Cornell shifts to distance learning amid COVID-19 concerns

With the spread of COVID-19 into Iowa, Cornell College has decided to shift our course model to distance learning via online courses for Block 7 (March 23–April 15).

While there are no confirmed cases on campus, the college is moving swiftly to protect the well-being of our community and those who live around the college. 

“This has been a tough decision for all of us on campus, especially because we absolutely love seeing our students on campus as they engage in the hands-on educational opportunities that Cornell is known for,” said President Jonathan Brand. “However, all while providing an excellent education, the safety of our students, staff, faculty, and the wider community around the college is our number one priority at this time.”

Students are currently on spring break. The college is extending the break by one week in order to make preparations. The college will also make a decision regarding whether students will return for Block 8, the final block of the year, by the beginning of April.

“We are in a unique situation on the block plan to act swiftly and nimbly to change our plans, course by course, and support our students to ensure they get a quality education while minimizing risks of virus exposure to them and the entire community,” Brand said.

The college is also:

  • Suspending employee business travel internationally and domestically
  • Holding virtual visit events for those considering enrollment at Cornell
  • Keeping all campus offices open while encouraging faculty and staff  to forgo in-person meetings 

About Cornell College:

Cornell College is a national liberal arts college established in 1853, located in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The historic, hilltop campus has a population of more than 1,000 students from all over the world. Our undergraduate students learn on a distinctive block plan schedule, taking One Course At A Time for 18 days before starting the next course. This curriculum allows them to fully immerse themselves in their chosen topic of study, including taking field trips to another country, diving into research, creating an art exhibit, or exploring issues in the local community. For more information visit