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Mayor sees ‘cataclysmic hassle’ if Cornell and Ithaca College do not reopen campuses this fall


The mayor of Ithaca, New York, informed CNBC on Monday that the town’s financial system faces dire penalties if native schools do not maintain in-person lessons this autumn because of the coronavirus.

“If the students don’t come back in the fall, we’re in real cataclysmic trouble,” Svante Myrick mentioned on “Squawk on the Street.” 

Ithaca is residence to Cornell University and Ithaca College. Cornell, an Ivy League establishment, has greater than 20,000 college students whereas Ithaca College has about 6,700

Myrick’s feedback got here as Ithaca College introduced Monday that it plans to carry in-person instruction this fall, with the autumn semester now slated to start Oct. 5 — greater than a month later than initially scheduled. 

Colleges and universities throughout the U.S. are planning for the way, or whether or not, they will safely welcome college students again to campus within the fall. The resolution has implications for college kids and employees, in addition to for the monetary outlook for faculties. 

But as Myrick’s feedback illustrate, the cities and communities wherein faculties are positioned are also impacted by choices on reopening campuses. College college students play an important function within the financial system of Ithaca, a metropolis of about 30,000 residents, Myrick mentioned. 

“It’s not just pizza shops and it’s not just bars. It’s not just restaurants. It’s barbershops. It’s nail salons. It’s accountants. It’s law firms,” he mentioned. “The ripple effects of all of our students staying home and not coming back to campus, would be crippling.” 

Ithaca, like many municipalities throughout the U.S., is going through a funds shortfall resulting from a decline in tax income introduced on by the coronavirus pandemic. Myrick mentioned the town is now taking a look at a deficit of round $15 million, which he mentioned is the worst in its historical past. 

“Honestly, that budget deficit assumes that the students are coming back in the fall,” mentioned Myrick, a Democrat who was started his first time period as mayor in 2012. He graduated from Cornell in 2009.

Tompkins County, wherein Ithaca is positioned, has 141 confirmed circumstances of Covid-19, in accordance with the New York State Department of Health. New York general has 351,371 circumstances as of Monday afternoon, essentially the most of any state within the U.S. 

Myrick mentioned praised the way wherein Ithaca residents and the county responded to the Covid-19 outbreak. But he mentioned the town’s financial future is linked to what occurs elsewhere on this planet, at the same time as Ithaca’s area of the state, the Southern Tier, begins its phased reopening of companies. 

“We cannot actually get back to where we were … unless the rest of the nation and, frankly, the rest of the world gets the virus under control, because a big part of our strength is our interconnectedness,” Myrick mentioned. “If we’re not sure that our students can come back to the United States or if parents in California will feel comfortable sending their kids to Cornell in the fall, then our economy won’t get back to where it was.” 



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