In-Person Operations for the Fall Semester

August 13, 2021

Dear Graduate Students,

As a follow up to Wednesday’s virtual town hall, in which some graduate students expressed concern about our approach to in-person operations for the fall semester, I wanted to provide some additional context.

Cornell cares deeply about our graduate students who have demonstrated tremendous resiliency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain steadfastly committed to offering a wide range of individualized accommodations as we resume in-person operations this fall. Any graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) in need of a disability-based accommodation should contact the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS). For graduate students who are not able to perform the essential functions of their assistantship because of a disability, SDS can advise them of other options and can help coordinate with their graduate field or appointing department. Any graduate student who needs to consider a personal or health leave for any reason is encouraged to contact Sr. Assistant Dean Janna Lamey for support and assistance.

Individual academic and administrative units at Cornell may, at Deans’ and unit leaders’ discretion, choose to offer additional options for graduate students with extraordinary circumstances that prevent them from teaching and working in person this fall. Those options may include a reduction in work hours, a temporary reallocation of teaching duties, and/or short-term or partial remote instruction.

The university has a long history of working closely and compassionately with graduate students seeking accommodations for disability, personal, and family reasons. As has been repeatedly demonstrated over the course of the pandemic, the university has taken a rigorously scientific, carefully tailored and highly responsive approach to pandemic-related health risks. We place the highest priority on campus and community health. We recognize that graduate students have been, and will continue to be, an integral part of our efforts.


Michael I. Kotikoff