Students on Haven Plaza near the medical center.

Information for Students

COVID-19 planning by leadership at Columbia University and Columbia University Irving Medical Center includes consideration for the medical, dental, public health, nursing, and graduate students at the medical center. This site is intended to provide information on the evolving situation with the coronavirus and how it might affect the educational experiences of medical center students.


VP&S medical students may also access timely announcements and other relevant information via SharePoint (login required).

The following policies have been set by the University and CUIMC:

Students with symptoms

If you are a student with symptoms (including cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, and/or loss of taste or smell), stay home and please schedule an appointment with Medical Services for a virtual consultation via our online health portal.

If your symptoms are mild, you may not need to seek in-person medical care. If you are a member of a higher risk group (including immunocompromised or severe chronic medical conditions) or your symptoms are severe, such as difficulty breathing, contact the CUIMC Student Health Service by calling 212-305-3400 (for after-hours assistance, press option 7).

Residential housing for students

Columbia University must significantly reduce the number of students in our residential buildings at the medical center. From a public health perspective, buildings such as Bard Hall present a challenge not only because of the large number of students in residence but also because of the number of shared bathrooms, showers, and kitchens, which increase exposure and would limit our ability to self-isolate any who are exposed or become sick.

We continue to encourage any student who lives in any on-campus residential building who can leave to do so. Please take a moment to fill out the Office of Housing Services’ Residency of Intent form to indicate if you will remain on campus for the rest of the semester or if you will move out for the rest of the semester.

For more detailed information, please read the FAQs on Student Housing and COVID-19 webpage and contact cumc.housing@columbia.edu with further questions.

Student travel

See Travel Restrictions by Affiliate Type to learn more. 

  • Students should follow CDC recommendations and federal travel bans. Consider the possibility that it may be difficult to return from some locations. See CDC travel guidance.
  • All domestic and international travel for Columbia-sponsored travel (including conferences) is suspended for clinical and non-clinical students.

School-sponsored social events

Per CUIMC policy, non-essential gatherings of over 25 people will be canceled at least through April 30. Many of these gatherings are celebratory and we value social connectedness, but our role as health care providers and providers-in-training requires us to do our part to promote health and safety. Individual schools will communicate to students about any alternate plans regarding annual events.

Student learning

  • Clinical settings: All medical student clerkships and rotations in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons are suspended.
  • Classroom learning: All classes for the remainder of the spring semester will be conducted online.

Students should refer to this site for updates. Questions and concerns should be directed to each school’s student affairs office.

CUIMC campus spaces and services

CUIMC Student Health Service

The CUIMC Student Health Service is transitioning to a virtual service delivery model. View the latest hours and updates

Campus Spaces

Facilities management has increased cleaning and disinfecting efforts in academic and residential buildings, but many facilities—including libraries, athletic centers, campus eateries, and student housing—have been temporarily closed. Per CUIMC policy, non-essential gatherings of over 25 people will be canceled through at least April 30. For personnel who are still commuting to campus to support essential operations, temporary parking is available at reduced rates.

For the most up-to-date information regarding campus status, including closures, parking information, and campus operations, visit Facilities Management and Campus Services COVID-19 resources page. Information is updated frequently as the impact of the virus changes locally and nationally.

Recent updates, campus resources, and additional information are also available through the University’s COVID-19 Guidance for the Columbia Community.

Suspension of medical student teaching in healthcare settings

This section offers guidance following the announced suspension of medical student teaching in healthcare settings. The announcement applies to all VP&S clinical students.

  • Volunteer Corps
    • A student/faculty/housestaff/allied health providers partnership has been formed to coordinate service learning activities supporting our health system and providers. If you would like to help, please sign up here
       
  • Class of 2020:
    • If you are in the middle of a clinical elective or sub-internship, you will receive full credit and a grade for your work. Your elective or sub-internship director may have additional resources and/or assignments for you to complete remotely in the coming two weeks. Please check with them.
    • Ready4Residency will proceed virtually for March and April.
    • If you have an April elective other than R4R, and/or a May elective, we will work with you to complete the curriculum and graduate on time.
       
  • Class of 2021:
    • If you are in the middle of a clinical elective or sub-internship, you will receive full credit and a grade for your work. Your elective or sub-internship director may have additional resources and/or assignments for you to complete remotely in the coming two weeks. Please check with them.
    • We do not know when this suspension will be lifted. VP&S will work to provide you with learning opportunities during this period. These will likely include the ability to enroll in new remote-learning electives, prepare for and take your USMLE Step 2CK exam, work on your scholarly project, and participate in service learning electives to help in the COVID pandemic. The curriculum and progression committees will make every effort to ensure students are able to graduate as scheduled.
    • VP&S has more elective time than most other medical schools. We will work with each of you to ensure you have a breadth of experiences to help you choose a specialty and a strong track record to support your residency applications. We will also communicate the way the COVID pandemic has affected your education in your Medical Student Performance Evaluation.
       
  • Class of 2022
    • You will receive full credit and a grade for your current clerkship or selective. Your clerkship director may have additional resources and/or assignments for you to complete remotely in the coming two weeks. They will be in touch with you about this.
    • We do not know when this suspension will be lifted. VP&S will work to provide you with learning opportunities during this period. These will likely include the ability to enroll in new remote-learning electives, prepare for and take your USMLE Step 1 exam, and participate in service learning electives to help in the COVID pandemic. The curriculum and progression committees will make every effort to ensure students are able to graduate as scheduled.
    • The curriculum committee is working on a plan to adjust the latter portion of this year to enable you to complete your major clinical year on time. Details to come.

Contacts for each school

VP&S

     Coordinated Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Sciences:

College of Dental Medicine

Mailman School of Public Health

School of Nursing

Coping with the stress of a pandemic: a mental health guide for CUIMC students

During this uncertain time, it is important for students to take care of their mental health. The CUIMC Student Health Service has created a webpage with resources for students to cope with COVID-19-related stress