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 firstname.lastname@example.org or your Senior Human Resources Business Partner. If you have any COVID-19 specific questions, please email email@example.com.
- June 7, 2022: Update on COVID-19 University Guidance
- May 5, 2022: Update on Current Public Health Protocols
- April 25, 2022: Oral Medications for COVID-19
- April 22, 2022: Statement From the President’s Advisory Task Force on COVID-19
- April 15, 2022: Update on Vaccination Requirement for Students
- April 15, 2022: Update on COVID-19 Vaccination (Including Boosters)
- April 11, 2022: As of April 11, Non-Cloth Masks Are Mandatory in Classrooms
- March 3, 2022: Clarification on masking and daily attestation at CUIMC
- March 3, 2022: COVID-19 Campus Update
- February 23, 2022: Update on Booster Mandate
- February 23, 2022: COVID Update
- February 17, 2022: COVID Update
- February 16, 2022: Updates on Campus COVID-19 Protocols
- January 31, 2022: Booster Vaccination Deadline Extended
- January 29, 2022: COVID-19 Campus Policies and Procedures
- January 27, 2022: COVID Update
- January 25, 2022: COVID Update
- January 20, 2022: Update on Submission of Booster Shot Documentation
- January 19, 2022: COVID Update
- January 13, 2022: Three Updates: Booster Shots, Gateway Testing, and Masking
- January 13, 2022: COVID Update
- January 10, 2022: COVID Update
- January 6, 2022: COVID Update (Testing)
- January 5, 2022: COVID-19 Updates
- January 4, 2022: COVID Update
- December 22, 2022 Update on the Start of Spring Semester
- December 20, 2021: Updated COVID-19 Guidance
- December 16, 2021: New COVID-19 Booster Mandate and Other Public Health Measures in View of Increasing COVID Cases in New York State, New York City and Among Columbia Affiliates
- December 14, 2021: COVID-19 Booster shots
- December 10, 2021: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic at CUIMC
- December 7, 2021: COVID-19 Campus Update
- September 27, 2021: Update on Third Dose of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine
- September 13, 2021: “Key to NYC” Executive Order — Access to Indoor Entertainment, Recreation and Arts Venues, Indoor Food Services, and Indoor
- July 7, 2021: Clarifications regarding face coverings, distancing, and visitors at CUIMC
- June 17, 2021: Return to Campus: Policies and Procedures
- May 27, 2021: Vaccine Mandate Update for Faculty, Researchers and Staff
- May 14, 2021: Update on Vaccine Mandate
- May 7, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- April 7, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 30, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 22, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 18, 2021: Update on Testing and Quarantine Changes for HCP
- March 17, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 15, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 10, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 8, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- March 1, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 26, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 19, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 17, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 10, 2021: Update II on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 10, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 8, 2021: Update II on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 8, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 5, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 4, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- February 1, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 29, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 27, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 25, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 20, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 19, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 15, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 14, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 13, 2021: Request for Volunteers to Support NYP Vaccination Effort
- January 13, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 11, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 9, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 8, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 7, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 6, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 5, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- January 4, 2021: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- December 30, 2020: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- December 29, 2020: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- December 28, 2020: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- December 24, 2020: Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
- December 23, 2020: Video Update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution
- December 21, 2020: CUIMC COVID-19 Vaccine Committee Update
- December 18, 2020: COVID-19 Vaccination Updates
- December 9, 2020: Columbia Vaccine Policy and University Town Halls
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.
While we have seen significant drops in COVID-19 test positivity in the New York metropolitan area, we do want to remind you that last month New York City raised its COVID-19 alert level to High (Orange) New York City’s COVID-19 alert status. To reflect the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission in the city, all affiliates are strongly encouraged to follow the University’s guidance, as outlined below in three sections: Preventing COVID-19, What To Do If You Test Positive, and What To Do If You Are Exposed.
- Wear a mask:
- Masks are required in classrooms and clinical settings this summer, including clinical research context
- Masks are strongly recommended for all other indoor spaces on campus
- Masks should be higher-quality (e.g., surgical, KN95, KF94, N95) and can be worn in combination with cloth or surgical mask on top for enhanced protection
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get vaccinated and boosted based on your eligibility:
- Vaccines are available in New York City for everyone ages 5 and older. Booster doses are available for everyone 12 and older
- Visit the NYC COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine Finder or call 877-VAX4NYC (877-829-4692) to find a vaccination site
- Monitor for symptoms and stay home if you are sick: Monitor for symptoms, and if you feel sick, notify your supervisor, stay home or leave work early.
