Preparing for the fall semester

July 16, 2020

Fall semester Re-entry Checklist:

The Re-entry Checklist is your guide to a safe start to the semester. Whether you are a first-year, transfer or returning student, you will be required to take several actions, including providing an address for the fall semester and emergency contact information. You will receive the checklist in the coming days and will need to complete these actions before you can participate in course enrollment.

In addition, once finalized, the Cornell Behavioral Compact will be added to the Re-Entry Checklist. In order to maintain a safe, educational and vibrant learning environment for all members of our community, it is necessary for all students who will be in the Ithaca area this fall to review and attest to abide by the compact prior to the start of the semester.

Student Town Halls

The next Campus Reactivation Student Forum will be held on Wednesday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Students and their families are encouraged to attend to ask questions about the fall semester and receive important updates. Please submit questions in advance. Join livestream.

Campus Life

Virus Testing: A cornerstone of Cornell’s campus reactivation plan is a comprehensive testing program. Beginning today, any student who is currently in the Ithaca area should schedule an “Arrival Test” with Cayuga Health System as soon as possible. All undergraduate, graduate and professional students who currently reside in or plan to live in the greater Ithaca area, including in Cornell residence halls, during the 2020-21 academic year will be required to participate in the testing program as part of the Cornell Behavioral Compact. Additional details were announced in a July 15 message from Vice Provost Koretzky and Vice President Lombardi.

Housing and Dining Contracts: The contract periods and rates for meal plans and on-campus housing have changed based on adjustments to the academic calendar. Returning students who have already signed housing contracts will soon receive an email with updated contract information. Incoming students who have applied for housing will receive their housing assignments and contracts on or around July 24.

Move-In: Different from past years, the move-in process for on-campus residential students will occur over a series of days. It is important to note that students will receive move-in instructions with an assigned date and time slot for when to arrive on campus. Students coming from locations for which New York State requires a 14-day quarantine may be assigned to arrive as early as Aug. 17. Students will be limited in the number of items they can bring with them, and parents/families will not be allowed in campus facilities. Please look for additional details in late July.

Already in the Ithaca area? Schedule your 'Arrival Test' now! Testing clinics are operating on Tuesday and Thursdays.

International Students

ICE Order Rescission: Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security have rescinded the July 6 ruling that required international students taking all online-only classes to leave the United States. This means that national guidance issued in March allowing currently enrolled students taking online courses to reside in the U.S. and maintain legal F-1 status will remain in effect throughout the fall semester. We are waiting for clarification on how the March guidance applies to incoming students and will communicate as soon as we know.

For additional information related to immigration, visa status, travel and more, visit Cornell’s International Community FAQ.


Online Instruction: While we hope that students will join us in Ithaca for the fall semester, please know that all students – domestic and international – are able to take courses remotely. When the revised course roster is published in early August, it will indicate the “modality” of a course. Online courses are courses in which all students and instructors will interact virtually. In-person courses will meet in person on campus, but will provide remote access into the classroom for students who are off-campus or are in Ithaca but in quarantine/isolation. (Please note: There may be a small subset of hands-on courses for which a full remote option may not be possible.)

Staying Healthy: Tips & Resources

Prior to Travel: You are strongly encouraged to quarantine at home for 14 days and be tested prior to departing for Ithaca. It would be much better to know if you are infected while still at home, where you can recover in a familiar environment. COVID-19 testing differs by location; we recommend you seek testing at your current residence 5-7 days before traveling, if possible. You will also be tested upon arrival in Ithaca.

Finding Support: These are unprecedented times with unique stressors. The staff at Cornell Health is here to offer support whether you are in Ithaca or away from campus, through telehealth appointments with CAPS counselors, COVID-related death and grief support groups, drop-in CAPS workshops on coping, mindfulness, LGBT+ wellness and more.