Coronavirus Research Continuity Guidance

Updated January 10, 2022

Clarification for Researchers of Cornell COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines Effective July 1, 2021

Cornell is no longer in Alert Level Red and the guidance is updated as applicable to Alert Levels Yellow and Green. See the Cornell COVID Dashboard for more information about alert levels. 

As of June 1, many of Cornell’s COVID-19 public health guidelines were updated to more closely mirror those of New York State. Accordingly, the research reactivation guidance previously found on this page has been discontinued. Researchers and research visitors generally follow the same guidelines as other students, staff, and faculty, and visitors as they are amended from time to time. The following set of clarifications may be amended, as necessary. 

Students and visitors participating in research activities will follow the same rules as faculty and staff. All individuals are required to wear a mask when inside non-private spaces in campus buildings or facilities and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Further guidance on when masks must be worn may be found on the COVID-19 Response website.  

Whenever proof of vaccination or results of screening tests are obtained by hosts, that information should not be retained. Best practice is to have someone view the proof and then simply record having “cleared” the visitor.

General Clarifications

  1. Persons conducting field research must follow the same indoor and outdoor mask guidelines as required on campus. It is recommended that people traveling to field sites together in one vehicle wear masks.
  2. 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.
  3. Undergraduates are allowed in research without any restrictions beyond those that apply to other researchers.
  4. High school students are allowed in research in accordance with policy 8.8, Children and Youth Safety, and following the same rules as other visitors for visits of less than one business week and other students for longer visits.
  5. Visiting researchers and other center users who are on campus for less than one business week, do not need to enroll in the Daily Check or surveillance testing. However, they must present to their hosts either proof of vaccination (CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card or equivalent) or proof of a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before arrival.
  6. Visiting researchers and other center users who are on campus for more than one business week must present to their hosts either proof of vaccination (CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card or equivalent) or proof of having received an exemption (either medical or religious) from vaccination provided by their current employer. Visitors with an exemption must enroll in the Daily Check and participate in surveillance testing twice a week.

Human participants research

  1. The guidelines for human participants are the same as for other visitors to campus, including requirements for wearing masks. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Cornell students who are participating in a research project as part of a class or academic program to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination.
  4. When proof of vaccination or results of screening tests are obtained for research participants, that proof should not be retained. Best practice is to have someone view the proof and then simply record having “cleared” the subject to participate.

For more information, visit the IRB COVID-19 FAQ page.

Published on: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 1:54pm