ITHACA, N.Y.—Cornell University has announced a series of COVID-19 restrictions that the school is reducing after the on-campus student body reached 50 percent vaccination rate last week.

The restrictions apply to mask-wearing, gathering density and school-sponsored events. The school will continue its vaccination push this week, with another on-campus vaccination clinic on May 6. After a few blips of high cases, the university’s COVID-19 positive test numbers have stabilized and remained quite low for several weeks, with more vaccination clinics being held this month too boost the vaccination rate. The school is requiring students to be vaccinated if they wish to return to campus for the fall semester.

Most significantly, the school has partially repealed its mask mandate outdoors for people who are fully vaccinated (and have submitted proof) and in a group of 10 or less people. All Cornell community members must continue to wear masks when inside, and those who are not vaccinated must wear a mask outdoors when distancing isn’t possible.

Beyond that, student groups and organizations may now meet in groups of up to 30 people, though in these settings, because of the likelihood that someone in the group is unvaccinated, masks must still be worn. According to the announcement, that includes: intramurals, club sports, fitness classes and registered student organizations.

Thirdly, the allowable number of people at university-sponsored events will expand to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors, which matches the state’s guidance.

“Similar to Wellness Days, the university is planning additional opportunities for students to spend much-needed time with friends as the semester draws to an end,” the school’s announcement read. “Look for additional information from Student and Campus Life about virtual Slope Day and Senior Days. (…) This guidance does not pertain to commencement ceremonies, which will follow a distinct set of guidelines.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at