For the fall 2020 semester, we have modified our approach to classroom teaching to offer a hybrid approach to a residential semester with in-person, online and hybrid teaching modalities. The Fall 2020 Course Roster contains information about the modality of each course that students can use in making their course selections.
How is enrollment different in fall 2020?
Cornell is organizing your options for course enrollment based on the location from which you plan to participate in fall 2020 courses:
- Students who are in the Ithaca area
- Students who plan to transition to the Ithaca area after travel restrictions are lifted
- Students who won't be in the Ithaca area
Please note that “remote access” instruction mode has been combined with the “online” option, registration under which will allow students to be able to participate in courses remotely. The Guide to Fall 2020 Enrollment describes everything you need to know if you’re considering the “online” instruction mode.
Are all classes available to me regardless of where I live (in Ithaca, domestic, international)?
Yes. The Fall 2020 Course Roster indicates the "modality" of each course. Online courses are courses in which all students and instructors will interact virtually. In-person courses meet in person on campus but will provide remote access into the classroom for students who are off-campus or are in Ithaca but in quarantine/isolation.
Please note: We anticipate that there could be a small subset of hands-on courses that require access to special facilities or materials for which a full remote option may not be possible (except short-term accommodations for students who are in quarantine/isolation but otherwise able to participate in the course in-person).
Can I move back to Ithaca and take all online classes?
Yes. However, students in Ithaca will still be required to abide by the Behavioral Compact, including the COVID-19 surveillance testing requirements.
I’m not in Ithaca and I want to take an in-person course, can I do that?
If you are participating in fall 2020 courses from outside the Ithaca area, you can only enroll in courses that include an online version. The vast majority of courses offer an online version, but there are a few exceptions you will need to avoid (e.g., some lab and field-based courses, and in-person only first-year writing seminars). If you do not see an online version of the course you're interested in, choose a different course. If you are considering courses that are listed as "in-person", "in-person with transition to online", or "hybrid – online and in-person", be sure to select the online version when you enroll. For these courses, you will be participating remotely with students and instructors who are in a classroom in Ithaca.
Some courses are only listed as online. This means that the instructors and all students, regardless of location, will participate in the course remotely. If your time zone differs significantly from the Eastern time zone, please keep in mind how the scheduled meeting time of a course you are considering may affect your ability to participate in the course synchronously. Both fully online courses, as well as online versions of otherwise "in-person" or "in-person with transition to online" courses, are scheduled to take place at a specific time.
When will students participating in the Study Away option enroll?
Students participating in Study Away will enroll in their Cornell classes at the same time as other students, opting for online classes. In addition to these classes, they will take at least one class from the local host university. This class will be transferred to their Cornell transcript in the same way that a Study Abroad class would be – the credit will transfer but not the grade. If students want to count this abroad class towards their major (substituting for a required course), they will go through the normal process of getting permission for the substitution.
Modifications to Academic Activities: Undergraduate Students
Will my transcript reflect whether my class was in-person or online?
No, it will not.
If I am located in the Ithaca area but enrolled only in online/remote classes, do I have access to campus facilities?
Yes, as long as the university is aware that you are in Ithaca and you have attested to the Behavioral Compact.
Are students able (or expected to) continue with their studies even while in quarantine/isolation?
In most cases, we expect that the answer is yes. Many individuals who are quarantined because they have been identified as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive do not develop symptoms, and similarly some people who are isolated because they have tested positive remain asymptomatic. Other individuals who have tested positive experience a range of symptoms. Cornell Health staff will monitor the symptoms of students who have been quarantined/isolated.
Provided students feel well, the expectation is that they continue with their studies so that they do not fall behind. Not only are online courses accessible from anywhere, in-person courses will also provide remote access into the classroom for students who are in quarantine/isolation so that they can keep up with their coursework.
Faculty have been advised to plan ahead to support students who are unable to attend in-person classes for 14 days, including hands-on lab, studio and performance classes.
Will the course drop, withdraw, and grade option change deadlines be the last day of classes, as it was last semester?
No. The extension during the spring 2020 semester was a temporary change adopted in response to the exigent circumstances of unexpectedly having to transition to fully remote instruction. In the fall, the last day to drop or change the grading basis of a class is Oct. 28 and the last day to add classes was Sept. 16. More information on key academic dates can be found on the University Registrar's website.
How do I add or drop a class?
You may add and drop courses through Student Center as usual. For the scenarios that used to require submitting a paper form (for example, instructor permission is required or you missed the deadline), you may use the online add/drop form available through the college registrar websites, the University Registrar’s website, and Student Essentials.
How have classrooms, studios, and labs been modified to ensure physical distancing?
Classrooms, teaching labs, studios, and other academic use spaces have been de-densified according to New York state and Tompkins County Health Department guidelines. In classrooms, students have assigned seats that are at least six feet apart, and to every extent possible, faculty remain further than six feet from the first row of students. Both instructors and students are required to wear face coverings in class. In labs and makers spaces where the norm is for students to move around the room as they interact with equipment, modified workflows and protocols are in place to facilitate physical distancing.
