REACH stands for Raising Education Attainment Challenge. The REACH Program at the Cornell Public Service Center is a student initiative consisting of Team Leaders, America Reads/Counts Challenge tutors (ARCC), and volunteer tutors committed to supporting community organizations and schools serving children’s academic and social needs.

The purpose of the program is to recruit and mobilize a diverse, talented group of tutors so that they may have the necessary resources, peer support, and leadership to assist in the enhancement of academic achievement of children and youth in grades pre-K-12th.

Friday, September 18, 2009

H1N1 UPDATE #1- Ben Ortiz


This is the first official H1N1 flu update for the REACH program, with more to come.

There has been a lot of information (and mis-information) swirling around about the status of CU students working/volunteering in the Ithaca City School District and other districts, so please read all details carefully:

  • The news:
    • The Ithaca City School District has declared a moratorium on CU volunteers (but not work-study employees or students doing work for credit) because of the high numbers of CU students with H1N1 flu. This moratorium does not have a concrete end-date, but many of us are thinking it will last for about 2 weeks. New information should be available by Friday.
    • There are other districts and organizations who have done something similar. To my knowledge, they are:
      • Northeast ES "Kids Count" (moratorium until further notice).
      • Groton School District (2-week moratorium).
  • The impact on REACH:
    • Tutors and Team Leaders who are earning work-study through REACH may continue to work at this time (unless you are sick, in which case you need to stay home!).
    • Tutors and Team Leaders who are NOT earning work-study and who are considered "volunteers" must refrain from traveling to their REACH sites until the moratorium is lifted.
    • Tutors who are utilizing REACH as the fieldwork component of the ED2400 class may continue to work at this time (unless you are sick, in which case you need to stay home!).
    • Team Leaders who are volunteers should continue to:
      • provide leadership and support to their work-study tutors who continue to travel to their sites.
      • stay in touch with your site supervisors via phone and email.
    • All Team Leaders should get in touch with their Site Supervisors ASAP to get any clarifications on this situation and to ask if they are doing anything in addition to the moratorium (if their site is within the affected districts).
    • Team Leaders whose sites are not part of the affected districts should get in touch with their Site Supervisors ASAP to ask if it's OK for your team to travel there. Get in touch with me as soon as you have an answer.
    • All REACH teams should continue to hold their bi-weekly team meetings as usual. Work-Study employees will continue to be paid for these because they qualify as "training sessions." Our Service-learning Chairs will be giving you the agenda items as usual.

Without a doubt, this is a difficult time for all of us. I ask that you all bear with us in managing this unprecedented situation. I'm confident that we'll be able to get everyone back out into their community sites within a few weeks, if not sooner. Please don't over-schedule yourselves in the time until then because you may find it difficult to re-integrate REACH into your schedule!

If there are any questions, you should email me, Ben Ortiz ( and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not come to the PSC with questions because the foot-traffic in the office would be overwhelming for our small staff.

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