you're ready to join in and be a part of this community, to love Cornell the way that we do, and that you will find your place, that you will find a sense of belonging here and that there are people who are advocating and want to help you navigate that here and have recognized the challenges of the last couple of years and want to join in partnering with you so that this is a great experience.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thank you so much,Marla. I appreciate that. And thank you for the warm welcome to our students. We've got a couple of things left, specifically for parents and families. And so I'm going to go back to Lindsey to help us wrap up here.
And Lindsey, can you tell families how they can stay informed generally about things going on on campus, or in the case of an emergency, or any information around communication like that?
LINDSEY BRAY: Well, we really strive to keep families informed because we know that if a family knows what's going on on campus, that they can best support their students. And really want to make sure that families feel a part of their student's educational journey and part of the Cornell community, just as much as their student is.
So our new families received, this summer, our new newsletter that came out that helped them get ready for this upcoming semester. We will be transitioning to our monthly newsletters that go out each month to all of our families. So that's got all of the major dates and deadlines that families need, information on campus events, ways to help their student along the way.
We've also, this summer, relaunched our Facebook page. So that's also a great way for families to connect with Cornell and our office, and also kind of get in those real-time updates along the way.
Our new website also launched earlier this week that we have developed out some new resources for families. Two of the pages that I think this group, in particular, would want to know about are, we have a page that's just for first-year families. So all of those major topics that our families-- we know our new incoming families really want to know about. So whether it's how to send their student mail, or what the dining table would look like? So those big things.
We also have a page for our returning families. Those big topics those families really need to know about as well along the way. Included in the new website, is a page on emergency notifications. So families can have some information on what that looks like at Cornell.
So how can they sign up for alerts? How can a student sign up for alerts? Where they can find those things that are going on campus when an emergency does happen, as well. And so we're really excited to have those resources available for families to make sure that as much communication is out there as possible for them to take advantage of it.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks so much, Lindsey. That's super helpful. And I know everyone's noticing the links that are dropping in the chat. Lindsey, if you want to just wrap us up for families, what advice would you give to parents about how they can best support their students while they're at Cornell?
LINDSEY BRAY: Yeah, so as I said, we really want parents to be our partners in this in supporting their student because we know that a student who has that parent, family member support system behind them, will do better. And if they feel supported, they will do better in the classroom, better in their own well-being. And so we want to make sure that you are there and you have those resources.
I highly recommend that our families keep those lines of communication open, whether it's that text message or phone call. A package or a letter in the mail, as well, goes a really long way to helping to support our students, especially during say, midterms or prelims, really when a student might be struggling a little bit as well.
But really kind of reinforcing what's going on on campus in ways that your student can take advantage of those resources, as well, are so important and having that extra support is important for them too.
We also encourage our families to join us for Family Weekend, so that's going to be October 21st the 23rd. It is a wonderful time to come back to campus. If you have a new student, they can show off what their new life is like, their new home at Cornell. And we welcome the chance to welcome you back to campus again in the fall.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Lindsey, thank you so much. And to the families and parents who are tuned in today, Lindsey is a wonderful resource I do encourage you to reach out and use all the resources that she outlined today. And hopefully, they're helpful.
And we're posting here, as we begin to wrap up, a few of our reminder resources. A lot of these have been dropped in the chat. A lot have been referenced over the course of this webinar today.
We're really grateful to you for joining us this afternoon. I do want to let you know that we will make a recording available of this in the coming days. Please keep an eye on the scl.cornell.edu website.
And then, as we've said all along, just get ready for a great semester. We are so excited about what the fall has to offer. What this year is going to look like for us. We hope that you are too. We've been working very hard to try to get the campus back in a great place and get everybody feeling good and ready for students to come back.
Remember, remember, there's lots of great advice you got today, but especially for students, please be sure to reach out and use the resources that are available. You have to take ownership for this experience, take ownership for your education.
But there are so many resources that you heard about today that are here to support you the Learning Strategy Center, your academic advisor, the residence-hall staff that lives within your buildings, your residential communities, the Dean of Students Office. We have great resources to support your health and well-being, your mental health, mentalhealth.cornell.edu is a wonderful resource. So please just remember to use those resources and become familiar with them, as you get settled on the campus.
The entire team here at Cornell is beyond excited to welcome you to campus next week. We know that you're going to have a great experience. Please be sure to keep up with all of the information as you're coming in. We wish you safe travels as you make your way to Ithaca. However that happens and however you get here, remember, bring lots of patience, bring lots of good weather. We're going to have a blast next week.
And thank you to all of my panelists who are with us today, and the team that was helping us out behind the scenes with the logistics and all of the technology and all those other pieces. To our students and their families, enjoy the next couple of days. And we can't wait to see you on campus in the next couple of weeks. Take care, everybody and have a great day.
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Ryan Lombardi, Vice President for Student & Campus Life, and other Cornell leadership lead an informational forum to help students and families plan for the fall semester on campus.