Preparing for the fall semester

July 8, 2020

Staying Informed

Last week, the university announced plans for the fall semester, which include a hybrid approach to a residential semester (with in-person, online and hybrid instruction), robust virus testing and modifications to the academic calendar.

As we prepare to welcome students back to campus, it is essential that you stay informed about changes to campus life and academics, including the many crucial steps we must all take to keep our campus community safe.

You will receive these messages regularly. Please review each message carefully for important updates, guidance and resources to support your living, learning, health and well-being.

Student Town Halls

Starting this week, Cornell will host a series of town hall information sessions for students and their families. We hope you will attend to ask questions about the fall semester and receive important updates.

  • Greek Life facilities and planning meeting for chapter presidents and advisors: July 8, 5:30 p.m. EDT. Contact Kara Miller for registration.
  • International student forum: July 9, 8 a.m. EDT. Register to attend.
  • All student forum: July 15, 5:30 p.m EDT. Parents welcome, more information to come.


2020-21 Academic Calendar: Residential instruction for the Ithaca campus fall semester will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The modified academic calendar will allow students to return home for Thanksgiving and finish the semester remotely. On-campus accommodations will be available to those students who request and receive waivers to remain in student housing. The full 2020-21 academic calendar will be released in the coming weeks.

Academic Policies: All students – new, transfer and returning, domestic or international – will have the opportunity to study remotely during the 2020-21 academic year. When the revised course roster is published later this summer, it will indicate the “modality” of a course (online, in-person or hybrid).

Pre-Enrollment: Revised enrollment caps must be established before students can enroll in fall classes. Our goal is to finish revising the course roster by early August, with pre-enrollment to follow soon thereafter.

Campus Life

Cornell Behavioral Compact: In order to maintain a safe, educational and vibrant learning environment for all members of our Cornell community, all students in Ithaca will be required to abide by a campus behavioral compact, which will be provided to you in the coming weeks.

Move-In: The move-in process for both on- and off-campus residents will look significantly different this year. Phased move-in plans, including screening for COVID-19, will be released in the weeks ahead.

Virus Screening: Plans for a robust virus screening program will be provided over the coming weeks. Compliance will be an absolute requirement for all students returning to campus for the fall, whether living in on-campus housing or in the local Ithaca community.

Stay Healthy Cornellians. Dont forget to wear a mask and practice physical distancing this summer.

Travel and Study Abroad

International Students: We understand the anxiety around new federal guidance regarding COVID-19 temporary exemptions for the fall semester. Fortunately, Cornell’s decision to offer a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction means that international students will have some flexibility concerning online courses. The Office of Global Learning will continue to provide updates as soon as more details are available.

Travel: If you plan to return to campus for the fall semester, we strongly advise you to become familiar with CDC guidelines on safe travel and, if possible, to seek viral testing at your current residence 5-7 days before your departure. Students on the Ithaca campus will be asked to avoid all non-essential travel out of the region during the fall semester.

Study Abroad: The Office of Global Learning has made the difficult decision to cancel fall study abroad due to ongoing health and safety concerns associated with the pandemic. If you have questions or concerns, please visit study abroad FAQs, reach out to your advisor, or contact

Financial Matters

Delayed Billing: In order to provide accurate billing statements for the fall semester, the university will be delaying the billing of tuition and other student-related fees by four weeks. It is anticipated that those charges will appear on the August billing statements, to be issued on Aug. 7. That bill will be due for payment on Sept. 7.

Staying Healthy: Tips & Resources

Face Covering Guidelines
Face coverings are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Learn how to wear them correctly to protect yourself and others.

Mental Health Resources
Learn about the resources that are available to support you, whether you are returning to Ithaca or living elsewhere for the fall semester.

If you have a disability and are having trouble accessing information on this website or need materials in an alternate format, contact for assistance.

© Cornell University 2021