In-person semifinals to continue as planned

Nov. 16, 2020

Dear Cornell community,

I am writing to clarify that even though the university moved to Alert Level Yellow last week out of an abundance of caution, there are no changes required to our normal operations, including to planned in-person semifinals. While we experienced a larger than usual number of cases among students last week, these are largely attributable to off-campus gatherings. We were able to respond quickly to this cluster to contain it; the decline in positive cases will be evident in updates to the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard that will take effect at 6 p.m. tonight. We would like to reiterate that the university has not seen any evidence of transmission in classroom or exam settings throughout the fall semester, including related to this most recent cluster. We believe that this is attributable to how carefully students and faculty have adhered to personal health guidelines and to the robust surveillance and adaptive testing program we are employing.

Wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance are required in all academic buildings. These spaces are thoroughly and frequently cleaned, and there are new guidelines in place for managing exam logistics in large exam locations such as Barton Hall and Bailey Hall. As we pursue the same safety procedures for in-person semifinals as in-person classes, we feel confident that there is no increased risk associated with semifinals.

We are gratified with the Cornell community’s response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far and should all be proud that we were able to complete our planned in-person teaching for the fall semester. We are confident that we can be similarly successful with the next phase of the semester. Thank you all again for your efforts.


Lisa Nishii
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education