EAS COVID-19 Student FAQ

EAS COVID-19 Response

This web page will be updated as information comes available. 

We will make every effort to post questions promptly when received through the EAS student qualtrics survey.

The answers represent our knowledge at the time they are posted.  As the situation changes, we may need to revise them. The people posting here are identified by initials: CC (Carl Cornell) and SC (Sahri Chery).

We hope to provide you with the answers and support you need for the successful pursuit of your Cornell work. 

General Information

Updated Dates

The University’s Academic Calendar distributed by the Registrar's office has been updated to reflect the following changes:

  • First day of online instruction, Monday, April 6
  • Last day to ADD a seven-week course, Tuesday, April 14
  • Last day for DROP/Grade Change, Tuesday, April 21
  • Fall 20 Pre-Enrollment - Grad/Prof - Apr 22 - Apr 24
  • Fall 20 Pre-Enrollment - Rising Seniors - Apr 27 - Apr 29
  • Fall 20 Pre-Enrollment - Rising Juniors - Apr 29 - May 01
  • Fall 20 Pre-Enrollment - Rising Sophomores/Continuing Freshmen - May 04 - May 06
  • Last day of online instruction, Tuesday, May 12
  • Study Days, May 13 - 15
  • Exam Period, May 16 - 23

(Website reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

*Please note the following exceptions:

  • This revised academic calendar applies to all undergraduates except students in the Cornell in Rome or AAP NYC programs and those completing their semesters through study abroad.
  • The revised academic calendar also applies to all graduate students in research degree programs, except those enrolled in courses offered by Cornell Tech, which will maintain the existing calendar.
  • The revised academic calendar does not apply to many professional masters programs. Please refer to program-specific calendars for the following: ILR-EMHRM, DVM, all Law programs and Cornell Tech professional masters degrees (Meng, MBA, LLM).

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

S/U Grading

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students will be permitted to change their grading basis to S/U in any course (with the exception of 7-week courses from the first half of the semester that has already been completed and graded) until April 21, and for this semester, restrictions on S/U grades will be eased. S/U grades from this semester will be permitted for meeting requirements for entering and meeting major and minor requirements and satisfying college requirements for good standing. As always, grades of S/U are not given grade-point values or taken into account in computing grade-point averages.

Under the S/U grading basis, courses in which a grade of S is earned can be applied toward fulfillment of graduation requirements, but courses in which a U is earned cannot. Please be aware that the threshold for successfully completing a course is higher for the S/U grade basis than the letter-grade basis. More specifically, if enrolled under the S/U grading basis, a minimum grade of C- is required for successful completion, whereas a minimum grade of D- would count as a passing letter grade.

In addition, credits taken for an S/U grade rather than letter grade this semester will be excluded from the maximum allowable S/U credits toward major or graduation requirements.

Students should contact their student services/academic advising office prior to any drops or grading basis changes to discuss potential implications. Please be aware that dropping below 12 academic credits will pose significant difficulty to your academic progress and financial aid. Questions regarding drop dates and changing a grading basis for a course may be directed to your college registrar’s office.

Graduate/professional students

Instructors for courses taken by graduate/professional students should also offer an S/U grading option unless not permitted by internal degree requirements or external restrictions imposed by relevant accreditation or oversight bodies. Questions of interpretation should be resolved by the relevant unit dean.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)


Instruction will start online on April 6th. Until this date, you should not be asked to complete or submit any work. 

Instruction may be live or recorded, however, a recorded version of the lectures should get posted by the professor to accommodate students in different time zones. If the professor only releases pre-recorded lectures only, they might also provide other points of contact with students in the form of office hours, group work, discussion sections.1 What this interaction looks like may range widely from class to class so please make sure to read all instruction announcements your professors make2. 

(1 Website Reference 2 Email reference - “FW: Virtual Teaching – T-minus 14 days and counting” from Crystal Doner. Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Class Materials

To help students gain access to online course materials, The Cornell Store has partnered with VitalSource and publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to e-books for students through May 25, 2020. Visit https://www.cornellstore.com/faqs for more information and updates about course materials. In addition, the university libraries have verified that copyright restrictions can be relaxed for this semester to enable faculty to scan and upload copyrighted material to share with students, provided they do so within their Canvas course.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Emergency funds

Access Fund - The goal of this fund is to provide enrolled full-time undergraduate, graduate, and professional Cornell students with access to financial support, up to $500, to help mitigate on-campus barriers, access basic necessities, and cover emergency expenses not covered through financial aid or other university resources.  Due to high demand, funding is not available for transformative experiences (i.e.graduate school test or application fee, registration fee or travel to attend a conference, service project, or employment/internship interviews, etc.). Funding priority will be given based on the urgency of the situation, level of hardship, and the student’s overall financial situation. Depending on the situation, students may be referred to additional resources including financial aid to explore loan options. Please review the information below prior to submitting an application for the Access Fund. Link to COVID-19 Access fund travel form

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Commencement Changes

While we do not know much about the changes to commencement this year there are a few things that we do know: Commencement is not canceled, rather postponed. We do not know what the final event will look like however we know that there will be some virtual component to the commencement ceremony for those that cannot attend. More updates to come at a later time! Stay Tuned!

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

List of Resources

(Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

College Specific Information

Engineering Undergraduate Students

Engineering Career Center revised operations

The Engineering Career Center has revised its operating schedule for the rest of the semester and it is now operating remotely. Drop-in hours have been canceled for the remainder of the semester. You may schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor using links below. Career advisor appointments are not for résumé/cover letter critiques or practice interviews.

If you need to speak with an advisor, you may sign up for a phone appointment using Calendly. Please include your phone number when you sign up and the advisor will call you at the assigned time.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Engineering Advising revised operations

The Engineering Advising team is in the process of shifting our operations to allow us to work remotely. The Engineering Advising office space in 180 Rhodes Hall is now closed. Please visit our website for the most up to date information on how to connect with us. To contact us, please email adv_engineering@cornell.edu.

  • If you would like to make a virtual appointment:
    • Email us with your availability (all days and times you are available for a 30 minute meeting).
    • Indicate whether you would prefer a Zoom or a Skype meeting. If you prefer Skype, please let us know what your Skype name is.
    • Include your full name, your Cornell netid, and a brief sentence about what the meeting is regarding.
  • If you are unable to make a virtual appointment at this time and have questions for us, please email us with:
    • Your full name, your Cornell netid, and a detailed list of questions.
    • A high importance flag if you feel you are in immediate distress and provide a phone number to reach you at.

To learn how to submit Advising forms electronically, please go to Registrar Forms.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Engineering Registrar revised operations

The Engineering Registrar team is in the process of shifting our operations to allow us to work remotely.  The Engineering Registrar office space in 170 Rhodes Hall is now closed. To contact us, please email eng_registrar@cornell.edu.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Diversity Programs in Engineering revised operations

Diversity Programs in Engineering's physical office will remain closed for an undetermined duration to lessen the spread of COVID-19; however, please know that we will continue to help students and to collaborate with units virtually during our regular office hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. General Inquiries, please contact DPENG@cornell.edu.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

CALS Undergraduate Students

CALS Office of Student Services

Beginning March 16, 2020, the CALS Office of Student Services will be closed to in-person consultations and will be conducting business remotely until further notice. If you have questions:

  • Students, for academic concerns related to your major: contact your faculty advisor or advising coordinator.
  • Students, for academic concerns related to your courses: contact your instructors.
  • Students, for study abroad questions: contact cals-exchange@cornell.edu
  • Students, Faculty and Staff: Please email cals-studentservices@cornell.edu with your questions as we are working remotely and only checking voicemail periodically. Please indicate in your email if you would prefer a response via phone and include your number in the message.
Academic Advising, Study Abroad Planning, and Career Services are still available
  • Appointments will be conducted remotely, either by phone or Zoom and will be available during our regular business hours. Please schedule appointments using the online scheduler.
  • Chatter will be utilized for student announcements and resources that might be helpful to students at this time. It’s also a great place to post questions as they arise.
  • Continue to monitor Cornell University’s Cornonavirus FAQ for updates and answers to many questions.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

CALS Academic Policy Modifications for S/U and Latin Honors Spring 2020

Cals Sent an email on 3/21/2020. A link to the electronic copy of this email can be found here: CALS Policy Email. This Email Includes the following 2 Points:

CALS Dean's List for Spring 2020 semester will be suspended given the unprecedented situation. While we understand this is a disappointment to some, this is the most equitable solution and is intended to help students not make the choice to keep courses as graded given the stress and challenges of this term and virtual instruction. This is not limited to CALS.

CALS Latin Honors will be based upon the GPA for either Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 semesters, whichever is highest. This gives the greatest benefit to students in this unprecedented situation.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.24.2020)

A&S Undergraduate Students

A&S Registrar revised operations

Beginning March 17, 2020, A&S Student Services will be closed to in-person meetings and will conduct business remotely until further notice due to the impact of COVID-19.  Drop-in hours are currently suspended.

If you have questions:

  • Students, Academic Advising and Career Development appointments will be conducted remotely by Zoom (accessible by phone or computer) and will be available during our regular (Eastern time) business hours.  Schedule an advising appointment online:
  • Students, for academic concerns related to your major: contact your faculty advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Students, for academic concerns related to your courses: contact your instructors
  • Students, Faculty and Staff: Please email as-studentservices@cornell.edu with your registrar and advising questions and as_careers@cornell.edu with your career development questions. These mailboxes are monitored by our staff during regular business hours. 

If you need a form during this time that you would normally have picked up from our office:

The Arts & Sciences Registrar’s Office is dedicated to providing excellent service to our students, faculty, and staff. We support the curricular and instructional activities of the college by providing accurate grading, enrollment and student record services to the entire A&S College. We are charged with upholding university and college policies as they relate to the integrity of the Bachelor of Arts degree. We are responsible for degree clearing and certification for all A&S students while ensuring they have the necessary qualifications to receive a B.A. degree from Cornell University. Part of the A&S Student Services Office, we are located in KG17, Klarman Hall.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

M.Eng. Students

Please see the following link for information regarding COVID-19’s impact on M.Eng Students:

Guidance for M.Eng. students

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Graduate Students

Graduate Student Assistantships and Stipends

Graduate assistantship and fellowship stipends will be maintained, as communicated by the Provost on March 15 and by the Graduate School on March 13. The salaries and stipends of staff, students, and postdocs will continue on grants or other sources as usual. (See COVID-19 Update: Conduct of Research from 3/15/20 and the FAQs from the Research Division for more information.) Work on your academic, research, scholarship, and teaching responsibilities remotely, and stay in touch with your faculty advisor/supervisor to gain their guidance on how to plan your activities over the coming weeks to be most productive.

Faculty supervisors and graduate students should remember that University Policy 1.3 is still in effect, with the hours/week limits on assistantship duties as required in that policy. (See Additional Guidance for Faculty from 3/13/20.) Cornell’s Research Division emphasizes: “It is important to remember that under no circumstances should graduate students or postdocs be required to go into the laboratory or perform any essential research tasks against their will. Students with concerns should contact their Director of Graduate Studies, Department Chair, or the Dean of the Graduate School.”

To take care of your physical health, follow Cornell Health advice. Please let your supervisor know if you become ill and need to have time to get well, including if you are directed by a primary care physician, health department, or other health professional to self-quarantine or isolate, and you are temporarily not able to conduct activities associated with your academic progress, or to conduct duties associated with your assistantship. 

Graduate students are not required to use vacation time available to them under University Policy 1.3 to cover time away because of illness. Graduate students on fellowships and assistantships who experience illness and need time to get well, including if you are directed by a health professional to self-quarantine or isolate because of pandemic-related issues, will continue to receive their assistantships. This includes assistantships funded by sponsored awards. 

The approval process normally required by University Policy 1.3 (p.14) is not required when a graduate student has been directed to quarantine or isolate by an authorized health professional. Take the time you need to recover and be well, and to continue to practice social distancing (or isolation/quarantine) from others.

(Email Reference “Message from Dean Knuth: COVID-19 Updates - 3-23-30” sent to all Grad Students. Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)

Building Access Restrictions (Student/Researcher Access)

Due to both University and State policies and restrictions, access to both Snee and Bradfield is extremely restricted to “critical” research members of the EAS Community only. Guidelines to which position’s the university considers critical are below:

  • “Care for animals, plants and unique or expensive cell cultures or biological specimens,
  • Preservation of unique reagents and other unique or expensive materials, and
  • Maintaining equipment (e.g., liquid nitrogen and liquid helium systems, and shared computational clusters) that cannot be maintained remotely or shut down without significant cost or consequences to the research effort.”

If you believe that you will need access in an ongoing capacity because you perform one of the critical tasks listed above, please work with your PI to arrange access to the building. 

We have not been given guidance as to when this restriction will be lifted. This may be the new normal for a little while. 

(Conversation: CC when asking Crystal about building access on 3.19.2020. Edited by CC, 3.23.2020)


We have received many questions from GFAs and students regarding exams. Below are answers to these questions and guidelines to follow during this time when all exams (A, B and M) should be conducted remotely using Zoom or other video platforms.

  • Conduct Exams Remotely All exams should be conducted remotely until notified otherwise. This includes exams scheduled previously. All participants, including the student can participate remotely from different locations.
  • Proctor Requirements The proctor requirement for remote exams (A, B and M) has been waived for tests occurring during the remainder of Spring 2020. Although we believe a proctor for A Exams continues to have value for fields where the model has been an on-site, no-notes, monitored exam, we also believe that it is essential that we adhere to social distancing guidelines and remote work practices for those who may be asked to proctor. Under the current circumstances  we ask that special committees design and administer the A exam in a way that will not require proctoring while preserving standards of academic integrity.
  • Exam Scheduling Please encourage students to schedule exams 7 days in advance using the online scheduling forms available on the Graduate School Forms page. Once digitally signed and submitted by the student the schedule form will automatically be routed to the field and special committee for approval.
    • Students should enter Remote via Zoom in the Exam Location field on the form.
    • Faculty should indicate Remote Participation using the checkbox provided for participating remotely.
    • Fields may assist with setting up the remote meeting or request that students do so directly.  
  • Announcement of Exams Because the campus is moving toward a model of mostly remote work, please announce exams to all field faculty via email at the time of the scheduling via email. Include the date, time and the Zoom link. This should still take place 7 days in advance so faculty have time to plan to attend.
  • Exam Results In lieu of ink signatures the Graduate School will accept an email approval of the results. Use the attached Exam Results Template to provide the outcome of the exam and attach all email approvals. Send to gradstudserv@cornell.edu. The Graduate School will be flexible with the 3-day deadline but please adhere to the deadline unless otherwise not possible.
  • Postponement of Exams The Graduate School will offer flexibility if petitions for delaying an exam are needed.

(Website Reference Edited by CC, 3.25.2020)


We will be reviewing questions submitted and will update this page with information as available on Tuesday morning, March 24th.