Lifton Releases Cornell, Tompkins County Response to Reopening Concerns

July 24, 2020

Assemblywoman Lifton (D-Ithaca) released the following statement today. Please click here to read the Cornell, Tompkins County response to reopening concerns.

“Having publicly released the questions and concerns from many constituents about Cornell's reopening plan, which I also forwarded to the NYS Department of Health (DOH), asking that DOH make sure these concerns are addressed before approval, I am likewise releasing the responses I've received from Cornell and Tompkins County in a joint document.

I have spoken directly with Cornell about their testing regimen, which has been one of my greatest concerns, and I am encouraged at what certainly seems, to this non-expert, to be a rigorous and accurate testing protocol with a turnaround time of 24 hours or less, which will allow for effective contact tracing.

The Student Behavioral Compact seems very strong to me and Cornell and local governments say they are committed to rigorous enforcement and consequences, including possible expulsion, for violators.

For many in the community, concerns about enforcement – and whether quarantines can be successfully carried out – are paramount, and I do think that Cornell and the County have clearly done a great deal of serious, science-based work to mitigate those concerns and others.

That said, I'm releasing the full responses and I'll be interested to hear feedback from the community, whether they have weighed in with me yet or not. Of course, anyone with continuing concerns may also want to relay those concerns directly to the NYS Department of Health, as they will be making the final decision.

I would like to thank Cornell President Martha Pollack, Tompkins County Legislature Chair Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, and Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa for their rapid response to my questions.”