RYAN LOMBARDI: All right, good afternoon, everyone. Really great to be with you. My name is Ryan Lombardi. I'm the Vice President for Student and Campus Life for those of you that I haven't had a chance to engage with before.
It's Wednesday, September 30, just a couple minutes after 4:00. Thanks for your patience as we get going. It, again, is great to be with you. I appreciate you joining us. Families, if you're far away, students, if you're with us here in Ithaca or studying remotely, great to have you with us today. I know there's a combination of folks that have joined us, and I'm always glad to get to spend some time with you.
First and most importantly, I do hope that you are all doing well, that you stay safe-- that you're staying safe, that you're in good health, and your families are as well. In addition to thanking you for being with us, I'll thank my panel members that I'll introduce in just a couple of minutes. We've got a great lineup again for you today, and we're all very glad to be with you.
So you may have attended some of our previous forums this summer when we were preparing for reopening of campus. And the last one, if you can believe it, was on August 20. We went back and looked on the calendar.
It feels to me like that was about a half a year ago, but I know it wasn't that long ago. Nonetheless, really glad to be back with you. That was just a couple days before our big move-in, and we needed to sign off and really focus on helping our students settle in and getting the semester off to a good start, and we're off to a great start.
But we thought it was important to stay connected now that we're in a rhythm and we're settled into the semester, and start to talk a little bit about life on campus and how that's going to continue to adjust, and also to give you a little bit more information about the future of this semester.
So first, I do want to just acknowledge how pleased, frankly, and excited we all are to be having the success that we are right now, and to be at this point. Tomorrow's October, and to be going steady the way that we are, it took an awful lot of work from everybody, really-- the staff, certainly, all of my colleagues you'll meet here today, and so many more on campus; all of our students, families, all of your support. We just can't thank you enough.
It hasn't all gone perfectly. Some of you have been a part of that. Some of you have felt that more directly than others. We've had our bumps in the road. We've had a few clusters of cases here on campus-- nothing that we've lost control of. And really, I would attribute our success in even getting through those bumpy parts to this really robust testing program we have in place, our students making the adjustments to their behavior where necessary, and really the whole strategy we have in place to try to mitigate the spread.
All of these components have been critical to keeping up with the daily check, our robust surveillance testing, keeping up with the behavioral compact and really complying with that, and also staying up-to-date with our operating status adjustments. Moving from green to yellow, then back to green, but making some modifications along the way have all been really important for our success. And our contact tracing and our quarantine strategy has worked really well, too.
I'll also mention a strategy that we didn't plan to deploy, but we have that has helped us quite a bit in relation to testing, and that's something that we're calling adaptive testing. So what happens is if we have a positive case, or when we have a positive case, we try to find out, of course, who those students may have had close contacts with, and even if there are situations where there are no close contacts identified but we know that the student perhaps was in a class, or lived in a certain part of campus, or off campus-- even if there are no close contacts identified, we're still often testing everybody in proximity.
If it was a class, everybody in that class. If it was a residence hall, we need everybody in that wing. Even though we don't have to, the health department's not asking us to do that, that's not guidance coming out of the government. We are taking the opportunity to do that, because we want to err on the side of being overly cautious and testing everybody when possible.
So all of this put together, we're off to a great start. We have a long way to go for sure, but all very excited about that. And again, let me thank all of you, students and families, for your commitment and working with us on this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I do hope that you're keeping up with our COVID dashboard on our main university website. I've heard from many of you that you are. You can see every evening, on the weekdays, we update that with our operating status, positive cases, test results-- everything along those lines.
We do that Monday through Friday, and it does lag one day. The data lag is only because of when the information comes to us, and it takes us a little bit of time and our health practitioners a little bit of time to confirm all the data, actually make contact with students, get people in quarantine isolation. We felt like it was better to have that data lag for a day to make sure it was accurate when we posted it, rather than putting up data that then might get changed later.
I should let you all know that every single day on the weekday we have a daily senior leadership meeting with our campus health professionals, those that are managing our quarantine and isolation space-- one of my colleagues on this call today-- our testing team, our epidemiologists, those that analyze our data, our local health care leaders with both the hospital and the health department. Every single evening we meet with this team and walk through all of the details.
So we're constantly monitoring, learning, and adjusting our plan as we go along. Again, really proud to be a part of this. OK, so yesterday, on this vein, I shared some good news and campus updates with our students who are here in Ithaca.
Parents, we'll put this-- it didn't come out to you directly, so we'll put it up in the chat, but my colleague is putting a few things in the chat for you that you can see. You can go ahead and take a look at this message if you haven't already seen it. We're going to walk through some of the updates that were included in that message today during our agenda, some of the specifics about additional in-person activities on campus, and recreation and fitness, and those types of things.
And then we're also going to talk, today, about how this semester will continue to unfold, and begin talking about the process of move out and how the semester will wrap up, the in-person semester will wrap up around Thanksgiving.
So while we're excited about how things are going, we all know that we have to remain incredibly diligent and incredibly committed to our public health guidelines. And we know that if we do so, we think we can continue to be successful. We're going to try to provide a lot of information today.
But as I said often this summer, it's all subject to change. In all seriousness, we're really hoping that, for the spring semester, we can give you crisper dates earlier on than we were able to do in the summer. That's certainly our goal. We're working towards that already.
But I do need to say that things are subject to change because as you continue to watch the prevalence of this in the nation, you know that things continue to change across our country as well. So I just want to say again, as I did many times this summer, I appreciate your continued patience and flexibility.
All right. With that, I want to take a brief moment to introduce my colleagues who are with us today. I'm going to do as I've done before, which is introduce each of them in the order they'll be speaking and let them say hi to you very briefly so you can put a face with a name. Then we'll come back to me. I'll make a few more comments before we turn it over.
So first, I'm going to introduce someone that you haven't had the chance yet to meet in this forum, and that's our new dean of students. So you may remember this past summer hearing from Vijay Pendakur, who was our Dean of Students. Vijay left us just a short while ago for a new opportunity. We are sad to see him go, for sure. He was a great Dean of Students.
But we're equally thrilled that someone who has been a strong leader on our campus for more than three years now, our Senior Associate Dean of Students, Marla Love, has stepped into the interim Dean of Students role. So Marla is going to be with us today. Marla do you want to say hi to everyone?
MARLA LOVE: Everyone, I'm so glad to be with you today and to share my updates and to participate with this team.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Marla. Great to have you. Next, a very familiar face that you heard from quite a bit this summer and who, with her team, really mounted the Herculean effort to make move-in and so much go well for the transition this fall. And that's Pat Wynn, who's an Assistant Vice President in Student and Campus Life. Pat?
PAT WYNN: Hi, everyone. I'm so happy to be back with you and give you some information for the fall. Thank you.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Pat. Another familiar face that you'll recognize is Amy Godert, who's the Director of the Learning Strategy Center and also the Executive Director for Academic Student Success Programs. Amy--
AMY GODERT: Hi, everyone. I'm glad to be here again, and I'm looking forward to sharing a few things with you about what the LSC is doing.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Amy. Next up, you will hear from Jen Gudaz. You may remember Jen, also, from this summer. She is our Senior Associate Director of Athletics, also the Director of Physical Education and Recreation Services for Cornell. Jen?
JEN GUDAZ: Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me, Ryan. I'm excited to give you all the information about many fun things that you can do on campus and continue doing virtually.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thanks, Jen. And last but not least, another familiar face, Jenny Loeffelman, an Assistant Vice President in Student Campus Life, who, with her team, has been doing an awful lot of outstanding programming to try to keep our students engaged in the virtual landscape that we're navigating. Jenny--
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks, Ryan, for having me. I'm excited to talk with you all today about campus involvement and some of the events we're going to be rolling out over the next few weeks.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thanks so much, Jenny. All right. So I'm going to take a few questions, as I normally do, to get us started that were general questions. And then I'll be turning it over to some of my colleagues to get into some of the specifics of their areas.
I want to first thank, again, all of you who sent in questions ahead of the forum. We're going to try to hit as many of those as we can today. There were lots of questions, first off, about the spring. I know that's the case not only from receiving your questions, but because we're talking about it an awful lot, questions about whether we expect it to be similar, any updates, when will registration occur, et cetera, et cetera, even questions about graduation.
I don't have definitive answers for those questions yet. We're working very hard on the spring semester and what that will look like. A lot of teams across campus are trying to get those details. And like I said a little earlier, we do want to try to provide that information with more advance notice than we were able to do for the fall.
With that said, it's our general sense that we expect the spring to be fairly similar in experience to what the fall is. Of course, the calendar is different, as you've seen on the website. If you haven't seen it, just type in Cornell academic calendar, and you'll see it. So the calendar is a little bit different. But we expect, generally speaking, the semester to unfold similarly to the way that the fall has.
And that's, again, our best understanding of where we'll be as a country, where we'll be in terms of vaccination and other things. We're anticipating spring to be very similar to the fall. But, again, a lot of details will be forthcoming about that. Sorry that I can't give you all the details about spring yet.
There was a question that I really appreciated about the fall semester and what we have learned that we think will be carried over. And I'll just say a couple things that we think have been really helpful in this process. Regular communication and transparency-- I've been thrilled to be engaged with you in the summer and again now. And I know I bumped into a number of you during move-in, which was terrific. I've seen our students around campus. I'm working in my office today and many days. It's a beautiful fall day, by the way, here in Ithaca.
I would say our relationship with our local health care leaders has been absolutely critical in really contributing to our success. The Behavioral Compact and our guidelines and the students living up to those and all of us really modeling the good behavior-- our testing, I cannot say enough about our testing strategy. We test, test, test, and an adaptive test.
We did learn early in the semester that even small groups can spread this very easily. So when we had these clusters early on, these were not big, raging parties where this happened. These were small groups of students who got together in reasonable sized groups, but did not keep the masks on and didn't keep the distance. And it very quickly spread.
And if we hadn't gotten an early hold of it, it could have been really difficult for us. So that's why we have reduced, even in our green status, our group sizes to a maximum of 10, really trying to keep that. So that was an experience we've learned from.
The other thing I would say that I've learned, and I believed going in, but I've reiterated this to my colleagues, is have faith in our students to do the right thing. Look, our students haven't been perfect. I'm not perfect. I don't think any of us are.
But they've been really, really outstanding. And I've been highly impressed by how they've stepped up in this moment, with a few exceptions, of course, like I said. But none of us are perfect. So I do want to continue to have faith in our students to do the right thing.
All right. Another question was whether or not we expect to see a shift in the amount of in-person classes as this semester continues. I don't expect to see any changes in class modality in the midstream of the semester. So I want to make sure that you're aware of that.
But I will say, with that said, that our academic affairs leadership, and specifically Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Lisa Nishii, who you met also over the summer, is already starting to work with the faculty on spring semester. And we are hopeful that we'll have more in-person classes next semester than we were able to this semester. That's certainly our goal. We'll know more as we get closer to the spring.
There were a few questions about travel and visitors. And I want to really underscore this. And then we'll be just about done with my part. First, travel-- we are asking students not to travel away from campus this semester unless it's absolutely, critically necessary, if it's an emergency.
We know this is tough. But we know that we add a lot of risk to our community when students leave and then come back. In fact, we've had several occasions this fall where our positive cases have been exactly from that. For students that left, went home or went for a visit somewhere and then came back, and came back positive.
When students do leave, if it is an emergent situation or something that just can't be avoided, we have them register their travel and also be prepared to accept the requirements for quarantine and testing when they return. The good news is that that requirement has caught a few of those cases that returned to our community early. But again, I can't emphasize enough that we really ask people to stay here in the Ithaca area.
And we're really even encouraging limiting travel in the region. So I mentioned these daily meetings we have with local health care professionals. And the CEO of our hospital system told us last night that some of the surrounding counties around Tompkins County have seen some increase in prevalence, and that we really shouldn't have students even leaving and going 45 minutes, 50 minutes away because we're seeing more positive cases in those communities that aren't testing as much.
The other part is about visitors. And just as a reminder, we're not allowing visitors, outside guests, and that includes parents and families. And I know that some of you are on the Zoom today. Please don't come to campus and enter our buildings. The students can be held accountable for that.
I have gotten a number of concerns from students and their parents, that they've seen parents in the residence halls. And while I know this is tough, I know it's hard not to be with your student and engage with them, we're asking you, please, to hold off and not come in.
Respect the community, respect the other students who are here, and stay out of any buildings, and for our students not have visitors on campus. There is additional information about this. I know it's getting posted in the chat function right now. It's also on our COVID website. Thank you so much for your cooperation with this.
The last thing I'll say before I hand it over to Marla is about the Behavioral Compact and the one update on this. So students, in addition to my message yesterday about in-person activities and some changes there, they also received messaging reminding them of the surveillance testing and the Daily Check. So we've been having students complete this and do this over the last number of weeks, and students have been incredibly compliant.
Starting today, though, if students miss a test and don't reschedule or don't get their subsequent test or they fail to do the Daily Check, we now have introduced a system where it will begin to ding them. And they'll be referred to the Cornell Compact Compliance Team, the C3T, for followup and compliance about missing those things.
We've been letting the kinks work out of the system, so we haven't done that now. But now those students will be automatically referred as a result of violating those aspects of the Behavioral Compact. So the students got that update yesterday. It's really important that they stay diligent on that.
Again, our compliance has been phenomenal so far on this. But we want to keep it that way. Even 50 students out of 15,000 students not doing their tests introduces risk into our community. And we want to keep this good thing going.
OK. So with that, those were the general questions that came in. I am going to now ask Marla to talk a little bit more about how things are going with the Behavioral Compact and, more specifically, the enforcement of that Behavioral Compact. So I'm going to give it to Marla now. It's all yours.
MARLA LOVE: Thanks, Ryan. So the enforcement of the compact is really one piece of a larger picture. And we've really been talking about this as a three-legged stool to keep our campus safe this fall.
So in addition to enforcement, we have education, which began at the beginning of the semester with the virtual course created by the Skorton Center. And then it continued through the work of our peer consultants, our peer ambassadors, and our Behavioral Compact monitors, or we call them BCMs. They're visible in our community, within the campus community, to offer masks, hand sanitizer, or friendly reminders to mask up or socially distance.
And then a major part that you probably have tons of information is our surveillance testing, the quarantine and isolation, the Daily Check, contact tracing, and then the work that we've done to limit the size of gatherings and to remove some of the risk factors. All of those pieces serve as the compact and the medical piece of this three-legged stool.
And then the third part that I want to update you on is the enforcement, which is really based on referrals, either through the web or mostly through a web-based tool. And it's open to anyone, whether or not Cornell related, whether they're connected with Cornell or not, to let us know about situations that are taking place within our community that violate our compact.
In some spaces, BCMs are having some of those educational developmental conversations with students as they see them on campus, again reminding them and communicating the importance that we have to one another to keep our campus as healthy as possible. And then the Cornell Compact Compliance Team, or C3T, as we call it, considers how to intervene and respond to reports.
C3T is really meant to be developmental and an educational model to continue to push those values that we all have a responsibility to one another, to keep each other safe and to keep our campus healthy. The C3T team responds to reports. And sometimes that can range from educational letters or a phone call, conversations with the members of the C3T team and students, restrictions to on campus buildings, parental notification.
And there are times where situations rise to a level that they violate the Code of Conduct. And so it may involve referrals to the Judicial Administrator's office for violations of the campus code. Oftentimes, we might issue a warning letter. But the responses have a range. And they depend on the number of factors, including the severity of the allegation or the context of the situation or how many times a student has been referred previously.
In general, a student who is referred to C3T will get an email first, either giving them a warning, giving them a reminder of the compact commitment, or requesting them to join them for a meeting to discuss the incident. Or if they have been referred to the JA's office, to commence a process through the Campus Code of Conduct.
In general, we've had a range of reports related to risk, so everything from not wearing a mask to hosting a large party with risk factors, that we've responded to. We continue to want to partner with students to help us by remaining vigilant and diligent in complying with the outlined measures as we begin to open up the campus to more in-person meetings and select recreation, athletic, and fitness activities, which are highlighted in one of the updates that's in the chat.
We recognize it can be very hard to be isolated from friends and classmates. But what we're doing is working. And that's been very exciting. Many, many, many students are complying and participating and engaging in safe behaviors, safe activities, and committing to the compact for the benefit of the whole community.
As Ryan mentioned, we've already seen some of this science working. We had some clusters, but we've gone from green to yellow and back to green. And that's because it takes all of us to make that difference. And so we're really thankful for the way students have stepped up and engaged and followed this process with us.
And, also, we're thankful for the conversations that we've been able to have with students through the C3T process and the change in direction and behavior that students are saying that they're willing to now take after having participated in our process through C3T. Those are my updates and overview of our enforcement model. And I'll turn it back over to Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thank you so much, Marla. I appreciate you, and I appreciate the team and the work they're doing, and our students working with them to keep our community safe. I'm going to turn it over to Pat here in just a minute, about. And she's going to go through a lot of details, as she often does, around things within the residential experience, the dining experience, et cetera.
