Field Placement Protocols for Students

During this time, it is strongly encouraged that students participate in field placements remotely. Schools are diligently working with placement sites to find ways to make this possible. When that cannot be accomplished, the below protocols provide guidelines and best practices for students who will participate in-person. Students should follow the protocols below in addition to any local public health guidelines or site-specific regulations.

Students should also regularly communicate with their schools to stay abreast of changing public health conditions or school-specific guidance, travel restrictions and quarantine requirements upon return from states with high COVID-19 prevalence. Columbia policies regarding domestic and international travel should be observed.

Infection Control

  • Students should follow the Columbia University COVID-19 testing requirements as well as any requirements established by their field placement site.
  • Students should review with their supervisor any local public health requirements pertinent to their placement in advance of their arrival to ensure site-based support to meet these requirements.
  • Students are expected to adhere to standard precautions and should familiarize themselves with any guidelines specific to their field placement location.
  • Students should practice physical distancing and maintain a 6-foot distance from others wherever practicable.
  • Students must wear a face covering.
  • Students in clinical environments should wear a surgical mask or an N95 mask, as appropriate.
  • Students should practice hand hygiene frequently throughout the day.
  • Students should disinfect all high-touch surfaces before and after use, including cell phones, computers, light switches, door knobs and other places around the work and home environments.
  • Students should maintain a “clean desk” policy, leaving their workplace surfaces free of papers, in order to facilitate cleaning between users.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Each school, program, and/or field placement site should provide students with PPE appropriate for their role.
  • Students should consult with their supervisor about what PPE is necessary given their potential risk for exposure.
  • Students should follow placement site protocols for use and conservation of PPE.
  • If students are not provided with adequate PPE, they should contact their school to discuss how to facilitate the provision of adequate PPE.

Asymptomatic Students or Those Exposed to COVID-19

  • First students should quarantine themselves.
  • Second, students should notify their immediate supervisor and school advisor.
  • Students in the New York City area should notify Columbia Health on the Morningside Campus at 212-854-7426 or the Student Health Service on the CUIMC campus at 212-305-3400 (after hours press option 7) for guidance.
  • Students can also get guidance from the local health authority where they are located.

Students with Symptoms Consistent with COVID-19

  • Students with symptoms of any infectious illness should stay home until they have met return-to-work guidelines.
  • Students should notify their immediate supervisor and advisor of any infectious illness and need to stay home.
  • Students should contact Columbia Health on the Morningside Campus at 212-854-7426 or the Student Health Service on the CUIMC campus at 212-305- 3400 (after hours press option 7) for guidance on testing, care, and referral where necessary.
  • It is strongly recommended that any student with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should seek testing.
  • Students can also get guidance from the local health authority where they are located.
  • Students who meet clinical criteria for COVID-19 will be advised to self-isolate until all of the following are true: they are not feverish without the use of fever-reducing medications for one day, have improving symptoms, and it has been 10 days since the onset of their symptoms.
  • All guidelines regarding diagnosis, self-isolation and return to work are subject to change as this situation continues to evolve.

Mental Health and Well-Being