Clarification for Researchers of Cornell COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines Effective June 1, 2021
Updated Thursday, May 27, 2021
As of June 1, many of Cornell’s COVID-19 public health guidelines were updated to more closely mirror those of New York State. (See Provost Announcement.) Accordingly, the research reactivation guidance previously found on this page has been discontinued and replaced by the following brief set of clarifications for researchers.
Students and visitors participating in research activities will follow the same rules as faculty and staff. In particular, fully vaccinated research groups may gather indoors unmasked and without social distancing. Unvaccinated persons alone in an office, cubicle (with at least five-foot high walls), or unit designated area do not need to wear masks. Otherwise, unvaccinated persons must wear a mask and maintain at least 6 ft. social distancing from other persons.
- Fully vaccinated researchers, including student researchers and visiting researchers, may conduct field research together without masks and may travel to field sites together without masks or social distancing.
- Sanitization of surfaces between users is not required for pandemic mitigation purposes. This does not affect sanitization required as part of research safety, for example in animal and human participants research.
- Undergraduates are allowed in research without any additional restrictions.
- High School students are allowed in research but not allowed currently to live on campus following regular NYS and Cornell minors’ policies. No vaccination or testing is required for minors.
- Visiting researchers, other center users, and support staff for equipment maintenance, who are on campus for no more than five days per visit, do not need to enroll in the Daily Check or surveillance testing. However, their hosts must inform them and they must agree in writing not to come to campus on any day that the answer to one or more of these questions is yes:
- In the last 3 days, have you been feeling any different from usual? Have you had any symptoms linked to COVID-19?
- In the past 2 weeks, have you been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone that you think might have COVID-19?
- Do you have any reason to think that you may have been exposed to COVID-19?
- Have you ever tested positive for COVID-19?
Human participants research
- The same social distancing rules apply for human participants as for other visitors to campus.
- If the research requires human participants to be less than six feet from each other or from researchers, then taking the participant’s temperature and asking basic screening questions before allowing participation is required.
- Requiring voluntary research participants to be vaccinated and asking for proof of vaccination are acceptable practices in human participants research. It is not acceptable to require students who are participating in a research project as part of a class or academic program to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination.
- When proof of vaccination or results of screening tests are obtained, retaining such proof is strongly discouraged. Best practice is to have someone view the proof and then simply record having “cleared” the subject to participate.