Semester Opens with COVID Testing and New Safety Protocols in Place
Following the COVID testing of 275 faculty, staff, and students – including all the students living on campus - Tompkins Cortland Community College started the semester on Monday, August 31. The testing was a key component of new protocols in place to ensure safety for faculty, staff, and students that come to campus. Testing was held on three different days and resulted in just one positive. No students who live on campus tested positive. The person with the positive result was asymptomatic and would not have known they were positive if not for the testing. That person is now following health department guidance at their off-campus residence.
“One of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to identify positive cases through testing, followed by isolation of positive cases and quarantine of close contacts,“ said Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “The Health Department uses test results to run contact investigations. We’ve seen many of our positive cases in Tompkins County show up as asymptomatic individuals. TC3’s testing protocols are designed to help identify positives, even if they’re asymptomatic. Along with thorough testing, people should still be wearing a face covering and keeping six feet of distance from one another.”
Among the changes the College had made due to the pandemic is a dramatic lowering of the density of people on campus. Only 38 percent of classes are being held in-person. The faculty and administration worked together so that Fall 2020 classes were structured to provide maximum flexibility for students and to offer multi-section courses with both in-person and remote options. The College has also created a “Quaranteam” of professionals on campus prepared to provide all the services needed should a student be required to quarantine on campus.
“Our goal this semester is to strike the right balance between protecting the safety of our faculty, staff, and students and providing a flexible and high quality learning experience,” said President Orinthia Montague. “We are thankful to have had the support of our other local higher educational institutions, the SUNY system, the Tompkins County Health Department, and Cayuga Health Systems to ensure a smooth and safe restart to our semester.”