Arrival Testing

In addition to New York state guidelines, Cornell has instituted additional testing requirements to help ensure the health and safety of new and returning members of our campus community. Requirements for arrival testing, as well as for quarantining or limiting access to campus upon your arrival, are determined by where you are traveling from and whether you will be living on or off campus. Students should review the information below to understand the requirements for their unique circumstances.

Please note:

  • Students are responsible for all aspects of their pre-arrival and arrival testing, as well as quarantine requirements.
  • Regardless of where you'll be arriving from, we encourage you to continue following all public health guidance (e.g., mask wearing, physical distancing, avoid travel and large gatherings), as well as self-quarantine before your arrival.
  • Closer to your arrival date, you will receive arrival testing information via the Daily Check, including confirming arrival dates and scheduling testing appointments.
  • All arrival tests must be completed through Cornell’s testing program. Testing at non-Cornell testing site (i.e., the mall sampling site) will not satisfy arrival testing requirements and will delay your ability to resume campus activities.
  • Students must follow all instructions provided in the Spring Checklist about testing and access to campus. All students who intend to enroll in classes for the spring semester, whether on campus or studying remotely, must complete the Spring Checklist. Travel to and from testing sites should be by foot or private vehicle (not public transportation) and careful adherence to masking and physical distancing is required.
  • Students who have remained in the Ithaca area since December and have continued with surveillance testing will not be required to undergo additional arrival testing; they will continue with routine surveillance testing.

On-campus students

On-campus students will receive detailed information about arrival from the Housing Office. On-campus students can expect that they will be required to:

Arriving from a noncontiguous state (states other than NY, PA, NJ, CT, VT or MA) or any international location must:

Prior to arrival:

  • Use the housing portal to select a move-in date and time.
  • Obtain a test within three days prior to arrival in New York state.*

At time of arrival:

  • Complete the New York state Traveler Health form upon arrival, per New York state law.
  • Quarantine off campus for a minimum of five days upon arrival in New York state, only leaving quarantine for testing. For more information, see How Do I Quarantine? as well as Cornell Health’s Quarantine & Isolation FAQs.
  • Complete two COVID-19 tests and await results. You will receive instructions for your testing via emails from Daily Check. If both test results are negative, access to campus will be activated.

After completing arrival testing, all students will be entered into Cornell’s surveillance testing program. Similar to the fall semester, surveillance testing frequency may vary by student group and will be outlined in your Daily Check portal.

Any students who test positive will immediately be placed into isolation.


Arriving from a contiguous state (PA, NJ, CT, VT or MA) or another region of New York must:

Prior to arrival:

  • Use the housing portal to select a move-in date and time.

At time of arrival:

  • Remain off campus for a minimum of five days upon return to the Ithaca area, only visiting campus for COVID-19 testing.
  • Complete two COVID-19 tests and await results. If both test results are negative, access to campus will be activated on day five.
  • Students who test negative will be allowed to move into their on-campus housing and begin normal activities.

After completing arrival testing, all students will be entered into Cornell’s surveillance testing program. Similar to the fall semester, surveillance testing frequency may vary by student group and will be outlined in your Daily Check portal.

Any students who test positive will immediately be placed into isolation.

Off-campus students

Based on the arrival date recorded in the Spring Checklist, the Daily Check will automatically step you through all arrival testing requirements. If your arrival date changes or is not yet confirmed, you are required to update your arrival information in the checklist as soon as it is known. Students who have remained in Ithaca this winter should also complete the checklist. Off-campus students can expect that they will be required to:

Arriving from a noncontiguous state (states other than NY, PA, NJ, CT, VT or MA) or any international location must:

Prior to arrival:

  • Use the Spring Checklist to record arrival date. Please coordinate in advance with your roommates, if applicable, to stagger your arrival in the Ithaca area.
  • Give yourself enough time in Ithaca to complete the requirements listed here prior to your need to be on campus. Testing availability the week prior to classes resuming may be limited.
  • Obtain a test within three days prior to arrival in New York state.*

At time of arrival:

  • Complete the New York state Traveler Health form upon arrival, per New York state law.
  • Quarantine off campus for a minimum of five days upon arrival in the Ithaca area, only leaving quarantine to access Cornell’s COVID-19 testing program.
  • Plan to take a test on day one or day two after arrival in New York state. This will be scheduled via the Daily Check portal prior to your arrival; instructions will be emailed from the Daily Check 24-hours prior to your arrival.
  • Take a second test on day four after arrival. Instructions will be emailed from the Daily Check on day four.

If both tests come back negative (undetected), the Daily Check will automatically activate access to campus on day five. After completing arrival testing, all students will be placed into Cornell’s surveillance testing program. Similar to the fall semester, surveillance testing frequency may vary by student group and will be outlined in your Daily Check portal.

Any student who tests positive will be contacted by health department with instructions for isolation and care.


Arriving from a contiguous state (PA, NJ, CT, VT or MA) or another region of New York must:

Prior to arrival:

  • Use the Spring Checklist to record arrival date. Please coordinate in advance with your roommates, if applicable, to stagger your arrival in the Ithaca area.
  • Give yourself enough time in Ithaca to complete the requirements listed here prior to your need to be on campus. Testing availability the week prior to classes resuming may be limited.

At time of arrival:

  • Remain off campus for a minimum of five days upon arrival in the Ithaca area, only coming to campus to access Cornell’s COVID-19 testing program.
  • Plan to take a test on day one or day two after arrival in New York state. This will be scheduled via the Daily Check portal prior to your arrival; instructions will be emailed from the Daily Check 24-hours prior to your arrival.
  • Take a second test on day four after arrival. Instructions will be emailed from the Daily Check on day four.

If both tests come back negative (undetected), the Daily Check will automatically activate access to campus on day five. After completing arrival testing, all students will be placed into Cornell’s surveillance testing program. Similar to the fall semester, surveillance testing frequency may vary by student group and will be outlined in your Daily Check portal.

Any student who tests positive will be contacted by health department with instructions for isolation and care.


Pre-arrival test requirement for students arriving from noncontiguous states or international locations*

Plan ahead to ensure that you can find a testing center in your area, and that your test can be scheduled within three days prior to your intended arrival date. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a tool to help identify testing locations. Financial support for pre-arrival testing costs may be available for qualifying students.

Please know that students arriving from noncontiguous states who are not able to secure a COVID-19 test prior to their return to New York state will need to make their own arrangements, at their cost, to complete a full 10-day quarantine in New York or a contiguous state (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont or Massachusetts) prior to returning to campus and utilizing Cornell’s COVID-19 testing program. If you plan to quarantine in a contiguous state, be sure to review that state’s travel policies and restrictions before arrival. Cornell Housing will not provide any 10-day travel quarantine accommodations for students.

While students arriving from contiguous states (PA, NJ, CT, VT or MA) or another region of NY are not required to get a pre-arrival test, it is strongly recommended.

Before boarding an international flight to the United States, all air travelers, including U.S. citizens, are required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departure. Alternately, travelers may provide proof of recovery from COVID-19 (a recent positive COVID-19 test and letter from a healthcare provider or health official approving travel).

Returning students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19

As indicated in the Spring Checklist, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 while away from Ithaca and/or within the past 90 days should securely upload their result documentation to Cornell Health (click on the link “COVID-19 Diagnosis Documentation”), upon which you will receive specific guidance on how to navigate pre-arrival and arrival testing requirements.