But before I hand it off to her, I do want to try to make clear how the next number of weeks of the semester are going to work. So many of you are familiar with the fact that we have this period of time where we have semifinals. So what this means, if you look at the calendar, our in-person classes essentially and on Friday, November 13.
Semifinals then begin on November 17. So there are a couple days that we use for study period to allow students to get ready for their semifinals. Now, many semifinals will have an in-person component, but not for everybody. And so it is possible that for your students who don't have an in-person semifinal, they could leave to come home as early as November 14. And they could begin making their way back to their permanent residence.
Students will learn about their semifinal schedule and whether or not they're in person or not, and also what their actual schedule is, just within the next couple of weeks. And so then you can schedule that travel. Pat will talk a little bit about, then, how to do that and what that's going to look like in terms of move-out.
But I did want to explain that situation with semifinals, that if a student doesn't have in-person semifinals, they are able to then leave campus and do their semifinals virtual and from their permanent residence. And that'll really help us begin to empty out the campus in a more meaningful cadence, and not have everybody leave at once right before the Thanksgiving holidays.
So again, I'm going to kick it over to Pat now. But I thought this context would be a little bit helpful as she goes into some of these details. So, Pat, why don't you take us away?
PAT WYNN: Sure. So hi, again, everyone. Most of what we're talking about today is about on campus life, but I did want to call out to all the students who are attending remotely this fall. I know that's been not the easiest thing to do. But it really has enabled us to de-densify. And that, in turn, has helped our COVID-19 controls. So we thank you for your efforts in that regard.
So the last day for this semester to move into on campus housing is actually October the 5th. However, any students from international locations or from states on the New York state travel advisory are not eligible to move into on campus housing or return to Ithaca or attend in-person classes as of right now.
Students are welcome to make your own arrangements to quarantine for 14 days off campus in New York or another US state that's not on the New York travel advisory list. If you choose to do that, please update your travel plans on the reentry checklist and contact us at email@example.com.
If you'd like to cancel your housing assignment, please submit a cancellation request on the Housing Portal, again firstname.lastname@example.org. And once your cancellation is received and processed, you can apply for spring semester housing. The housing team continues to accept and prioritize room change requests. So if, for any reason, you would like to make a room or building change, again, please reach out to email@example.com.
So for fall move-out, the housing period for the first part of the fall semester will end on November 29 at 10:00 AM. Those students who choose to leave campus to finish the semester remotely will be asked to schedule a departure day and time in order to move out as safely and as de-densified as possible. You'll be notified by the Office of Housing and Res Life between October 5 and October 10 with move-out information and the opportunity to schedule your departure date and time.
Move-out dates and times will be available beginning November 14 through November 29 to allow for staggered departure and travel arrangements. You should begin to explore travel arrangements now for your departure. We're working to determine feasibility of bus and shuttle services that can be delivered to you for a reasonable fee.
Students who will be returning for the spring semester may leave all of their personal belongings in their rooms through the winter break period, as you'll be returning to the same room for spring semester. We do want you to tidy up your room before you go. And we are asking that you do not leave any valuables behind.
Parents may certainly come to campus to pick up their students during their scheduled departure date and time as long as they observe the travel and visitor policies. Parents, families, and visitors are not permitted in campus buildings, including and especially the residence halls.
So for those who want to stay on campus after Thanksgiving, as Ryan said, in-person instruction will end on November 13, with the understanding that students will leave campus by 10:00 AM on November 29 at the latest and return in January for the spring semester.
We acknowledge, however, that this year presents some real challenges. And we've been planning for the likelihood that it will be impractical or maybe impossible for some student residents to leave campus for a permanent residence at the Thanksgiving holiday break.
But I think it's very important for me to state here very clearly that, if you're planning to stay for fall part 2, you may not go home or go to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. You must stay on campus. You must stay here in Ithaca. So again, if you wish to go home for Thanksgiving, you will not be allowed to come back for fall part 2. So I just wanted to make that very, very clear.
And this is for the obvious health and safety reasons. As of today, there are 33 states and one territory on the New York state travel advisory list. It changes weekly. We really don't know what it's going to look like as we get further into the fall. So it's very, very important that you understand this concern.
Students will be offered the opportunity to apply for on campus housing for fall part 2 period from Thanksgiving through December 21-- those are the dates for fall part 2-- and then remaining in on campus housing for the winter period, which begins on December 21 and lasts until the start of the spring semester.
Remaining in on campus housing will require the meal plan for that same period. Fall 2020 financial aid will cover the fall part 2 contract period, but not the winter period, as classes are not in session. The costs associated with housing and dining can be found at housing.cornell.edu. Campus services will be limited during these times, but will accommodate those who need us to be there.
In fact, there will be a Thanksgiving dinner at Robert Purcell Community Center, which we have done every year for-- I don't know-- a thousand years. One meal swipe will get you into this lavish, wonderful meal. And it is open to all students, whether they live on campus or off. The big difference this year is that we will not be allowing our Ithaca community to attend this dinner this year. It'll just be for students only.
The special terms and license related to COVID-19 remain in place for the entire academic year, as well as the Behavioral Compact and travel and visitor policies. Residents of High Rise 5 and Low Rise 6 who choose to stay on campus during these periods will need to be assigned temporary housing because of maintenance work that has to be done over that time period.
Students remaining on campus housing during fall part 2 and winter may be required to move rooms for safety and security reasons. There will be an application process communicated to students between October 5 and 9 on the Housing Portal for those who wish to remain on campus for fall part 2 or fall part 2 and winter.