What is the grading policy regarding S/U grades?
There is no university-wide policy (unlike spring 2020). Individual instructors may choose to offer S/U or not. Individual majors, minors and colleges may create their own policies about accepting S/U grades for requirements. Note that some colleges have a minimum number of credits that must be taken for letter grades.
What happens if my instructor goes into quarantine or isolation?
If in quarantine, most faculty should be able to teach remotely. If the instructor becomes sick with COVID-19, the department will respond with a pre-determined back-up plan, such as substitute instructors or alternative lesson plans.
Are physical education courses available?
Yes, physical education courses have resumed for fall 2020 with modifications. As with all of our COVID-19 planning and reactivation, this is subject to change. Courses are being offered virtual and in-person. Virtual courses are conducted over Zoom and through free phone apps. In-person classes are held outdoors and in larger facilities to provide for physical distancing, and all spaces have disinfecting procedures. PE is also offering more courses focused on meditation, relaxation, and mental health in both formats. More information on specific classes is available on the Physical Education department website.
Will the swim test be required for graduation this year?
The swim test will be waived as a graduation requirement for seniors who are graduating in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021. We will not conduct swim test clinics this fall. First year students will have the fee normally charged for delaying the swim test waived.
How are community-engaged learning courses be handled? Are there specific restrictions or guidelines?
To every extent possible, community-engaged learning courses and activities that ordinarily involve travel and/or interaction with individuals outside of the Cornell community should take place virtually. Courses that require travel must be reviewed and approved by the relevant college leadership. Any courses that involve travel outside of the Ithaca area must comply with the university's travel policy. Instructors should also provide alternative accommodations for students who are not comfortable with, or unable to participate in, this experience and want to engage remotely. The Office of Engagement Initiatives can offer additional support in planning your community-engaged course or activity during this period.
Will Cornell offer study abroad opportunities for spring 2021?
Due to ongoing travel, health and safety concerns, the university has cancelled its spring 2021 study abroad programs, including virtual opportunities. Once conditions allow for students to safely and effectively participate in programming abroad, students who applied for study abroad in spring 2021 will be contacted about submitting a new application for the next available term. Education Abroad advisors remain available to consult with students on planning for future opportunities, as are study abroad advisors within Cornell’s colleges and schools. For further information, students may contact email@example.com.
I plan to graduate in December 2020 and have not completed my swim test or my PE requirement. Will I be able to graduate?
Your swim test requirement will be waived, but you should enroll in a PE course to fulfill your PE requirement. A range of virtual PE classes are available.
How will my instructors be notified if I am placed in quarantine/isolation?
When a student is placed into quarantine or isolation, Student Disability Services can send a Temporary Accommodation Letter to the instructors of the student's courses. The letter will specify that academic flexibility and remote participation are needed for 14 days. Students can communicate with Student Disability Services if they require accommodations beyond the initial 14-day period.
How can I order my textbooks and other course materials?
To maintain physical distancing and reduce contact, in-person textbook shopping and browsing at the Main Store will not be available for fall 2020. In-store shopping in other departments will be available.
All textbooks purchased through the Cornell Store must be pre-ordered online and either scheduled for curbside or store pickup or shipped. Course materials are also available to order online. Visit The Cornell Store website for additional textbook information.
Are digital textbooks available for fall 2020?
The Cornell Store has worked closely with the Office of the Provost and university faculty to significantly increase the digital textbook options for courses, allowing for instant and contactless delivery. This semester, many faculty are using digital textbooks in place of physical books.
Many courses are participating in the Cornell Store’s Instant Access Program which provides automatic access to digital course materials directly in Canvas by the start of the course. No advance purchase is necessary. Students have two weeks from start of class to decide whether to keep access to the digital textbook or to opt-out. Access materials are billed to the student’s bursar account.
How can students help with sanitizing classrooms?
In addition to scheduled cleanings by Building Care staff, self-service disinfectant supplies have been provided for students’ use. Disinfectant bottles are provided based on a ratio of eight students per bottle. The following procedures are recommended:
- Students use the disinfectants and towels provided to sanitize classroom surfaces.
- One student sprays multiple towels for others to use.
- Students use their moistened towel to wipe the bottle and spray trigger after use.
- Students use hand sanitizer to clean their hands after touching the spray bottle.
At the end of class students can wipe their seats and writing surfaces. Students may also arrive a few minutes early if they would like to clean before class.
The inventory of cleaning supplies is routinely checked; however, faculty can also request more cleaning supplies by submitting a maintenance request.
What spaces on campus will be available to me for quiet study or online class participation?
You can now reserve space in rooms designated for studying through the “Book a Study Space” feature, available in Cornell Chatter (website and app). Learn how to use the feature to reserve a quiet space for reading, writing, listening; an interactive space to use Zoom or other videoconferencing; or a small group space.
Right now Book a Study Space has spaces in some college buildings. Eventually it will include the Cornell libraries. The colleges, schools, and libraries set the hours and monitor use of the spaces. Each space has a cleaning station, and Cornell’s custodial staff clean the spaces once a day.