The Fischell Band Center COVID-19 testing site (above) is one of several Cornell locations used to test students.

ITHACA, NY -- As fall semesters wind down, students from Ithaca College and Cornell University will be leaving campus and heading home for winter break. Both schools have recently outlined their plans for wrapping up the semester, winter break and spring semester.

Ithaca College

Classes will be fully remote for the rest of the semester starting Nov. 25 through Dec. 19, with most of the students on campus going home and staying there. The college will be offering COVID testing before they leave. There are about 75 students who will remain on campus through Dec. 19 for varying circumstances, and then 32 who will remain over the whole winter break. Classes begin remotely on Jan. 25, and then in-person classes begin Feb. 9. Students will begin returning to campus on Jan. 7, with the first group of students being athletes.

Students from states other than New York or its contiguous states will quarantine on campus for three days while waiting for a negative test. Dean of Students Bonnie Prunty said the change in quarantine requirements makes it easier for the school to offer on-campus quarantine and less likely for students to return to the local area.

On Jan. 15, essential student workers will return, and then general move-in will be spread out from Jan. 19 – Feb. 5. Prunty said, at most, 360 students will be moving in on the same day and move-in locations will be spread throughout different residence buildings to reduce density in any one place.

“Every student will be tested when they arrive,” she assured.

Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness Christina Moylan said that testing will be available on campus through December for the students who are still in the area. When students return, they will be tested every week. She added that the monitoring process and testing process will not change in the spring semester.

Additionally, there will be no spring break this year to discourage students from traveling. Instead, there will be “mini breaks” throughout the semester, where students will get a random day of the week off.

Cornell University

Cornell announced that it plans to proceed with the plans it had outlined for the spring semester, with classes beginning Feb. 8 and concluding May 25 on the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses. There will be no week-long spring break, but two separate two-day wellness breaks are planned. Courses in the spring will be offered in a variety of modalities, including in-person, online and hybrid approaches, with the hope to add more in-person courses for the spring. Students will receive more information in December.

As of now, the school plans to continue with many of the same rules and guidelines from the fall, which include wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distance, limiting in-person gatherings and complying with Daily Check health assessment and surveillance testing requirements. Students will also be required to abide by the Cornell Student Behavioral Contract, which may be updated based upon experiences in the fall.

Spring move-in will operate similarly to the fall, with students in on-campus housing assigned an arrival date and time that corresponds with current New York state quarantine and testing requirements. Off-campus students will be responsible for self-quarantining for at least five days while awaiting two negative test results. All students will be required to complete necessary testing before they are allowed to access campus facilities.

Travel for all members of the Cornell community will continue to be strongly discouraged during the spring semester, and there will be a more rigorous approval process for any non-essential personal student travel.

There will be no in-person student events or activities at the beginning of the spring semester. Once students have completely quarantined and university officials are sure the virus prevalence is low, some restrictions will be eased to allow for small in-person activities.

No determination has yet been made regarding commencement in May.


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