Stock image of Cornell's Arts Quad

ITHACA, N.Y — As of 5 p.m., Friday, Cornell University is suspending all classes for 3 weeks, according to a statement by President Martha Pollack.

“While the decisions we made earlier this week made sense at the time, we have been continually re-evaluating them in light of the rapidly changing national situation, and today we are announcing additional decisions that speed up the implementation of our plans and also change the way in which our faculty and staff work,” said Pollack in an update Friday. “These new measures…are all intended to accelerate and to increase the social distancing that public health experts recommend as the best way to mitigate a pandemic.”

Undergraduate students are being asked to leave campus no later than March 29, unless they have received an exception to stay in on-campus housing. The suspension does not apply to Cornell Tech students, research degree graduate students conducting research that requires access to campus facilities, or to professional students on required clinical rotations, who will continue to have campus access. However, Undergraduate students with research or other projects and master’s students will not be able to continue working on projects in campus facilities after 5 p.m. on March 13, according to the statement.

“I implore each of our students to comply with this directive. You can do your part to help de-densify the campus and make it safer for those who need to stay by leaving as soon as possible,” added Pollack. “And as I mentioned in my March 11 message, once you return home, please practice social distancing there as well, avoiding large gatherings.”

Some students will be permitted to stay in campus housing, like international students who are unable to return to their home countries. Graduate assistant and fellowship stipends will continue, as will all Federal Work Study compensation, says Pollack. She also warned students staying in Ithaca to be “prepared for severely curtailed activities and services.”

Following the 3 week suspension, starting April 6, all Cornell classes will be conducted online.

Classes were originally slated to end on March 27, ahead of Cornell’s scheduled spring break.

Employees of the university will also be permitted to work remotely if their work allows it. Individual units should have plans in place for employees to work remotely no later than March 20.