Students who live in off campus housing will have the opportunity to purchase meal plans to use Cornell dining eateries during those two periods, as long as they continue to observe the Daily Check requirements, including ongoing surveillance testing.
We are planning for spring, as Ryan mentioned, but we don't have any details nailed down yet. As soon as we do, we will certainly share them with everyone. And thank you. And if you have questions, I'm just an email away.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thank you so much, Pat. I appreciate all the work that you're doing and your team as well. It's been absolutely phenomenal.
I want to reiterate a couple of points that Pat made. This notion of trying to do a de-densified and a gradual move-out as we lead up to Thanksgiving we think is really important so that we also aren't sending problems back to home or to permanent residence in terms of virus, or having a lot of visitors here at the same time picking up students.
And so the good news, as Pat shared, is that the student will be able to sign up for those times in a first come, first served basis. So tell your students to be on the lookout for that information coming, as Pat said, between the 5th and the 10th of October.
I also want to reinforce what she said about what she's calling fall part 2, which is this time frame from Thanksgiving until the end of the actual semester, December 21. We are allowing for students who really don't have an option to go home, or it's completely impractical for them to go back to their permanent residence, we are allowing that option for them to apply to stay, as Pat said.
But the idea is really, and it always was, that students are to return to their permanent residence at that point because we're going to be getting into flu season. We think it's really important to have the campus as de-densified as possible and let everybody be back during the cold winter months and the worst of the flu season. But for those who are approved, as Pat said, to stay on campus, all the surveillance testing and everything else will continue to be required during that time frame.
So I just wanted to reiterate some of those points that Pat made because I know these are factors that folks are going to have to think about. And as you gathered-- Pat said the same thing I did about spring-- we're not going to put anything out until we're sure of it. We learned that lesson this summer when we had to make some adjustments on the fly. And so we'll keep you posted on that.
All right. Next, we're going to turn it over to Amy. Things are heating up academically for our students. And Amy is one of our great resources on campus and is going to talk through some of the ways that our students can navigate this time. Amy, it's all yours.
AMY GODERT: All right, great. Thank you, Ryan. And I am so excited to be here and sharing a little bit about what the LSC does. So the LSC is the Learning Strategy Center. We do a couple of different things.
Two big things that we do are academic support in some of the large introductory courses. I'm going to talk a little bit about that. And then what you see here is a little bit of the other thing that we do, which is we talk with students about study strategies and study skills that we know that other students have found to be effective for their time here at Cornell.
And for students and families, I'm sure one thing that you've been talking about is prelims. So prelims are what we call exams here, or tests, at Cornell. And it is what we call prelim time, which means that a lot of students are going to be having prelims in their courses. And they might be wondering, how do I get ready or study for those prelims?
I know some of you have had prelims already. And I know some of you have some big prelims that are coming up this week and next week. So I thought I would just share a few things that we have compiled and share some additional resources on things to think about as you're getting ready for your prelims.
So the first thing I want to say is that I cannot go through all of the different things that we have that are good to keep in mind, so please take a look at the LSC web page. And that link was just dropped into the chat. We have a wonderful set of resources on the web page. We also have a study skills module on prelim preparation and taking prelims that I would highly encourage you to look at if you want more information on anything that are going to talk about here.
So the first thing to keep in mind is that you need to have really good time management when you're thinking about your prelims. I was a student here, and I know that whenever you have prelims, you usually have more than one thing happening at a time. You might have a couple of prelims in a week, maybe a paper or project or something like that.
So you need to really have good time management skills and think about developing a plan for how you're going to study for the different prelims that you have coming up. And this plan might be something where you set aside a couple of hours a day and maybe study for five to seven days before the prelim. There's a lot of research that shows that cramming doesn't really work all that well. You really want to space out that studying that you're doing.
And you might wonder, well, what are some effective ways that I can study? We have lots of them on our web page. But one thing that, when I asked our study skills guru was what would you recommend that I share, he said, talk about blank page testing, which is really what it sounds like.
Get out a blank piece of paper. Think of a topic. Start writing stuff down, whether it be a concept map, a list, a flow chart, beginnings of an essay. It's a really great way for you to get the stuff out of your brain and onto a piece of paper, which helps you learn it. It also helps you identify what you do and do not know as well as you think.
I wanted to mention something else. And we have a lot of different modalities. Your classes are offered either hybrid, online, in-person. And so in this semester especially, it's important to really understand the logistics of the exams. So for example, where do you need to be? Is it synchronous? Is it asynchronous? Is it in-person? Is it online? Do you have the right Zoom link? How much time will you have? Do you have an opportunity to practice that type of exam prior to taking it? So think about all of those things.
The other thing I want to mention here, because I've had a few conversations with students about this, is this idea of open book and what open book actually means. So one thing that I want to just say right at the beginning, open book is not easier than closed book. Oftentimes, they're actually harder, so you do still need to study and prepare.
The other thing that I do want to mention about open book exams is that when you're thinking about that or you have one coming up, make sure that you truly understand what open book means. And I say this because sometimes open book might be you can use your notes and textbooks or study guides that you created, maybe the answer key perhaps.
It might not mean that you can talk to a friend or a TA or your family member. That might not be OK. Also, using the internet-- you're going to have to know what is and is not OK because if you do something that you're not supposed to do, that might be a violation of the Academic Integrity Code. And you do not want to do that.
And something that I mentioned before, the last time that I spoke with everyone, is the importance of sleep. There's a lot of research that shows a well-rested brain is going to function more effectively just overall. And that includes on prelims.
And also one thing that you probably will find out-- especially if you're a student who's been here for a while, you already know this-- prelims don't just end the material that you need to know. They build. The material that you're going to study in the course is going to build over time. So you want to have long-term learning, and sleep is really effective for that long-term learning of content.
The other thing that I'll mention here quickly, eat, sleep, socialize safely with masks on and 6 feet apart, and stay hydrated. And I know we're going to hear a little bit more from our colleagues about some of the recreational activities in a little bit. So that's the first thing that I wanted to share, just a few things to think about as you're preparing for prelims.
And then on the next slide, what I want to share are some of the resources that are available, or some things to think about. So again, I was a student here. And I can tell you that I needed to ask for help for a lot of the different things that I was working with. Homework, or whether it was prelims coming up, I needed to ask for help.
So where do you go when you need help, not if you need help, but when you need help? The first thing I'm going to talk a little bit about are some ways that you can identify places to study or people to study with. So I would recommend finding a study space. And I know, in some cases, these can be limited. But there are some that are available here on campus.
There might also be virtual study spaces. And it's been really fun to hear students talking about how they're in a Zoom Room with other students, video on, audio off. And they're just working and studying. And just being in the presence of others has been really motivational.
So we have, in the LSC, something we call Motivation Stations. They are Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 to 10:00. You can find more information on our web page about that. But that's an opportunity for you to study virtually with others, not necessarily in your course, but just other people.
We also have an amazing study partner program. Again, check out the link that was just dropped into the chat window. You can sign up to find a study partner in your courses. Again, thinking about what your course allows you to do, if you're allowed to work with others in your course.
But this is something that you can do whether you're in-person or online, in this time zone or in a different time zone. I've seen so many different time zones come through for that request. And so, please, if you want to find a study partner, do sign up to be matched up with someone. We can help with that.
The last thing that I want to mention is where do you go when you need more specific help? I'll mention some general things and also some LSC specific things. So the first thing I'm going to recommend is that you look at the syllabus, the Canvas site for your course, or Piazza site if you have one for your course. Those are great sources of information.
And I'm going to remind you again that your instructors and the teaching assistants, or TAs, those people are there to help you learn the material. So go to their office hours and ask them questions. Earlier is always better to really help you learn the material.
A few LSC specific things that I'll bring up-- we have supplemental courses in a few different disciplines. And so in some large introductory courses, we offer support, supplemental courses in chemistry, biology, economics, physics, and math.
We also offer free tutoring for students in some of those large introductory courses as well. Tutoring is both in-person, very limited, but we also have online tutoring. This is peer tutoring, because what we find is that students really learn well when they're hearing questions that other students have. So it's not one-on-one tutoring, but it is group tutoring.
And I do want to take a minute to just give a big shout-out-- I hope some of you are listening-- our LSC tutors have done an amazing job. These are your peers who are working with you on the different content in the courses. They've just done an amazing job getting everything ready for this semester. So a big shout-out to them.
And then before I go, I just wanted to say a couple of other resources to keep in mind. The first is talk to your advisors. Students, if you're having questions or thinking about what do I do or where do I go, talk to your advisor.
And then I also want to mention some of the great resources that our colleagues at Cornell Health have in terms of just relaxation, meditation, well-being. Keep those in mind and take a look at what they have to offer.
And if there's any questions-- I'll be walking around on campus, actually, on Friday as a Behavioral Compact Monitor. Stop and say hi from 6 feet and with your mask on, and I'd be happy to meet you. And I'll turn it over to Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Great. Thanks, Amy. That was a lot of really, really helpful information and great advice. I've often heard that one of the greatest skills our students can learn is strategic help seeking, how to ask for help when, and like you said, not if they need it. And that's great advice that you provided to them. Thank you.
We're going to switch now and talk a little bit more about the updated email that I sent out this week with some of the shifts to campus operating. So some of the activities that we're allowing to happen a little more in-person now, both from a recreational perspective, but also from a student organizational perspective.
So I'm going to touch for just a moment about varsity athletics and intercollegiate athletics. We are part of the Ivy League, as you surely know, and so we follow both Ivy League guidelines and the NCAA guidelines.
Before the start of the semester, the Ivy League-- we all worked together, all eight institutions, to define distinct phases, four distinct phases in which our student athletes could return to practice. We don't have any competition this fall. All fall seasons have been canceled in terms of competition. But we are allowing, in this phased approach, some practice.
We have just moved from phase 0, which we were in for the first four weeks, to phase 1, which means now that our student athletes, with the oversight of their coaches, can begin up to one hour per day of weight training and other physical conditioning as well as virtual team meetings. Of course, these all have to be in group sizes still that do not exceed 10 students.
Our student athletes and the teams have received this information directly from our Athletics Department. But these changes do mean that there will be some more restricted access to a few of the outdoor spaces, for example, Schoelkopf Field. Now that some of our teams will be using that to do some of their outdoor conditioning, that availability for non-student athletes will be restricted a little bit more now.
So that's a little bit about the shifts with athletics. But I'm going to turn it over to Jen now, who's going to speak a little bit more in detail about recreation, including our fitness centers and intramurals and some of those things, as those have changed as well. So, Jen, I'm going to pass it off to you.
JEN GUDAZ: Thanks, Ryan. And I want to start by thanking our students for doing such an incredible job of being responsible over the last four to six weeks. I'm so happy that my team and I can be moving forward and opening some of our facilities, and that we get to provide you some extra fun on campus.
To start with, on Monday, October 5, the climbing wall will open. They will start selling memberships on Thursday, October 1. So if you already have a membership, you should be all set there. But they will start selling on October 1.
Additional programs will start on Monday, October 12. So if you don't know how to climb, that'd be a great time to learn how to belay or learn to climb. And we'll also be offering other opportunities, such as women's climb and adaptive climbing. Check it out.
They're doing a great job with our safety measures, hygiene, encouraging handwashing, and sanitizing on the way in will be at the entry, distancing, and various other things, Ryan. You'll see just what we're doing to make things safe.
