COVID-19 Campus Safety for Employees and Students

CUIMC is focused on the safety of our health care providers, our staff, students and the patients we serve. In charting a path forward, CUIMC is committed to continuing our missions of providing the finest clinical care, cutting edge research, and educating the next generation of leaders in science and medicine.

For updates on the COVID-19 vaccine in relation to medical center operations, please see COVID-19 Vaccine Information for CUIMC Employees and Students. For additional information on University-wide policies, please visit covid19.columbia.edu.

If you have further questions or requests, please email cumchr@cumc.columbia.edu or your Senior Human Resources Business Partner. If you have any COVID-19 specific questions, please email covid19questions@cumc.columbia.edu

Updates and Announcements

Testing, Daily Attestations, and Gateway Requirements

Thursday, May 12, 2022 was the last day of the University testing program. Gateway testing for new hires, surveillance testing of current affiliates, and weekly testing for those with medical or religious exemptions have been discontinued.

Testing is now readily available in public and private locations, as well as through self-tests, and surveillance testing no longer plays the important role that it did previously, in the context of high vaccination and booster coverage at the University. Wastewater surveillance will continue for undergraduate residential buildings. Should public health conditions change, we will reassess the need for on-campus testing options. In addition, the Contact Tracing Program will continue to provide information and guidance as necessary. Information on accessing self-testing kits is available on Columbia’s Human Resources website.

Public Health Guidance and Safety Training

Public Health Guidance

Columbia University is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all its faculty, staff, students, and visitors. COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for the CUIMC community outlines steps to minimize the potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in our community as faculty and staff gradually return to work on our campuses. A commitment to comply with all public health guidance is included in the Columbia Community Heath Compact that all affiliates will be expected to sign as part of the return to campus. In addition, it is strongly recommended that all affiliates follow these guidelines when engaged in social and other activities off campus, including physical distancing, face covering, and hand hygiene.

COVID-19 Safety Training

An important requirement for everyone working on campus is to complete online COVID-19 safety training. Principal Investigators, supervisors, and departments are responsible for ensuring that their personnel (faculty, staff, and students) complete the required training. Everyone will complete the Columbia Community Health Compact as part of this training. 

Vaccine Mandate and FAQs Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory for all University students, faculty, and staff—this includes officers of instruction, officers of research, officers of the libraries, student officers, officers of administration, union and non-union support staff. Students can register their compliance through the Columbia Health portal; faculty and staff may use the COVID-19 website or the ReopenCU app. Additional details about how to upload vaccine documentation can be found in these Vaccine Documentation Upload Instructions and the CUIMC Vaccination Attestation Tutorial

For more information, please see FAQs Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination.

Booster Deadlines

Faculty and staff: It is strongly recommended that all faculty and staff be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, i.e., that they have received their recommended booster doses in addition to the primary series, including those who are eligible for a second booster based on age or with underlying medical conditions. There is currently no university deadline for uploading first booster dose documentation. The university will revisit its policies regarding enforcement later this summer. More information is available here: Update on COVID-19 Vaccination (Including Boosters)

Students: Columbia will require all students, beginning with the Fall 2022 term, to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. More information is available here: Update on Vaccination Requirement for Students

Upload Booster Documentation: All faculty, staff and students may upload documentation of their booster dose in either the ReopenCU app or via ReopenCU website. You can find instructions here and a helpful video here.  

Campus Safety and Facilities Guidelines

Face Coverings

We will continue to require the wearing of non-cloth masks in instructional spaces for Summer sessions. As has been our policy all year, instructors have the option to remove their masks while teaching. Current policies on masking in all other settings continue unchanged, with masking optional for other public settings with the exception of clinical contexts where masking is required.

Facilities Guidelines

Rapidly-changing circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic require us to take strategic interim measures to support Columbia University Irving Medical Center's day-to-day operations. For information on facilities, on-campus housing, and campus services, please visit the Facilities Management and Campus Services COVID-19 Resources Page

Information shared will be updated as the impact of the virus changes locally and nationally.

