Start of semester testing requirements

Jan. 12, 2022

Dear Cornell Graduate and Professional Students:

Last week, Cornell announced details for the start of the spring semester, including virtual instruction through Feb. 4, which will allow us to provide academic continuity as students move back to campus. Today, we are sharing further details on reentry protocols for graduate and professional students.

Reporting positive test results
Any student who tested positive since the end of the fall semester must report their positive result through the Self-Reported Positive form on Daily Check as soon as possible. This includes any graduate and professional student who tested positive outside of the region, through a home antigen test or through other non-Cornell or Cayuga Medical Center testing.

Students who have recently tested positive will be exempt from testing for up to 90 days from the date of their positive result. Students who were positive through Cornell or CMC testing during the fall semester have already had their status updated in the Daily Check. When the 90 day period expires, students will return to required testing if applicable. All students should continue to refer to the Daily Check to confirm their testing status.

Pre-Departure testing
All students who left the Ithaca area over the break must obtain a negative pre-departure test within 3 days of departure for Ithaca. If possible use an at-home antigen kit 24 hours prior to departure. We recognize that test availability varies and that this may not be possible in all circumstances. Report any pre-departure test using the Self-Reported Testing form on your Daily Check homepage.

Students who test positive prior to departing should isolate where they are and delay travel to campus until they have completed the required isolation period. International students who are required to submit a negative test in order to depart for the United States may submit this as their pre-departure test.

Graduate and professional students who did not leave the area over the break, and have not tested positive within the past 90 days, are required to receive a negative test before returning to work on campus (or continue with regular testing schedule, where applicable). Ideally, these students should schedule a supplemental test 2 days before returning to work/campus.

Graduate and professional students (except Law, CVM, MBA)
In addition to pre-departure testing, if applicable, students will receive an email prompting them to schedule an arrival test at a Cornell testing site through the Daily Check. Your test date will be based on the arrival date you provided in the winter/spring checklist. This test must be completed within 24 hours of your arrival in Ithaca.

Please note: Log in and update your arrival date in the Winter/Spring Checklist as soon as possible.

Graduate students living on-campus and all Law, CVM, MBA students
In addition to pre-departure testing, students who have not tested positive in the past 90 days must complete arrival testing and enhanced arrival testing.

  • Arrival Testing: On the day of your arrival, you will pick up an antigen test from any Cornell test site. You will be responsible for uploading results of this test to the Self-Reported Testing form in Daily Check the same day. There will be no grace period for a missed test.
  • Law, CVM, MBA – Enhanced Arrival Testing: These students will be automatically enrolled in twice weekly enhanced arrival testing as assigned through the Daily Check. This will be completed with PCR testing at Cornell test sites. The grace period to complete this test has been reduced to 24 hours.
  • On-campus graduate students – Enhanced Arrival Testing: Following arrival testing, you will complete twice weekly antigen testing through Feb 4. Tests will be available for pick up at the RPCC, Willard Straight Hall, West Campus, and Bartels testing sites throughout the Enhanced Testing period. You are responsible for completing and uploading the result from each test to the Self-Reported Testing form on your Daily Check homepage on the day you are assigned. Testing results not uploaded on the required date will result in campus access restrictions, including Canvas the next day. There will be no grace period for a missed test.

Please note: Log in and update your arrival date in the Winter/Spring Checklist as soon as possible.

Unvaccinated students with university exemptions will be required to continue twice weekly testing for the duration of the semester.

Ongoing testing
Supplemental testing and opt-in weekly testing will remain available to all students through the Daily Check.

High-quality masks
In addition to vaccination, wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask continues to be one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. It is our expectation that students, faculty, staff and visitors will wear high-quality masks (e.g., medical/surgical mask, KN95, KF95, N95, or FFP2) when indoors. Masks should also be worn outdoors when physical distancing is not feasible. Masks will be made available to anyone who needs one. Students can pick up masks at any Cornell test site.

Daily Check
Until further notice, all graduate students who come to campus must complete the Daily Check. This is a requirement of the New York State HERO act. As always, please do not come to work if you are ill.

Graduate and Professional Student Town Hall
A town hall to help answer specific questions that you may have has been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 13 at 12 p.m. ET.

Thank you for your attention to these important procedures as we prepare for the start of the spring semester.


Kathryn Boor
Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education