Prevention & Care
Cornell encourages all students, faculty and staff to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others by adopting habits to prevent and slow the spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19. Public health officials advise the following actions to protect yourself and others:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if washing is not an option.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others when you are sick; call ahead before seeking medical care at Cornell Health or elsewhere.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart from others), minimizing close contact among groups of people and avoiding contact with others if you feel ill.
- New York state requires everyone to wear a face covering when in public and unable to maintain physical distancing measures. In addition, Cornell has specific guidelines about when face coverings are required when on campus.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What health and safety guidelines should students expect to follow during spring 2021?
In welcoming students back to campus for the spring semester, we anticipate that most rules and guidelines from this fall will remain in place. This includes wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distance, travel restrictions, limiting in-person gatherings, rules for visitors, flu shot requirements and complying with all Daily Check health assessment and surveillance testing requirements. The Student Behavioral Compact, and all expectations outlined within, will continue in the spring semester.
Do I need a flu shot? Where can I get one?
Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot and the Behavioral Compact requires all students to receive a flu vaccination. While most students have received their flu vaccine, any students who have not requested an exemption will be required to show proof of a vaccination at the start of the spring semester. Students are strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine prior to returning to Ithaca. Those who are unable to do so can attend one of two vaccine clinics on campus that are planned for February.
Alternatively, students may get vaccinated elsewhere and upload proof to Cornell Health's patient portal. Find more information at health.cornell.edu/flu.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms, which most often appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continue to update the list of symptoms and related guidance as more information becomes available.
What should I do if I’m feeling ill?
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, or if you have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (or who is currently being tested), please do the following:
- Ithaca students who have flu-like symptoms should call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 (24/7) for consultation.
- Cornell Tech students may call Weill Cornell Medicine at 646-962-7300 and identify yourself as a Cornell Tech student. The call center staff will schedule a virtual appointment for you with a doctor, which will be conducted on the Weill Cornell Medicine portal app via video phone conference.
- Faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider.