Inclement weather: Online instruction would continue as planned

Dec. 1, 2020

Dear Cornell Students,

As the winter season nears, please take this opportunity to review the university’s policies for instruction and other campus operations should inclement weather affect the university’s operating status. These guidelines apply through the remainder of the fall semester, which continues fully online until Dec. 21, as well as for the spring semester, which is expected to begin on Feb. 8, with the university again offering in-person, hybrid and online learning modalities.

Online instruction

In the event that inclement weather should cause Cornell to change its operating status such that classes are impacted, any online instruction planned to take place is expected to continue.

There may be some instances in which online instruction cannot continue as planned, such as if delivery of instruction requires an individual who is teaching or supporting instruction to be on campus, or if an instructor is forced to teach from an off-campus site that has low connectivity or is otherwise not conducive to quality instruction. If an online course needs to be canceled, instructors are expected to communicate in a timely manner with students regarding any class obligations.

Teaching Assistants should communicate with their lead instructor if faced with a barrier to teach or hold office hours remotely.

In-person instruction

Should inclement weather cause a change in the university’s operating status such that classes are impacted, all in-person instruction and advising will be canceled. Students taking in-person classes who have adequate internet access may be required to take an online version of the missed class, as scheduled, if an online version is already available. As with remote classes, instructors are expected to communicate directly with students regarding class expectations.

Stay informed

Once a decision has been made to change the university’s operating status, the campus community is notified by CornellALERT text, voice and email notifications. Additional messages will be sent as new information becomes available or when a decision has been made to reopen campus. The campus community can find alerts and updates to weather conditions and campus operations at or via the inclement weather phone line at 607-255-3377. To receive text or voice alerts on your phone, review How To Receive CornellALERT Messages.

As always, our focus is on keeping students safe and supported in your studies. The Ithaca weather can be unpredictable, so please keep the above guidance in mind as we move into the winter months. 


Joanne DeStefano
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer