Cornell University closes facilities to students as COVID cases rise

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As the number of Cornell students infected with COVID-19 reached 469 on Monday afternoon, the university announced in a message to the campus community immediate measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, including moving to exams. online finals.

As the university is in the midst of finals, which began on Saturday and was due to end Dec. 18, the transition is sure to leave students and educators in some disarray as they seek to complete the semester.

The move to online finals is one of several steps the university has taken as it raised its alert level to red. Cornell also closed libraries, fitness centers and gymnasiums and canceled its recognition ceremony for December graduates and sports competitions scheduled for Sunday.

Offices and labs remain open, but undergraduate students are asked not to participate in co-op studies or lab work.

“While I want to reassure that to date we have not seen any serious illness in any of our infected students, we have a role to play in reducing the spread of the disease in the wider community,” said Cornell President Martha Pollack. in the ad.

Students wishing to leave campus are advised to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling.

Cornell recently announced preliminary evidence of the omicron variant on campus.

“PCR testing identified their hallmark (the so-called S gene dropout) in a significant number of virus samples,” Pollack said. “Although we must wait for confirmatory sequencing information to be sure the source is Omicron, we are proceeding as if it is.”

The message says visitors and guests are not allowed on the college campus, except for those picking up students for breaks. These visitors are asked to remain masked at all times for a short period on campus.

“It’s obviously extremely disheartening to have to take these steps,” Pollack said. “However, since the start of the pandemic, our commitment has been to follow the science and do everything we can to protect the health of our faculty, staff and students.”

Pollack continued, “We’ve taken on many challenges together over the past few months. I’m confident we can rise to the current challenge again so we can all take a well-deserved break.”

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