New Requirement: Confirm post-Thanksgiving plans by Nov. 13

Oct. 30, 2020

Dear Cornellians,

Whether you plan to return home during Thanksgiving break or will be remaining in the Ithaca area, all students – undergraduate, graduate, and professional – must complete several required actions, along with being aware of various restrictions so that you can make decisions that are the right fit for your personal circumstances as we near the end of the semester.

Before we go into those details, tomorrow is Halloween. For those of you who plan to celebrate this weekend, don’t let your guards down – wear a mask under or as part of your costume, practice physical distancing, limit time indoors, don’t share food or drinks and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. While it is always enjoyable to socialize with friends, it is critical to continue following all public health guidance to keep our campus safe.

End-of-semester checklist

All students – whether remote or living in the Ithaca area – must complete the end-of-semester checklist no later than 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 13. You must specify in the checklist where you intend to reside following Thanksgiving break and whether you plan to return to Ithaca for the spring semester.

Failure to complete the checklist by the deadline will result in loss of access to campus facilities (except for surveillance testing), effective November 14. Additionally, students will not be able to participate in pre-enrollment for the spring semester until the checklist has been completed.

We understand your departure plans may change. If they do, sign back into the checklist and update your records accordingly. This form will be open to edit until November 29. An FAQ has been added to the Daily Check portal with more information about the checklist. Also, keep in mind that if you have an extenuating circumstance that prevents you from taking your semifinal exams in person, you must contact your college advising office for approval.

Travel restrictions and what they mean for you

As noted above, all students are required to notify the university of any travel plans. Restrictions for traveling during or after Thanksgiving break differ depending on whether you live in on- or off-campus housing. Please plan accordingly.

  • Undergraduate students living in on-campus housing who wish to remain in on-campus housing after Thanksgiving break are not allowed to travel outside of the Ithaca area and return to campus. Doing so is a breach of the housing contract and you will not be allowed to return to your residence hall. Travel, except for extraordinary circumstances, has always been strongly discouraged; however, as we progress to the end of the semester, travel after the break will no longer be permissible.
  • Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students living off campus are strongly discouraged from traveling. If you do travel, you must notify the university before departing. Any student who travels to a region, state, or country included in the New York state travel advisory will be responsible for self-quarantining off campus for 14 days upon return. This means you will not be able to access any on-campus facilities (except for surveillance testing) until you have completed your quarantine
  • At the time of your travel or departure, students who are in isolation must remain in isolation until cleared by the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD). Depending on specific circumstances, students who are in quarantine may be able to complete their quarantine at home, and should consult TCHD or Cornell Health to determine if this is feasible.

Accessing campus facilities, services after Thanksgiving

Access to many academic spaces, such as libraries, studios, labs, and study rooms, will continue after Thanksgiving break. However, these spaces will only be available to undergraduate, graduate, or professional students who have confirmed via the checklist that they are still in the area, have followed all travel restrictions outlined above, have completed the Daily Check health assessment, and continue to participate in surveillance testing. The same requirements apply to students who wish to access campus gyms or other recreational spaces after the break.

Cornell Health will continue offering limited in-person and telehealth services within New York state. Students leaving the state should plan now for their medical, mental health, and prescription needs during intersession, as eligibility for services is largely determined by a student’s location.

Daily Check and surveillance testing after Thanksgiving

All students remaining in the Ithaca area after Thanksgiving must continue to complete the Daily Check health assessment every day, including weekends and days when you do not plan to come to campus. These students will also continue with surveillance testing at their current frequency, which for most is twice weekly. We anticipate changes to some testing site locations and hours, which will be updated in the Daily Check tool.

While our campus continues to do an excellent job at keeping our COVID-19 rates low, there is an uptick in positive cases in Tompkins County and surrounding areas. With increased prevalence of COVID-19 not only in our region, but also across the country, it is essential that we understand your plans, and for you to understand the university’s expectations. Thank you for your continued diligence and resolve in supporting the health of our campus and broader community.


Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life