ITHACA, N.Y.—Hoping that it’s past the COVID-19 spike that saw hundreds of students test positive in the first few weeks of their semester in Ithaca, Cornell University reduced its coronavirus alert level and has restarted its popular Campus-2-Campus bus service to New York City.

Cornell announced the reduction of its alert level on Friday. New positive case numbers have leveled off since about Sept. 5, when the school’s testing regimen was still producing about 25 cases or more every day. Now that number has fallen to single digits each day, though there are still consistently positive cases. The school has maintained, basically since school began, that the vast majority of cases, which were taking place largely among vaccinated students, were asymptomatic and that at last update no students had been hospitalized with COVID-19.

In reaction to a slew of cases at the end of August, Cornell announced the heightening of its alert level to yellow, which carries with it the possibilty of density restrictions, and essentially means that the positive test rate has exceeded Cornell’s internal modeling. The situation has played out similar to how last year’s start of classes went, with an initial spike leading to a brief heightening of the COVID spread alert level, then another lessening of restrictions in mid-September after cases slowed.

The C2C bus service has been shut down since spring 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic sent all students home and intercity bus travel was nearly universally stopped. Passengers must either be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or the results of a negative PCR, rapid PCR or NAAT test collected within 72 hours of the ride, or a negative antigen test within six hours of boarding.

Masks are required for the duration of the trips. More information can be found here.

Matt Butler

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