Continually check Environmental Health & Safety and other applicable University resources as guidelines may change:

Meals and Gatherings/Events Guidance

Beginning on the dates noted, the following types of gatherings (which may include CU and non-CU affiliates) will be permitted:

  • February 1, 2022: Academic, research and administrative gatherings are allowed with no capacity restrictions

  • February 7, 2022: Social gatherings are allowed with no capacity restrictions

  • February 14, 2022: Eating/drinking onsite (indoors or outdoors) is allowed at gatherings with minimizing of removal of masks

For attendees of any of the above types of gatherings who are not CU affiliates, such individuals would be required to follow the visitor policy and must have proof of vaccination and booster as well as comply with other Columbia University safety protocols.  Individual schools or departments are expected to ensure vaccine/booster compliance when such visitors are invited. 

As a reminder, masking indoors at Columbia will continue through March 14.  We strongly recommend wearing of masks even outdoors when in crowded settings.

For additional information and University policies, please see Meals and Gatherings/Events Guidance

Campus Housing 

For more information on campus housing, please visit On-Campus Housing Resources or contact the Office of Housing Services at housingservices@cumc.columbia.edu with further questions.

Signage

For questions about public area signage or to report an issue with any public area signage, please contact the CUIMC Facilities Customer Service Center at 212-305-HELP (4357), option 3 or at cumc.facilities@columbia.edu.

If your school or department requires signage around physical distancing, use of masks, or other guidelines, you can download the signage files (including for digital screens) on Resource Space. You will need to login with your UNI, select “Phase 1 Operations Signage” in the right-hand column, and click “Search.”

ColumbiaPrint is open and available for signage printing. 

Buildings leased or owned by CUIMC or NYP

CUIMC Buildings

  • 154 Haven Ave. Residence
  • 390 Fort Washington Ave.
  • 50 Haven Ave.
  • 83 Haven Ave.
  • 51 Audubon Ave.
  • Allan Rosenfield Building 722 W. 168th St.
  • Alianza Dominicana 530 W 166th Street
  • Georgian Building 617 W. 168th St.
  • Hammer Health Sciences Center 701 W. 168th St.
  • Irving Cancer Research Center 1130 Nicholas Ave.
  • Lasker Biomedical Research Center 3960 Broadway
  • Mailman School of Public Health 722 W. 168th St.
  • NYC Department of Health 600 W 168th St. (NYC)
  • New York State Psychiatric Institute 1051 Riverside Drive (NYS)
  • NYSPI–Kolb Research Building 40 Haven Ave. (NYS)
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group 516 W. 168th St.*
  • Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center 104 Haven Ave.
  • Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavillion 1150 St. Nicholas Ave.
  • School of Nursing 560 W. 168th St.
  • Tower 1 60 Haven Ave.
  • Towers 2 and 3 100 Haven Ave.
  • Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons 630 W. 168th St.
  • William Black Building 650 W. 168th St.

NewYork-Presbyterian Buildings*

  • 21 Audubon Ave.
  • Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute / Research Annex 365 W. 165th St.
  • Harkness Pavillion 180 Fort Washington Ave.
  • Herbert Irving Pavilion 161 Fort Washington Ave.
  • Milstein Hospital Building 177 Fort Washington Ave.
  • Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (CHoNY) 3959 Broadway
  • Neurological Institute of New York 710 W. 168th St.
  • Presbyterian Hospital Building 622 W. 168th St.
  • Service Building 627 W. 165th St.
  • Vanderbilt Clinic 622 W. 168th St.
  • Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center 173 Fort Washington Ave.

* Indicates buildings that are patient facing, including all NYP buildings.

What To Do If You Have Symptoms or Test Positive

For Employees

  • Stay home if you feel ill and contact your healthcare provider for assessment.
  • If you do test positive for COVID-19, you must immediately alert your department HR, Leave Management, or Contact Tracing. Positive cases should be reported to covidtesttrace@columbia.edu. More information is available here: Contact Tracing Program. If you have additional questions/concerns, please contact the COVID-19 hotline at: 212-854-9355.
  • CUIMC employees may use the COVID-19 Tracking Portal to report a COVID-related illness, symptoms, and to upload PCR test results for themselves or a household family member.
  • CUIMC employees who use the portal will receive email notifications from the COVID-19 Tracking Portal with instructions for self-isolation dates, and return to work instructions.
  • All Columbia affiliates (students, staff, or faculty) who receive a positive COVID-19 test, even if they are working or studying remotely, should begin self-isolating immediately. Unless you are fully remote, you should email covidtesttrace@columbia.edu to alert the Columbia Test and Trace program. You must report a COVID-19 positive result even if your test was not performed at the Columbia testing center.

For Students

Isolation & Quarantine

New York State, acting on guidance from the CDC, has modified isolation and quarantine as follows.

  • Isolation
    • All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can end their isolation after 5 days if they are asymptomatic. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptom onset and/or the day of a positive test result.
  • Quarantine
    • Individuals who are fully vaccinated and have received booster dose, do not need to quarantine. Such individuals are recommended to get tested on day 5-7 after last exposure.
    • Individuals who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated or are eligible for a booster but have not yet received one should quarantine for 5 days – where day 0 is the last day of exposure – provided symptoms do not appear. Such individuals are recommended to get tested on day 5-7

Full details can be found on the New York State Department of Health website.

COVID-19 Tracking Portal for Employees

All CUIMC employees may report any COVID-like illness, symptoms, test results, or COVID-related absences online through the COVID-19 Tracking Portal. The self-service portal is to be used to report a COVID-like illness and/or quarantine orders. Positive COVID-19 test results must still be reported to covidtesttrace@columbia.edu regardless of being reported in the new tracking portal.

What’s Changing?

  • CUIMC employees may use the COVID-19 Tracking Portal to report a COVID-related illness, symptoms, and to upload PCR test results for themselves or a household family member.
  • CUIMC employees who use the portal will receive email notifications from the COVID-19 Tracking Portal with instructions for self-isolation dates, and return to work instructions.

What’s Staying the Same?

  • Continue to use the ReopenCU App to self-monitor COVID19 symptoms and related issues
  • Continue to alert covidtesttrace@columbia.edu in the event of a positive COVID19 test
  • Follow Columbia Contact Tracing Team’s instructions and University policy for guidance and next steps 
  • Notify your manager on your absence, work status and return to work dates.
  • The Workforce Health & Safety (WHS) Hotline 646-697-9470 is available to answer questions about protocols related to COVID-19. The Hotline is available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.   
  • Continue to work with CU Leave Management on Red Pass clearance procedures.

Questions regarding the University policy related to absences can be directed to Leave Management at leavemanagement@columbia.edu. Any other questions can be directed to CUIMC HR at cumchr@cumc.columbia.edu.

Travel Information

Spring 2022 Travel Restrictions

Please refer to the University guidance regarding international/domestic personal travel: Spring 2022 Travel Restrictions.

All travel beginning before January 18, 2022 remains subject to the Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions.

All affiliates must continue to abide by the Columbia Community Health Compact, all relevant University Public Health Protocols, and the University International Travel Planning Policy.

Transportation for Faculty and Staff

Columbia Transportation provides commuter shuttle service for faculty, staff and students from four outer boroughs and Manhattan to the Morningside, Manhattanville, and Medical Center campuses Monday through Friday. Seats on the bus are by online reservation only, and spaces are first come, first served. We have recently modified rider eligibility and made route enhancements. For routes, stops, and reservations, visit  Columbia Transportation—Commuter Shuttles.
Eligibility
Columbia students, faculty and staff working and studying on the Morningside, Manhattanville, and Medical Center campuses, as well as Barnard College and Teachers College, are eligible to ride.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available on the Transportation website. If you have further questions, reach out to Columbia Transportation by phone at 212-854-3382 during business hours, or email us at any time at transportation@columbia.edu.   

Additional Transportation Services
In addition to the Commuter Shuttle, Columbia Transportation offers a number of travel options between campuses. This fall, the Intercampus Shuttle will be making stops at 96 Street throughout the day, and Saturday service will be available following the Red Line. Columbia also offers an on-demand Evening Shuttle, powered by Via, that runs between 4 PM and 4 AM each night. For those interested in using Via outside of the Evening Shuttle service, Columbia affiliates can use the code 'CU2020' to unlock 20% off all private rides. 

