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 information on testing, tracing, and quarantine, please see COVID-19 Public Health Protocols. For updates on distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, please see COVID-19 Vaccine Information for CUIMC Employees and Students.

All students, staff, and faculty must upload their vaccination information into the ReOpenCU app, or use the app to request an exemption, by August 2nd. Everyone must also use the app to digitally sign the revised Columbia by August 16th, even if you have previously signed it. Additional details about how to upload vaccine documentation can be found in these Vaccine Documentation Upload Instructions and the CUIMC Vaccination Attestation Tutorial

Please familiarize yourself with the Return to Campus Guide: A Guide to Returning to CUIMC After COVID-19.

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

new_campus_safety_measures_at_columbia_university_aim_to_stop_the_spread_of_covid-19

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. The terms of the existing Compact are being amended in light of the University’s revised policies, including the vaccine mandate. It thus will be necessary for all to use the ReopenCU app to re-sign this pledge between July 6 and August 16. 

Vaccine Mandate and FAQs Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

Please note that COVID-19 vaccination will be 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. Completion of the steps necessary to comply with this mandate must be concluded by August 2. 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 and the University's announcement regarding the mandate

Testing and Daily Attestations

Testing 

For information on testing eligibility, locations, scheduling, and process, please see COVID-19 Testing Process. The University has increased options to include weekly voluntary testing for those accessing campus regularly. For voluntary testing you simply select the “voluntary testing” option when scheduling online. Voluntary testing is currently available at the William Black Building (CUIMC) and Lerner Hall (Morningside) locations. 

Daily Attestations

All Columbia affiliates (students, faculty, and staff employees) returning to the medical center for any purpose or who are living in campus housing are required to complete daily COVID-19 symptom attestations to ensure safety and prevent the spread of the virus. You will be able to complete the self-check online or by using an app we created—ReopenCU. For more information, please see Symptom Self-Checking

Fall Term

Anyone who has not accessed campus since January 2021 is required to present themselves for a “gateway” test just prior to returning. Appointments can be made via the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal. Once such testing has been accomplished prior to September 9, weekly mandatory testing of unvaccinated affiliates and random sampling drawn from all affiliates on campus will continue into the fall semester. Additional details are included in the COVID-19 Testing Program for Fall 2021 Plan.  

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 CUReopen 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.

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, and Workforce Health and Safety during regular business hours at (212-305-7590) and/or New York Presbyterian’s Workforce Health and Safety hotline at 646-NYP-WHS0 (646-697-9470) from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • 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.

For Students

  • For up-to-date guidance on quarantining, please reference the Coronavirus Quarantine Guide for Students.
  •  Non-vaccinated individuals identified as being a close contact of an individual with COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 10 days after their last contact with the infected individual if no symptoms have been reported. They must continue to monitor symptoms daily for 14 days and follow all other guidance including face coverings, hand washing, and social distancing.
  • Asymptomatic individuals who have been vaccinated are not required to quarantine (excluding healthcare personnel) after exposure if they are fully vaccinated (more than 2 weeks after the second dose for 2-dose vaccines; more than 2 weeks after vaccination for 1-dose vaccines). While not required to quarantine, vaccinated individuals must still: Monitor for symptoms for 14 days; Follow all other guidance including face coverings, hand washing, and social distancing;  Immediate self-isolate if any symptoms develop and report the symptoms to covidtesttrace@columbia.edu.

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

Campus Safety and Facilities Guidelines

Face Coverings and Distancing

Face coverings must be worn indoors by all persons through August 2, regardless of their vaccination status. In addition, six-foot distancing must be maintained.

Beginning August 3rd, face coverings continue, however, distancing is not required for those who are vaccinated.

Beginning September 9th, it is not necessary for vaccinated persons to wear a face covering or distance, as long as they are not in patient-facing areas, or areas where research on human subjects is being conducted.  

Unvaccinated persons must wear face coverings indoors and out. Face coverings must be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status, in NYP buildings. For the most part, if you are vaccinated, after September 9th you will not have to wear face coverings in any CUIMC building except in common areas such as elevators or lobbies. All buildings leased or owned by CUIMC or NYP are listed below. Three buildings on this list are under the jurisdiction of NYC or NYS, and their respective rules apply. 

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:

Gathering size expansions

Recognizing that many in our community have been vaccinated and that we have been able to maintain a low COVID-19 positivity testing rate on campus, current gathering size limitations are as follows:

  • Non-academic including administrative: Indoors 25, outdoors 50
  • Academic: no limits except six-foot distancing and face coverings
  • Commencement: Outdoors up to 100.

