Monday, June 5, 2023
HomeSchoolsCornell Moves to ‘Red Alert’ Amidst Omicron Surge

Cornell Moves to ‘Red Alert’ Amidst Omicron Surge


Cornell University announced Tuesday that it is shutting down its Ithaca, New York campus after several students tested positive for the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Ivy League school moved to “Alert Level Red” (signifying high risk) after the testing lab found the new variant in “a significant number of positive student samples.” As of Monday, the Ivy League school reported 883 active COVID cases, out of which 276 were new positive tests. 

All university activities have been suspended, including a recognition ceremony for fall graduates this week. All classes and final exams will be conducted online. 

Vice President Joel Malina told NPR that the university followed a “science-based approach” to COVID-related decision-making. 

“Virtually every case of the Omicron variant to date has been found in fully vaccinated students, a portion of whom had also received a booster shot. We have not seen evidence of significant disease in our students to date,” Malina said,

What it Means

The university is allowing students who have tested negative within 48 hours to leave campus for winter break. Those who tested positive will need to complete a 10-day isolation period at their residence in Ithaca.

The school has also closed libraries, all sports, and fitness centers. Only labs and offices are open, although they are inaccessible to undergraduates.

Cornell follows an “aggressive testing plan” and a mask mandate for faculty, staff, and the student community. Following the latest surge, the school has asked visitors and guests accompanying students for their winter break to also “remain continuously masked.”

“It is obviously extremely dispiriting to have to take these steps,” President Martha Pollack wrote in a letter to the student body. “However, since the start of the pandemic, our commitment has been to follow the science and do all we can to protect the health of our faculty, staff, and students.”

You Might Also Like

Latest Posts

How to Apply for College in 9 Simple Steps

"Discover the nine steps that can boost your chances of getting accepted into your dream school, and before you know it, you'll know how to apply for college, be strolling across the quad, ready to conquer the world!"

These Are the 10 Degrees With the Highest Dropout Rates

Check out the college degrees with the highest dropout rates before you find yourself in thousands of debt stuck with a major you dislike.

The 14 Best US Winter Sports Colleges: Your Guide to Hit the Slopes

If you're looking to combine your love of adrenaline-filled snow sports with a top-tier education, finding the best winter sports colleges is a must.