TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden is moving to fully remote instruction for one week after a spike in COVID-19 cases among the campus community, starting Monday, Nov. 9 and currently scheduled to end on Sunday, Nov. 15.

The move comes in response to 11 new positive coronavirus cases among TC3 students, nine of which are commuter students and two students who live on campus. No staff or faculty currently have COVID-19.

“This is out of an abundance of caution to allow for thorough and safe contact tracing after a new COVID cluster was discovered this weekend in the campus community, identified through our on-campus testing held on Nov. 6 and 7,” the school announced. “The move to remote will allow the health departments time to complete on-going contact tracing and contact any parties involved. The college’s goal is to continue in-class instruction on Nov. 16, but only when it can be certain that our campus community is safe and healthy. The college intends to move to a model of greatly reduced density after the Thanksgiving Break.

Additionally, the school said that 11 faculty and staff members and 70 students have been ordered into mandatory quarantine as a result of classroom exposures to one or more of the students who tested positive. Seventeen of the 70 quarantining students are being housed on campus in residence halls.

“It is important to note that while they were on our campus, the students followed all of our COVID-19 safety protocols, but given the rise in cases and the connection to a local cluster both Health Departments have mandated these quarantines,” the school announced.

TC3 also emphasized that they have not been mandated to go to remote instruction by the state, county health department or the SUNY system. Surveillance testing for Nov. 9 and 10 has been canceled; the school is offering testing the following week, from Nov. 16-19. The fitness center is closed for the time being, and open recreation and athletic practices are being put “on pause.”

New York is in the midst of another wave of the coronavirus, with the statewide positive testing rate and hospitalizations once again climbing, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com