Updates to Cornell’s travel and visitor policy and procedures

Nov. 18, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Many of the positive cases within our campus community are directly linked to travel outside the region. For this reason, all unnecessary travel is strongly discouraged. If you choose to travel, you are expected to comply with all state, federal and international travel guidelines.

Cornell has made several updates to its travel and visitor policy and procedures. Please review the procedural updates below so you know how these changes may affect you, or your access to campus facilities.

The following restrictions have been extended through at least May 15, 2021:

  • All unnecessary business travel remains prohibited
  • Personal travel is strongly discouraged
  • Campus visitors are restricted

Employee travel guidelines

Earlier this month, New York state put new guidelines in place for residents and visitors entering New York state from a noncontiguous (i.e. non-bordering) state or from a country designated under a CDC level 2 (moderate risk) or 3 (high-risk) COVID-19 travel health notice.

All travelers returning from noncontiguous states (states other than NY, PA, NJ, VT, CT or MA) must quarantine for 14 days from the last day in a non-border state or another country, unless the traveler meets certain criteria as outlined below. This option does not eliminate the need for travelers to quarantine, but rather may reduce the amount of required time in quarantine.

Faculty and staff who and are arriving from noncontiguous states (states other than NY, PA, NJ, VT, CT or MA) or CDC Level 2 or 3 countries who wish to “test out” of the full 14-day quarantine must:

  • Take a COVID-19 test no more than three days before you arrive in New York. Ask for a receipt showing you’ve taken a test. You do not need the result before you travel.
  • Fill out the New York State Traveler Health Form prior to arrival in New York.
  • Cornell Recommendation: Complete a supplemental COVID-19 test upon arrival in New York.*
  • Quarantine for three days upon arrival in New York.
  • On day four, obtain a supplemental COVID-19 test. Once you receive a negative (undetected) test result for both required COVID tests, you can end your travel related quarantine.*

Note: Employees, including those working fully remotely, who receive a positive test result are required to notify their local HR representative.

* Cornell COVID-19 Surveillance Testing facilities are available for these tests, for employees who are authorized and cleared to be on campus through the Daily Check process. Appointments are required. Employees who are not approved to be on campus may schedule an appointment at one of the off-campus surveillance testing sites (East Hill Plaza, Collegetown or Downtown) starting on November 30th or at the Shops at Ithaca Mall; be sure to identify as a Cornell employee and use your Cornell email address.

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 your doctor and seek testing at the Ithaca Mall site (or a designated testing site in your county).

Submit time away from work

If you are currently approved to work on campus and will not be able to adhere to your regularly scheduled surveillance testing frequency due to your travel and/or resulting NYS quarantine, it is important that you submit a Faculty Staff Time Away from Work form. This will remove you from surveillance testing notifications and alerts for the duration of your absence.

Faculty and staff arriving from contiguous states (PA, NJ, VT, CT or MA)

Travelers arriving directly from a contiguous state are excluded from New York state guidelines. However, any faculty or staff member returning from a contiguous state, or from another region within New York state, may choose to have a supplemental test.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.


Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer