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Ithaca campus moving to COVID alert level green

Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi and Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Mary George Opperman sent the following message Sept. 24:

We are pleased to share that, effective today, the university will return to COVID-19 Alert Level Green. This change reflects improved surveillance testing results and the relatively low number of current cases of COVID-19, and it is a testament to our community’s collective adherence to science-based campus health requirements. 

Although the university is shifting to green alert status, we are mindful that COVID-19 infection remains a risk, even with so many members of our community being vaccinated. As such, Alert Level Green is not an invitation to take risks or grow complacent, but rather, this “new normal” status reminds us to preserve our low infection rate through a continued commitment to those actions that have been successful. Accordingly, university public health guidelines during this “new normal” period will differ from what we previously implemented under green alert status. Please review the updated guidance closely. Also, we have updated our guidance for holding events, both those anticipating participation by members of the Cornell community and those that will include members of the larger community (see below). 

In Alert Level Green, the following public health guidance remains in place:

  • Face masks are required of faculty, staff and students when indoors unless in a private setting or while eating. Unvaccinated individuals should wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing is not feasible, and it is recommended that vaccinated individuals wear masks when participating in large outdoor events.
  • As required by New York state, faculty and staff must continue to complete the Daily Check health assessment prior to arriving on campus each day or accessing Cornell facilities.
  • Vaccinated undergraduate and professional students will continue to participate in surveillance testing, including early testing upon returning to campus from fall break. Students traveling for fall break must fill out the travel forms in the Daily Check so that their testing schedule can be adjusted.
  • Some vaccinated faculty and staff, due to the nature of their student-facing roles, will continue to participate in surveillance testing.
  • Unvaccinated faculty and staff will continue to be required to test twice weekly and urged to get vaccinated. Please refer to the Tompkins County Health Department website for information about vaccination locations.
  • Prior authorization is required for international travel for Cornell-related business or research. Upon return, supplemental testing is available for all travelers and is strongly encouraged for unvaccinated individuals.

We also have updated events guidance for on-campus activities, and updated guidance for varsity athletics events will be forthcoming. We urge all event planners to review this website regularly as they weigh options related to event size, location, food/beverage and proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Going forward, the university will continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in our on-campus population, and we are prepared to shift alert levels and requirements as necessary to preserve public health.

Thank you for continuing to take personal responsibility for the health of our campus and our local community.

Media Contact

Jeffrey Martin