Guidance for research center directors

March 11 message to research center directors from Emmanuel Giannelis, vice provost for research and vice president for technology transfer, intellectual property, and research policy:

Cornell continues to closely monitor the outbreak of the novel coronavirus virus known as COVID-19. With the ongoing concern about the spread of this disease, research centers should plan for continuity of essential operations in case of a significant disruption to normal university operations.

I know that many of you are already well advanced in your planning and I thank you for your rapid response to this evolving situation. Whether your planning is well advanced or just starting, this guidance document provides useful information and a list of topics that you should consider.  

Each research center is best positioned to create a continuity plan that will meet its unique needs. The guidance document is intended to ensure you consider the major issues that confront most research facilities. You may find that some of the considerations do not apply to your center or you have specific additional concerns or considerations that should be included in your plan.

Further guidance is published as decisions are made to protect the Cornell community and slow the spread of the virus. You can find all guidance published so far at  Please review these documents and use them as they apply to your center.

It is especially important to identify essential personnel required to maintain critical infrastructure, experiments, and animal care as this may apply to your operations. Please provide to Reginald White, Director of HR for OVPR,, the names and contact information of your essential employees. This will help us in the event that we are asked to provide those names to ensure they have access if needed.

In addition, if your center provides essential services please send Reginald a list of those essential services and a brief statement of how you will deliver them if:

  • The University is open and 10% of your workforce is out sick?
  • The University is open and 25% of your workforce is out sick?
  • The University is closed and 10% of your essential employees aren’t available to work?
  • The University is closed and 25% of your essential employees aren’t available to work?

Please provide the list of essential personnel and plans for essential services by Monday, March 16. I appreciate that this is somewhat short notice but as you probably realize, the situation with COVID-19 is evolving rapidly and we need to respond accordingly. If you have any questions or require assistance in planning, a team of experienced professionals is available to help:

For questions related to, please contact:

Animal Care
Philippe Baneux, Director, CARE

Todd Pfeiffer, Director, Facilities

Human Resources
Reginald White, Director, HR

Grant allowable costs
Jeffrey Silber, Director, SFS

Federal Agency Updates
Mary-Margaret Klempa, Director, OSP

For all other questions, please contact Mark Hurwitz, Interim Chief Research Compliance Officer,

Thank you for promptly taking action to develop an appropriate plan for your center.