Cornell University Shuts Down Campus Over COVID-19 Concerns Despite Vaccine Mandate

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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Cornell University announced Tuesday that the campus would shut down for its final week of classes, citing concerns of an increase in students who contracted COVID-19 between Dec. 6-13.

The university’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 903 new cases in the past week and updated the university’s alert status to “red,” meaning that students are allegedly at “high risk.” Red alerts mean that there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases as well as “limited quarantine, isolation, and/or local hospital capacity,” according to the university’s website.

Red alerts also require “all students, faculty, staff and visitors [to] wear masks indoors; or outdoors when physical distancing is not possible,” classes to move online, and “certain facilities, such as gyms, may temporarily close. Other facilities, such as dining halls and libraries, may have restricted capacity and physical distancing requirements.”

Cornell’s President Martha Pollack outlined the university’s closures to the student body in a letter. Pollack said that Cornell’s Ithaca, New York, campus would shut down beginning Dec. 14 and all finals would move online. All activities and athletics were canceled and the campus libraries were closed. The school’s Dec. 18 “recognition ceremony for December graduates” was also canceled.

Pollack said in the letter that “over 97% of our student body is free of the virus.” (RELATED: Los Angeles Unified School District Fires 400+ Employees Who Haven’t Been Vaccinated)

Students on all Cornell campuses were subjected to a vaccine mandate, making them less likely to develop severe symptoms and less likely to be hospitalized or die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vaccine exemptions were made for Cornell students with religious and medical exemptions, according to the New York Post.