Student Travel, Winter Orientation Leaders, Spring 2021

November 20, 2020

Dear Cornell Students,

Regardless of your location this fall semester, we have been on an incredible journey together. In this season of gratitude, I wanted to take a moment to tell you how grateful I am for each of you in the video message below.

I hope you take time to think of those who have helped you during the past several months and to tell the influential people in your lives what they mean to you.

Included below are ways to stay engaged after break and resources to support you throughout the remainder of the semester as we transition to online learning for all students. If you are preparing to travel, please remember to do so safely and continue to protect your communities.


Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Campus departure reminders
    If you are an on-campus student departing for the fall semester, review Cornell Housing's November departure pages for important information on checkout, parking, loading and handling your personal belongings.
  • Key academic calendar dates
    • Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving break
    • Nov. 30: Instruction resumes – all classes online
    • Dec. 16: Last day of classes
    • Dec. 17-21: Online final exams – no classes
  • Spring 2021 planning
    The university plans to proceed with the instruction dates outlined in the 2020-21 academic calendar with instruction beginning February 8. Courses will be offered in a variety of modalities, including in-person, online and hybrid approaches. While we will not have a traditional spring break, two separate two-day wellness breaks are planned. More information on pre-enrollment, course listings, and spring move-in will be available in December.

Student Travel Policy

Updated requirements for campus travel

Cornell has made important updates to its student travel policy, including new quarantine and testing requirements for those returning to the Ithaca area from travel, both domestically and internationally. Review the updates and know how these changes may affect you or your access to campus facilities. This travel guidance applies for the rest of the fall semester, with further updates expected for the spring semester. Contact with questions.

Health Resources

Surveillance testing updates

Students remaining in Ithaca during the week of Thanksgiving or beyond must continue with their Daily Check and surveillance testing requirements. All testing sites will be closed Nov. 25-26 in observance of Thanksgiving. If you are normally tested on Wednesdays or Thursdays, you’ll receive a reassigned test for the Friday, Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. Beginning Nov. 30, testing sites will operate on weekdays only, and various testing locations are expected to go offline until the start of the spring semester. Monitor the Daily Check FAQs and COVID-19 website for the latest information.

Planning for your medical and mental health care during intersession

Students staying in New York state will continue to have access to Cornell Health’s full range of telehealth services. Due to legal requirements, students departing New York state may access Cornell Health’s non-clinical services only, including Let’s Talk, CAPS workshops and 24/7 phone consultation. To supplement out-of-state care, students enrolled in SHP or SHP+ have prepaid access to Teladoc telehealth services; students with other insurance should check their plan for coverage of telehealth services. Learn more about care during intersession.

Fulfill your flu vaccine requirement

Students studying in the area during the 2020-21 academic year are required to receive a flu vaccination, per the Cornell Student Behavioral Compact. If you haven’t fulfilled this requirement, visit the Cornell Health website to make arrangements. All students will be required to have their flu vaccination prior to the start of the spring semester.

Campus Life

Apply to be a Winter Orientation Leader

Winter Orientation Leaders (WOL) work closely with the student-led Orientation Steering Committee to host and participate in events, mentor small groups of new students and create a welcoming environment. WOLs develop transferable skills in leadership, listening, communications, group facilitation, team building, event management and more. Applications are due by Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m.

Register now: sorority and fraternity recruitment

Sororities and fraternities will hold virtual recruitment and intake processes after the spring semester begins in February 2021. For more information about joining one of Cornell’s 53 sororities and fraternities, including a schedule and registration link, visit the sorority and fraternity life website.

Post-Thanksgiving events and programs

As the fall semester shifts entirely to online classes, the Campus Activities office encourages students to stay connected to campus wherever you are! The CampusGroups calendar will continue to be updated with new activities from university offices and student organizations throughout the the semester. To see what's upcoming, apply the calendar's "Fall 2" filter.

Housing & Dining

Traditional Thanksgiving Feast Nov. 26

Students who are remaining in Ithaca and who are permitted on campus are invited to register for Cornell Dining’s Thanksgiving feast, which will have limited seating due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Last chance to help name new North Campus residences

To submit your ideas and rationale for naming three NCRE buildings to honor the legacies of people in Cornell’s history, complete this brief survey by Nov. 23.

Dining options after Thanksgiving

Dining hours and operations will change following the Thanksgiving break. Please check Cornell Dining Now for updated dining information.


Register for Cornell's Winter Session

Students can earn up to four course credits in Cornell’s Winter Session, Jan. 4-23, 2021. Choose from online courses in a wide range of subjects to help you catch up or get ahead in your studies. See the winter course roster for a complete list of offerings. The deadline to register is Jan. 4, 2021.

Study Away option extended to spring for international students

Cornell announced on November 17 that Study Away will be available in the spring 2021 semester for international students unable to return to Ithaca due to travel restrictions or visa delays. Applications are due by November 29; find out who is eligible and how to apply.

Transition to remote learning with the Learning Strategies Center

The Learning Strategies Center has created a guide to help students prepare for the upcoming transition to remote learning, as well as an updated guide for families to support their students’ learning at home.

Take the library to go!

Wherever you go, you can take Cornell’s Library resources and support learning with you.

FAFSA application now open

Students can now file the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) for 2021-22 by visiting the FAFSA website. Cornell's federal school code is 002711. Students need to re-apply for financial aid every year; returning students who completed an application for institutional financial aid in 2020-21 only need to submit the 2021-22 FAFSA at this time. Unless specifically requested, please do not file the CSS Profile form. Please visit the financial aid website for details regarding the application process.

Wellness & Recreation

2021 group fitness schedule

Help Cornell Fitness Centers plan their spring 2021 virtual group fitness schedule by filling out this survey.

Free live virtual fitness classes

Cornell Fitness Centers will offer a variety of live fitness classes from Nov. 30-Dec. 18. A full class schedule will be available after Nov. 24; check the CFC website for updates.

Open lap swimming

Beginning Nov. 30, Helen Newman Hall Pool will have open lap swimming for students approved to be on campus. Find more information about hours and reservations on the Recreational Services website.

Public Service & Engagement

  • 2020 State of NY Sustainability Conference, Dec. 2-4
    Registration Nov. 20
    Join faculty, staff and students from New York state colleges and universities and learn how to promote sustainable practices on campus.
  • Cornell Day of Data presentation proposals
    Submissions due Nov. 25
    The Cornell Day of Data 2021 symposium, Jan. 27-28, is open to undergraduate presentation proposals until Nov. 25. You can also register to attend.
  • Serve in Place funding and projects
    Open through Jan. 4
    This fund provides up to $1,000 to students participating in community-engaged learning or research projects over winter break. Need ideas or inspiration? Check out students' Serve in Place summer projects on the Community Engagement Showcase website.
  • Undergraduate research and leadership funding
    Applications due Jan. 21
    First- and second-year students are invited to apply for the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program, which allows them to develop a research project, build leadership skills, experience new cultures and be a force for good — all fully funded. With its focus on ethical leadership and international research, the program helps students act as global citizens and use their skills, knowledge and experience to help others.
  • Explore ways to help
    The Public Service Center continues to maintain a diverse listing of volunteer opportunities, many of which are virtual. Needs include communicating with individuals who are isolated, undergoing chemotherapy, or need a helping hand, supporting digital work with the Smithsonian, data entry for nonprofits, and a host of others. Find more information on the Public Service Center website.

Additional Resources

Know before you go, travel by car when able, limit contact and mask up.