Cornell will reopen campus for the fall semester, offering in-person and online instruction, President Martha E. Pollack announced Tuesday.
While students will have to follow strict health precautions when on campus and participate in the University’s extensive COVID-19 testing program, Pollack said reopening for the fall was the safer option.
“The key consideration in our decision to reopen is public health,” Pollack said in a University press release. “Residential instruction, when coupled with a robust virus screening program of the form we intend to implement, is a better option for protecting the public health of our community than a purely online semester.”
Classes were originally supposed to start on Aug. 27, but will now start Sept. 2; students will go home for the semester by Thanksgiving break. The fall semester will end with online classes and exams, and the spring semester is currently slated to start some time in February. Cornell plans to send more details on a phased move-in and COVID-19 screening in the coming weeks.
On campus, students will be required to wear masks, classrooms will be modified to accommodate social distancing and on-campus housing will be limited to singles and doubles. Dining halls will be take-out only or online reservation, and use disposable cutlery. The University also plans to restrict large social gatherings as well.
“The year ahead will be different, it will be difficult, but it will, I believe, still be a year to treasure – a year of exploration and discovery, a year of friendship, and of growth,” Pollack said.