COVID-19 Updates, Soup & Hope, Spring Textbooks

January 29, 2021

Dear Cornellians,

I hope that you enjoyed your break and had time to rest and safely connect with friends and family. If you have not yet returned to Ithaca, please make sure you’re aware of Cornell’s quarantine guidelines and policies on face coverings and physical distancing. Remember that each and every one of us plays a critical role in ensuring the health and safety of our campus and surrounding communities.

You have heard this before, but this semester can only be successful if we all continue to be diligent in following public health guidelines. This includes your adherence to the Cornell Student Behavioral Compact (PDF), following all travel and visitor policies (PDF) and keeping up with the Daily Check.

I wish you well as you prepare for the spring semester. As you settle in, please take time to get outdoors (even in Ithaca winter), check in safely with friends and take advantage of virtual resources and events happening across campus. With your continued cooperation and leadership, we can all make this another successful semester on campus.

Marla Love
Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley Interim Dean of Students

Key Dates & Reminders

COVID-19 Updates

Updated university travel and visitor policy

Travel poses serious risks to the health and safety of our campus and surrounding community. Therefore, all students residing in the Ithaca area this spring are expected to remain (PDF) for the duration of the semester, with limited-to-no personal travel beyond the Ithaca area. New this semester, Cornell has instituted a strict approval process for any extenuating circumstance that necessitates travel away from the Ithaca area. Students seeking an exception must submit a travel request through the Daily Check for pre-approval at least 48 hours in advance of traveling. Students who are granted approval to travel must follow all re-entry testing and quarantine procedures before access to campus facilities is restored. Additionally, in order to continue to de-densify campus, visitors, including family members, are not permitted to enter Cornell campus facilities this semester.

Out-of-state vaccinations

At this time, New York state will not provide a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to those who received a first dose in another state. If you have received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in a state other than New York, it is recommended that you remain in that state until you receive your second dose. If you travel back to Ithaca before receiving the second dose and need to return home, you will need to follow the travel exemption process, including obtaining pre-approval to travel and following return quarantine and testing protocols.

Testing and public health requirements

Regardless of vaccination status, prior COVID-19 infection or antibody detection, all students must complete the Daily Check every day (including weekends), stay compliant with assigned surveillance testing all semester and continue to follow all other public health guidelines. Students who have remained in Ithaca during the winter break, or who have already arrived, should continue to follow their assigned testing schedule.

Improved Daily Check portal

Throughout the month of February, the Daily Check portal will launch a series of user enhancements based on feedback received from students last semester. Such enhancements include revised health assessment questions, a redesigned homepage emphasizing Daily Check completion status and a feature to indicate voluntary interest in participating in COVID-19 studies being run by Cornell researchers.

Arrival tips

Watch a video with Dr. Anne Jones, director of medical services at Cornell Health and COVID-19 public health officer, as she shares advice for safe approaches to quarantine and isolation and addresses other frequent COVID-19 concerns.

Campus Life

Soup & Hope speaker series goes online

Need inspiration? Cornell’s beloved Soup & Hope lunchtime speaker series will be offered via Zoom this season, with six speakers – including students, staff, faculty and other community members – sharing personal stories of hope and inspiration. Learn more and register on the Soup & Hope website.

Spring involvement fairs

Learn more about organizations, offices and resources to help you get involved and make the most of your time at Cornell!

Sorority and fraternity recruitment

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, students and staff created a virtual recruitment experience, Jan. 29 from 4-6 p.m. via Campus Groups, for Cornell’s 53 sororities and fraternities this spring. Interested students are encouraged to attend. For additional information, visit the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life website.

Cornell’s new printing service

Cornell is migrating to CU Print, a new campus printing service, which is now available in many campus locations. Students receive an annual $15 allocation for use on applicable printers. For a limited time, Cornell’s previous service, Net-Print, will remain in select campus locations.

Housing & Dining

Planning for fall 2021 housing

As the spring semester begins, it’s also time to consider housing for the 2021-2022 academic year. Students thinking about on-campus housing can sign up for housing selection until Feb. 28. Read more about the general room selection and continued occupancy processes on the housing website.

Dining on campus for spring 2021

Cornell Dining eateries across campus have begun to reopen as students return. As noted last semester, chefs and managers are bringing back some menu favorites, preparing to open the brand-new Martha’s Café, planning the return of house dinners on West Campus and adding cultural diversity, culinary tradition and seasonal freshness to our spring menus. Check to see what’s open near you, to explore upcoming menus, to reserve your dine-in seat or takeout time slot at OpenTable and to order your satellite meal pickup options or your café favorites ahead of time using GET Order.


Spring textbooks

This semester, students will purchase course materials through contactless shopping. Simply place your order online; you may pick up your order at The Cornell Store or have it shipped to any destination. Many courses also offer digital textbook options. Log in to the Cornell Store website to view your personalized booklist by schedule or view required and optional materials by course. Note: not all courses materials are fully displayed, and textbook requirements may change due to updates in course delivery.


Expensive textbooks? The library can help.

From print books to digital versions accessible remotely, Cornell University Library has textbooks that undergraduate students can borrow for free, up to three hours at a time, available on course reserves. If you can’t find your books on course reserves, request for the library to purchase them. Learn more about the library’s remote and physical resources.

Take a community-engaged learning course

Did you know you can earn academic credit while engaging with local, national and global communities? The spring class roster includes 130+ community-engaged learning courses, across 40 subjects.

Resources for first-year and transfer students

Join the Tatkon Center this semester for exciting events and creative ways to connect with Cornellians on and away from campus.

Develop study skills with Cornell’s Learning Strategies Center

The start of the spring semester is a great time to strengthen your successful study strategies and to evaluate what adjustments may help you to work smarter, not harder. Learning Strategies Center resources can help you reflect on how to start the spring semester strong, from time management to knowing where to get help when in need. Studying with partners is not only a great way to learn challenging material, it also helps students make connections with their peers. To find out more about study groups and partners, and to sign up for study partners for class, visit the LSC’s Studying Together webpage.

Health, Wellness & Recreation

Cornell Health: spring 2021 services

In keeping with CDC guidelines, Cornell Heath continues to provide the majority of services through telehealth appointments. Limited in-person services include COVID-19 diagnostic testing, select medical and physical therapy appointments and pharmacy services. Students should call 607-255-5155 to schedule appointments and visits; walk-in traffic is currently restricted to pharmacy visitors only. Learn more about Care During COVID-19.

Fitness Center classes

Virtual group fitness classes are currently available for free until Feb. 5. For more information about the schedule and class types, visit the Cornell Fitness Center website.

Intramural sports

Cornell’s intramural sports offerings feature unique ways to get involved, including video games, baking and trivia competitions. Registration opens Feb. 1.

Resources to enjoy the outdoors

Cornell Outdoor Education offers a guide for outdoor activities to help you safely explore the outdoors. Cornell Outdoor Education also provides outdoor gear rentals, including items for winter weather.

Public Service & Engagement

Janet McKinley ’74 Family Grant
Applications due March 1 at 4:30 p.m.
Cornell Commitment is accepting applications for the Janet McKinley ’74 Family Grant, which is open to all Cornell sophomores who wish to pursue interesting, provocative and entrepreneurial summer projects. Contact Jacinta Stark at with questions.

Upcoming service award applications
The Robinson-Appel Humanitarian Awards recognize students who have had significant involvement in community service by providing support for their projects, which address a community’s social needs or problems. Each of the three projects selected will receive $2,500 in support. Applications are due March 12.

The Maribel Garcia Community Spirit Award honors a student for remarkable contributions to the spirit of community service and celebrates creative, innovative approaches to community needs. Applications are due April 7.

Explore ways to help
The Public Service Center maintains a diverse listing of volunteer opportunities, many of which are virtual.

Additional Resources