Hannah Rosenberg/Sun Photography Editor

Missing a surveillance test at Cornell, could mean missing a few days of classes or assignments as well. Some students are facing the new penalties for missing their COVID-19 tests.

April 29, 2021

Missed Surveillance Tests Block Students From Canvas, Creating Added Stressor

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On the night before a prelim, Raghav Inder ’23 wasn’t only thinking about his looming exam — he worried about missing his surveillance test.

Inder said he rushed to a testing site 10 minutes before it closed — had he not been able to get tested in time, he may have been unable to take his exam. 

“After almost getting locked out during my prelim, I’ve been much more diligent about getting tested,” Inder said. “Before they had this policy, I’d missed my test about five times.”

Some Cornell students have mixed feelings about losing access to Canvas if they miss surveillance tests. While some say this penalty has encouraged them to prioritize completing their tests, others find the penalties an unnecessary stressor.

On March 30, the University announced new restrictions for students who missed their surveillance tests, as Cornell saw students who continued to miss their tests as cases remained high on campus. Penalties include losing access to campus Wi-Fi, Canvas and campus facilities and having enrollment transactions revoked for up to 24 hours until students complete their test.

Aditya Venigalla ’23 said he felt the penalties are effective but irritating. Venigalla once missed a surveillance test and completed it within the 24-hour grace period after his testing day, but was locked out of Canvas because he hadn’t scheduled the make-up test on the Daily Check website.

While his access was restored the next morning, the temporary restriction made him worry about getting his work done on time.

“I wouldn’t have been able to submit my physics homework test and study for my prelim,” Venigalla said. “It doesn’t make sense that if you don’t fulfill some of your responsibilities then they take away your ability to fulfill the rest of your responsibilities as a student.”

Inder said he thinks the penalty of having Canvas taken away seems excessive for those who missed their testing for the first time.  

“Considering the consequences can affect your grade, such as locking you out of Canvas before a prelim, the admin should find better, less draconian ways to encourage students to get tested,” Inder said. 

Maggie Peng ’24 has missed multiple surveillance tests in the past but has always completed her test during the grace period. Though it may annoy some students, she said she supports the new policy.

“Considering the fact that everyone has around 48 hours to get tested each time,” Peng said, “the possible penalty of not being able to access Canvas afterward seems fairly avoidable on top of being a good incentive to encourage testing.”