Classes and academics

The plans listed below are subject to change and may be revised as new information becomes available.

Academic operations

  • Changes to the fall 2020 academic calendar include the following:
    • The semester will begin as scheduled on Aug. 31.
    • Classes will be in session on Labor Day (Sept. 7.)
    • Fall break will be eliminated. Classes will be in session on Oct. 19 and 20.
    • Classes scheduled for in-person or hybrid delivery will meet on campus through Friday, Nov. 20.
    • Thanksgiving break will be observed during the week of Nov. 23-27.
    • The remaining two weeks of classes (Nov. 30 through Dec. 11) and finals week (Dec. 14-18) will be conducted virtually.
  • To reduce classroom density, all courses with enrollments of 50 students or more will be taught exclusively online. All other classes will be taught in hybrid fashion with some content presented online and the balance in person.
  • Courses delivered twice per week (e.g. Tuesday/Thursday) will be assigned to a space that can accommodate at least half of the student enrollment. Courses delivered three times per week (e.g. Monday/Wednesday/Friday) will be assigned to a space that can accommodate at least one-third of the enrolled students.
    • For classes that are to be divided into two or three groups, faculty members will contact their students directly (e.g. email, Blackboard) with information about their groups and scheduled meeting times.
  • The Human Resources Office has devised protocols for accommodating faculty and teaching staff who are not able to deliver in-person content due to health or other concerns.
  • The Disability Resources Office and associate deans have developed protocols for accommodating students in at-risk categories.
    • Students who may require all online courses for Fall 2020 because of a disability or because they are in a high-risk group associated with COVID-19, please refer to Request for Online Schedule.

Classrooms and labs

Reduced density

  • Seating capacity of all rooms has been significantly reduced, with the vast majority of spaces accommodating between 20% and 50% of the normal number of seats.
  • All instructional spaces too small to accommodate academic activities while maintaining physical distance protocols are closed.
  • Large spaces not previously used for regular classes, such as Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, have been brought online as instructional spaces.
  • Seats will be placed within a 96-inch diameter circle with 7-10 feet of teaching zones in front of them.
  • Classroom furniture will be positioned so that proper physical distancing protocols are followed and designated classroom capacities are not exceeded. Signage and markings have been deployed to direct circulation.
  • Labs are reduced to 50% capacity to achieve physical distancing.


  • Instructional spaces and labs will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected twice per day.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available in all academic spaces.
  • There will be a quart bottle of disinfectant and a roll of paper towels in each classroom for students and faculty to utilize for additional disinfecting as needed. There will also be wipes available to clean instructors' computer stations and computers in the computer lab. Do not use the spray bottles on the electronic equipment. The custodial staff will ensure the disinfectant and paper towels are stocked throughout the day.

Food and drink

  • No food or drink is allowed in instructional spaces. Beverages for instructors and ADA accommodations will be the exception.

Face coverings

  • During in-person classes or meetings, all students and faculty are required to wear face coverings.


  • Posters reminding faculty and students about practicing preventative health behaviors will be posted in each instructional space.

Mobility concerns

  • Classes for faculty and students who have mobility issues will be scheduled on the first floor of accessible buildings so that no use of elevators will be needed to attend classes

Field Work and Activity Courses

SUNY Cortland has a significant number of courses that involve off-campus field work (such as student teaching), internships, and activities (such as physical education and recreation related coursework).  Plans for these courses are being devised on a case by case basis as they often involve working with off-campus partners and/or delivery in non-traditional instructional spaces (e.g. gyms).  The deans are coordinating discussions with departments related to these unique courses, with a commitment to adhering to all safety and cleaning protocols described above.  If a field work course also involves transportation (e.g. a bus to Raquette Lake), departments should also address how social distancing and cleaning protocols will be maintained during transport. 

Key contact information