Human Ecology leadership keeps the college community updated with the latest COVID-19 updates and announcements through email and other communications.

Some of these are compiled below.

Updates

Message from Dean Rachel Dunifon

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, Provost Kotlikoff sent a message to all Ithaca and Geneva campus faculty, staff and graduate students regarding critical health and safety requirements for on-campus activities. I am writing to underscore the importance of compliance with these measures within the College of Human Ecology, and to share information about our ongoing process of carefully restarting some of our operations.
 
I urge you to re-read the entirety of the Provost’s message, paying special attention to the face covering and physical distancing guidelines that are required throughout the Cornell campus and in all related facilities. I also want to remind you that only those faculty, staff and students who have been authorized to work or to conduct approved activities on campus are permitted in university buildings, and they must complete the Daily Check each day before arriving on campus or accessing campus facilities. If you believe that you have been approved to work or to conduct research on campus but have not received an email from HR with details on how to access the Daily Check application, please contact your department chair or supervisor before reporting to campus. And please note that even if you are cleared to return to work but you are able to work remotely, you should continue to do so. 
 
In the College of Human Ecology, all requests to work onsite must be submitted through this portal
https://launch.cals.cornell.edu/reactivation/plan/new.  Proposals for academic work that requires, or is markedly enhanced by, use of university facilities may be submitted using this portal.  In order to ensure social distancing and to meet the density guidelines, those seeking work on site should propose to do so on a limited schedule (limited hours per day and days per week).  To facilitate our return to MVR, the ability to accommodate faculty and staff in all surge locations and the newly renovated area of MVR Hall is limited at this time.  This limit will be relaxed as the move back in is completed and as restrictions on the density allowed in our buildings loosen.
 
Additionally, human participant research is now permitted, following these guidelines.  Proposals for human participant research should be submitted through the portal; there is a box to click (part of Question 2) indicating that your proposal involves human participants.  Before submitting a proposal involving human participant research, please check with your chair or director who will share with you to some specific topics you may need to address via the portal.
 
As we gradually reactivate our campus, each of us has a critical role to play in ensuring that health and safety guidelines are followed – by modeling positive behaviors in our daily lives, and through ongoing, peer-to-peer reinforcement from department chairs, supervisors and colleagues. Following these guidelines is not optional: all community members – students, faculty and staff – must abide by the rules. Please pay close attention to the public health messages that you receive in the coming weeks and months. I also encourage you to review the health and safety information that is updated frequently on the university’s COVID-19 and reactivation planning website
 
Thank you for doing your part to uphold these expectations.
 
Sincerely,
Rachel

Rachel Dunifon
Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University

Message from Dean Rachel Dunifon

Dear Colleagues,

As we continue the exciting and complex process of carefully reactivating our Ithaca campus, each day brings a new announcement or development. I am sure you are feeling inundated by emails and messages, and I am sorry to contribute to that. At the same time, I do hope you will read this rather long message, as it contains some very important information.

Today marks my first day as the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology. I am honored to take on this role and so grateful for the opportunity to work with all of you. We have some exciting times ahead of us. Right now, we are necessarily focused on immediate tasks related to the pandemic. Going forward, I look forward to bringing our community together to think about and plan for the longer-run success and impact of the College.

Fall teaching

As President Pollack announced yesterday, Cornell will welcome students back for an in-person semester with hybrid teaching in the fall. As noted in her message, the path to welcoming students back in the fall is both exciting and complicated. I encourage you to take part in the upcoming town hall meetings to learn and share additional information as we work together to prepare for the fall. Those of you who are scheduled to teach in the fall will soon receive requests for important information about your classes. Please respond to those requests as quickly as you can. Your input will be critical in planning our fall teaching.  

Campus reactivation and construction update

Additionally, as noted in the recent message by Provost Kotlikoff and  Vice President Opperman, the Southern Tier of New York state has now been cleared for Phase Four reopening. This is great news and a testament to our collective commitment to public health and adherence to social distancing. All work that can be done remotely should continue to be done remotely.  At the same time, academic work that requires, or is markedly enhanced by, use of university facilities is possible under guidance provided by Cornell’s reactivation plan. As some begin to return to our buildings, we must adhere to Cornell’s guidelines regarding social distancing and wearing masks. We play an important role in modeling this behavior for our students when they return to campus.

In other wonderful news, the renovation of the interior of MVR Hall is complete. The interior spaces have been turned over to us, and work on the south side courtyard will continue through early fall. We are now ready to begin moving back into our newly renovated spaces.  The move back into MVR Hall will begin in early July, and we expect to complete the majority of this move by the end of August. (Specific plans for each unit will be communicated to each unit’s move-in lead.) I am so excited to celebrate and inhabit these new spaces with all of you.  

Importantly, we must ensure that the capacity of our buildings does not exceed 50% at this time. Given the need for movers, furniture installers, IT staff, and others to work in our buildings to facilitate our return to MVR, the ability to accommodate faculty and staff in all surge locations and the newly renovated area of MVR Hall is limited at this time. This constraint will be relaxed as the move back in is completed and as restrictions on the density allowed in our buildings loosen.

Those whose offices are not in the newly renovated areas of MVR Hall and whose academic work requires or is markedly enhanced by being on site may submit a proposal to work on campus via a tool that is currently being developed and will be shared with you soon. I encourage those seeking approval for this type of work to discuss with their chairs or directors first. In order to ensure social distancing and to meet the density guidelines, those seeking to work on campus should propose to do so on a limited schedule (limited hours per day and days per week.)  No one should work on site until they have submitted a proposal to do so and that proposal has been approved.

Finally, human participant research is not permitted at this time. I will share an update with you regarding the plans for our important work in this area shortly.

Thank you all for your patience, flexibility and commitment. While we are not there yet, it is so exciting and hopeful to think about the resumption of some activities on campus, the return of students in the fall, and the beautiful new spaces in which we will all eventually gather.

Rachel

Rachel Dunifon
Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University

Message from Dean Rachel Dunifon

Dear College of Human Ecology faculty and staff,

As the Cornell community moves toward a possible reopening of the Ithaca campus in the fall, a critical element of the process will be COVID-19 testing of members of our community. To this end, the College of Human Ecology (CHE), the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) are partnering with Cayuga Health to run an on-campus pilot program offering the COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) test to our SUNY contract college employees at Bartels Hall on Thursday, June 18, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The purpose of this pilot testing program is to establish a baseline prevalence of the virus on the Ithaca campus and to understand the University’s ability to test at scale. This is an opportunity to advance our ability to protect our community while also providing testing opportunities to individual employees. With the goal of testing approximately 750 of our faculty and staff across CHE, CALS and ILR, this will be Cayuga Health’s largest collection day at a remote location. 

The College of Veterinary medicine ran a similar pilot two weeks ago, where they successfully tested over 300 of their on-campus employees. Together, the four SUNY contract colleges at Cornell are helping to establish an Ithaca campus testing process that will make the Cornell community safer upon our eventual reopening.

Your participation will be an important step in maintaining public health, and we truly appreciate your willingness to be tested. Register using this link to the Cayuga Health COVID Registration Form (Web Application) For your convenience, step-by-step instructions are provided in an online FAQ developed for our communities. You must select your employer/college to be able to access the schedule for Bartels Hall.

All testing is voluntary, and there is no out-of-pocket expense or co-pays. The test, which involves a nasal swab, is relatively quick, with each appointment taking no longer than 15 minutes. The results should be available within 24-36 hours after your appointment. Negative results are provided in the online patient portal (mycayugahealth.cayugamed.org). Information about signing up is provided at the time of sampling. Individuals with positive results will be called by Cayuga Medical Center for re-sampling to assure a valid positive result exists. Should the re-sample yield a second positive result, the individual will be called directly by the health department of the county in which they reside and will be given instructions on quarantining and other next steps.

If you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned that you have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive patient, do not wait for this program to commence. Rather, you should seek testing at the Cayuga Health testing site located at the Shops at Ithaca Mall. For information about how to register and access the testing site, please go to cayugahealthsystem.org/.

Cayuga Health is a partner of the Tompkins County Health Department and is the lead provider of COVID-19 testing in the region, having conducted over 25,000 tests to date. The staff are experienced, compassionate and supportive and have conducted similar sampling of residents and staff at most nursing homes in the region. 

The online FAQ is designed for your convenience. If you have further questions or need assistance, please contact hecommunications@cornell.edu . 

Thank you!

Rachel

Rachel Dunifon
Interim Dean
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University

Message from Dean Rachel Dunifon

Dear College of Human Ecology community,

Today I write to provide some additional details regarding the ways in which we are working to prepare for and mitigate the potential financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to historic levels of disruption in the U.S. economy and has dramatically changed the way in which we all carry out our work, including most notably our shift to remote teaching and the de-densification of our campus.

These changes have numerous and substantial implications for the finances of the university and the College of Human Ecology, including increased financial aid obligations, loss of tuition and housing revenue, and decreased philanthropy, among others. 

The March 30 memo from Provost Kotlikoff and Vice President DeStefano describes the steps that Cornell is taking to meet the financial challenges posed by COVID-19.  These important actions (hiring freeze, salary freeze, and voluntary salary reductions, for example), while important, will not fully mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19. 

More recently, Provost Kotlikoff sent all faculty a message providing guidance on the use of discretionary funds. This message clarifies that control over faculty managed accounts is not changing. At the same time, given this very challenging financial situation, we all must be extremely prudent in our spending. All expenditures, from accounts at the faculty, departmental, college, or other levels, must be undertaken very cautiously and conservatively in order to prepare for the possibility of constrained resources in the future.

President Pollack’s recent statement outlined guiding principles that inform the decisions we now must make to preserve Cornell’s strength going forward.  Consistent with President’s Pollack’s commitment to Cornell’s future as a world-class academic institution, activities relating to our core academic mission may continue, albeit prudently. Permitted activities include travel to present at conferences or to conduct research (when travel is again safe).  However, other activities must be curtailed. Expenditures not permitted at this time include seminar series, meals and events, and travel not related to our core academic mission, among others. Your departmental or unit leader has information about how we are handling specific situations, and I encourage you approach them with any questions you might have.

I also want to highlight that several new sources of funding have recently become available to support research related to COVID-19:

https://researchservices.cornell.edu/resources/ovpr-sars-cov-2-seed-grants

http://socialsciences.cornell.edu/covid-19-grants/

http://www.atkinson.cornell.edu/grants/rrf.php

Finally, at the college level, I am reviewing all expenditures with an eye towards savings. By working together, I am confident that we will emerge from this unprecedented time with our priorities intact and commitment to our mission as strong as ever.

Thank you for your continued dedication and our work together.

Rachel

Rachel Dunifon
Interim Dean
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University

Message from Dean Rachel Dunifon

Dear College of Human Ecology Community,

An essential part of the “social distancing” that we all must undertake is reducing the density of people in our buildings.  As previous communications have noted, undergraduate and professional degree students should not be in our buildings during this time. 

In order to ensure that only those who are permitted to work in our buildings have access to our space, effective 12:01 am Friday, March 20TH, your Cornell ID card is required to access all CHE buildings and internal suites, at all times.

This will impact MVR, HEB, Savage, Kinzelberg, ASA, ASB, Beebe, Thornwood.

Faculty who have space in Weill, Biotech, Kennedy, and in ILR will be informed of any changes through CALS or ILR respectively.  CIPA space in Caldwell is not impacted by this.

Access to all CHE building exterior doors is regularly maintained through a database of our faculty, staff and students.  The buildings normally unlock for normal hours, and after hours have always been by ID only.  Now, you must use your Cornell ID card for all access for all times even during “normal” hours.

Undergraduate students will be removed from this list effective 12:01 am 3/20/20, and professional masters students removed 12:01 am 3/29/20.

All others will retain ID access to CHE buildings until further notice.  Regular classroom and conference room spaces have been cleaned and locked; labs, studios and other faculty spaces remain accessible with your ID has they have been before.  Please keep in mind the University directive that all who can work remotely do so, and the recent University requirements severely limiting work in labs and other research spaces.  Due to these policies, we expect that very few people will be accessing the building.

It is likely that there will be some errors with this process, and there may be cases in which someone’s ID may not work properly.  CHE will maintain limited facilities and IT staff on site M-Th, 7 am – 5 pm, Friday 7 am – 3 pm. Dial 607.255.2200 for assistance with building access (we will post these on doors as well).  Please direct any questions about this to Kristine Mahoney, Director of Facilities at 607.255.6128 and km285@cornell.edu.

Thank you as always for your cooperation and understanding,

Rachel

Rachel Dunifon
Interim Dean
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University