We also plan to open the Teagle Fitness Center starting on Monday, October 5. And along with that, Teagle Up and Down will be open. We are starting a soft opening then. And then later in the week, we hope to open Noyes as well as, once we get the correct filters, we will open Helen Newman along with it. All of this is pending on a few variables, but we're very excited and very hopeful that we can provide this on the timeline.
Memberships to the fitness centers will start at 10:00 AM on Friday. So if you're looking to purchase your membership-- I know some of you may have purchased it before. Some things changed a little. But be looking for that to pop up because there are changes, and you will need to change to a separate membership. You should have not been charged for the other one.
Some safety measures in the fitness centers-- we've updated our HVAC systems, adjusted capacity so that our equipment is anywhere between 8 and 12 feet apart, and added additional cleaning stations for our members to use. We're also looking forward to, once our seven-week PE sessions end, offering more additional group fitness classes that will be outside and continuing some of those PE activities more on a drop-in basis.
The sand volleyball courts, for those of you that are excited to get back on the court, will open tonight. The nets are up, and you're ready to go. Remember, nets are two v. two on each one. You must have your mask and be social distancing. So please follow those instructions. I know it can be challenging sometimes, but we want to keep those nets up.
Intramural Sports will be offering more in-person activities. You can check out their website. We will still be continuing to offer the virtual activities, but we'll be offering more canned games, such as cornhole, Kan Jam, ladder golf, bocce. Look for those, because we're very excited to have some stuff on Jessup Field to be able to get you outside and enjoy the outdoors while we still have some good weather.
Sign-ups for those will begin tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM on IM Leagues. You can see those at the intramural website in the chat. And they'll continue to run open through October 7. So check it out. Things begin on October 12 through November 13.
Equipment, with our intramural staff, will all be sanitized between each use. Everybody will be distanced and monitored by the intramural staff, and masks will be required for all activities.
Please check out-- we still have all of our virtual activities. Our virtual fitness classes are ongoing, if you have that membership. We have the virtual intramural programs as well. And we do have our virtual plan your own fitness or virtual library where you can pop on, check out a fitness class, and all of that is free.
Again, feel free to reach out to any of my team or myself if you have any questions. Check out the fitness center's website, the recreation website. And we're very excited to be able to offer students some additional recreation programs. I'm going to pass it on to Jenny now. And thank you all very much.
JENNY LOEFFELMAN: Thank you, Jen. Lots of exciting things going on in the rec space. So thank you and all your team for pulling it together. I have been asked a variety of questions, everything from how we're going to do events on campus to when field space is going to be open to how are we going to make sure all students vote to what about Greek life?
And so in these last six minutes or so, I'm going to try to give you as much information as I can and will dump a lot of links into the chat. So bear with me as I cruise through some of this stuff for all of you.
As Jen said, we're very excited to be able to open Jessup Field up for club sports and club activities. Please just make sure, for all the club sports that you register your club sport activity on Jessup Fields. We're popping that link into the chat right now. It all needs to be registered through CampusGroups.
Next week, we're excited to announce that our Spirit Week will begin. This Spirit Week is traditionally the week before Homecoming. And this year we are doing the same. We're doing a virtual Spirit Week, a couple smaller in-person events, but that will prep us for what we're calling this year StayHomecoming.
This will be an exciting week of events for alumni and students to engage with one another virtually, all kinds of events like trivia night, pumpkin carving, tie dye shirt making, virtual escape rooms, talent shows, and many other DIY events.
One of the big initiatives that we've had over this last few weeks, which everybody knows about, are our peer ambassadors. And during Spirit Week next week, our peer ambassadors are going to be giving out special masks in spirit tents all over campus from Monday to Thursday. So please make sure to look for them around campus. And we'll put the schedule of all the StayHomecoming events and Spirit Week events in the chat.
Families, I know that October is normally the time that we welcome you to campus. And unfortunately, this year we are not able to welcome you to campus physically due to safety measures. And so we are trying our best to bring Family Weekend to your home.
Over the next six weeks, we are offering a variety of webinars with important topics that we would normally cover when you come to campus. So involvement and engagement, housing for the second-year experience, sorority and fraternity life, and career exploration are just a few of the topics that we're going to cover in our Family Webinar Series.
We're excited to offer a family escape room. This will be an awesome opportunity for you and your students to connect together with other families and experience one of our Cornell created specific escape rooms. So we do have some activities for you all that family weekend as well.
We've received some questions about sorority and fraternity life. And we are planning for a spring virtual recruitment. Some of our chapters are doing fall virtual recruitment now for upper class students. First year students cannot join sororities and fraternities until the second semester. And so a lot more information will be coming to first-year students about sorority and fraternity life.
We do have a recruitment event called Sorority Recruitment Goes Live. It happens on November 2. And that is a traditional tabling fair. It will be virtual this year and a great way for students to get to know the sororities on our campus.
Similarly, our fraternities will do an event called Meet the Greeks. And that will also be a time for students to get to know our fraternity chapters on campus. Again, all recruitment events will be virtual in the spring, and more information will come on that.
The Greek website is a great place to go, the Sorority and Fraternity Life website. We'll put the link in the chat here. They will keep you updated on all events and registration information for both the sorority and fraternity recruitment processes and the intake processes.
Civic engagement over the next few weeks is going to be an important effort on campus to make sure all of our students know the importance of how to vote and when to vote and why to vote. Cornell Votes is the nonpartisan effort to promote voting on the Cornell campus.
We've been actively encouraging voting among all of our students and providing them with information on how to register to vote in the state of New York or by absentee ballot in their home state. Additionally, information about upcoming Cornell Votes events and how to register is available on our Cornell Votes website. That is also going into the chat.
We're working diligently to promote ways for first-year students to connect with each other. We know that this has been a different year. And it has been challenging for first year students to connect with one another without us having all of our main large campus events that we're normally able to have.
Our Tatkon Center has worked diligently over the last few weeks to make sure that there's plenty of programming for first-year students. So please make sure, if you're a first-year student or family member, that you check out our Tatkon Center programming on their website.
Last but certainly not least, we are hopeful, thanks to the extreme diligence of our students, that we will be able to open up our in-person events starting on Monday, October 5. All events will be for 10 people or less, which is a small start, but a very great way for students to connect with one another on campus.
All student organizations, Greek organizations, and service organizations will register your events through the same process. And that'll all be done through CampusGroups. And the link to create those events is going to be put in the chat now.
Room reservations will be reserved through the Chatter app. So the same app that students are using to reserve study space on campus will also be for small student organization event space. We're still determining if outdoor spaces can be reserved, so give us a little bit of time on that. We're trying to make some outdoor spaces available through reservations.
Also, please note that tabling will still not be permitted. So our traditional tabling that happens in Ho Plaza and around campus will still not be allowed in this phase of events.
More details will be sent through CampusGroups over the next couple days to prepare you for how to register your events. And just a quick reminder to not lose diligence as we do open up for some of these opportunities. You still need to maintain 6 feet of distance and wear a mask. But we're hopeful that some of these opportunities will allow for students to be able to connect more in person.
The event calendar on CampusGroups is filling up. We have over 2,000 events on CampusGroups right now, mostly virtual, but starting to see our in-person events for next week and after be registered. Don't forget to check the event calendar in CampusGroups. It's a great way to see everything that's going on on campus, how to get involved, organizations that you'd like to be involved in, and so much more. So thanks for letting me dump all that information on you, and I'll turn it back over to Ryan.
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks, Jenny. Yes, that was a lot of information, but it was very helpful. And it's very exciting right now that we're able to do this. And I'll mention to the parents who are on the Zoom, Jenny mentioned the escape room that's going to happen on Family Weekend. I will warn you, I've been known to make guest appearances in some of these escape rooms. So I'm not sure if Jenny will allow me to do that for Family Weekend, but I may try to do that.
These are really exciting changes to campus, and we're thrilled that we're able to start to do this for our students. But as I mentioned, and we've all mentioned repeatedly, we have to remain dedicated and diligent as we make these slight modifications.
I believe really strongly that in-person human connections are really an important part of our individual and collective well-being. So it's really critical that we stay focused so that we can continue to not only have these, but maybe even consider expanding them further as the semester goes on.
In-person connections are not the only way for students to foster their mental health and their own well-being. I would encourage them to think about other ways in which they're taking care of themselves. We've got some great resources on our Cornell Health website that they can check out.
And I do want to make sure that students and families are aware that we have a lot of support through Cornell Health, much of it is happening via telehealth and teletherapy. But we have just an amazing team of therapists and counselors that can engage with students if they need therapy.
But there's also a lot of other ways more informally in which students can take care of themselves. Amy mentioned some of these in her session, even having study group partners and some of those things. But we have group counseling. We have a Let's (Tele)Talk where students can drop in and speak with a counselor informally and not go into a full therapy session. Lots of good options there--
What's most important in all of it, though, is that students are finding a way that works for them to take care of themselves and also noticing if their peers need a little help, those that living around them. It's on all of us to show kindness and compassion and grace, especially during times like this that can be so stressful. So we really encourage students to do that.
As several people have mentioned, we've had a beautiful fall here in Ithaca. In fact, it's really just turning into fall. It's been kind of an extended summer for us. But it's still beautiful outside. And I know I see an awful lot of students out and taking advantage of that around campus, and that's really phenomenal.
We're a couple minutes after 5:00, so just a couple of last things that I'll say to wrap up. I would, again, draw your attention to the StayHomecoming and Spirit Week next week. These are really exciting programs. I was thrilled to see the schedule put together by our teams. And I really encourage our students and our families to engage in that.
I want to give a shout-out once again to our students for their support and for doing the right thing, and for our families for supporting them and putting your trust in us and the science-based approach that we've taken here at Cornell to try to make this semester a success. We're really hopeful that it can continue on.
It's moving quite quickly. If you did the math, until November 13, the end of in-person classes, that's only six and a half weeks away. So the semester is moving very, very quickly.
Finally, I just want to thank everybody who was able to join us today. I want to thank my outstanding colleagues. I've never seen people work as hard as we've worked over the last six or seven months. I think it was Amy that said, tired brains make for bad decisions.
I think all of our brains are pretty exhausted right now, but this team is still making incredibly good decisions. And I'm really proud to be affiliated with them. So I want to thank all of you. I want to thank our team behind the scenes today that's helping us out, as you've seen, with the technology and with the information in the chats.
Finally, I want to continue to send my good wishes to all of our viewers and remind you that if you missed some of this or want to re-watch any of this information-- I know it was a lot-- it will all be posted on the Updates page on our covid.cornell.edu website, which we are still updating on a regular basis and continues to be a great source of information for you. So with that, I want to wish everybody a great day, a healthy day, and all best wishes. Take care. Thank you.
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Note: The information shared in this video is accurate as of September 30, 2020 but continues to develop. Please visit covid.cornell.edu for current updates and for links to the most recent recordings.
Ryan Lombardi, Vice President for Student & Campus Life, moderates a forum to share updates on the fall semester so far and what to anticipate in the coming weeks. Panelists: Marla Love, Interim Dean of Students; Pat Wynn, Assistant Vice President, Student & Campus Life; Amy Godert, Director, Learning Strategies Center and Executive Director, Academic Student Success Programs; Jen Gudaz, Senior Associate Director of Athletics: Physical Education and Recreational Services; and Jenny Loeffelman, Assistant Vice President, Student & Campus Life.