Update on campus reactivation planning

May 11, 2020

Dear Cornell Faculty and Staff,

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced a plan that would allow various sectors of the New York state economy to gradually re-open in phases. We are writing today to update you on our internal planning for restarting operations across our campuses.

Importantly, for the time being, everyone who has been working remotely should continue to do so. However, for those of you who rely on university facilities, we are working on phased re-activation plans that will enable the safe resumption of activities, consistent with the governor’s directives. In particular, we fully understand the critical importance of resuming research and other scholarly work. Toward that end, and as previously announced, Executive Vice President Joanne DeStefano is leading a committee of faculty, staff and students that is focused on what we need to do to reactivate our research and related campus operations. They will be submitting recommendations to President Pollack by the end of this week, and we intend shortly thereafter to distribute guidelines that can then be used by individual principal investigators, as well as departments, colleges and schools to begin planning for reactivation.

Other planning committees, focused on in-person and online teaching, continue their work and will complete their efforts over the coming weeks. We will share with you the outcomes of these planning processes as soon as feasible, including an anticipated decision around how and when to reactivate the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses for in-person teaching. As a reminder, you can provide input and suggestions on the planning committee process here.

We continue to be grateful for the exceptional efforts of those of our essential workers who have remained on campus since the middle of March, and we also remain deeply appreciative of the dedication, professionalism and empathy that is being displayed across the university on a daily basis as we all continue to adjust to these challenging circumstances. In the coming days, as we receive greater clarity from the state, we will communicate the specific steps that we will take to carefully phase-in campus operations. Thank you for your continued patience.


Michael Kotlikoff

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer