Revised student travel policy

Nov. 18, 2020

Dear Cornellians,

Cornell has made important updates to its travel and visitor policy. Please review the updates below so you know how these changes may affect you or your access to campus facilities. Please bear in mind that this travel guidance applies for the rest of the fall semester, and will be updated for the beginning of the spring semester.

All unnecessary travel remains strongly discouraged. As previously noted, many of the positive cases within our campus community are directly linked to travel outside of the region. If you must travel, please follow all public health guidance to protect yourself and others.

Updated student travel guidelines

Earlier this month, New York state put new guidelines in place to allow travelers from out of state and from CDC Level 2 or 3 countries to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day travel-related quarantine. This does not eliminate the need for travelers to quarantine, but rather reduces the amount of time needed in quarantine, pending two negative test results within a five-to-seven day period.

Cornell has been reviewing the new guidance to see how it may apply to our travel policy. We have taken a hybrid approach, outlined below.

Students arriving from noncontiguous states (states other than NY, PA, CT, NJ, VT and MA) and CDC Level 2 or 3 countries must:

  • Obtain a test within three days prior to arrival in New York state.
  • Complete the Traveler Health form upon arrival, per New York state law.
  • Quarantine off campus for a minimum of five days upon arrival in New York state, only leaving quarantine for COVID-19 testing. Travel to and from testing should be by foot or private vehicle (not public transportation) and careful adherence to masking and distancing is required.
    • Take a first test on day one or day two after arrival in New York state.
    • Take a second test on day four after arrival.
    • If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test (or on day five).

Students arriving from outside the Ithaca area but within New York state, or traveling directly from contiguous states (PA, CT, NJ, VT and MA), must:

  • Remain off campus (no need to quarantine) for a minimum of five days upon arrival in the Ithaca area, only visiting campus for COVID-19 testing. Travel to and from testing should be by foot or private vehicle (not public transportation) and careful adherence to masking and distancing is required.
    • Take a first test on day one or day two after arrival in the Ithaca area.
    • Take a second test on day four after arrival.
    • If both tests come back negative, the traveler may resume activities on campus upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test (or on day five).

Processing of COVID-19 test results may take 24 hours or longer. Under both scenarios listed above, students must remain off campus in quarantine (noncontiguous states/international travel) or off campus without quarantine (contiguous states/other regions of New York state) until the results of their second test appear in the Cayuga Health portal and are negative or undetected.

Cornell requires all students to register their travel via the Daily Check tool. Students who travel will receive information about testing and quarantine procedures. Students who live on campus and have not yet departed for the semester may be denied travel. There will be no travel permitted for undergraduate students living on campus after the Thanksgiving break.

Important: Should you develop any symptoms related to COVID-19 or if you become aware that you have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, you are prohibited from obtaining a test at one of our surveillance sites. Instead, contact Cornell Health immediately for instructions.

As a reminder, if you’re in quarantine or isolation at the time of your intended departure, the Tompkins County Health Department may not permit you to travel. Cornell Health has information on when it is and is not medically appropriate to travel.

Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our community.

Best,

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life