Cornell Health provides COVID-19 diagnostic testing and care for students, along with telehealth appointments for medical and mental health care, and select in-person services. Support resources are available to students in Ithaca and elsewhere during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
What services and support does Cornell Health provide for students who are diagnosed with COVID-19?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 – through the university's surveillance testing or through diagnostic testing at Cornell Health – are placed in isolation (in locations meeting specific public health criteria) under the care of Cornell Health, in partnership with the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD).
Cornell Health staff members contact students in isolation each day to help monitor their symptoms, and to provide self-care guidance and medical support. Cornell Health and the TCHD work closely with the local hospital, Cayuga Medical Center, in the event that a student requires medical care or hospitalization for their symptoms.
If I call Cornell Health for an appointment, will I be seen in-person?
Students who need medical or mental health care should call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 during business hours to schedule an appointment.
Most services are currently offered by telehealth appointment, using a secure Zoom platform accessed through Cornell Health's patient portal. In-person services are limited to protect students and staff from potential exposure to COVID-19. In-person services include COVID-19 diagnostic testing, along with select medical appointments and physical therapy appointments for needs requiring an in-person examination.
Because Cornell Health has reallocated resources toward COVID-19 testing and care, there may be a longer wait than usual for routine and preventive care medical visits. To protect the safety of students and staffs , mental health visits are currently being conducted online and by phone.
What resources are available remotely for students?
Students who are enrolled on Cornell’s Ithaca campus, but who are engaged in distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, are eligible for Cornell Health services, depending on their location.
Students in New York state can access Cornell Health's full range of telehealth services. There is no charge for telehealth services for students enrolled in a Cornell Student Health Plan (SHP or SHP+) or who pay the student health fee.
Students outside of New York state, in the United States or in an international location, are eligible for phone consultation for medical and mental health concerns, along with non-clinical CAPS services, available with no charge.
Learn more about Cornell Health services for students studying remotely.
Additionally, Cornell's cultural centers and student empowerment area staff members are available to support and connect with students virtually.
I feel stressed or overwhelmed. Who can I talk to?
Cornell community members are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways, and may be experiencing a myriad of emotions including anxiety, grief, loneliness and worry for the future.
Those who could benefit from support are encouraged to connect with the resources below.
- Students enrolled on the Ithaca campus may access resources provided by Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) at Cornell Health (limitations apply for students studying outside of New York state). Students can also call Cornell Health 24/7 at 607-255-5155 to speak with a licensed therapist from their on-call service.
- Students at Cornell Tech may contact Student Services for support.
- Faculty and staff in Ithaca and New York City may contact the Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (FSAP). Additional health plan benefits, including telehealth services are also available to benefits-eligible employees.
- Chaplains and spiritual advisors in Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) are available to speak with students seeking spiritual support and care, online and/or by phone.
- Confidential care and support for individuals affected by bias is also available, and any member of the community can report a bias incident or related concerns.
What can I do to support my mental health and wellbeing?
It is always important to prioritize caring for your mental health, but especially during times of uncertainty and stress. The good news is there are many things you can do to support your well being and get the most out of your time at Cornell. Cornell Health's Coping During COVID-19 webpage offers excellent self-care tips and online resources, including their new hour-long "Life Hacks" course, designed specifically for the challenges of this time; Let's Talk drop-in consultations; CAPS-led workshops; and the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives' weekly Quaranzine newsletter – available to students anywhere in the world.
Additionally, the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making offers programs for spiritual support. Graduate students can access additional support and community resources through the Graduate School. We also know that simply leaving your room, wherever you live, and enjoying the nature around you will improve your cognitive ability and boost your concentration and overall mood.
Prevention, Testing & Care
All students on the Ithaca campus take part in a robust virus screening program that is critical to controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The protocol includes screening prior to and upon arrival to campus, and ongoing, frequent screening of the entire Cornell Community, with isolation/quarantine/contact tracing as needed. Learn more about prevention and care.
Student Health Plans
Can Student Health Plan (SHP and SHP+) plan members use their insurance outside of Ithaca?
Yes, Student Health Plan (SHP) and Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+) are designed to provide students with access to health care wherever they live or travel. SHP and SHP+ use the Aetna network, and it is common for U.S. health care providers to participate with this network. SHP and SHP+ also provide coverage internationally.
Learn more about using your student health benefits.
Will SHP/SHP+ cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?
Cornell’s Student Health Plan and Student Health Plan Plus provide coverage for plan members who require testing and/or treatment for COVID-19. Learn more on the Student Health Benefits website.