Parking

For questions on parking, please contact cumc.parking@cumc.columbia.edu or visit CUIMC Parking for additional information.

There are various private parking facilities located in the vicinity of the Medical Center that offer both daily and monthly parking that may better suit your commuting needs. Please note these parking lots are not affiliated with Columbia.

Visitor Policies

All visitors, including those who enter any campus facility for any period of time, must be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination as part of visitor attestation. Additional details about the new visitor policy and CUIMC’s Screening Process for Service Providers can be found in Visitor Guidelines for Spring 2022.

Employee Benefits

Backup Care

Eligible employees can access 200 hours of in-network in-home or center-based back-up care between July 1, 2021—June 30, 2022. That’s 50 extra hours again this year, to help families due to COVID-19 related challenges over the upcoming school year. Please keep in mind: This set of 200 hours is your allocation for the ENTIRE fiscal year. For registration and reservation information, please see Back-Up Care.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a network of free or discounted services to support your personal success and help with everyday challenges. Humana is the EAP provider and featured resources include:

  • Legal, mediation and financial Consultation
  • Counseling services for you and your dependents
  • Life coaching

For Managers

Managers should review the Return to Work Guide. The guide provides managers at CUIMC with considerations and resources to help employees within their span of control as they transition back to the workplace following the modification of on-site reporting procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinical and Laboratory Research

For information on research operations, please see Research Ramp-up

 

CopeColumbia

CopeColumbia

CUIMC's Department of Psychiatry has partnered with ColumbiaDoctors and NewYork-Presbyterian in developing CopeColumbia, which provides information and resources for the CUIMC community, including 1:1 counseling sessions, peer support groups, guided meditations, suggested reading, and other resources for managing stress, fear and anxiety. To access these resources, visit CopeColumbia. For any questions or if you have any unmet needs, please email CopeColumbia@cumc.columbia.edu.

Additional Resources for Employees

COVID has had tragic personal impacts on many of us. As described in the CUIMC Coping with Grief Resource Guide, grief is a natural human adjustment process triggered by loss. The bereavement guide above offers resources for counseling, pastoral care, emotional support, and more for all CUIMC employees. Additionally, at CUIMC we are proud of our cultural diversity and celebrating it through our Employee Resource Groups. It is important to respect how each employee chooses to grieve.

Narrative Medicine

The Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and its Division of Narrative Medicine is responding to CUIMC’s urgent needs for connection, stress-reduction, and remedy for isolation in the face COVID-19 and challenges to our health and safety. 

Narrative Medicine provides critical resources in response to the COVID crisis. Through Columbia Narrative Medicine, Columbia faculty, trainees, and staff can:

  • Sign up for a private, small-group seminar with those you work with (Naturally Occurring Work Groups, or NOW groups) to meet with a trained facilitator for regularly-occurring narrative sessions.
  • Join hour-long Zoom sessions with persons across the globe uniting for creative and reflective work. Through a blog discussion board, participants post their creative work and respond to one another’s postings.
  • Listen in to Creative Director novelist Nellie Hermann reading aloud a short story each day.
  • Join the NM Book Club
  • Use NM’s web resources of literary texts and visual images for reflection and solace and pleasure on your own time. We invite you to join us in all these projects at www.narrativemedicine.blog

We encourage you to write directly to Rita Charon, chair of Medical Humanities and Ethics, at rac5@columbia.edu with questions and requests.

Additional Resources for Students

The CUIMC Student Health Service has created a webpage with resources for students to cope with COVID-19-related stress. For more information on healthy coping strategies and how to take advantage of student resources, visit Coping During the Pandemic

Town Halls, Forums, and Symposiums

Additional Information

Contact

If you have further questions or requests after reading this guide, please email cumchr@cumc.columbia.edu or your Senior Human Resources Business Partner. If you have any COVID-19 specific questions, please email covid19questions@cumc.columbia.edu