03/25/2020 COVID-19 Staff Forum | Questions AND Answers
Of the questions asked during the COVID-19 Staff Forum on 3/25/2020, the following were responded to by members of the University Administration:
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?
JOEL MALINA: I'll take a stab at that. I mean, these are discussions that are beginning to be held. The reality is a number of the programs, at least in the early part of the summer, we don't have the luxury of waiting a long time. I think the answer to your question is that decision, should it be made, would be a central leadership decision that would apply broadly across the university.
RYAN LOMBARDI: That's right. I would just second that, Joel-- that folks can expect a decision on that to give clarity for all those folks doing important work in the summer.
How many exemptions are being made for faculty and staff to return for instruction?
RYAN LOMBARDI: So, we don't have the benefit of knowing how many students stayed with us off campus. We don't know that information. They are renting private rentals throughout the city, in the town and the villages that surround. So, we aren't benefiting from hard data on that. Anecdotally, what I'm hearing is that very few students have chosen to remain now. I think that is gradually weighing down, especially in the off-campus space over the last week or so. I think initially, and many of you have probably heard this, a number of students indicated they were planning to stay, and hang out in Ithaca, and do this. And we even saw that a little bit in the community. But as this has progressed and as number of states have taken stronger action, I think that that number of students remaining in Ithaca off campus has waned. As far as on campus, we did make exceptions for students, who, as I mentioned before, aren't able to get home, don't have a suitable home environment to go back to. Those numbers are still sifting out a little bit, because we gave students until this coming weekend to finalize that. But we do think will end up in a little over 3% of the undergraduate population remaining in residence halls on campus. Right now, those students are where they were. So, in fact, the residence halls are not very dense at all right now. They're spread all around campus, just depending on where they were living at the time. We have no immediate plans to do any kind of mass consolidation. We think there's some benefit to, in large part, keeping most of them where they are to promote the aforementioned social distancing that's regularly talked about, and I'm sure Anne appreciates. That we may have to do some shuffling around, but we at this point don't have any mass consolidation plans.
We currently see 18 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Tompkins County. Can you speak to the impact on the CU community?
JOEL MALINA: Let me address that. And it's a chance to again to make sure all of you are aware of our coronavirus website accessible from the main what we call the panel space on Cornell.edu, which is continually updated with a lot of really important information. I should say that as we hear from more with specific questions, we are trying to utilize our growing FAQ to make sure that the questions we hear most about, we're able to provide answers in a timely fashion. One of the things that you'll note that the bottom of that web site is specifically, I'll call it a tally of positive confirmed cases in our Ithaca campus community. That is a number that we continually update. It is certainly not going to go into great detail in terms of identifying. But we do recognize that it's top of mind for all of us to really get a sense about the extent that this virus has reached our campus community. Needless to say, we feel fortunate, certainly, compared to our friends and colleagues in New York City. We are grateful that our numbers in the county are where they are, but that isn't to say that we all have a role in ensuring that that number doesn't get too high.
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.
JOEL MALINA: Let me start, and then if I may, Anne, it may be something you could address. I mean, we as a university need to be very cognizant of privacy rules. We also need to be cognizant of the primary role that the Tompkins County Health Department has and for those of our staff who live in other counties, their respective public health departments. So given all that, there are limitations as to what Cornell can or should be doing. Anne.
ANNE JONES: Yes. And I've also heard this question and have been a part of discussions around the question that I think is underlying questions like this, which is, how do we know whether the community is safe if we know that there are positive cases? And what steps are being taken to ensure that the appropriate contact investigations are being done? And how do we know if I, myself, or if an individual should be concerned. And I think that those are very important questions, because in this pandemic situation, as we've been saying this hour, this is a community effort to get through together. And those anxieties and concerns are valid. Also, I can speak from experience that we have had close partnership with the Tompkins County Health Department and the New York State Health Department. And very careful and meticulous contact tracings are done in each and every case. Those involve several components to ensure that every single person who might have been exposed to a positive case is then identified, and given instructions, and protections to ensure that they and their families are safe. That's done with interviews with the individuals themselves who are tested positive. And then reviews that are done, especially with the health care facilities that were involved in caring for them. And we review the tracings to ensure that we have at every single point, every person who may have been exposed then identified. And the Tompkins County Health Department and conducts careful interviews with each of those individuals to then assess their risk using CDC criteria to determine what level of risk someone may be and what kinds of efforts like quarantine or testing or isolation may be appropriate. In addition, the Tompkins County Health Department will follow normal public health practice, which is that if an individual is known to have been in a public setting and have had a situation where individuals would have been at risk but may not know their names, those sorts of steps are taken. Sometimes, what that means is specific outreach to the areas-- sometimes, what it means is a public listing of places where an individual was so that community members can come forward and identify themselves to the Tompkins County Health Department. All of those steps are being taken to ensure that community members are identified. And I think that I would give hopefully, some reassurance that the community is being taken care of by those public health measures.
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. 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?
MARY OPPERMAN: So I'm going to I'm going to take a stab at this to say that's a huge question and actually, one that's being discussed across the country. So I think we are learning about how to do things differently, both in instruction, but also, in our regular work.
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.
MARY OPPERMAN: So I'm going to start, but I'll ask my colleagues to join in. So recognizing that each of us touches many. I will say it's important for-- and I know this is happening, by the way, for the leaders of the areas to remind people of exactly that. So just like on President Pollock reminded me yesterday, I think each of us are in contact with our folks, checking in with them, making sure that they are taking time, getting out, breathing-- it's always a good thing. But I appreciate so much your concern for people, because there are certain central areas that are getting called out quite a bit right now. So I appreciate that. I don't know if any of my colleagues want to join in.
JOEL MALINA: I'll just echo what Mary said. And it's really important as unit leaders that we are emphasizing for all of our team members that wellness is not just something that we say and move on. Wellness needs to be a daily check-in for all of us, with our direct reports for all of their direct reports. And trying to lead by example. I'm making time each day to go out for a walk practicing all-important social distancing. I'm finding even if it's just a few moments to put down my iPhone and close my eyes. I've learned to meditate-- something that I've always resisted, but it's come in quite handy these last few days. But I do, again, recognize it needs to be an area of constant reassurance. We understand that our team members, all of our employees want to be doing the right thing, but it can't be at the expense of our peace of mind and well-being.
RICK BURGESS: This is Rick. Let me just jump in with respect to the on campus aspect of it. Our plan is that we would rotate those personnel that are providing essential services. So it's really a subset at any given moment. And our plan is to swap them out. With respect to the people that are working from home-- it's a challenge. Everybody's routine has been thrown into disarray. I know mine has. I haven't really gotten back to it yet. I'm not exercising as much as I'm used to, and that pays off when you can't exercise. So it's a challenge for each of us as leaders. And we need to make sure we're reaching out to people. And so it doesn't have to just be supervisory top down. I would encourage everybody on the line to reach out to your colleagues and just check in with them. Doesn't have to be every day, but just drop on a line and see how they're doing is greatly appreciated.
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?
RYAN LOMBARDI: So I will start with that and then ask my colleague Anne, Dr. Jones, to jump in with some of the health advice if that's OK, Anne. First, I will just say to all of those of you who are still coming on to campus to support our students, a very hearty thank you as Mary and others, Adam, suggested. Not all of our students were able to leave. Not all of our students could get home or had a home. And so Ithaca and our campus is their home. And so we really appreciate your continuing to serve them and support them while they're here. It's very important to us while you're doing that to do all we can to support your health and Safety at the same time. And so we have asked supervisors in the units, the essential units, to put practices in place to support social distancing, to make sure lines of communication are open, and do all that we can to support your health and safety while we're supporting our remaining students. I would just add one last thing before I ask Dr. Jones, Anne, to share a few things. And that's just that if you have specific concerns in your work area that you feel aren't being addressed in this capacity or are specific to your work area, to please let us know, let your supervisor know so that we can make any necessary adjustments.
ANNE JONES: Yeah. And I would add from the health point of view that what we know about this virus to date is that it's spread via respiratory droplets. We know that there are many reports out there with question about any other forms of transmission and that research is emerging. And officials at the states and the national level and international level are learning more every day. But at present, what we know is that the transmission is respiratory droplets, which means that it is transmitted-- if a person is ill with the infection, with being exposed to the respiratory droplets themselves. And that is most likely to happen when you're within six feet of another individual. This is why the social distancing measures are extremely important. It's up to all of us to make sure that we're maintaining that distance between each other. I heard a great description that social distancing is as important as mutual distancing. We all need to help each other keep those boundaries so that we're maintaining that distance and keeping each other and ourselves safe. Another way that it spreads is if those respiratory droplets, if someone is coughed on or sneezed on. And so that's why that distance is really important. In terms of maintaining protection, if you're at work or at the front lines, that's where the personal protective equipment is important. In every single area, I know there's been detailed work and analysis of everyone's job of functioning to make sure that they have the appropriate PPE for the job that they're doing. We at Cornell Health are using full PPE that is recommended by CDC for health care workers. But every area has those specifications. And it is important to turn to your supervisors, as has been said, to make sure that the appropriate protection is used for the work that you're doing. But in general, it's that social distancing and remembering to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and taking care of yourself in all those ways.
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?
RICK BURGESS: I guess I'll take that one, too. I'm not aware of any requests that have come to us from contractors for PPE. So if there are, I will inquire with my folks. We have asked contractors to follow safe hygiene practices. We've suspended all in-person job site meetings. We've asked them to do all the things that we're doing with our own folks. So if there is a need for PPE that a contractor or subcontractor has and they can't get it, we can take a look at it and see if we can assist. To my knowledge, that has not come up today, but I'm going to specifically ask my team about that.
FRANK CANTONE: So I'll just add to that. Our Office of Emergency Management is working directly with Tompkins County, emergency operations center there. And they are fulfilling requests and needs from everywhere in the county, including the hospital, other medical providers, EMS operations. And so I don't know if they would be able to fulfill those particular needs, but that would be the outlet that people should go through if there are requests.
JOEL MALINA: And if I could just note again, just because it's such an inspiring effort, I know of two academic units that are utilizing their 3D printing facilities to actually create some of these PPEs that can then be used for those most in need of them. Again, the more of these inspirational stories that we can collect and discuss with our community, I think it will provide some inspiration perhaps to help address this critical need.
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.
MARY OPPERMAN: So thank you for the question. We've received that before. And I understand the sentiment behind it. What I would say is that right now, what I am most gratified by is the community focus of our staff and faculty on all people. So I think there is a great awareness on the part of the entire workforce that we are going through something we've never been through before. And I'm just so appreciative of the generosity of spirit that we've seen across this whole campus. We will look at all aspects of how we move forward together. And as soon as we have something to share, of course, we will. But my real message is to thank everyone for the fact that just the outpouring of generosity and support for one another has been overwhelming.
Question for Rick Burgess: Will guidelines be forthcoming for Building Coordinators regarding what is expected/allowed during the COVID-19 remote work period? Thanks.
RICK BURGESS: I'm actually drafting up something I want to send out to college officers today. And I'm going to copy and send that out to facility directors. I personally don't have all the building coordinators, but I know folks in my organization do, so I'll make sure this gets out to them. We're trying to narrow that down, recognizing that there's some things that I have visibility on a knowledge of. I don't know, for instance, where every building coordinator, who they still have that is still in their buildings trying to finish up with teaching preps or critical research. So in terms of broad expectations, we need people to pay attention to security. So we are locking things up. We've put out some information regarding limited steam load shed that's going to happen starting tomorrow. So that'll save us some energy. So building coordinators should have gotten that communication. We've also asked them to advise us if they have faculty that are done in labs that they'd let us know and request that we decommission fume hoods. That saves us additional energy in that regard. And then if there are specific individual concerns about, for instance, we got a service calls yesterday about door locks that we wanted to get a locksmith in. So we have a locksmith in today addressing some doors that are normally open. Building coordinators wanted them to be closed and locked, and there was a problem with the locks. So we can call people in as necessary to do those things and address individual circumstances. And then the last thing is we are to get out some revised information regarding mail delivery. That has been very disrupted with people closing up buildings and offices. So I'll leave the details for the communication. But I intend to put that out today. And I hope that covers most of it. If there are other things, I'm happy to answer those.
We have heard varying reports about whether we can get into a campus building to pick something up. Can you provide clarity?
RICK BURGESS: Yeah, let me take that one. I would just say, first off, we really want to abide by the governor's guidance, all right? So the governor's directed that we go to 100% remote. So I would say first off, this should be only in the most mission essential needs. That should be coordinated with the person supervisor. Make sure that you have your Cornell ID card. As I mentioned, we have police out there doing property checks and so we don't want to come across somebody who can't vouch for themselves and establish that they are actually on the Cornell staff. And please do it during working hours. So that's kind of Rick's advice. And I think we can abide by the spirit of that. What we really don't want is these folks going in all at once and not abiding by the social distance. And we really do need to stay out of these workspaces. But I know in some cases, you know, we left in a bit of a rush, and maybe realized that you don't have something, you need a file, whatever. And then one last thing on that. I know some folks in my organization are having a hard time with bandwidth-- just the size of the drawings and documents they need to work with. Dave Lifka from central IT advise that you can get a pretty good signal even outside of buildings. And so you may be able to bring your car up, park in a parking lot nearby a building that's got Wi-Fi, and successfully get sufficient bandwidth if it's not a physical object that you need to retrieve. I hope that answers your question.
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.
RICK BURGESS: Yeah, this is Rick. We're keeping a role in the construction project we have. I would love to get more work done. I think, you know, to Mary's remark just now on financial impact, we're kind of trying to play this thing smart so we don't spend a whole lot on capital that we might later regret. But I totally agree-- this is a great time to get work done, provided we can do it with social distance, and do it safely for the individuals involved. So we are in the process of evaluating everything that we have in the work queue right now. And we'll be making some decisions-- whether we proceed or whether we defer-- project by project.
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?
RICK BURGESS: I guess I'll take a crack at that one. I don't see anybody else leaping forward. That has been the approach-- is that units are responsible for that. I know we're running into some backordering situations on materials. I would say if you have specific needs that you can identify to the IMT-- and Frank can help you get to the closest number on there-- we can look at sharing resources.
MARY OPPERMAN: I was just going to add. I think if you are on campus in an essential role and you don't feel that you have the safeguards that you need, you should first start by elevating that through your leadership team. If you don't feel like you're getting what you need, then let us know. Either go up through your channels, let me know, let someone know so that we can respond. It's a difficult time and there's a lot of moving parts. And so everything may not be where we need it exactly when we need it. But if we find out, the intention is to safeguard everyone. I think I feel very confident in saying that I believe the Cornell community realizes that we all have the best interests of everyone in our community at heart. So if something isn't quite right, it isn't because it's of any intention. It's because we may have missed something. So tell us and that's how we can respond.
Does Cornell leadership anticipate any layoffs during this period
MARY OPPERMAN: So it's a question I'm getting a lot of, and I am going to say the same thing I said when I was asked the last time. Right now, we're focusing on what we have in front of us. What we have in front of us is pretty significant. We are trying to understand the impacts, the financial impacts that this health crisis will create. And until we know more, we are doing everything we can to safeguard the meaningful work of our staff populations. And to say more than that now would simply be inappropriate, because we aren't there yet. We are really looking at the things in front of us and addressing them. I recognize and I want to acknowledge the concern that causes people to ask that question, and let you know that we're trying our very best to understand what the implications of this will be. And when we know, it will be out to people as soon as possible. But until then, we have been very consistently supportive of our workforce and we're going to continue to do that.
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?
MARY OPPERMAN: Yes, so this is a great question. And when we began, we were hoping that we would get a sense of what the projects that needed additional help were. And we still are hoping that that will be the case. What we're finding is that the best way to be sure that you are continuing to contribute in a way that makes you feel good and proud is to ask your supervisor and let them know that you have capacity to be of assistance. And then move that up the chain until you can find something that you can do that's not going to work in every single case, but it is working in many cases. And they just want to step back and say, I understand that two things are going on there. One is really, the desire to make sure people know that you want to contribute and that you want to be a valuable member during this changing time. And also, underlying it is a fear that you may be not fully occupied and therefore, vulnerable. We understand that. We also know that those who are not fully occupied-- that's not your fault. That's not happening because of anything you did. This is the time we're in. And we are evolving our understanding about how to move forward. And we're evolving that together. So if you've got some time and you want to contribute, please let your supervisor know. Move it up the chain and we'll do the best we can with that.
RICK BURGESS: Yeah, this is Rick. We already have the little the gig advertisements that we've been working on for the better part of the last year. So everybody's been in the thick of it for now, but as things settle down and we sort out how long this is going to go on, that may be an opportunity for people who have projects that could be done remotely to let others know about.
MARY OPPERMAN: Thank you, Rick. I should have said that. So thank you very much for the aid. We're getting there. We were farther along in doing that when we were at a 50% work remotely. And then we got a little step backwards and we got to 75%. And another step backwards and we got to 100%. But we do have people in HR that are working on that. So thank you, Rick.
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?
MARY OPPERMAN: Understandable question. So at the risk of sounding like a broken record, right now, with only a few exceptions, we have been able to keep people on pay. It is a reasonable and understandable question that people have about how long we can do that if they are not working. And so we are looking at our situation right now with the best interests of our community in mind. And when we have something that we are ready to share, we will absolutely share it. But I appreciate the question. We did add the 10 half days. I think those have been helpful to people. I recognize that it doesn't in every case go all the way, but that's why we have been slow to change anything that will have an impact on the broader workforce community. And we will stay in touch with you as we learn more.
What will trigger a review by Cornell to allow people to return to their workplaces?
MARY OPPERMAN: So I'll start, and then and then maybe I can turn this over to Joel. This is a very common question that we're getting. And it's actually coming through the whole country. People want to get back to normal. This is a very hard time. But I also think people recognize that we don't want to do that in such a way that we actually create more health crises and make it last longer or being worse. And so with that, I'm just going to turn it over to Joel, because I know he's been working with the state.
JOEL MALINA: Yeah, thank you, Mary. And I echo what no doubt all of us are thinking about, which is, BOY how great will it be when we can look back on this. And I am really excited for us to get to that point. But the reality is we just don't yet know. We recognize that the progression of the in New York state depends a lot on how well everyone adheres to the social distancing guidelines. We will not be in a position to make any decisions on that separate from where Governor Cuomo and perhaps federal authorities, public health experts direct us. But needless to say, the governor is very focused first on public safety and public health, but he is-- not that I've spoken to him-- but I'm pretty sure that he would echo all of our desires to be able to return to normalcy and to get back to the business of the state as soon as possible. So we're tracking it. My office in Albany is a very focused and in communication with senior members of the Cuomo administration. We have a number of really smart dedicated people across the state that want us to get to that point as well, but we're going to do it in a coordinated and public health first focus.
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?
MARY OPPERMAN: Anne, I don't know if you're in a position to speak to this, but I do know what it reflects is this sense that people have that they want to help. And so this is something that I think it just illustrates that the compassion and generosity of our community. So I'm not sure if you could speak to it specifically, but maybe you can react?
ANNE JONES: Sure. Yes, I saw that notice coming out and very much agree that it reflects this community effort and a public health effort to help each other in this community. I think that one thing-- one of the truths that we've seen as we've been navigating this pandemic together is that everyone has needed to be a little bit flexible. And figure and realize that maybe what we normally do in our work every day needs to shift just a little bit to accommodate the needs of the community, especially within health care needs. And that every health care professional is thinking about that as we're coming to work. Whether it is seeing individuals for in-person care or thinking about providing care remotely. And so I would say from the health care industry point of view, there is an effort at trying to figure out who can help and where they can help. And whether that is in different places in the health care community. I think that I would say if anyone does feel that they can help and have the capacity to help, that's wonderful, and would be a wonderful thing to share and speak with your teams about-- thinking about how to help.
JOEL MALINA: And if I can jump in here Hei Hei and Adam, it's an extension of the question, which is what about for non-health professionals, what can we as individuals, as concerned members of our Tompkins County Community do. And Mary referenced this earlier-- it is incredible to see the outpouring of compassion, empathy, and actual dedication of time and effort to trying to help our community. I just want to briefly mention a few of these examples. There is an effort underway right now in Bartels Hall that Cayuga Medical Center in conjunction with Ryan's team and student and Campus Life is undertaking in terms of actually having sewing stations, where individuals, even without sewing training, can go and helped to create these much needed supplies, both for utilization here in our community, for us to get down to New York City for their needs. There is a great effort that, again, Ryan's team in Cornell dining has undertaken with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. A number of our food pantries in our neighborhood are not able to operate. And so SCL Cornell dining employees are essentially collecting all of the food supplies, putting together family packets, and delivering them down to GIAC, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center. There is wonderful outpouring of student access funds. SA and GPSA need to be commended for the $270,000 that have been made available to help our students. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, if you're interested, Frank, I'm going to suggest you as a contact along with Mary. We can be sure to take advantage of those of you with the ability and the inclination to help.
RICK BURGESS: And let me just add to that one as the outgoing co-chair for the United Way campaign. United Way of Tompkins County is accepting donations. You can specifically designate them for COVID-19 relief. And I encourage you to go to the United Way Tompkins County web site you UWTC.org.
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
RYAN LOMBARDI: I'll be happy to address that one. We are working feverishly to get some clear some clarity to our students and their families on those rebates. What I stated now about a week and a half or so ago still stands. We're going to offer those. I know everyone can appreciate that the team has just been inundated trying to make their way through the logistics of getting our students out and safely on their way. But our financial team is working actively with the university to try to get some clarity on when we can definitively put those forward. So working as fast as we can. We appreciate everyone's patients and grace. I've also fielded a large number of calls and queries from parents myself about this and have continued to tell them it's in the works. We're doing the best we can. We'll get it out as soon as we can.
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)
RYAN LOMBARDI: So we don't have the benefit of knowing how many students stayed with us off campus. We don't know that information. They are renting private rentals throughout the city, in the town and the villages that surround. So we aren't benefiting from hard data on that. Anecdotally, what I'm hearing is that very few students have chosen to remain now. I think that is gradually weighing down, especially in the off-campus space over the last week or so. I think initially, and many of you have probably heard this, a number of students indicated they were planning to stay, and hang out in Ithaca, and do this. And we even saw that a little bit in the community. But as this has progressed and as number of states have taken stronger action, I think that that number of students remaining in Ithaca off campus has waned. As far as on campus, we did make exceptions for students, who, as I mentioned before, aren't able to get home, don't have a suitable home environment to go back to. Those numbers are still sifting out a little bit, because we gave students until this coming weekend to finalize that. But we do think will end up in a little over 3% of the undergraduate population remaining in residence halls on campus. Right now, those students are where they were. So in fact, the residence halls are not very dense at all right now. They're spread all around campus, just depending on where they were living at the time. We have no immediate plans to do any kind of mass consolidation. We think there's some benefit to, in large part, keeping most of them where they are to promote the aforementioned social distancing that's regularly talked about, and I'm sure Anne appreciates. That we may have to do some shuffling around, but we at this point don't have any mass consolidation plans.
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?
RYAN LOMBARDI: Thanks for that question. I appreciate everyone's willingness to help and support our students from afar as well as those that are here. Our team has put together some virtual programming resource tips. I can get that link out and distributed in one of our subsequent messages. And so to the extent that your work or your unit might be able to offer something to our student population virtually, that would be wonderful. And I would encourage folks to think very creatively and work with the teams that surround you-- your supervisors, your colleagues-- to think about how you might translate the work you do into supporting students at a distance if it is students supporting in student service type work. So please continue to do that. We put a good web site out on the Dean of Students Office page with some tips. We are going to start collecting information and sharing that as much as possible. Some of the more obvious places have started this, and I can't thank them enough. I know that our fitness center did a virtual some kind of fitness thing. I don't, unfortunately, do a lot of fitness, but did something online, and had hundreds of participants with a fitness instructor in their living room leading a session online. So there's great ways that we can engage our students near and far.
JOEL MALINA: I'll also just add many of us and my division included have a number of student employees, and we're doing all we can, especially for those who have federal work study requirements, to maintain as robust an employment space for them as possible. And I think it's important we continue to make those efforts.