Study in Place

Effective Wednesday, Oct. 7, SUNY Cortland is under a temporary study-in-place order to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The SUNY Cortland campus is not closing.

In accordance with New York State Department of Health guidance, during this time:

  • All instruction will be delivered remotely.
  • Students are expected to continue living in residence halls or off-campus housing.
  • All campus dining and food service operations will be converted to takeout/delivery.
  • Students will not be able to request a change to fully online coursework after the study-in-place period.
  • Faculty are unable to set up individual arrangements with students for alternative course delivery.
  • In-person athletics, extracurricular programs and non-essential services are suspended or will be provided in a virtual form. Medical services, including counseling, will continue.

Please know this is not a lockdown. Students will not be confined to rooms or buildings. By “in place” we want students to remain in Cortland and limit unnecessary excursions that could put them or the community at risk. Further information is below.

Recently updated:

Active cases

SUNY Cortland has met the 100-case threshold to transition to remote learning under New York State Department of Health guidance. If cases stabilize and students comply with safety measures, the Cortland County Department of Health may authorize the resumption of in-person learning. Active case counts are available on the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Limited movement outside residence

As a containment strategy, the SUNY system requires us, to the best of our ability, to keep students on campus and in the local community rather than send them home. In cases where colleges have sent students home in response to an outbreak, the virus has spread to other communities, putting vulnerable family members at risk. Further, we do not want students bringing the virus back to campus once the study-in-place period ends.

  • No student should go home or travel to another community during this period in order to eliminate the possibility of infected students carrying the virus to their families and potentially igniting an outbreak in their hometowns. By limiting travel, we also reduce the risk of students bringing an infection back to campus from another community.  
  • If a residential student chooses to go home during this time, their card access will be removed and they will not be eligible to return to campus housing until the spring semester. They will also not receive a refund for room or meal plan expenses.
  • All students, both on and off campus, are required to limit trips outside their residences to essential needs only, such as working jobs, attending medical appointments or accessing food.
    • Students are encouraged to participate in individual or small-group (no more than six people) outdoor activities while maintaining physical distancing and wearing face coverings.
  • On-campus students should not visit off-campus student apartments or housing of any kind. This has been a common cause of virus transmission among SUNY Cortland students. 
  • Off-campus students can only come to campus if they need to pick up a meal if they are on a plan, report to a Cortland Auxiliary job, keep a medical or COVID testing appointment or pick up a package from Neubig Hall. If they need access to the internet, they can go to the library, which has limited seating and reduced daily operating hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students needing to use a computer may use a campus computer lab. 
  • Students are expected to diligently follow all rules regarding face coverings, physical distancing, gathering in groups and other safety measures while they are in the community. They should limit their time in local establishments, getting restaurant meals to go, for example, rather than sitting at tables.
  • Students who are currently at home and not on campus will need to come back. However, they will not be allowed back on campus without submitting proof of a negative COVID test to Student Health Services. Students who are currently at home in isolation and quarantine should return to campus when their isolation or quarantine periods are ended. Quarantining students will not be allowed back without proof of a negative COVID test. Isolating students may return when their isolation time ends.
  • The only exceptions to study in place will be made for medical reasons. Students needing to go home to keep appointments for essential medical, dental or psychiatric care will require prior approval, and appropriate documentation must be provided to Student Health Service for review. Students seeking a health-related accommodation may contact the Disabilities Resources Office, and the Counseling Center may assist in matters related to mental health concerns. Students qualifying for a medical exemption cannot go home unless they test negative for COVID, and will not be allowed back without another negative test.


  • All in-person instruction will be suspended and delivered in a remote learning format for at least two weeks.  
  • This suspension includes fine arts and other classes that require extensive hands-on instruction. In these situations, instructors will provide alternative assignments during the 14-day study-in-place period.  
  • If the study-in-place order is lifted after two weeks, faculty members who previously taught face-to-face classes have the discretion to either return to the classroom or keep the entire class online for the rest of the semester.  
  • For classes that return to in-person delivery, no option for online-only classes will be provided to individual students who request them.
  • Library operations will continue in a limited capacity throughout the study-in-place period pause and will make more of its services available online.

Dining Services and The Campus Store

The following changes are in effect:

  • The Campus Store is temporarily closed and open only for in-store pickups, student package services and online orders.
  • Fuel is temporarily closed.
  • Bistro Food Hub and Neubig Food Hub are closed until further notice.
  • The residential dining halls, Bistro and Neubig Dining, will remain open for grab and go meals. Retail dining units in Corey Union and Hilltop in Brockway Hall will be open for takeout only. There will be no options for indoor seating, except for students who have an accommodation established through the Disability Resources Office.
  • All Dining Services student employees will continue to work as scheduled.
  • Students may eat outdoors as long as gatherings do not exceed six people and physical distancing, face coverings and other COVID-19 guidelines are followed.

Student employment/Federal Work-Study

All student assistants (students currently on SUNY Cortland student payroll, not including Cortland Auxiliary, working in a non-Federal Work-Study capacity) and Federal Work-Study employees should not report to their assigned work locations during this period with rare exceptions for critical essential service.

All students working for Cortland Auxiliary (formerly ASC) should continue to report as scheduled unless contacted directly by their supervisor. Food preparation and service is considered a critical and essential function and will continue.

Every effort should be made to provide student assistants and Federal Work-Study employees an opportunity to work remotely during this study-in-place period. If remote work cannot be provided, these student employees will continue to receive payment of wages consistent with their currently defined work schedule for this 14-day period, ending Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.  For this 14-day period, student assistants and Federal Work-Study employees should complete a timesheet consistent with their normally assigned schedule and submit for approval to their supervisor.

At the conclusion of this 14-day period, we hope to be able to return to normal work schedules and locations, but, if the study-in-place order is extended, or if the campus unfortunately has to close, completely or in part, student assistants will only be paid for actual hours worked from a remote work location. If comparable remote work is not available for the remainder of the semester, student employees will not continue to be paid.

Further information

Additional Federal Work-Study updates will be communicated through the Financial Aid Office.

Student assistants and their supervisors are encouraged to reach out to Lauren Christiansen, student employment coordinator, with any questions or concerns.

University life

  • Students should not gather together in groups of more than six people, whether on campus or off campus. This includes walking together, engaging in an activity outdoors or similar groupings. At all times, students must follow physical distancing, face covering and other anti-virus guidelines.
  • All existing COVID-related rules and restrictions will be strictly enforced at all times under the strengthened, SUNY-wide sanctions imposed by the SUNY Chancellor on Sept. 25. These guidelines apply to off-campus activities as well as on-campus activities and require penalties that include permanent dismissal, suspension and loss of campus housing.
  • Health services will continue to be provided to all students. All students, whether on campus or off campus, should feel free to contact Student Health Service at 607-753-4811 to make an appointment if they are ill. Information on counseling services can be found at the Counseling Center.
  • The Student Life Center will be closed for the duration of the study-in-place period.
  • All in-person extracurricular programs and other non-essential student activities will be suspended, including club sport activities and intramurals.
  • All in-person activity by athletic teams will be halted during the study-in-place period.
  • Dedicated student services will continue to be provided with enhanced virtual programming to keep all members of the community connected and engaged.
  • Library operations will continue in a limited capacity throughout the study-in-place period pause and will make more of its services available online.


  • Mandatory surveillance testing of students, faculty and staff will increase in frequency during the study-in-place period.  
  • All students will be held responsible for reporting to their assigned surveillance-testing appointments. Failure to respond will result in interim suspension until the student reports.  
  • Students who have already tested should expect to receive additional scheduled appointments. That is intentional. A test is only good for the snapshot of time that it reflects, and we are trying to prevent the spread of infections.

Quarantine and isolation

  • Off-campus students in quarantine and isolation by order of the Cortland County Health Department will be monitored and remain in their current locations until they are released by the Health Department.
  • On-campus students in quarantine and isolation by order of the Cortland County Health Department will be moved to campus quarantine and isolation housing and cared for and monitored by SUNY Cortland.
  • Students who are currently at home in isolation and quarantine should return to campus when their isolation or quarantine periods are ended. Quarantining students will not be allowed back without proof of a negative COVID test. Isolating students may return when their isolation time ends.

Mental and emotional well-being resources

It is normal to experience worry in the face of uncertainty. Please try to make your self-care a priority, and schedule time to attend to your emotional, psychological and mental health. The following resources are a sample of what is available on the Counseling Center and Conley Counseling and Wellness Services websites.


Mental health

With growing concerns related to our physical health, it is important to pay attention to our mental health as well. During this time of change and uncertainty, it is normal to experience an increase in stress and anxiety.

Grief and loss

Given the magnitude of this pandemic, many of us will know someone who falls ill or we may become ill ourselves. We also will experience the changes that physical distancing engenders, including loss of routine, missed or postponed special events, or just plain socializing with family and friends. These resources can help explain our reactions and help us come to terms with grief and loss during this time.

  • Understanding the grief process can help you make sense of some of your or your social circle’s varied reactions to the virus.
  • Grieving the loss of a loved one from COVID-19 can be complicated by the physical distance we are asked to experience for the sake of health and safety. This is one author’s reflection on this process.
  • The Dinner Party is building a worldwide community of 20- and 30-somethings who have each experienced the loss of a parent, partner, child, sibling, other close family member or close friend.

Diversity, equity and inclusion during COVID-19

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