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Winter Break Travel Advisory, Spring 2021 Semester, and Election Information

November 9, 2020

Information on international travel and COVID testing, campus plans and Study Away for spring 2021, and support around the U.S. election and immigration measures.


Important Guidelines for International Travel and COVID Testing

Leaving the U.S. over Winter Break

It is with real sadness that we advise against leaving the U.S. during winter break. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, international students, scholars, and staff are at risk of being unable to re-enter the country due to visa delays, pandemic travel restrictions, or changes to immigration policy. If you require a new visa for re-entry to the U.S., we recommend even more strongly against traveling at this time. If you do decide to leave the country, follow all pertinent travel advice.

COVID Testing for International Travel (destinations other than China)

Cornell provides pre-travel COVID testing to satisfy most testing requirements for international travel. This service is only available to Cornell-affiliated students, scholars, and staff on the Ithaca campus. Learn more about pre-travel testing, testing timelines, and scheduling.

COVID Testing for International Travel (to China)

As of October 29, travelers to China are required to follow updated pre-travel COVID testing requirements.

Cornell will do everything it can to provide a nucleic acid PCR (PCR) test with results provided as quickly as possible, usually in under 24 hours. This fulfills one of the two test requirements for travel. This service is only available to Cornell-affiliated students, scholars, and staff in Ithaca. You must complete the notification form below to request and schedule the PCR test at Cayuga Medical Center. Cornell is currently unable to provide the second required test (serology IgM antibody test), as it is unavailable in our region.

We realize this makes travel to China difficult, and we are sorry for the inconvenience. If you live on campus and need to revise your winter break plans, please contact Student and Campus Life as soon as possible.

Changes to New York State COVID Testing for Incoming Travelers

New York State recently changed the COVID testing and quarantine policies for travelers arriving from other states and international travelers. Cornell travel policies remain unchanged at this time.


Spring 2021 Campus Plans and Study Away

Cornell Ithaca campus plans to have a full residential spring semester, although this decision may change with evolving pandemic conditions. Students will be allowed to take classes online from home, but we strongly encourage everyone to make every effort to be on campus. The Office of Global Learning is evaluating the extension of Study Away programming into the spring semester for select locations. We will share further information as it becomes available.

Cornell Tech students studying in New York City will receive information on the spring 2021 semester around Thanksgiving. We appreciate your patience.


Events and Resources

Following this weekend’s election results news, the Office of Global Learning is planning programming to discuss the transition of power over the next 70 days and how a Biden administration could impact immigration over the next four years. More information will come soon. For now, this recent presentation from Cornell Law’s Stephen Yale-Loehr provides insight on possible directions and policies (minute 32:35).

Federal Relations and You: Cornell's Lobbying for the International Community
November 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Find out about the university’s immigration advocacy and lobbying in a virtual town hall led by Cornell’s Office of Federal Relations and the International Services team in the Office of Global Learning. The event includes Q&A. Register now!


Laura Taylor, Senior Associate Director, Office of Global Learning
Brandon Lanners, Executive Director, Office of Global Learning
Wendy Wolford, Vice Provost for International Affairs