Further changes in gathering size will be phased in over three periods. There will be no capacity limits after August 2. It is important to note that any food and beverages sold on campus must be “grab and go” through September 8. For now, however, social, religious, and extra-curricular gatherings are restricted to 50 persons outdoors and 25 indoors, but only through August 2. Additional details about the new gathering size policy can be found in the updated Events Policy.

Campus Housing 

For more information on campus housing, please read the FAQs on Student Housing and COVID-19 webpage and contact cumc.housing@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.

Travel Information

 

Summer 2021 Travel Policy

Effective June 1, there are a number of changes to our current travel policy which can be found here: covid19.columbia.edu/travel-restrictions

  • Domestic personal travel for faculty, staff, and students will require only that persons traveling follow NYS guidance.   
  • International personal travel for faculty, staff, and students remains unchanged. We continue to urge the postponement of international personal travel unless returning to a home country for personal and/or medical emergencies. 
  • Domestic Columbia-related travel for faculty and staff requires following NYS guidance and guidance issued by the state or states to which you are traveling. For students, the dean or administrative head must approve such travel. 
  • International Columbia-related travel for faculty, staff, and graduate students requires various approvals based on whether you are traveling to a Level 1/2 or Level 3/4 country. Many countries require an additional, more extensive approval process, which is outlined on the “Summer Travel Restrictions” table. International Columbia-related undergraduate student travel remains suspended. 

Fall 2021 Travel Policy

The summer 2021 travel policy will remain in effect throughout the fall, with minor changes that affect undergraduates and graduate students. Undergraduate study abroad for the fall will not be allowed, but we anticipate a full resumption in the spring term. Additional details about the new travel policy can be found in these Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions.

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.

*Please note that beginning Monday, May 17, Commuter Shuttle schedules will be reduced for the summer session.

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. 

Visitors

Summer & Fall Visitors

For clarification regarding visitors this summer, see Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities

Beginning September 9, the existing “no visitor” policy will be rescinded. Visiting and exchange students, visiting faculty, scholars, and scientists, among others, will be allowed back on campus. These visitors will be subject to University health and safety policies, including the vaccine mandate if on campus for more than four days, as well as required attestations. Still to be completed is a separate policy for contractors and vendors that will be announced soon. Additional details about the new visitor policy can be found in Visitor Guidelines for Fall 2021.

Columbia University Health Screening Form

All visitors and vendors must fill out this Columbia University Health Screening Form before entering Columbia University buildings or locations. This form must be returned to the primary contact person of your service contract.

Access for non-employees to any CUIMC space will be strictly limited. You should:

  • Establish a notifications protocol for greeting outside guests.
  • Avoid bringing guests into any shared or common spaces.

All guests and delivery vendors should be approved and notified in advanced that they must wear appropriate PPE when entering any CUIMC building.

  • All guests and vendors should be registered by emailing Ps-mc- guestaccessrequests@columbia.edu at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Include the date and time as well as the building and floor that the visitor or vendor will be visiting. Indicate who should be notified when they arrive, including a phone number.
  • All guests and vendors must have a valid government ID and be wearing proper PPE in order to enter any CUIMC building

Visitor Health Screenings When Visiting Campus

The COVID-19 symptom self-check requirement also extends to all visitors prior to being permitted to enter a Columbia University building or facility. While Columbia presently has a no-visitor policy, exceptions are in place. For more information, please see Visitor Health Screenings When Entering Campus.

Columbia University Benefits

Backup Care

As we begin to return to work onsite, you may experience issues with childcare or  eldercare. The Back-Up Care Advantage Program®, provides care for adults/elders, children, or yourself when normal care arrangements are interrupted or when short-term care is required but you still need to perform your work responsibilities. For these situations, Columbia University has contracted with Bright Horizons Family Solutions to provide access to 150 hours of back-up care. If you want to learn more visit the Adult and Elder Care website from the Office of Work/Life or contact your Sr. HR Business Partner.

Leave of Absence and Accommodation Requests

To learn more about COVID-19 Leaves of Absence and Accommodation requests visit this website, which covers the following topics:

  • Sick leave/Medical leave
  • Absence to care for a sick family member
  • Absence to care for a child
  • Medical accommodation
  • Quarantine order from the State

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 (April 27). 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

What's New:

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