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Students returning to Ithaca after Thanksgiving break must follow Cornell travel guidelines.

November 18, 2020

Cornell Updates Travel Policy Guidelines

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A week before Thanksgiving break and in the middle of a spike in COVID-19 cases, the University reiterated its travel and visitor policy for students planning to return to Ithaca.

“All unnecessary travel remains strongly discouraged,” wrote Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, in a Wednesday email. “As previously noted, many of the positive cases within our campus community are directly linked to travel outside of the region.”

When classes resume after Thanksgiving, they will be entirely virtual — a move the University made to limit travel and de-densify campus during flu season

On-campus residents are expected to leave after the semi-finals period, which ends on Tuesday. However, undergraduates who stay on campus can’t travel after Thanksgiving break.

Students living off-campus may return to Ithaca after Thanksgiving, but they must follow the updated travel guidelines — which have shifted away from the previously mandated 14-day quarantine period.

Based on new statewide guidelines, students now have the option to “test out” of the quarantine, pending two negative tests within a week of travel.

Lombardi described a “hybrid” approach, differing based on where students are traveling from.

Students returning to Cornell from elsewhere in New York State or traveling directly from contiguous states will need to be tested but do not need to quarantine. Until receiving two negative tests, they will not have access to campus facilities. 

The guidelines for travelers from New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and Massachusetts are as follows:

  • Remain off campus (no need to quarantine) for a minimum of five days upon arrival in the Ithaca area, only visiting campus facilities for COVID-19 testing. 
  • Take a first test on day one or day two after arrival in the Ithaca area.
  • Take a second test on day four after arrival.
  • If both tests come back negative, the traveler may resume activities on campus upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test (or on day five).

Students arriving from noncontiguous states or most countries outside the U.S. must undergo the same testing process listed above, but must also quarantine off campus.

The guidelines for travelers from states not listed above or CDC Level 2 or 3 countries are as follows:

  • Obtain a test within three days prior to arrival in New York state.
  • Complete the Traveler Health form upon arrival.
  • Quarantine off campus for a minimum of five days upon arrival in New York state.
  • Take a first test on day one or day two after arrival in New York state.
  • Take a second test on day four after arrival.
  • If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test (or on day five).

Cornell still requires students to register their travel with Daily Check to receive specific testing and quarantine information.