Follow Up COVID-19 Staff Forum | Questions

Follow Up COVID-19 Staff Forum
March 25, 2020


  1. When making decisions regarding summer programs, will decisions be made as a whole university or can each program decide what can happen if the campus is open?
  2. What are Cornell's current plans for summer sessions? If classes were still not possible to be held in person at the time, would Cornell consider offering online summer classes?
  3. Students have valid concerns about implications about our current S/U situation. Some of these concerns are regarding the fairness of access to resources, learning/extra accommodation settings, and how law and med schools are going to treat this semester’s grades.
  4. Harvard and Columbia have mandated a pass/fail a forced option for all classes in attempt to alleviate some of these concerns.
  5. Is Cornell thinking about this decision and the opportunities it may be creating, or more importantly, removing by having both grading and S/U options for the remainder of the semester?
  6. Should departments or units be saving some % of their budget for University related COVID-19 expenses?
  7. What precautions are in place for keeping our staff at Cornell Health safe?  Assuming they have surgical masks, gloves, gowns, etc.?
  8. Can you say, in general terms, where the positive cases within the community were located?
  9. Several units have discussed mental health and the need for NatureRx. There seems to be a collective thought that getting outside is important and the botanic gardens has been highlighted as a way to do so. With increased traffic at the gardens there's a need to have staff on hand to protect the collections, address hazard concerns for guests, etc. How are we addressing those staff members safety (e.g. social distancing)?
  10. How many exemptions are being made for faculty and staff to return for instruction?
  11. We currently see 18 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Tompkins County.  Can you speak to the impact on the CU community?
  12. I am wondering if the University has any plans to encourage people to self-disclose if they get corona virus. I know that is a stretch for individuals but given HIPPA, what else do we have.  If it became socially acceptable and people were supportive, it might help us.
  13. I know someone in Ithaca who has been waiting 10 days for the results of a covid-19 test. The person was sick, but now feels better. What is the best medical information now on whether a person like this could still be contagious?  (And it is a bummer that it is taking so long to get test results.)
  14. Faculty, staff, and students have had to make abrupt changes in how we learn, work, and communicate with one another. I commend all Cornellians on responding in such a quick and responsible way.
  15. As we look to the future, it is not out of the realm of possibility that something like this will happen again. Are we monitoring the changes we are making in how we work, teach, and learn, to identify best practices in order to make our work and learning more flexible to situations like this? If possible, can you provide an example of one thing that we might consider adopting in order to make life less disruptive to the educational experience in the future?
  16. I am hearing rumors that public safety/law Enforcement is, or will be, setting up roadblocks to make sure that people on the road are actually going to/from "Essential work."  If that IS the case, will the university be issuing letters/passes for such Essential staff who are coming to campus?
  17. If the US President makes some type of “go back to work “ decree, that the State and medical experts do not support, will be continue to make our own social distancing decisions.
  18. President Trump has indicated that he expects that we will have turned the corner and be ready to go back to work by Easter. How would that impact Cornell?
  19. What does the federal government guidance for individuals who have recently been to New York City to self-quarantine mean for our community in Ithaca, Geneva, NYC and other parts of the state?
  20. What is the current plan for when a member of Essential staff tests positive for COVID-19? How will we isolate many members of an Essential department at the same time?
  21. Are you monitoring counties bordering Tompkins as many employees live and commute from outside of Tompkins?
  22. Of the 18 cases in Tompkins County, are you able to share with us how many required an ICU  bed and /or a respirator?
  23. For those who are working on Essential tasks and making the hard decisions (I'm thinking of Facilities, CIT, HR, executives but I'm sure others) are we making sure that they get some time off to rest and recharge? We are all relying so heavily on them, but we also don't want them to burn out and have stressed immune systems during this time.
  24. What advice or message would Cornell Health or the Administration like to give Essential staff who are coming in to campus to work, to ensure their safety and well-being?
  25. Many of us (Cornell employees) also have loved ones working in the "Essential" industries particularly as contractors/sub-contractors who are also on the front lines and may be having difficulty obtaining PPE.  What if anything is the Cornell community doing to assist them in remaining safe/protected while they must continue working?
  26. Hi All, thanks for this.  I am wondering how we can highlight the important work of our Essential staff?  Near and dear to my heart of course is our Res Life staff. Living in the halls with the students on campus and supporting them through this ongoing move out and caring for the students that are staying.
  27. some of my staff are considered "Essential."  However, we do not have some of the Essential resources such as hand sanitizer, Chlorox wipes, etc., as we have been told these items are exhausted.  How can I maintain Essential staff without such items?
  28. For Essential staff will they get any kind of additional compensation for coming to work as there are staff that is getting paid to stay home while others are putting themselves at risk by coming in.
  29. As a UAW Zone Representative at Cornell I am fielding concerns from many staff within my zone (CALS, Grounds and other outlying areas).  Many of us are considered Essential employees and must interact with potentially contaminated surfaces.  How can we get disinfecting supplies to have with us as we move about the University?  Supervisors have been unable to help.
  30. Where can Essential staff obtain hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes?  We are unable to find and purchase them, and have not been provided any centrally by the University.
  31. What about testing for the Essential employees  - Dining, Housing & Residential Life, Building Care - who remain working on campus with students?
  32. how has cornell decided what employees are Essential vs. non-Essential?
  33. The email from Provost Kotlikoff seemed to run counter to the information NY State is putting out about Essential services. Kotlikoff's email says that education is an Essential service, but it is not listed by New York State as such. Are faculty, and the staff necessary to directly support them in person, considered "Essential services" per Governor Cuomo's executive order for all non-Essential workers to stay away from the workplace?
  34. How do you plan on swapping out the Essential personell such as law Enforcement and will then be compensated while "swapped out?"
  35. What will this mean for uaw dining workers?  will any of the units that were deemed Essential still remain open thru the end of the semester?
  36. What if the employee is deemed Essential, they have to use there hap time, what time will they be able to get if they dont feel comfortable being here due to comprised immune systems and run out of the hap time
  37. With Covid-19 symptoms not appearing until up to 14 days, why are so many Cornell employees having their lives and their family members' lives put at risk by being deemed Essential?  Many don't have the financial stability to refuse the work and, thus, use up their HAP time.  Some employees are saying that it's because they are thought of as "expendable."
  38. Question for Rick Burgess:  Will guidelines be forthcoming for Building Coordinators regarding what is expected/allowed during the COVID-19 remote work period?  Thanks.
  39. Many have business processes that rely on US mail. While I understand that issues related to the delivery of US mail have been settled (thank you!), is there a plan for central delivery for FedEx or other express mail deliveries.
  40. We have heard varying reports about whether we can get into a campus building to pick something up. Can you provide clarity?
  41. where can Essential staff get hand sanitizers and/or disinfectant wipes?
  42. Are staff allowed to come to campus to deal with the USPS mail and any package delivery?
  43. Will important campus infrastucture construction continue as scheduled or even sooner?  Seems like a great time to get work done now, while our population is down.   Many construction workers in some trades have been laid off all winter, and are eager to get to work.
  44. Is the policy still that outside contractors are allowed on campus to complete prior defined work? I am operating under the assumption that I can continue with (2) outside contractors next week...
  45. Just a quick note about closing buildings.  I have gone through the law school and turned off all the lights throughout the building.  With the library in the building there were at least 1/2 of them still on.
  46. Other than break-fix work and work to support remote teaching and remote work, is there work can that Shops and CIT Technicians perform on campus?
  47. Is it up to individual units or Cornell central services to provide sanitizing spray, wipes, etc for day to day use by Essential employees who are reporting to work on campus? What do we do if our units can't source these supplies?
  48. Will there be guidance issued in relation to staff going to their office to check mail, deposit checks etc.. during this time the Governor has asked us to Pause?
  49. With most staff and students away, is the University deep-cleaning the vacant areas of campus?
  50. Question for all: When we are able to return, will there be a lag so that some of the areas that are not ready, can be prepared and made ready by those who prepare the areas for occupancy. With the reduction of staff, there are some that would require preparation time to resume thier duties.
  51. With students and staff using certain areas of buildings across campus, how are those areas of campus being cleaned and santized
  52. Construction on campus remains.  Rick mentioned to have Cornell ID ready, but what about Contractors?  Do we have to provide a list to CUPD with active projects?
  53. Are there any plans to utilize dorm spaces as isolation spaces if the local hospitals get overwhelemed with capacity.
  54. When the day comes we can all go back to campus, will custodial care be able to go in the day before and make sure offices are clean for reoccupancy?  I worry primarily about dust buildup because I have a significant allergy, which is not an uncommon one.
  55. Thanks, you answered my question in your andswers to Todd Bittner and Emily Detrick.  Following up on your reccomendation, consider this as me elevating the concern.  We don't have disinfecting equipment and our management is unable to provide.  Please help!
  56. Hello, thanks for putting this together!
  57. This is not a question but I would like to say thank you to the Cornell Administration for doing their best to keep us employed. It is not easy but it is greatly appreciated and I feel fortunate that I have a job.
  59. We all want to recognize our IT folks, who are working feverishly to not only help faculty, staff, and students work from remote locations, but to get all of our classes and programs delivered digitally.  They work behind the scenes, but we could not do this without their tremendous support.
  60. Thank you all for this.  It's been so helpful!!  :)
  61. Thanks!
  62. Thank you everyone
  63. Does Cornell leadership anticipate any layoffs during this period
  64. Is there a hiring freeze at the University level?  We have a recruitment on hold per our college.
  65. Are there any discussions happening right now about redeploying staff to help with pressing needs now, hiring freezes or layoffs across the University?
  66. If an employee's work volume diminishes or vanishes due to the campus pause, will they still be paid? If time off balances are to be used, what if they are depleted?
  67. What about hiring freeze? I have couple of team members that are leaving their positions. On top of the health crisis, I have to worry about filling in for two more people.
  68. Is there a hiring freeze at the University level?  We have an educator recruitment on hold per our college.
  69. During the finacial crisis of 2008-09, employees seemed to take a  disproportionate share of the financial burden and there is a great deal of concern that that  will again happen as a result of the covid19 impact.
  70. If finances dictate cutting back, can we consider decreasing salaries across the board rather than laying off individuals? And decreasing hours worked per person?
  71. What recommendations do you have for technical staff whose primary, and vital, roles are on firmly rooted on campus?  They can’t perform their primary tasks remotely.  They want to feel like they’re making a contribution, be part of the University, and have some comfort knowing their roles remain paramount during this challenging time.  I’ve recommended remote training, personnel development as well.  It could be challenging to pursue this activity 39 hours a week for, say, 2 months.  Are there other avenues to explore?
  72. If we don't have enough "work" to keep us busy for 7.8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Do we HAVE to use HAP or VAC time?
  73. Dr. Jones addressed the infection from person to person.  Can she talk about how long the virus remains on surfaces that we might touch?
  74. What are the best recommendations for precautions when receiving physical packages at home as part of your job.  Some paper documents or samples can be substituted with digital docs but others require physical samples such as book proofs for example to be reviewed. I’ve seen various information about how long the virus can live on soft and hard surfaces but would appreciate guidance about what is acceptable or appropriate.
  75. Do you have any guidance on the virus' persistence on surfaces?
  76. What would Dr. Jones recommend regarding surfaces and our habits after shopping, etc..? Should we be cleaning our groceries, etc...?
  77. Can the virus truly live on packages/mail being delivered
  78. Question for Dr. Jones: Could you please talk about how quickly the virus is mutating?  Is it getting more or less harmful?  Is the variant identified in Tompkins County the same as that in NYC?
  79. Is there any way to take current testing results and work backwards to understand how many cases there actually were a day, a week, a month ago?
  80. Are we, the staff who being told to stay home, using our own time for our being home?
  81. As we learn more about COVID-19 and things change, could there be any further adjustments to HAP that would provide more support to staff who cannot work remotely?  When will Cornell know and be able to share information about folks who might have to be furloughed?
  82. A message came from Provost Kotlikoff over the weekend stating that ALL employees are still being paid their full salary. Does that mean we continue to work from home and obviously continue to get paid. But if we run out of work, because of what department we work for, do we still get paid. Shouldn't have to use HAP or VAC, right?
  83. The HAP faq guide that was sent out stated that the additional 10 days are not intended to be used for a lack of income.
  84. For Cornell Store employees who are home due to COVID-19, who might not have the technology to work remotely, but were told NOT to use the “Hours not worked COVID-19” on workday….please confirm…
  85. What will trigger a review by Cornell to allow people to return to their workplaces?
  86. Is there an approximate return to work date?
  87. How long does campus feels this is going to last
  88. Since the Federal Gov and State Gov are always updating their timelines and restrictions, does Cornell have its own timeframe for how long we will be working remote?
  89. Is there a time frame on when staff will be returning to campus instead of working remotely!!
  90. For Mary Opperman: Is there an approximate return to work date for those who were told to stay home?
  91. Is there a tentaive date when staff will be allowed back to campus?
  92. On what time horizon is CU currently planning?  What do these plans look like? what kinds of conversations around long term planning are there?
  93. What are the future plans for this summer?
  94. what planning do we have in place for next semester food season for the campus? is there a committee that is helping with what this summer and fall semester will bring?
  95. Do you anticipate Cornell will accommodate a gradual "return to the office" plan when we get the all-clear to do so? Many families are multi-generational and we may not all be able to transition back to the office immediately.
  96. Our original remote work plan was set to be until April 6th - when online courses are to begin - and while it's hard to project how things will go, is there any timeline in place, even estimated, for us to work from, if different from that April 6th date?
  97. Yesterday, Gov. Cuomo estimated an infection apex in NY state in approximately 21 days.  So, for planning purposes, what is the minimum realistic expectation that our current social distancing/mandatory work at home practices will last?  Should we estimate a minimum of 60 days for now and adjust as facts become clearer?
  98. Will the return to work decision line up with when public school children go back to school? This will create another concern for employees. . .any thoughts?
  99. Is Cornell anticipating that reunion will be canceled?
  100. When do you anticipate being able to make a decision about Cornell Reunion weekend?
  101. You all have done an amazing job keeping us informed of the state, regional and local departments responsible for helping many of us stay healthy and unexposed to the virus.  Obviously there is a lot to consider in the global communities we have both in Ithaca, and at Cornell.  I hear a lot of questions about return to normal - but this sort of event can cause some people (students and staff) repercussions to thier mental health.  And more seriously - what sort of plans are in place or in the works, to help everyone with the adaptation back into the community and return to the old normal?
  102. Does Cornell need additional assistance from the staff for any task that goes beyond distancing?  Do you need us to sew masks?
  103. I can't sew, but I have a friend who can, they wanted to help by making masks, but because it was only taking place in bartels, they can't.  They would like to help from home.  Can directions be shared to allow people to create masks from home?
  104. Who is collecting PPEs we make at home?
  105. I will add that the Keen shoe company has dedicated 100,000 pairs of shoes at no cost for front line or anyone in need, I can share this email if needed.
  106. Is there a need for more volunteers at Bartels, who do we contact moving forward?
  107. Is there an opportunity to share resources from our labs with the local medical community?  For example, Duffield Hall cleanroom PPE could be helpful to front line nurses and physicians.
  108. Is there or could there be a monetary fund set up that other employees could contribute to to assist employees who may end up being furloughed
  109. I saw how the campus community is donating Essential supplies—thank you for that—how else can we help from home?
  110. Can you talk about the need for those who can to contribute to the CARE fund, especially no that the need will increase.
  111. Established through the Employee Assembly, the Emergency CARE Fund was created by employees, for employees -- to provide help for Cornell staff and faculty in times of crisis, such as floods, fires, storms, serious illness, and support for victims of domestic violence.
  112. The Emergency CARE Fund is a program offering financial assistance to faculty and staff who have experienced a non-recurring sudden or emergency-related financial hardship due to an unforeseen or unavoidable event.
  113. The Emergency CARE Fund is funded through the generous donations of faculty, staff and others who are interested in supporting employees who are in financial need due to an unplanned circumstance. Applicants who are approved for funding may receive between $200 and $1,500 depending on the circumstances.
  114. Without these donations, the CARE Fund is not able to offer these awards. 100% of donations by payroll or check
  115. I have received information that there is a tremendous amount of critical need from the Red Cross for blood donations from healthy people, since they have a serious donor shortage.  Are there any recommendations/thoughts from Cornell Health on protecting ourselves if we choose to give blood?  For those of us who have been home and healthy for 14 days straight, we’d like to do something to help with the general situation
  116. Some staff have prior healthcare backgrounds/licensure.  With Gov. Cuomo's call to recruit prior healthcare staff, can you speak to what options staff at Cornell with these types of backgrounds may have.  Ex: would these types of staff have the option to temporariliy serve as emergency healthcare personnel?
  117. Housing and Dining refunds - who can we get a definitive answer from to share with students - parents and families are continuing to reach out and their anger and frustration is real
  118. How many students remain in Ithaca? On/Off, and how are those with an exemption being housed? where? How handle Ctown activity not aligned with social distancing? (to help them protect themselves)
  119. As a parent of two current Cornell students AND hearing from other parents, when will we hear about reimbursements for food plans and housing?
  120. Do we have a sense of how many students (undergrad and grad/professional) have remained in Ithaca?
  121. I've heard some students are remaining on campus, how many and where will they be living?
  122. How many students are estimated to still be living in on-campus housing?
  123. How can staff help to support students who are not on campus, with the broad support and resources available to them at home? Are there new digital opportunities to volunteer, for those of us who may not work in students services, but may wish to help?
  124. How many graduate students are remaining in grad student housing?
  125. If parents have questions for us, who should we direct them to?
  126. For Ryan, is there anything the students in housing need that the community can help provide? I can't imagine how isolating that must be for them.
  127. Is there any advocacy Cornell is able to provide for off-campus students leaving campus who seek to reduce rent obligations due to extraordinary nature of these events?
  128. I am sure you sent this out - but could you resend us a location to find out instructions on how to initiate a ZOOM class from a remote connection?  Thank you.
  129. Where can we find information for CU related cases, we can find the Tompkins County numbers but not the numbers for CU
  130. Can you please share Cornell's coronavirus information website address and FAQ locations?
  131. where are the tally that Joel just mentioned? I can't find it on the mail corona page
  132. Will answers to other questions that were submitted, but no time to respond, be posted with the video recording?
  133. WIll answers to these questions be posted anywhere?
  134. Is there a way to put a Job Title next to the names of each of the panelists (for any future meetings like these)?
  135. Can the Univesity with the help of the Wellness program do remote workout sessions that we at home can follow along?
  136. how can employees help each other, other Cornellians and the broader community during this time?
  137. I feel like I'm getting mixed messages - on one hand we should be taking care of ourselves, that everyone is adjusting, and that these are abnormal times. On the other hand, actions are much more of the "business as usual". What is the official Cornell message during this time? And, how can we support our staff and ourselves to adjust expectations? And, how can we make this a clearer more direct message during this time? Can Cornell make this more clear?
  138. With respect to getting some exercise and de-stressing, the university has been promoting its botanic gardens as a place for that.  How is social distancing being implemented or "enforced" (or can it be?) to ensure this critical resource remains available?
  139. For supervisors who are working on campus, has the message gone out that they can and should folks home that are showing any signs of illness?  I know someone who has to be on campus and was working with someone who was coughing and sneezing and the person was not sent home as they stated it "was just allergies".  I think supervisors need to know it is ok to ask someone to leave.  That is why folks have been given extra sick time.
  140. As you have acknowledged, adjusting to this "new normal" is challenging for everyone: those who have to work from home as well as those who are Essential and still need to travel to campus. Is FSAP still available to all employees during this time to turn to as a support resource?
  141. Even though I am able to work from home, sometimes my home is not conducive to working here... can you express to supervisors that this is not always an ideal situation, and that it shouldn't be expected to be present for 8 full hours each day
  142. What type of accountability practices, if any, are in place to keep track of those working remotely?  Are we going to be expected to keep track of our day to day tasks, emails, conversations, and goals?
  143. For Rick Burgess: Are we, the staff who being told to stay home, using our own time for our being home?
  144. If the surround network infrastructure is not up to teach-from-home, is possible for Cornell to optimize with regional providersin the short term, and strategically improve the regional network in the long term.