As we move into the fall, CSI continues on a path toward slow campus re-entry. Over the weekend, we had the sobering news of the first two cases of essential personnel on campus who had tested positive for COVID-19. This is a signal that, although campus occupancy remains low, we need to be vigilant in monitoring and tracing those with symptoms. Those in contact with the individuals have been notified to quarantine for two weeks, and the areas where the people worked have been deep cleaned over the weekend. Because of these new cases, we are holding off on expanding the number of people approved to come to campus for the time being, and will have to restrict campus visits on weekends. For the present time, work will have to be concluded by 3:00pm on Saturdays and we can’t allow access on Sundays.
As we remain in Phase 1 of campus re-entry, we are maintaining a cap of 450 staff, faculty, and students on campus any given day. Those coming to campus need to be approved in advance and must complete the Everbridge health screening application in order to gain entrance to campus.
Building 6S is fully functional, and hosting researchers, as well as students in Physical Therapy. Work continues on signage and HVAC in 5N and 5S, the other two buildings identified in the re-entry plan as highest priority, and those buildings are near the end stages of that preparation.
The co-chairs of the re-entry subcommittees met on Friday to receive updates and to formulate a strategy for the rest of the semester and beyond. Rather than regularly convening the entire committee, the subcommittees will meet monthly, as will the committee and subcommittee co-chairs. I will also continue to provide updates at least twice a month to Academic Affairs, or more often as new developments occur.
As President Fritz and I have indicated several times, we expect Spring 2021 to look very much like the current semester, with most instruction and campus business conducted online. We hope to continue to move ahead, preparing the campus for more extensive re-entry as budget and personnel are available to implement the necessary changes. However, a the two new cases, and the general trends toward increased COVID incidence in New York indicate, we need to continue to be cautious, individually and as a campus.
By Michael Parrish