- Get tested: Testing is especially important if you have COVID-19 symptoms or were recently in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. You should also get tested before and after traveling or getting together with others in indoor settings
- Visit the NYC COVID-19: Testing webpage to order at-home tests or find a COVID-19 testing site in the city or from covid.gov/test
- Consider avoiding higher-risk activities: Crowded, indoor gatherings should be avoided. Limit any type of gathering to a small number of people and consider wearing a mask when indoors
What To Do If You Test Positive
- If you test positive, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- After emailing, you will receive guidance for returning to work/class, which typically involves isolating for a minimum of 5 days and continue wearing of masks in public settings till day 10. Faculty and staff should also inform your supervisor Students should notify their professors or advising deans.
- The University, in alignment with Department of Health guidelines, is no longer performing contact tracing. Individuals who test positive may elect to inform anyone they may have been in close contact with while contagious, but are not required to do so.
- For guidance on how to inform your contacts, affiliates are encouraged to visit the CDC’s guide on How To Talk To Your Close Contacts
What To Do If You Have Been in Close Contact with Someone Who Tested Positive
- All individuals should be tested on day-5 after last exposure, regardless of vaccination status
- All individuals who are up-to-date with their vaccination, i.e., fully vaccinated with primary series AND boosted as per their eligibility AND not experiencing symptoms are not required to quarantine, but should wear a well-fitting approved mask (i.e., surgical or N95/KN95 mask) for 10-days after exposure when around others
- All individuals who are not up-to-date with their vaccination i.e., not fully vaccinated with primary series OR fully vaccinated but not yet boosted even though eligible, are required to quarantine for 5 days after exposure and wear a well-fitting approved mask (i.e., surgical or N95/KN95 mask) for an additional 5 days after exposure when around others
- All individuals who have received the primary vaccine series AND not yet eligible for a booster AND not experiencing symptoms are not required to quarantine, but should wear a well-fitting approved mask (i.e. surgical or N95/KN95 mask) for 10-days after exposure when around others
Clarification on gatherings, events, meetings and visitors during the NYC High Alert/Orange Status:
- While Columbia-related gatherings and events can be held during this time, we strongly recommend wearing masks in indoor settings. There are no limits on the size of gatherings and events
- It is the responsibility of Columbia event sponsors to check the vaccine status of all non-Columbia attendees or visitors prior to or at the beginning of the event
As always, the University’s COVID-related policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis, to reflect current public health conditions, and any changes in the City’s alert levels. Thank you for continuing to keep yourselves and the Columbia community safe.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com regardless of being reported in the new tracking portal.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. Any other questions can be directed to CUIMC HR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer 2022 Travel Restrictions
Please refer to the University guidance regarding international/domestic personal travel: Summer 2022 Travel Restrictions
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
For information on research operations, please see Research Ramp-up.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- January 18th Campus Update Forum
- January 6th Service Corp. Employee Town Hall
- January 4th Campus Update Forum
- December 7th Campus Update Forum
- November 26th Campus Update Forum
- October 26th Campus Update Forum
- September 14th Campus Update Forum
- August 31st Return to Campus Updates Forum, Classroom Edition II
- August 24th Columbia Return to Campus Updates Forum
- August 17th Columbia Return to Campus Updates Forum
- July 28th CUIMC Return to Campus Updates Forum
- July 27th Columbia Return To Campus Updates Forum
- June 29th Columbia Return to Campus Updates Forum
- June 15th Columbia Return to Campus Updates Forum
- June 2nd FPO and Service Corp. Town Hall
- June 1st Columbia Return to Campus Updates Forum
- May 19th CUIMC Town Hall
- May 4th Return to Campus Updates Forum
- March 9th Vaccine Update Forum
- March 4th Community Health Workers Town Hall
- March 1st CUIMC Grand Rounds with David D. Ho, MD
- February 26th Columbia University COVID-19 Vaccine Symposium — Day 5
- February 25th Columbia University COVID-19 Vaccine Symposium — Day 4
- February 24th Columbia University COVID-19 Vaccine Symposium — Day 3
- February 23rd Columbia University COVID-19 Vaccine Symposium — Day 2
- February 22nd Columbia University COVID-19 Vaccine Symposium — Day 1
- January 29th Service Corporation Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccination Agenda
- January 27th CUIMC/NYP Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts
- January 21st CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine for Women who are Pregnant or in Childbearing Years
- January 12th CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine Distribution and Planning
- January 11th CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine Distribution and Planning
- January 7th CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine for Women who are Pregnant or in Childbearing Years
- December 23rd COVID-19 CUIMC Town Hall Vaccine
- December 15th COVID-19 CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine
- December 14th COVID-19 CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine
- December 11th COVID-19 CUIMC Town Hall on Vaccine
To keep abreast of COVID-19 University-related updates, please visit the following pages: