President Pollack and Provost Kotlikoff have convened eight committees comprising senior leadership, faculty and staff to work through the many details related to implementing the campus reactivation plan. The committees will share details with the campus community as they become available via emails, virtual forums and on this site. The committees cover the following areas:

Communications and Community Relations

This committee will coordinate communications from each of the other seven committees, manage external relationships with state and local stakeholders and develop a public health campaign to ensure Cornellians are aware of and adhere to best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Committee Lead: Joel Malina, vice president, university relations
  • Committee Co-lead: Jason Cole, associate vice president, university relations

Project: Liaison with New York State

  • Project lead: Charlie Kruzansky, associate vice president, government relations, university relations

Project: Communications coordination; COVID site updates

  • Project lead: Melissa Shaffmaster, senior director, strategic communications, university relations

Project: Liaison with Tompkins county officials

  • Project lead: Gary Stewart, associate vice president, community relations, university relations

Project: Public health campaign identity and execution

  • Project co-lead: Shane Trost, senior director, brand communications, university relations
  • Project co-lead: Melissa Shaffmaster, senior director, strategic communications, university relations

Facilities and Supply Chain

This committee will help ensure adequate supplies and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and that Cornell buildings and facilities are configured and cleaned appropriately.

  • Committee Lead: Rick Burgess, vice president, facilities and campus services

Project: Campus Movement

  • Project lead: Bridgette Brady, senior director, transportation and delivery services

Project: Procurement and distribution of PPE

  • Project lead: Spring Buck, associate director, facilities, facilities and campus services

Project: General facilities alterations

  • Project lead: Erik Eshelman, director, facilities engineering, engineering and project management

Project: Access Control

  • Project lead: Peggy Matta, Clery act compliance and access control program administrator, Cornell police

Project: Cleaning and disinfection

  • Project lead: Robert Pils, director, building care, facilities management

Project: Indoor space

  • Project lead: Margaret Carney, senior director, university architect, facilities and campus services

Project: Outdoor space

  • Project lead: Juliet Parsons, events coordinator, facilities management

Faculty and Staff Guidance

This committee will develop guidelines and policies to ensure employees have the resources they need and that Cornell remains in compliance with relevant regulations.

  • Committee Lead: Mary Opperman, vice president, chief human resources officer, human resources

Project: Workforce guidance

  • Project lead: Allan Bishop, associate vice president, human resources

Project: Remote work

  • Project lead: Linda Croll Howell, director, human resources analytics, human resources

Project: Regulatory compliance: Daily Check and Accommodations

  • Project lead: Betsy Shrier, senior director, strategic projects, human resources

Health Considerations

This committee will develop COVID-19 testing protocols, implement the Daily Check and develop travel and visitor policies.

  • Committee Lead: Gary Koretzky, vice provost, academic integration

Project: Modeling

  • Project lead: Peter Frazier, associate professor, operations research and information engineering, college of engineering

Project: Travel and visitors

  • Project lead: Kevin Hallock, Joseph R. Rich Professor of Economics and Human Resource Studies

Project: Daily check tool

  • Project lead: Kristin Hopkins, project associate, office of the vice provost for academic integration

Project: Testing program

  • Project lead: Kimberly Potter, director, business operations, college of veterinary medicine

Project: Dashboard

  • Project lead: Isaac Weisfuse, adjunct professor, public health, college of veterinary medicine


This committee will manage immigration and international travel issues and study abroad programs.

  • Committee Lead: Wendy Wolford, vice provost, international affairs, Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson professor, department of global development

Project: Belonging and engagement

  • Project lead: Gustavo Flores-Macias, associate vice provost, associate professor, international affairs

Project: International travel

  • Project lead: Christine Potter, associate vice provost, executive director, global operations and strategy, global learning

Project: Study away

  • Project lead: Cindy Tarter, senior associate director, education abroad, global learning

Project: Immigration

  • Project lead: Laura Taylor, senior associate director, international services, global learning


This committee will oversee research-related safety protocols and overseeing lab safety protocols and undergraduate research.

  • Committee Lead: Emmanuel Giannelis, vice provost, research, vice president, technology, transfer, intellectual property, and research policy, Walter R. Read professor of engineering
  • Committee Co-lead: Mark Hurwitz, interim chief compliance officer, research

Project: Lab safety protocols

  • Alexis Brubaker, director, compliance, environment, health and safety
  • Ezra Delaney, senior director, finance and administration, library
  • Mark Hurwitz, interim chief compliance officer, research
  • Todd Pfeiffer, director, Weill hall facilities, research
  • Joshua Turse, university biosafety officer, environment, health and safety

Project: Undergraduate research

  • Laurel Southard, director, undergraduate research, college of arts & sciences

Student Life

This committee will develop protocols to preserve public health on campus and create a student behavioral compact which all students present on campus will agree to.

