Increase in COVID-19 cases on campus

Dear Ithaca campus community,

COVID-19 cases on the Ithaca campus are increasing beyond our predictions, indicating a substantial prevalence of the virus on campus. This rising transmission is likely due to a number of factors, including relaxing mask requirements, the emergence of the BA.2 variant, and increased social activities. While the health impacts of infection remain mild for those who are fully vaccinated/boosted, the academic disruption and isolation housing requirements for infected students make it necessary for us to respond to this increase in COVID spread. Accordingly, as of Wednesday, March 23, the campus will move to COVID-19 Alert Level Yellow.

The purpose of moving to yellow at this time is to ask for enhanced diligence with public health guidance given the recent increase in positive cases. We ask all members of our community to take immediate voluntary actions:

  • When you socialize at events and attend parties, we strongly urge you to resume wearing a high-quality mask. The university has free KN-95 masks for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
  • Do not go to class, work, or social gatherings if you feel unwell. Get rest, wear a mask when in public, and access symptomatic testing.
  • Supplemental and opt-in surveillance testing is available. If you have recently traveled, attended a large gathering, or may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus, log into the Daily Check and schedule an asymptomatic test.

The majority of positive cases being reported on campus are from symptomatic testing, which tells us that there are even more asymptomatic cases within our community. Please continue to take appropriate public health precautions. And, if you are currently eligible for a booster but have not yet received one, please do so.

Testing before and after Spring Break
Spring Break will represent another crucial moment for the Cornell community to maintain vigilance so we can stay healthy and safe. All students are strongly urged to test before and after Spring Break, regardless of whether they travel.

In the coming days, please take the following steps:

  • Pick up two antigen test kits from any COVID-19 testing site on campus.
  • Complete one antigen test prior to the start of break on April 2 and submit the results to the Daily Check.
  • Complete the second test at the end of Spring Break and before you return to campus and submit the results to the Daily Check.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to take a supplemental test upon returning from travel or after attending large gatherings.

We are all ready for the pandemic to be over, but we must continue to confront the realities of COVID-19 and the impacts that it has on our ability to support the campus community. Please take care of yourselves, and each other.


Mike Kotlikoff

Ryan Lombardi
Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Mary Opperman
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer