Fall 2020 Plan

As you are aware, SUNY Cortland has established a comprehensive restart plan (PDF). Residence Life and Housing is developing detailed plans to welcome students to our residence halls with added precautions to set you up for success. By working together and doing our part, we can ensure this year be a safe, healthy, and successful one.

Moving to Study In Place Guidelines

In-person Classes

In-person classes are now suspended and the campus will move to remote learning for all classes. Certain in-person clinical, laboratory, or other such activity required to obtain or maintain professional licensure or research work may be allowed if appropriate preventative and protective measure are implemented and observed.

Study-in-Place is meant to be a period where students remain in Cortland and limit unnecessary excursions that could put them or the community at risk. This is not a lockdown, students will not be confined to rooms or buildings.

Residential Students

Residential students should remain on campus in their current housing locations. All students, both on campus and off campus, are required to limit their movements to essential needs only (e.g., attend their jobs, medical appointments, grocery shopping, etc.). Residential students should remain on campus in their current housing locations. Any student who elects to go home during the study-in-place period will not be allowed back into campus housing until the spring semester. They will also not receive a refund for room or meal plan expenses.

Currently at home?

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.

Medical Exceptions

Exceptions to study-in-place will be made for medical reasons. Students who need 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 Services 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.

Capacity Limits

Gatherings in residence hall common spaces will be limited to 3 people throughout the duration of the study in place period.

Dining and the College Store

The residential dining halls, Bistro and Neubig, will remain open normal business hours for grab and go meals. Seating in all dining units will be eliminated except for students that have an accommodation established through the Disability Resources Office. Retail dining units in Corey Union and Hilltop in Brockway will also be open for take-out only. Cortland Dining student employees will continue to work as scheduled. The College Store will be available for online orders only. Package services will continue normal operations.

Extracurricular Activities

In-person extracurricular programs and other non-essential student activities will be suspended, including athletics, club sport activities, and operations at the Student Life Center (SLC). The campus will step up health education and policy enforcement activities.

Quarantine and Isolation

Residence halls may be used for quarantine and isolation operations.

During a campus study in place, the university will consider additional measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Residence Life and Housing Updates

Room Types

There will be no mandated triple room assignments in any of our residence halls. All rooms will be singles, double, or designed triple rooms.

Capacity Limits

Touch points in community spaces will be minimized and physical distancing promoted by reducing seating. Occupancy limits will be posted outside of common spaces in the residence halls. 

  •  Bathrooms
    • Students will be required to wear a mask when traveling to and while using the bathroom. A student may only remove their mask when in the shower stall or while brushing their teeth at the bathroom sinks. Cleaning supplies will be available in the bathroom for students to wipe down the area that they used.
  • Lounges
    • Some furniture from these spaces will be removed if possible, to minimize large gatherings. Recreational items such as ping pong paddles and pool sticks will not be available.
  • Laundry rooms
    • The Laundry View app should be used to determine what units are available at any given moment. Residents will be encouraged to fold laundry in their room to avoid densities in the laundry room. Residents will also be encouraged to use one unit at a time and to wipe down the door handle after use.
  • Kitchenettes
    • Students will be asked wipe down and sanitize the space after each use. There will be cleaning supplies available in each kitchenette for student use.

There will be limits on the number of in-hall residents that can be in a room/suite/apartment. 

Isolation Spaces

Spaces have been set aside for 14-day isolation of residents if a student tests positive for COVID-19.


Rigorous sanitizing procedures will follow CDC, New York State, and SUNY guidelines. Cleaners and custodians will clean all bathrooms at least 1-2 times per day.

PPE Requirements

Students will be required to wear a mask in all common spaces (hallways, bathrooms, laundry rooms, lounges, kitchenettes, mail pick-up areas, study rooms, and any other shared space) in the residence halls. Students will be provided at least one reusable mask to use when accessing common spaces. Students who share the same residence (i.e. double room, quad, suite, or apartment including the Leadership House) will be considered members of the same household and will not be required to wear a mask within their hall assignment.

Guests and Visitors

Residential students will not be permitted to have guests (non-SUNY Cortland students, non-residential students, siblings, family members, etc.) or visitors (residential students from another hall) in the residence halls. A form will be made available to students and staff for guest requests for special circumstances. All requests will require the approval from the Residence Life and Housing Office.


Community programming will be redesigned to offer socially distanced, online, and passive programs. Masks must be worn at all in-person programs, informal activities, and intentional interactions.


Failure to adhere to expectations for social distancing and COVID-related safety requirements will violate the Student Conduct Code failure to comply. Any students not adhering to these policies could result in conduct charges being filed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What actions can students take to help keep themselves and their fellow community members safe and healthy this fall?

There are some actions that every member of our campus community must take to keep ourselves and each other safe and healthy:

  1. If you are sick, stay home and do not go to class or work.
  2. Wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors when other people are nearby.
  3. Keep appropriate distance between you and others.
  4. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Are there plans to increase cleaning in public areas within the residence halls?

Public restrooms and high touch-point areas such as elevator buttons, door handles, and handrails will be cleaned at an increased frequency.

Will there be additional cleaning supplies available for students, if needed?

Yes. Residence Halls will have designated sanitation areas and staff will be equipped with extra cleaning supplies

Will students keep the same residence hall room from August to May?

Yes. Students won’t completely move out in November. Students will be required to move out before Thanksgiving, and will be able to return when the Spring semester starts.

What form should a student complete if all their scheduled classes are being held remotely and the student will be living at home for fall semester?

Students may submit a form if all their scheduled classes are being held remotely and the student will be living at home for fall semester. To access the form follow the steps below:

New Students:

  1. Once you are logged into myRedDragon go to the student tab
  2. Look for the Residence Life and Housing section
  3. Select the 'Housing process and information' link
  4. From the top menu, select Forms
  5. New Student Off Campus Approval Form

 Returning Students:

  1. Once you are logged into myRedDragon go to the student tab
  2. Look for the Residence Life and Housing section
  3. Select the 'Housing process and information' link
  4. From the top menu, select Forms
  5. Release from Housing for Fall 2020 Form

Will a continuing student who stays home this semester be guaranteed housing next semester?

Yes. Students who are exempted from their housing requirement due to their scheduled classes being held remote will be guaranteed housing for the spring. Students will need complete the Wait List Housing Form for Spring 2021 (available in October 2020).