Preparing for the fall semester

August 6, 2020

Student Behavioral Compact:

As announced yesterday in a message from Vice President Lombardi, the Cornell Student Behavioral Compact is now available through the Re-entry Checklist. It outlines a clear set of expectations for student behavior to minimize transmission of COVID-19 during the 2020-21 academic year. All students are required to complete the COVID-19 educational training and attest to the Behavioral Compact before they are able to enroll in classes.

Questions about the compact? Students and parents are encouraged to attend a virtual forum TONIGHT (Aug. 6) at 6 p.m. EDT. Please register. A recording of the forum will also be available to view here within two days.

Fall semester Re-entry Checklist:

In addition to attesting to the Behavioral Compact, all students must provide information about their fall housing plans. If you have not done so already, please update your housing and arrival information on the Re-entry Checklist as soon as possible. We understand that many of you may still be uncertain about your plans. Please enter the information you have available at this time. If necessary, you can update your information in the Re-entry Checklist.

Live smarter. It's up to all of us to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Cornell has launched a robust public health campaign that asks every member of the community to do their part to limit spread of COVID-19, on and off campus. Find out more.

Quarantine, Move-In and Housing

Last week, the university announced changes to the quarantine process for students living on campus and who are traveling from restricted areas. These students are encouraged to begin their semester remotely at their permanent residence until their state is removed from the New York state travel advisory.

Earlier this week, Provost Kotlikoff and Vice President Lombardi issued an op-ed further outlining the university’s shift in quarantine process. We know that some students may choose to quarantine outside of Ithaca, ideally in another state that is not subject to the advisory, prior to returning to campus. Students who are unable to remain at home and to effectively engage in their Cornell education may request an exception to quarantine on campus. Students received an email on Aug. 4 with instructions on how to request an exception. The application deadline is today, Aug. 6, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. You will be notified of the decision by Aug. 10, and if approved, you should plan to arrive on Aug. 17.

With three weeks until the start of the semester, it is likely that New York’s list of restricted states could change. Please check the list frequently as you make your travel arrangements.

Housing and Move-In Assignments: Cornell Housing has assigned rooms to all students who have applied for on-campus housing. Move-in assignments and arrival information will be communicated in the coming days and will include an assigned date and time for your arrival to campus.

Housing Contract Cancellations: Students who choose to study remotely or defer their enrollment can cancel their on-campus housing contracts without penalty until Aug. 31. Please contact if you wish to cancel your housing contract.

The university registrar will release a list of courses and instruction modes on Friday, Aug. 7. You must complete the Behavioral Compact before enrolling in courses!

International Students

New international students who plan to come to Ithaca are not permitted by U.S. immigration guidance to enroll in a 100% online course schedule. You will need to obtain an F-1 visa and arrive in Ithaca before Oct. 5 in order to begin a quarantine period and testing before joining classes.

If you plan to arrive in the U.S. after the start of classes on Sept. 2, please check with your college advising office to confirm that you can participate in at least one hybrid class with an in-person component before finalizing your travel arrangements. If you are unable to obtain an F-1 visa before Oct. 5, we recommend that you complete the fall semester remotely. International Services will work with you to update the program start date on your I-20 form. We are establishing a process for petitions and will make that information available soon.

Financial Matters

Fall billing statements will be delayed by one week, to Friday, Aug. 14, in order to provide students and families additional time to finalize plans for the fall semester, and to ensure that your billing statement is accurate.