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

Campus Safety Guidelines and Human Resources Policies

For up-to-date human resources policies, please see the Quick Reference Guide for HR Departmental Contacts.

At-A-Glance COVID-19 Policies

  • Wear a mask:

    • Classrooms: Masking is strongly encouraged in classrooms

    • Clinical and Clinical Research Settings: Masking in indoor settings in clinical and clinical research areas and other human subjects research as well as field research is required

    • Shuttles: Masking is strongly encouraged on Columbia-operated shuttles

  • 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. 

What To Do If You Test Positive

  • Employees with a positive test result should inform their department of their positive test result so that the Department is able to plan for the absence, based on the isolation guidance the employee receives from their healthcare provider.
  • Employees able to continue working remotely should confirm their plans with their department. Employees either unable to work remotely due to their type of work or too ill to work will be eligible for quarantine pay as defined in the policies below under NYS Paid Sick Leave for Mandatory or Precautionary Quarantine. Quarantine payment is separate from regular sick days and is not charged to the sick bank or salary continuation.
  • Employees should be reminded to send their positive test result to Columbia Health at covidtesttrace@columbia.edu.
  • Columbia Health will send a confirmation email to the employee providing guidance on isolation and return to work. This will be the only correspondence sent out to the employee, who should share it with their supervisor or local HR if they are required to and cannot return to campus.
  • Leave Management does not need copy of the results, but are available to the Department or Employee if there are questions.
  • Employees not able to return to work within the typical 5 days of isolation should contact leavemanagement@columbia.edu for further guidance. Documentation from a physician may be requested.

Clarification on gatherings, events, meetings and visitors:

  • There are no restrictions on social gatherings on or off campus, except for clinical-related settings. Masking in indoor settings in clinical and clinical research areas and other human subjects research as well as field research is required. 
  • 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

Columbia Community Heath Compact

New students and faculty and staff are required to sign an updated version of the Columbia Community Compact that is available via the Reopen CU app.

Current affiliates do not need to sign this new version.

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.

Vaccine Mandate and FAQs Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

All Columbia faculty, staff, and students are required to have their primary series and one booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines. 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.

Travel Guidelines

There are no COVID-related restrictions on personal or Columbia-related travel; however, we urge caution when traveling to countries with CDC Travel Health Notice Level 3 or 4 or “Level Unknown,” and International Travel Planning Policy requirements remain.

Read the updated fall travel guidance for details.

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. 

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