A public health plea

March 15, 2020

Dear Cornellians,

This has been a really hard week. The impact of this global health pandemic on Cornell and each of us has taken its toll. We’re making our way through unchartered waters together, and we’re all doing the very best we can.

I want to once again strongly encourage each of you that is able to leave Ithaca to do so as soon as possible. There is a possibility that domestic travel may soon be restricted by the federal government, so even if you have plans to leave in another week it might not be possible to do so. I must underscore that unless you received an exemption to live in on-campus housing, you will have extremely limited in-person access to university facilities and services.

In addition, I want to address a related matter of great concern. Some students – particularly those living off campus in Collegetown – have chosen to use the suspension of classes to host or attend large parties. I assume the very best intent here: you want to salvage a little of your senior spring, say goodbye to friends, or just let off some steam. But please understand – hosting or attending a large party is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing in this moment. There are many Cornellians and community members who are particularly vulnerable to this rapidly spreading virus. We are a small town that has a limited capacity to care for all of those who could be impacted should the virus continue to spread locally.

Please reconsider your plans and follow the clear advice of public health experts: practice social distancing. This is not the time for one last party. The only way we will “flatten the curve” in New York and the U.S. is if we take a highly disciplined approach that prioritizes the needs of our broader community over our own individual interests.

Should you choose to disregard or laugh off this plea, you will be demonstrating behavior that is inconsistent with Cornell’s community standards. Your choices in this moment will make a difference. Please do the right thing.

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life