End of semester guidance for instructors

Dec. 11, 2021

Dear colleagues,

This afternoon, the university sent a communication to students describing the recent concerning increase in COVID-19 cases, including the presence of the Omicron variant on the Ithaca campus. The current spike is primarily within our student body and is associated with transmission at unmasked social gatherings. Fortunately, we continue to see only mild symptoms in our affected students and have no documented spread among students in the classroom.

The university has banned all in-person student social gatherings for the remainder of the semester. Today’s message also strongly encouraged students traveling for the winter break to leave Ithaca or Geneva as soon as possible after completing in-person exams. De-densifying campus as quickly as possible is in the best interest of our community.

However, an increasing number of students are now in isolation, including some who have been advised by the health department to isolate at home. In the upcoming days, you are likely to hear from these students who have questions about how to complete assignments, projects, and exams. Students have been reminded to contact their instructors directly to discuss accommodations. Additional information, including an FAQ, is available on Cornell’s COVID-19 website.

You may also hear from students trying to heed guidance to quickly leave campus. These students may benefit from modest extensions. If you are able and inclined, please know that the absolute final deadline for submitting fall semester grades is 8 a.m. on January 6. After that date, students would need to be given an incomplete (“INC”) until they are able to complete their work.

We ask those who make the decision to move final exams online, to please communicate the change in exam modality to students, as well as to your college registrar.

Thank you for doing everything possible to keep our community safe. Winter break is just around the corner, and is a welcomed and needed break for all of us.


Mike Kotlikoff

Lisa Nishii
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education