  • Committee Lead: Ryan Lombardi, vice president, student and campus life

Project: Greek life, orientation, student orgs

  • Project lead: Jenny Loeffelman, assistant vice president, student and campus life

Project: Student health

  • Project lead: Sharon McMullen, assistant vice president, student & campus life for health and wellbeing, Cornell health

Project: Behavioral compact implementation and enforcement

  • Project lead: Vijay Pendakur, Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley dean of students, student & campus life

Project: Move-in, housing, dining, quarantine

  • Project lead: Pat Wynn, assistant vice president, student and campus life


This committee will prepare resources for faculty to teach in person, online or both, while providing remote access for international students or quarantined students.

  • Committee Lead: Lisa Nishii, associate professor, vice provost, undergraduate education, school of industrial and labor relations

Project: Course roster and scheduling

  • Project co-lead: David Shmoys, director, center for data science for enterprise & society, Laibe/Acheson professor, school of operations research & information engineering
  • Project co-lead: Rhonda Kitch, university registrar, office of university registrar

Project: Teaching modalities and technology

  • Project co-lead: David Lifka, vice president, information technologies and chief information officer, director, Cornell center for advancement computing
  • Project co-lead: Julia Thom-Levy, vice provost, academic innovation, professor in physics

Project: Advising and academic policies

  • Project co-lead: Miranda Swanson, associate dean, student services, college of engineering
  • Project co-lead: Carol Grumbach, associate vice provost, undergraduate education

In order to inform the university’s decision about the 2020-21 academic year, President Pollack created three reactivation committees comprised of faculty, staff and students to review options and recommend a course of action. Their work represents the foundation of the implementation committee planning processes that are now underway.

Research and Operations Reactivation

This committee focused on the needs surrounding reactivating our research and related campus operations, and has developed a plan for a phased reactivation using metrics that are consistent with federal and state guidelines, and appropriate for our campus setting. The recommendations described in the Research and Operations Reactivation report were accepted are actively being implemented.

The committee should develop a plan for a phased campus re-activation, using metrics that are consistent with federal and state recommendations, and also appropriate for our campus setting. The focus should be on operational activities, including research, but excluding classroom teaching and (undergraduate) student life activities; there are being considered separately. Recommendations should be made to the president, not later than May 15, and should address the questions below. Note that some of these questions, e.g., about policies around travel and visits to campus, are also relevant to the committee looking into re-activating the campus for teaching, so discussion between the two committees is strongly encouraged.

  1. How and when do we re-open research activities, taking into account public health criteria as noted above?
  2. How do labs and research centers operate in a safe way, e.g., with appropriate public health measures, such as testing and social distancing? How will this be monitored?
  3. When can faculty routinely occupy their offices? What accommodations will need to be made to ensure appropriate public health measures?
  4. How do we move quickly to analyze the success of remote working and continue it where it is successful, and what kinds of changes do we need to make to have this continue indefinitely (e.g., any technology issues; establishment of “hoteling” space on campus, etc.)?
  5. How and when do we transition back from remote working to in person working, and again, how do we ensure appropriate public health measures?
  6. When do we open the library? The museums?
  7. When do café’s and other campus amenities open?
  8. How and when do we make decisions about alumni events on and off campus?
  9. Once we re-open? policies do we need to put into place regarding travel by faculty and staff and/or visits to campus
  10. What changes do we need to implement social distancing, for as long as that is required, beyond those specifically identified with each activity above?

Joanne DeStefano (chair), executive vice president and chief financial officer
Christine Stallman (co-chair), chief compliance officer


  • Rick Burgess, vice president for facilities and campus services
  • Avery August, Ph.D. ’94, professor of immunology and vice provost for academic affairs

Research and Other Academic

  • Emmanuel Giannelis, Walter R. Read Professor of Engineering, vice provost for research and vice provost for technology transfer, intellectual property and research policy
  • Chris Schaffer, associate professor of biomedical engineering and Faculty Senate representative
  • Kathryn Boor, professor of food science and Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • John Lis, professor of molecular biology and genetics
  • Barb Knuth, professor of natural resource policy and management and dean of the Graduate School
  • Jeff Pea, Ph.D. student in biomedical and biological sciences

Workforce Re-Entry

  • Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer
  • Lorin Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, professor of ambulatory and population medicine and Austin O. Hooey Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

Student and Events

  • Pat Wynn, assistant vice president for student and campus life
  • Fred Van Sickle, vice president for alumni affairs and development
  • Simon Allen, associate vice president for asset management

Cornell Tech

  • Juliet Weissman, chief administrative officer at Cornell Tech

Teaching Reactivation Options

This committee has identified options for reactivating our campuses for in-person teaching, as well as the criteria to be used in deciding how and when to reactivate the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses for teaching.

The committee should begin by identifying and formulating recommendations about the criteria to be used in making the determination about how and when to re-activate the campus for teaching (see, for example, the guidelines being developed at state, local, and national levels).

They should next identify a range of options for re-activating the campus for teaching this fall, e.g.,

  1. full re-activation in late August;
  2. delaying re-activation by one or two months;
  3. phased re-activation with students arriving in waves;
  4. re-activation only for a subset of students (e.g., seniors and/or graduate and professional students, with other undergraduates online until the spring);
  5. and so on. Note that there are variations within each of these to consider, for example, if we had a delayed start, would we get rid of the winter break and run classes through January? Or are there other academic calendar changes that should be considered (e.g. shortened semester with minimal breaks to avoid/prevent travel

The committee should then use the identified criteria and options to frame answers to the questions below, as well as any other questions that they determine are significant. They should make recommendations to the president, noting both the advantages and disadvantages of each option, not later than June 15.

Michael Kotlikoff (Chair), provost

Subcommittee on Teaching and Social Distancing

  • Lisa Nishi (subcommittee chair), associate professor of human resource studies and vice provost for undergraduate education
  • Shorna Allred, associate professor of natural resources
  • Joe Anderson ’20, undergraduate in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Rebecca Harrison ’14, Ph.D. candidate in science and technology studies
  • Lance Collins, Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering in the College of Engineering
  • Deborah Estrin, Robert V. Tishman Professor of computer science and associate dean for impact at Cornell Tech
  • David Shmoys, the Laibe/Acheson Professor of Business Management and Leadership Studies in the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering
  • Pat Wynn, assistant vice president for student and campus life
  • Kim Weeden, Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of the Social Sciences
  • Meejin Yoon, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning
  • Charlie Van Loan, Joseph C. Ford Professor of Engineering and dean of faculty

Subcommittee on Health Considerations

  • Gary Koretzky, (subcommittee chair), professor of medicine and vice provost for academic integration
  • Frank Cantone, director of emergency management and business continuity
  • Jason Cole, associate vice president for university relations
  • Peter Frazier, associate professor of operations research and industrial engineering
  • Sharon McMullen, associate vice president of student and campus life for health and wellbeing
  • Jared Pittman, associate university counsel
  • Paul Streeter, vice president for budget and planning
  • Lorin Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, professor of ambulatory and population medicine and Austin O. Hooey Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Isaac Weisfuse, adjunct professor of public health

Preparation for Online Teaching

This committee considered the implications of potential scenarios in which Cornell may need to provide all, most or many of our classes online in the fall semester and make recommendations about the best ways to manage this possibility.

The committee should consider the implications of a situation in which we need all or most of our classes online in the fall semester, and possibly the spring semester as well, and under that scenario make recommendations to the president about the following questions, not later than June 15.

  1. Should we attempt to offer all classes online, or only a restricted subset of them? If so, how would we make these decisions: as one example, would it make sense to start upper-level classes in the fall, and then defer freshmen to start in January?
  2. Would we work with faculty over the summer to enhance the quality of their offerings further or assume that faculty, having had the experience of the current semester, can do this on their own?
  3. Would we pay faculty for the extra work of converting their classes to online format over the summer?
  4. Would we temporarily eliminate large classes? (There has been some discussion that very large classes are especially ineffective in the current online format?)
  5. Would we make spring and summer offerings more robust for 2021 and beyond?
  6. What are the ADA issues we’d need to address?
  7. How would we handle technology issues? What have we learned from the current experience? For example: what do we do about students who are in very different time zones? What do we do about students who do not have reliable access to wifi? What do we do about students in China who may have VPN issues? What other issues have arisen or might arise?
  8. What would we offer to students outside of their online classes? Would there be any attempt at virtual co-curricular offerings? Would we continue to provide telehealth services? And if so, how would this be factored in tuition and fees? (If the students are not on campus, it seems unlikely that they will be willing to pay fees, but if they’re not paying fees we can’t provide things like health services.)
  9. What other changes would we implement, e.g., any changes to grading policies?
  10. Would it be feasible to have some students on campus, and others taking classes online? Would they be in the same classes?
  11. What are the financial implications? This should include a consideration of whether tuition levels should be changed.

John Siliciano ’75 (Chair), professor of law and deputy provost

  • Julia Thom-Levy, professor of physics and vice provost for academic innovation
  • Vijay Pendakur, Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Dean of Students
  • Patti McClary, associate university counsel
  • Paul Streeter, vice president for budget and planning
  • David Lifka, vice president for information technology and chief information officer
  • Lisa Nishii, associate professor of human resource studies and vice provost for undergraduate education
  • Rachel Bean, professor of astronomy and senior associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Michael Thompson, associate professor of materials science and engineering and associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering
  • Steve Carvell, professor of finance and vice provost for external education strategy
  • Courtney Roby, associate professor of classics
  • Neema Kudva, associate professor of city and regional planning, associate dean of faculty in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning
  • Maria Fitzpatrick, associate professor of policy analysis and management
  • Wendy Wolford, professor of development sociology and vice provost for international affairs
  • Liel Sterling ’21, undergraduate in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations