As winter break comes to an end, Cornellians are returning to campus and preparing for the semester ahead. Despite the lifting of COVID-19 precautions over the past semester, the University has conveyed its hopes to maintain a safe community through a mass email that was sent out to the student body on Jan.19.
The email covered a variety of protocols, ranging from COVID-19 testing to air travel. Students are still encouraged to wear masks, test for COVID-19 at various locations on campus and must provide evidence of a negative test upon returning from international travel. Such guidelines intend to provide a framework for a safe and seamless transition back to campus, according to the University.
William Liu ’25 emphasized the relevance of the message to the current situation.
“The first weeks [of the spring semester] feel like a very critical time, because students are coming from different places,” Liu said. “The guidelines on air travel specifically apply to international students and [those who] have traveled overseas, so it’s clear that there are rules for all circumstances.”
According to Liu, the recent outbreak in China, Hong Kong and Macau is a major concern for students who are traveling from those areas. The negative COVID-19 test policy for airlines and masking options on campus relieve a bit of the stress produced by the virus, Liu said.
Jorge Rodriguez ’23 expressed dismay toward the implication that the pandemic lives on.
“I am concerned about how this semester will be spent,” Rodriguez said. “Because it’s my last one, I was hoping to feel more free from regulations.”
While Rodriguez believes that COVID-19 protocols are needed for the student community to stay safe, they still restrict a large portion of his everyday life.
“[COVID-19 regulations] have definitely loosened up compared to a couple of years ago,” Rodriguez said. “But it is a little frustrating to have these dangers around after such a long time of following regulations.”
Other students reported to have felt safer after reading the email.
“It’s relieving to see that the school still acknowledges COVID-19,” said Hannah Smith ’26. “I appreciate that the email also mentioned the flu and RSV, which have also been going around this winter.”
According to Smith, the guidelines are a necessary set of regulations for students living both on and off campus. They remind Cornellians to consider their surroundings and demonstrate respect for both those who are ill and those who fear becoming ill, Smith added.
The protocols provided by the email are intended to be recognized and practiced throughout the entire coming semester. This spring, the University strives to establish a healthy living and learning space for students. Such intentions are executed best through collective efforts to keep one another safe from illness, according to the University.
“Considering guidelines is not only a reliable way to slow the spread of COVID-19, but to show affirmation for the rest of the community,” Smith said.