Will there be a maximum number of COVID-19 tests one can take in a given time period?

Date: July 2020


Hello Deans,

I know that the university is currently trying to get a baseline for COVID-19 testing across the Cornell community, but I haven’t heard anything regarding limitations on frequency. Is there (or will there be) a maximum number of tests one can take in a given time period? 


Curious About Testing


Dear Curious About Testing,

Thanks for your Ask a Dean question and your interest in COVID-19 testing. The most recent information about testing (at the time of your question and my response … things may change by the time this is posted in Ask a Dean) was communicated on July 15. That information indicated that there will be, for most students, one “arrival testing” for each student in Ithaca, including those newly arrived as well as those who have been residing in Ithaca already, since the spring, or over the summer, or as a permanent residence. The arrival testing is intended to be done once, but depending on the results of the test, it may be possible (but likely rare) that a student could be requested to do another test.

Surveillance testing will occur after September 2 and will be done with some regular frequency, at least as planned now. I have heard plans may include every five days, or perhaps every seven days, or perhaps some other frequency. More information about the frequency and instructions for surveillance testing will be announced by the university, likely through a communication from Vice Provost of Student and Campus Life, Ryan Lombardi. 

I hope this helps address your question. I have not seen any information posted about a “maximum” number of tests that an individual can take in a given time period.

Stay well,


Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School