ITHACA, N.Y. –– In a letter to the campus community Monday, Ithaca College President Shirley Collado announced classes will begin, in-person, on Oct. 5, 2020.

“This is a major decision for our IC family, one that aligns with our ongoing, deliberate, and methodical decision-making process throughout this public health crisis. We are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our college and local communities while being nimble and responsive,” Collado said in her letter.  

The president said college administrators will continue to monitor guidance and regulations provided at the state and local level, and that leadership continues to engage in reopening meetings with Tompkins County officials, the county health department, and leaders within the local medical community.

“Our thinking around our October opening has also been informed by recommendations from select national and state organizations and groups including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, and Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York, and the state’s New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board as well as its Restart Plan for Higher Education Task Force,” Collado said. 

As they approach reopening, Ithaca College has created the Return to Campus Task Force which will be charged with ensuring that appropriate health and safety guidelines are incorporated into college operations moving forward.

The Academic Success and Student Engagement Coordinating Committee, headed up by the Provost’s office will also be working in the coming months to plan for the academic side of things –– working out measures to ensure student success and engagement in the coming school year. Approaching the Oct. 5 opening date, the Academic Success and Student Engagement Coordinating Committee will be charged with adjusting the academic calendar, along with other logistics. IC plans to have a full academic year, just with a delayed start.

IC’s announcement comes at a time when colleges and universities across the country are evaluating their plans for the fall semester. Collado said deciding to delay their reopening until October will provide faculty with the opportunity to better prepare the “educational experience” for students, and for staff to put solid plans in place for emergency health and safety management.

“As time passes, I know that other institutions and schools may announce that they are planning to open the fall semester sooner than we are. But by putting a stake in the ground—right now—for an October 5 start at Ithaca College, we are intentionally delivering necessary time for all of us to plan, prepare, and thoughtfully align toward a common goal as this public health crisis continues to evolve,” Collado said. 

Collado said that more information regarding their reopening will be announced this week, and during an All-Staff Gathering later today. Additionally, an All-Faculty Gathering is scheduled for Wednesday. IC is also planning to hold a few virtual student gatherings to focus on a move-out plan and discuss the new academic year.

As for athletic programs going into the fall, Collado said the athletics department staff, sports medicine staff, and the director of medicine for IC are working to determine a plan and process to re-engage in intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports, and that IC will continue to follow NCAA, NATA, and Liberty League guidelines.

“Ithaca College has weathered many storms since we began as a small music conservatory in 1892, and survival in the face of significant challenge is in the DNA of this place. Throughout this particular storm, our community has continued to demonstrate creativity, grit, and solidarity as we’ve pushed forward and continued to serve our students. It’s this type of innovative, student-centered approach that makes us so distinctive as an academic institution,” Collado said at the end of her letter. “I look forward to seeing you all back on South Hill soon.”

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com