In-person gatherings and activities

Oct. 5, 2020

Dear Cornell Community,

By all indications, the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus remains low, which has allowed the in-person semester to proceed. This success is directly attributable to each and every one of you who has remained vigilant in following public health guidance, Cornell’s protocols and campus guidelines – an accomplishment to be proud of!

Last week, students received information related to easing of restrictions for student events and activities (highlighted below). We are also easing restrictions for university-sponsored events and activities to allow for more engagement at the college, unit and department level. Our ability to meet in-person as small groups will only remain in effect if our campus circumstances do not change and should in no way signal that it is safe to let our guards down.

University-sponsored events and activities

In-person, university-sponsored events and activities of 10 people or fewer are now permitted (face masks and physical distancing are required). This applies to business activities sponsored by a college, department, unit or lab – whether on or off campus.

  • Anyone attending an on-campus meeting or activity must be approved to be on campus.
  • Faculty and staff approved to be on campus must complete the Daily Check each day they plan to go to campus, and complete surveillance testing on their assigned testing frequency and day. In order to continue to manage the density of campus and protect the health and safety of our community, employees who can fully perform their work responsibilities remotely, and who are not currently approved to be on campus, should not be approved to be on campus solely for the purposes of attending an event or activity.
  • Visitors are prohibited from entering campus facilities.

Student events and activities

Last week, the university announced that registered student organizations could begin to host small group gatherings of 10 or fewer people (face masks and physical distancing are required). These events will require careful planning, including pre-registration in CampusGroups, space registrations, restrictions on off-campus gatherings, and compliance with new rules for tracking attendance.

Several fitness centers and recreation spaces have reopened for student use; limited intramural and club sports and other athletic activities have also resumed. Starting today, the Teagle Fitness Center and the Lindseth Climbing Center will be open to students on a limited basis.

Everyone is encouraged to enjoy the fall weather with a walk through the Botanic Gardens or around Beebe Lake. The fall foliage this year is stunning!

Staying healthy this winter

As the weather turns colder, we all will be spending more time indoors, where the coronavirus spreads more readily. Flu season adds another difficult dimension to the struggle. The flu can be devastating at any age, and it could make you more susceptible to COVID-19.

Ithaca-based students are required to get a flu shot; faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get one as well. Cornell Health offers free flu clinics through the end of October. These are open to students, faculty and staff. Sign up for a time slot and bring your Cornell ID with you to your appointment. Employees are permitted to attend a Cornell Health flu clinic without prior approval to be on campus and enrollment in the Daily Check and surveillance testing program.

It is easy to feel comfortable when meeting with close friends and colleagues, many of whom we may consider to be part of our social pods or bubbles. However, it is important to remember that wearing face masks, physical distancing and practicing proper hygiene remain important at all times – even when attending small gatherings on the evenings or weekends. Together, we can keep each other safe and healthy, and the campus open.


Michael Kotlikoff

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer