COVID-19 Mitigation Policy

August 6, 2020

We have built our COVID-19 mitigation policy after consulting an extensive amount of federal, New York State, and Tompkins County guidance, as well as guidance from the Alpha Delta Phi National fraternity office and the National Interfraternity Council.

Please remember, however, that this virus was not identified at this time last year. Research is ongoing and new information, and guidance is constantly being reported. This checklist and plan represents our best effort to make decisions for our mutual health and safety based on the information available to us. Thus, we should all expect that this document will change in reaction to new information and guidance.

Our response is guided by a few key concepts:
  • Our first priority is the health and safety of our brothers
  • We want to ensure our daily operations protect our brothers’ ongoing health and safety
  • We also want to ensure that any social interactions similarly protect our brothers’ health and safety

In applying these concepts, we believe it is key to everyone’s health and safety to follow science-based guidance on how to react to this pandemic. Similarly, we believe cooperating with the Cornell community in a single response is one of the best ways we can protect our brothers.

We ask everyone to understand that, despite our best efforts to be safe, our house (and, indeed, any return to in-person classes) is not and cannot be free of risk. Thus, we will be expecting everyone to acknowledge that returning to Cornell is assuming a risk and that living in the house will equally be assuming a risk.

This checklist is being put in place to provide the best, most reasonable protection to everyone involved in ΑΔΦ, including:
  • Residents — those who are actually living in the house
  • Brothers — including resident and non-resident brothers of ΑΔΦ
  • Alumni — who need to help administer the house and provide guidance to brothers
  • Staff — vendors and other service providers who help residents and brothers
  • Families — who support our brothers and residents

We will use these terms consistently throughout this checklist


Key contacts for everyone:
  • Ellen Reuben (an employee of Elevate, our local management firm) is coordinating our COVID-19 response for the Alpha Delta Phi at Cornell Inc. (the owner of the house).
  • Sean Kelly, one of the brother’s officers, is coordinating the chapter’s response on COVID-19 issues.

We will be having a Zoom session for all brothers, residents, parents TBA, at 7:00 p.m. to discuss this bulletin and to finalize any house rules needed for the 2020–21 academic year.

Cornell quarantine/testing/policies

  • Cornell has generally described the requirements under which a student can return to campus. Our expectation is that anyone returning to live in the house will first comply with Cornell’s requirements.
  • We also expect that you will be reading Cornell’s website and staying up-to-date on their changing requirements.
  • Any resident who falls out of compliance with Cornell’s requirements to be on campus will likewise be required to leave or modify their living conditions in the house.
  • Before you can be on campus, Cornell will require:
  • We will be asking brothers to certify themselves as healthy and to quarantine 14 days in New York State before entering the house, as described later. Then, after their quarantine, brother will be need another negative COVID-19 test result for entry to the house.

Housing Issues

General Hygiene

Personal Protective Equipment
  • Cornell is providing each student with one mask on their return to campus.
  • We expect each member will have sufficient masks for their own personal use.
  • We will provide a limited number of masks for use in the house for residents (we talk more about visitors later—there should be no visitors).
  • We recommend that masks be appropriately washed/sanitized each day either with soap/water or with a sanitizing agent appropriate for that mask.
  • You are coming back to New York: New York requires masks be worn while in public. Wherever you are coming from, this point is not negotiable. All persons will be expected to wear a mask when they are outside of their personal room. No exceptions. This means masks in all common areas of the house except while eating or bathing. (We’re just trying to keep our brothers healthy and able to study. New York went from having the worst outbreak to having one of the lowest infection rates…how do you think they did that?)
Common Area Hygiene
  • Cornell is providing each house with a central hand sanitizing station.
  • We will be placing hand sanitizer at each entrance/exit, each bathroom, and each entrance to the dining hall. Every brother will be reminded to use these stations each time they pass them.
  • We will be providing and restocking sanitizing wipes in all bathroom, dining, and common areas. Residents are expected to purchase their own wipes for their personal spaces or to purchase them at cost from the house.
  • Cornell has a series of posters concerning hygiene and social distancing. We believe cooperating in a consolidated community response is important. We will be using those posters and others to encourage good hygiene practices in common spaces (the Great Hall, Solarium, Dining Room) as well as good social distancing practices.
Cornell’s Daily Health App (“CDH”)
  • All brothers are expected to cooperate with the use of the Daily Health app as a condition of being in the house.

Individual Hygiene

  • Hand washing required – we expect all persons entering the house to immediately use a hand-washing or hand-sanitizing facility. Persons declining to do so will be reminded or asked to leave by an officer or the COVID-19 coordinator.
  • Temperature checking – we will not be checking temperatures of persons coming in and out of the house. However, students will likely be required to report their temperature daily as part of their compliance with the CDH app.
  • Assigned bathrooms:
    • Each resident will be assigned a bathroom and may use only that bathroom.
    • The bathroom in the Great Hall will be designated the visitor bathroom. Residents may not use this bathroom.
    • Each resident will be required to disinfect their space used (shower, toilet seat, sink area) after each use using wipes provided by the house in that area. Failure to do so will be grounds for removal.
  • Laundry practices – in the past, the chapter has maintained a washer/dryer set. Laundry, of course, can carry the virus. The virus can spread in a warm wet environment. We are strongly suggesting the chapter remove these machines and residents use other means for their laundry. To the extent that the laundry area remains, only one resident may be in the laundry area at any one time. There will be a log-in sheet so that laundry in the laundry room can be identified at any time. Laundry may not be unattended for more than fifteen (15) minutes. If staff sees unattended laundry or laundry not noted on the log-in sheet, they will be instructed to report it to Elevate. Staff may be instructed to seize and quarantine laundry for the safety of residents since unattended laundry (particularly wet laundry) can be a hazard to others.

Employee Hygiene

  • We will be coordinating with all service providers to ensure their compliance with CDC/OSHA guidelines for hygiene appropriate to their profession. This coordination includes our kitchen staff, cleaning staff, and supervision staff.
  • We are asking all staff entering the building to undergo a temperature check and health certification, which will be recorded and maintained in confidence in accordance with applicable federal and state law.
  • Bear in mind it is important for us to be mindful of employee health and safety as, if any employee reports COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms, it will be necessary for the entire house to be isolated and/or quarantined, depending on the best then-current advice.

“De-densifying” occupancy

  • Cornell is eliminating all triples and quads. We, however, have all single rooms. Thus, we are planning on having our current configuration of beds.
  • We are reviewing furniture in our common areas and we will be re-arranging it for social distancing. We expect brothers to respect our judgment on that point – so, moving tables into a tight circle, for example, will draw a warning and repetition of such events will result in the removal of more furniture. We may be withdrawing certain soft furniture from use based on advice from our cleaning professionals because it may not be easily or effectively disinfected.

Returning to Ithaca

  • Before taking up residence, brothers will certify:
    • They have isolated themselves for 14 days before they return to Ithaca – they will then need to quarantine again in New York State for 14 days and provide another negative test before taking up residence in the house.
    • They have tested negative for COVID-19.
    • They are symptom free.
    • They understand and are willing to accept the rules set for occupying the house and are willing to accept the risks inherent in this living arrangement.
  • At move-in:
    • You may well receive advice from Cornell that you will be permitted no more than two (2) suitcases worth of personal belongings. While we will not be following that rule, though it is a good idea to limit the material you bring with you due to the different footprint of the semester. While we will be taking sensible steps to secure the house, we acknowledge it will be a tempting target for burglary for the two months between the end of the fall and the start of the spring semester.
    • Residents will move-in at the time they are given.
    • Residents sharing a double will have different move-in times. Roommates cannot be present to help with moving in if a resident has non-residents (e.g. parents) with him.
    • No person will be permitted to enter the house with the resident to help with the move-in process
    • Residents will receive a key only in exchange for a signed housing agreement, their signed agreement to conform to house rules, and a signed health certification.
    • Residents who left items in the spring are expected to disinfect all items being moved into their new rooms at their own cost with their own cleaners.

Mail and package delivery

  • The chapter will be expected to provide a secure box outside the house and the undergraduate COVID-19 coordinator will be responsible for following an appropriate disinfecting protocol.

Quarantine/Isolation Arrangements

  • Any person who has symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive will be expected to follow Cornell’s isolation/quarantine process. Cornell will have isolation rooms available “at cost.” That cost has not been published.
  • To be clear: Persons who are required to quarantine themselves by any authority (including Cornell) will be denied access to the house and will need to find isolation accommodations. We are not in a position to provide quarantine accommodations.

Social Distancing for all Brothers

  • We expect all brothers to comply with New York State and Cornell published guidelines for social distancing. Those guidelines have been subject to change. As students of one of the nation’s leading universities, we expect our brothers to be able to inform themselves of those requirements as they change. Again, currently, those guidelines require the wearing of masks outside of personal spaces and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people, all of whom can maintain a six foot social distance.
    • Brothers who are seen in a common area without a mask will be asked to put one on.
    • Brothers who repeatedly fail to do so will be asked to explain themselves to alumni.
    • Brothers who provide no explanation acceptable to alumni will be asked to leave the house and/or stop living there.
  • Common equipment – like video games, pool, and ping pong. Brothers using such items will be expected to wipe them down with sanitizing wipes when they are finished using them. This includes game controllers, pool cues, on/off switches etc.

No Visitors

  • Visitors from off-campus will not be permitted on the Cornell campus. This policy includes your family. Our understanding is there will be consequences for violating this policy from Cornell. For example, Cornell is not permitting parents or family to help any student to move into dorm rooms. While Cornell has not been clear on this point, it is likely that students will be asked to quarantine or isolate themselves if they have had contact with anyone outside the Cornell “bubble.” Our policies will be similar.
  • Apart from move-in, no one other than brothers, alumni, or staff of ΑΔΦ will be allowed to visit the house. This means no visits from family not otherwise in the Cornell “bubble.” This means no visits from romantic partners not in the Cornell “bubble.”
  • Brothers may only visit the house if they are compliant with Cornell’s rules for remaining on Cornell campus. Brothers who are asked to quarantine, isolate, or leave the Cornell campus may not enter the house.

Common areas

  • Brothers will still be able to use all common areas. All will be discretely marked for placement of furniture at appropriate social distances. As noted, we may be removing some soft furniture as it is harder to disinfect.

Professional cleaning and disinfecting

  • We will continue to use Pristine Cleaning for cleaning of the house.
  • Please distinguish between cleaning (ensuring items are put away and surfaces are free of dirt) and disinfecting (ensuring surfaces are free of virus).
  • We are also hiring Pristine Cleaning to disinfect the house three times each week.
  • Houseman advises us that brothers will need to leave the house during the disinfecting process. Cleaners will use an electrostatic application of a disinfectant. This process is the “industry standard” because the charge helps the disinfectant wrap around surfaces more efficiently.
  • In between professional cleaning, residents will be responsible for checking the cleanliness of each common area on a rotating basis to ensure each area is inspected daily. The resident responsible for doing so will need to sign a log, which will be checked by the houseman/president.
  • Brothers are responsible for cleaning surfaces after they touch them, including all furniture, doorknobs, backs of seats, etc.
  • Brothers must consider that many of our cleaning and disinfecting vendors work in other facilities and/or for Cornell. These vendors are committing to take OSHA/CDC appropriate steps to ensure your safety. Moreover, to the extent such vendors also work for Cornell or Cornell-affiliated entities, brothers should understand that such vendors may see themselves as obligated to report violations of Cornell’s Code of Conduct.

Enforcement of the Cornell Compact

  • We will be revising all housing agreements to require that all brothers maintain compliance with Cornell’s rules and regulations as they exist and as they are changed as a condition of entry to the house.

Enforcement of “roommate agreement” and house rules

  • We will be working with brothers to build a set of house rules with enforceable consequences, and we anticipate everyone will comply with those rules.

Social Engagements

  • Currently, New York State rules prohibit a meeting of the entire chapter at one time, as those rules limit gatherings to only 50 persons and the chapter has over 50 undergraduate members.
  • We do, of course, hope that conditions in New York State improve to allow the chapter to meet as a group, as we understand the value of such meetings not only for our fraternal purposes but also for the mental health of our community as we have all struggled with the lack of direct, in-person contact.
  • We anticipate that any gathering of people in the house that violates New York State or Cornell regulations will result in a swift suspension of the chapter, with resulting serious consequences for all of us.
  • Thus, any planned gathering of resident and non-resident brothers in the house must be pre-approved in writing by the alumni. This requirement includes regular chapter meetings. Such gatherings must be described in detail and that description must include specific plans to maintain social distancing, etc.
  • We believe that meetings of residents only are permitted provided social distancing is maintained. We note the first floor rooms are large enough to permit such meetings.
  • Presently, we will not permit *any* events that invite non-members into the house. When that situation changes, we will advise residents in writing.
  • Alumni contact – it is, of course, important that the residents have some contact with alumni and that there be an ability for alumni to supervise in person. We will be delegating this responsibility to ΑΔΦ alumni among the Cornell faculty and staff.
  • Note that the combination of Cornell’s collection of residence addresses for all students, their daily health check-in app, and a potential tracking app will make it far more likely for social distancing “violations” and violations of event management guidelines to be far easier to prove. Brothers should anticipate that violations of Cornell guidelines will be prosecuted by Cornell before alumni are even aware of them. Once alumni become aware of them, it is likely that consequences will need to be swiftly imposed to protect the ability of everyone to have a safe living environment.

Food Service

  • Because food is another medium where it is believed COVID-19 can survive, you can expect drastic changes in our food service for your safety.
  • We will be deep cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen before we restart.
  • We are working with our kitchen staff to ensure they are fully aware of and comply with all CDC, OSHA, and NYS Department of Health cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitation standards.
  • All kitchen staff will understand that compliance with CDC/OSHA/DoH protocols is a condition of their employment.
  • As noted above, all staff will be required to certify their health and report their temperature each day they are on site.
  • We will be installing workspace separators in the kitchen workspaces.
  • All meals will be pre-packaged or plated – there will be no buffet service.
  • We are currently working with our kitchen staff to determine appropriate policies:
    • We will be creating staggered meal times as social distancing requirements will not permit the entire membership to eat at the same time. It will not be possible to accommodate those who miss meals.
    • How to approach off-hours availability of food.
    • Use of utensils.
  • Because of the need to ensure the health of everyone in the food service process, access to the kitchen will be limited.
  • Anyone accessing the kitchen outside of established protocols will be asked to leave the house.


  • Brothers should note that the current Cornell calendar does not provide the usual period before classes begin to recruit new members.
  • We anticipate working with brothers and the IFC to determine socially responsible ways to discuss the advantages of joining ΑΔΦ with others. Whatever plan we make will comply with our own chapter values, all ΑΔΦ National standards, Cornell guidelines, and, of course, local law. Thus, to be clear, service of alcohol to underage persons will not be tolerated and anyone found to have done so will be barred from the house.
  • While we work together on developing those plans, we note that any effort to take the recruiting process off-campus and, in particular, to off-campus apartments occupied by brothers is likely going to be counter-productive. With Cornell’s various apps being employed, you should be aware it will be very easy for Cornell to potentially track the exact location of each person.


  • We are in the process of considering the substantial budgetary impact of the additional cleaning/disinfecting as well as the individual packaging for food service. We believe those costs will be offset by the substantially smaller social budget. We will be working with the undergraduate leadership to adjust the budget and report it out to brothers as soon as possible. If there is an unanticipated shut-down, brothers can expect a reasonable refund of social and board fees. To be clear, brothers should not expect a refund of any rent in the event of an unanticipated shutdown.

Unanticipated Shutdown protocol

  • If there is a need to leave Ithaca again, as we did in March, we anticipate a similar process.
  • We will communicate the need to leave.
  • All keys will need to be returned to undergraduate president by a set, announced time.
  • Members may leave personal articles in in their room.
  • Bear in mind that we, as brothers, are responsible for stewarding the house as a resource both for our present and our future brothers. Thus, even if the house is not occupied, it must still be secured, heated, and kept in good repair. Thus, you should not expect a refund of rent even if a shut-down happens early in the semester.

We wish the situation were otherwise. We want to keep our brothers safe. We want to keep Cornell safe. We hope we can depend on your cooperation and we promise to be as flexible as the circumstances allow us to safely do so.