COVID-19 Update: Outdoor mask requirements, student activities

May 3, 2021

Dear Cornell Community,

As the number of fully vaccinated individuals on the Ithaca campus increases, the university will continue to assess its COVID-19 health and safety guidance and restrictions. We recently hit a major milestone – more than 50% of the on-campus population has been vaccinated. While we are still a long way from achieving herd immunity on campus, we feel we can safely ease the following restrictions consistent with the latest guidance from the CDC, which New York state adopted as well:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals who have submitted proof of vaccination are no longer required to wear a mask when meeting outdoors as part of a small group (10 people or fewer). Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff must continue to wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing is not feasible, and all community members must continue to wear masks when inside.
  • Student organizations and group activities can now meet in groups of up to 30 people. This includes intramurals, club sports, fitness classes and registered student organization activity. Because group activities may include both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, all participants are required to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. Registration, including attendance, is required for the purposes of contact tracing.
  • The number of participants in university-sponsored events will increase to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors, depending on venue and activity, and in accordance with New York state guidance. Similar to Wellness Days, the university is planning additional opportunities for students to spend much-needed time with friends as the semester draws to an end. Look for additional information from Student and Campus Life about virtual Slope Day and Senior Days. Registration and masks will be required. This guidance does not pertain to Commencement ceremonies, which will follow a distinct set of guidelines.

As a reminder, Cornell is hosting an on-campus vaccine clinic for faculty, staff and students this Thursday, May 6. All are eligible at this time to sign up for vaccination.

Thank you for your attention to these revisions and for doing your part to keep our campus and local communities safe.


Michael Kotlikoff

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer