Is Cornell considering taking actions to offer support to our local community and mitigate the burden on our health care system?

Date: March 2020


Dear Dean,

Is Cornell considering taking any of the actions recommended by President Monaco of Tufts to offer support to our local community and mitigate the growing burden our health care system faces due to the coronavirus? For example, now with vacant dormitories, we could:

  • donate supplies to the local hospitals,
  • identify residential units on campus that can be used for self-quarantine (especially since self-quarantining at home is difficult if you have roommates),
  • use university parking lots for a drive-through testing centers, and
  • offer some of the residential units for patients who require non-essential medical rehabilitation services.

I am not sure what services would be most useful for Ithaca and the nearby communities, but I think it would make sense to look into these possibilities should the need for them arise or, better yet, in anticipation of future potential need.

I am referring to this article.

Thank you for your consideration.


Cornell Grad


Dear Cornell Grad,

Thanks for your thoughtful question. Cornell’s senior leadership is in close communication with local community leaders, including Cayuga Medical Center (CMC), and stands ready to be helpful. 

For example, CMC recently contacted Cornell for help locating and securing various personal protective equipment for health care professionals in the community who test and care for individuals affected by the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Cornell quickly responded by putting a call out to faculty and research staff. Many responded and were quick to donate items including viral specimen swabs, surgical masks, N95 respirators, face shields, gowns, coveralls, Tyvek suits, and gloves.

Cornell strives to be a good partner with the local community. It’s important that we all look for ways to help each other, in small and large ways. Thanks again for sharing the article link.

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School