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July 31, 2020 Issue  
Lansing, New York  
Volume 16, Issue 31

posticon Lansing School Reopening Planning Continues

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“Schools

If Shakespeare were alive in Lansing today he might very well say, "To Open Lansing Schools, or not to open?  That is the question."  Indeed it is the question school district officials are struggling with here and across New York State in the wake of new guidance by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

Last week (7/20) Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso provided the Board of Education with a comprehensive look at plans for reopening after Labor Day.  The school leadership team is taking on a massive juggling act. Since NYSED finally released its 144 page reopening guidance, the team has scoured the document and worked to provide a plan early enough to obtain public input before finalizing and submitting it by the state deadline, which is today (July 31st).  As districts across the state rush to meet the deadline, they must also prepare staffing, classroom space,and materials.  But they must also have contingency plans, because Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to tell school districts when or whether they can open some time in August, after all the plans have been reviewed.  And permission to remain open may be rescinded at any time, depending on local COVID-19 infection statistics.

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posticon Village Considers Mall Subdivision Plan

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Shops at Ithaca Mall

After the Shops At Ithaca Mall was sold, a representative for the new owner approached Village of Lansing officials in 2017 proposed subdividing the mall. In a nutshell, the plan is to sell anchor store spaces to their tenants, and the security implied by the big stores' investment would then attract smaller tenants who would feel secure that the big stores will stick around to generate foot traffic. The Village, for its part, has long wanted the mall to dedicate Graham Road West, the portion of the mall road that goes from Triphammer Road to the entrance to BJ's Wholesale Club, plus a portion of the mall ring road between Graham and Catherwood Roads (the two north-most of the three mall entry roads) to the Village so it can better maintain those road segments. The owner's representative, Ken Farrall, was back in January. Farrall and attorney Michael J. Gavin were back again Monday for a preliminary plat hearing before the Village Planning Board, hoping to move the subdivision plan forward with new urgency.

"Generally the budgets for the major retailers prioritize city locations first because there's more people to do the shopping in those locations," Gavin said. "As a result of the   byproducts of the protests that money has been reallocated to suburban locations. This is considered to be a suburban location. So we have several tenants that are ready to move forward, and they have budget money available both for third quarter and fourth quarter closings. So we're trying to accelerate our process to take advantage of those opportunities that we hope will allow us to re-tenant and revitalize the center."

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posticon Six Feet of Separation Is Not Enough

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Holt Architects Coronavirus Computer Cough ModelingComputer model of three coughs in 10 minutes in a common work-space by Holt Archetects

Tompkins County is currently in Phase 4 of reopening, which means more people are returning to work.  A local architecture firm, with offices in Ithaca and Syracuse decided to use a computer model to see exactly how safe the common studio work space in their Ithaca office would be when employees came back to work.  Holt Architects Principal Steve Hugo narrates two videos that show how one infected un-masked person coughing three times over a ten minute period could spread a devastating cloud of droplets over the first 30 feet of their common work-space area, and enough droplets to infect co-workers 50 feet away.  Hugo says the staff wanted to know whether it would be safe to remove their masks while working at their workstations.  The result?  Six feet of separation is not nearly enough for people who are not wearing masks.

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posticon New York Hits New Lows for COVID-19

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“New


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo updated New Yorkers Thursday on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"New York State continues to closely monitor the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the nation, and as that situation worsens, we're taking every action we can here at home to slow the spread and save lives," Governor Cuomo said. "While yesterday's numbers show New York is continuing on the right trajectory, we cannot get complacent. With much of the rest of the country surging, we are still vulnerable and have to continue to wear masks, socially distance and be New York Tough. We will get through this, together."

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posticon Lifton Shares Answers to Questions on Cornell Reopening

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cornell from lake

NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton released answers last Friday to 20 questions she had submitted to Cornell University about its plans for reopening its Ithaca Campus.  Responding to constituants' concerns Lifton sent a letter July 22nd and made it public in a press release the next day.  Cornell President martha E. Pollack responded July 23rd, and Lifton also made her response public.  Lifton concluded that Cornell and Tompkins County had clearly done a lot of science-based work to mitigate concerns about the spread of COVID-19 when the campus reopens.

“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," Lifton said. "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."

Following are Lifton's questions and Pollack's responses:

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posticon Increase in COVID-19 Related to Social Gathering, Travel Advisory Violations

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The Tompkins County Health Department reported Monday that nine positive COVID-19 cases identified in the past week are related to a social gathering. The contact investigation completed by the Health Department found that individuals at the gathering did not adhere to distancing and face covering guidelines. The contact investigation also found that multiple attendees had traveled or returned from states on the New York State travel advisory and did not complete the mandatory traveler form or quarantine required by the advisory.

The contact investigations have been completed and all positive individuals are in isolation and all close contacts are in mandatory quarantine. None of the newly reported positive cases presented public exposures, and the Health Department is not recommending testing for the public in response to these new cases.

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