Campus reactivation planning

Dear Cornellians,

As I write this, it is one of those picture-perfect days in the Finger Lakes, with a blue sky unbroken by clouds, a gentle breeze and the temperature just warm enough to make me want to spend the whole day outside – even if in front of a laptop. I am thankful for this weather, which provides a tiny bit of respite from the challenges we are all facing. Here at Cornell, these challenges, of course, include planning for the new academic year under conditions of great uncertainty.

Today we are releasing the reports of two of the committees of faculty, staff and students who have worked incredibly hard to develop recommendations for reactivating the university: the Teaching Reactivation Options Committee and the Preparation for Online Teaching Committee. (The third planning committee, on Research and Operations Reactivation, previously released its report, and its recommendations are actively being implemented.) I want to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who participated in the preparation of these reports, which, I hope you will agree, provide extremely thoughtful and detailed recommendations for a path forward. I also want to thank all of the members of our community who have provided valuable feedback through surveys, town halls, and Assemblies and Faculty Senate meetings.

Please take the time to read the reports carefully. Over the coming days I will be discussing our options with our Board of Trustees, and I hope to shortly thereafter submit a plan to the state for review. Until we do, we cannot confirm our plans. But the reports provide a clear sense of the considerations that will go into final decisions about whether and, if so, under what conditions, we are able to invite our students back to Ithaca for the fall semester.

Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine reactivation plans are being developed separately, in recognition of the varying impacts and progression of the virus in New York City and the delayed timetable for reopening set by New York state.