Limiting on- and off-campus gatherings

Aug. 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As the university prepares to resume in-person instruction and residential experiences, we are writing to share important health and safety restrictions regarding on- and off-campus gatherings for colleges and units. Traditionally, the start of an academic year is marked by welcome and orientation events and other celebrations. While it is important that our community retain that spirit of collegiality and connectivity for the fall semester, it is crucial that we all do so responsibly and without congregating in groups. As so many students, staff and faculty return to campus over the coming weeks, we must be particularly cautious to limit potential spread of COVID-19.

To limit opportunities for that spread, all in-person university-sponsored events and activities will be suspended at least through the end of September. This measure applies to any group activities or gatherings sponsored by a college, department, unit or lab — whether on or off campus. Examples of such gatherings include orientation events, social activities and retirement celebrations. Classes and related academic activities (such as meetings between students and advisors) are exempted from these guidelines; however, all rules related to physical distancing, mask wearing and de-densification remain in effect.

In order to minimize contact with those beyond our campus community, the university will not permit in-person concerts or lectures involving outside guests throughout the fall semester. However, many events will continue to be held virtually, including celebrations such as Homecoming, and the university continues to examine creative, safe opportunities for converting other events and activities into online formats.

As a reminder, staff and faculty who plan to work on campus must be approved to do so by their dean or unit leader and complete the Daily Check each day before arriving. And all staff and faculty on campus at any time must adhere to Cornell’s requirements for face coverings and physical distancing. Whenever possible, we encourage those of you who are effectively working remotely to continue to do so.


Michael Kotlikoff

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer