(Photo of Cornell's Arts Quad, courtesy of the university)

ITHACA, N.Y.—At least one Cornell University academic program, the Master’s of Business Administration graduate program, will convert to virtual learning for at least one week, starting immediately. The move is in response to 63 positive COVID-19 tests over the last three days among students, “most of which” have come from MBA grad students according to the school’s announcement. MBA students are also asked to remain indoors at their residences except for testing and food.

The school pointed the blame at two St. Patrick’s Day parties last week where “large numbers of MBA students did not adhere to the critical masking and social-distancing measures that are required by the Behavioral Compact.”

“In an effort to contain this outbreak, the Johnson School MBA program will move to an all-virtual modality for at least one week, effective immediately,” the school announced. “In addition, all MBA students will be expected to stay in their residences (and leave only for food and testing), get tested every other day, and cooperate fully with contact tracing and isolation/quarantine directives. Moreover, we are working to facilitate surveillance testing for non-Cornellians who live in an off-campus residential complex where many of our MBA students also live.”

The school noted additionally that it would be punishing students found to be in violation of the Behavioral Compact, though they did not specify if any students have been punished in connection to the MBA outbreak.

“We understand, and appreciate, that our MBA students are cooperating with our public health teams as they work to stave off any further spread from this outbreak to others in our campus community,” the school stated. “We all know what needs to be done; the behavioral expectations that are in place continue to be essential to protect us all, but particularly the most vulnerable in our community. We must all do our part to continue following them – for our own sakes and for the sake of our fellow Cornellians and of the greater community.”

The Ithaca Voice is awaiting confirmation that the MBA program is the only academic program going virtual currently, and how the program will be evaluated in a week to return to in-person learning.

Matt Butler

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