Skip to main content

Cornell University

COVID-19 FCS Employee Info

Amid the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cornell University's Facilities & Campus Services unit is committed to providing staff with an environment where operational excellence and human wellbeing can continue. 

The following protocols and resources are for all FCS employees. This page will be updated frequently. 

Note: This page provides guidance, procedures, and policies for current Facilities & Campus Services Staff only. For general Cornell University resources and guidelines, visit  

Key Updates 

Key Resources

FCS Restart Guidelines

Principles for Reopening

Plans for restarting or expanding operations and increasing the presence of on-campus Facilities & Campus Services' staff are based on the following criteria and principles:
  • A commitment by all staff to exercise both personal and community responsibility for the greater good by using our organizational values. The combined efforts of all members of the Cornell community will create a culture that sustains a healthy and safe on-campus environment. Respect and Teamwork are especially vital during this time when we are working together to mitigate the current risks and provide the highest quality of service to faculty, students, staff, alumni, and visitors.
  • Existing and projected statewide government restrictions (e.g., New York's Phased Opening, Masking Requirements, Physical Distancing, Gatherings, etc.).
  • Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, and protocol and recommendations enacted by Cornell University central administration, and coordination on guidance, orders and ordinances of the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County Health Department, and other local entities.
  • Community Protective Equipment (CPE) availability, and safe work environment with 6ft distancing in place in working environments for staff.
  • Physical distancing strategies.
  • Financial feasibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions gathered during the FCS Forum and through feedback from division staff. For university-focused FAQs, visit

Can you elaborate on the phased reopening plan for the University?

  • As more information becomes available, we will share it here.

If a family member I live with/care for is quarantined, should I still come to work?

  • We ask that you exercise caution and remain at home. Please speak with your supervisor as soon as possible regarding your ability to fulfill job responsibilities remotely.

  • Due to the uncertain nature of this illness, nonacademic staff may be able to access New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL) for the duration of the family member’s quarantine, and claim their time off as NYPFL if they meet both of these requirements:
    • A family member is quarantined under a directive from a recognized public health official (Tompkins County Health Department, other local county health departments, Cornell Health, etc.), and
    • that family member is regularly dependent upon them for care.
Such leave is subject to all the other regular definitions of NYPFL. You may supplement NYSPFL with HAP or vacation time. Please visit Cornell's NYPFL site for more information.

How can we encourage people to wear masks and maintain physical distancing?

  • Wearing a mask or face covering (including neck gaiters) can help reduce the transmission of SARS-COV2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Please review the Environment, Health and Safety guidance on masks.

I am concerned about returning to work on campus. What should I do?

  • Staff who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health and speak with their supervisor about their concerns.
  • The ADA reasonable accommodation process may also be an option and is available to staff with underlying health conditions and/or who are identified (by the CDC) as being at a higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Supervisors have been encouraged to consider alternate work arrangements; if concerns arise, please speak with your supervisor or HR to discuss options.
  • The University provided 10 HAP days to be used in these types of situations (health care and daycare).

Other Related Information:

  • If you find yourself out of work to care for yourself or for someone in your family, STD or NYSPFL may be applicable.
  • If your work cannot be accomplished remotely, and you are not instructed to stay out of the workplace by your doctor, you may use HAP leave or vacation accruals if you wish to stay out of the workplace entirely. 
  • Discuss the possibility of flexible arrangements with your supervisor.

What are my options if I don't have daycare?

  • Diane Bradac and Michelle Artibee are the university resources who are providing guidance on this subject. Unions have also been providing guidance in this area.
  • The use of HAP leave is permitted for staff to use for childcare even though their child is not sick. This is an exception to standard policy.
  • If staff have no remaining leave accruals, FCS has allowed “no pay,” however, this needs to be discussed with your supervisor. This is an exception to our standard practice.
  • UAW and BTC Collective Bargaining Agreements provide language on requesting a leave of absence.
  • Discuss the possibility of flexible arrangements with your supervisor.

Alternative Child Care Information

If your child is healthy and you are seeking a care provider, you may use these resources to locate care, though options are limited. Also, consider joining a Cornell Parenting e-List or Newsletter for updates and connecting with other families who have care concerns.
  • Care@Work by – Cornell provides benefits-eligible employees and retirees with a free membership to Care@Work to help you locate babysitters, pet sitters/walkers, elder/adult care providers, and individuals to run errands.  You may post a job or search the directory for a care provider. Providers are not endorsed by Cornell.
  • Child Development Council of Tompkins & Cortland County (other Counties) – advises area families on child care options.  Ithaca – 607-273-0259, Cortland – 607-753-0106
  • Cornell Work/Life Consultant – may advise you on work/life issues, especially related to caregiving. Phone, virtual, and email consultations available or 607-255-1917.
  • Other Community Resources

Will there still be a deadline for using HAP and vation accruals?

How will I renew or request a parking permit?

  • Transportation has introduced new options, including lower cost permits and options for people who do not need to be on campus every day, so it would be beneficial for everyone to reconsider their parking and transportation needs. Visit for updates.

Key FCS Staff Resources

  • FCS Staff Forums

    Rick Burgess, vice president of FCS
    Closed captioning is available in the video link.

    Virtual Town Halls with FCS Leadership

    FCS Town Hall - June 25, 2020

    FCS Staff Forum - May 20, 2020
    Hosted by Rick Burgess, Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services.

    Questions from Town Halls are captured in the "FAQs" section on this webpage.  To participate in a Town Hall, look for information from your supervisor or the FCS Employee Listserv.

  • FCS Restart Teams

    Our Division Plan for Safe Restart

    FCS has convened senior leaders and key personnel within the division to create a specific plan for COVID-19 health and safety, and phased workforce reentry to the campus, specific to our work in the Humphreys Service Building.

    A Restart Planning Team met and created plans in May and June 2020 for the safe reactivation of FCS services and employee work, which were approved in June. 

    Since June, a Facilities Reactivation Team has met weekly to ensure active implementation of the plans.

    Gary Wilhelm, Senior Project Manager, Engineering and Project Management