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More than a year after Cornell's March 13, 2020 announcement — after which people gathered on Libe Slope to mourn the abrupt end of the semester — the University announced its plans for an in-person fall semester.

June 28, 2021

Cornell to Fully Reopen for Fall 2021

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With rising vaccinations and falling COVID-19 cases, Cornell will open fully in fall 2021, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi announced Monday afternoon.

This means an on-campus experience with few public health restrictions — something only rising juniors and seniors can remember at Cornell. 

With the fall plans, in-person clubs and activities will resume, and the University anticipates reopening dining halls, gyms, recreation facilities and libraries. Further, almost all classes will be taught fully in person, with classrooms configured normally and without physical distancing, Lombardi wrote.

As part of Cornell’s reopening plans, fully vaccinated students who have submitted proof of vaccination will continue to access campus with minimal restrictions — mirroring the summer’s guidelines. Currently, fully vaccinated Cornellians do not have to wear masks inside campus buildings; those unvaccinated still must follow mask wearing, surveillance testing and social distancing regulations.

Lombardi’s email came with a reminder to get vaccinated; the deadline to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination for the fall semester is August 16. The University recognizes only vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization. 

As of Monday, at least 88 percent of the Cornell on-campus population is vaccinated, including over 17,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff, according to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard. Lombardi wrote that Cornell anticipates that the numbers of individuals vaccinated will “grow substantially” as its policy is implemented.

Tompkins County continues to keep active cases low, with just nine reported Monday — the lowest cases have been since August 2020. In the month of June, Cornell reported no active cases on campus, with most students home for the summer.