Reactivating Campus

State & Local Guidelines

In accordance with New York state reopening guidelines, Cornell developed and submitted a reactivation plan (PDF) to the New York State Department of Health. This report included plans for restarting campus operations including students, faculty and staff return; policies to track health conditions on campus; plans for how to respond to positive or suspected cases, as well as preventative policies and practices; and contingency plans for decreasing on-campus activities and operations and/or closing campus.

Cornell adheres closely to state and local guidance as we reactivate our campuses and facilities in a safe, responsible and legal manner. To ensure workplace health and safety, employees must adhere to the following newly established guidelines; all campus activities must adhere to health and safety standards and practices and be cleared by college and school deans or unit leads. The Daily Check is required to be completed by all Ithaca-based students, and by faculty and staff who have been approved to return to campus by their dean, department chair or supervisor.

Ithaca, NY

The Southern Tier region, which includes Tompkins County and Cornell’s main campus, has met the required metrics for Phase 4 reopening based on the New York state reopening plan. Visit the Tompkins County Health Department website for specific guidance and resources on local reopening plans.

Tompkins County Health Department has provided the following guidance for individuals to consider when they go out to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Distance: Even while more spaces and businesses begin to open, keeping six feet of distance between you and others continues to be an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Density: Avoid entering crowded rooms or areas. Limit occupancy to allow for proper distancing. Monitor the flow of people in your surroundings, and remove yourself if an area becomes too crowded.
  • Face Coverings: Your mask protects others; their mask protects you. The wearing of masks when you can’t guarantee physical distancing is a proven way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Hand Hygiene: Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and consistently cleaning frequently touched surfaces can help to stop the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about how to protect yourself.
  • Symptoms and Testing:
    1. Monitor Your Symptoms. If you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or body aches, seek a test and stay home.
    2. Get Tested: Register to be tested at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site, online at or call 607-319-5708.
  • Quarantine: The 14-day quarantine is critical for preventing the spread of COVID-19. If you are required to quarantine, be responsible: stay at your residence and follow all guidance for the full 14 days.
  • Mental Health: No one should feel like they're alone. Local mental health services are available for anyone who is having a hard time coping with this community wide crisis. Find more information and local resources here.

The Tompkins County Health Department website includes additional guidance and resources on local re-opening plans.

Geneva, NY

Geneva is located in the Finger Lakes region and is in Phase 4 reopening. For more details, visit the Reopening New York website.

New York City, NY

New York City is currently in Phase 4 reopening. For additional details please visit the Reopening New York website or Cornell Tech COVID website.