Symptom Self-Checking 

All faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete a symptom self-check every day before they enter campus premises. 

Updated: September 24, 2021

Background

On May 28, 2020, the New York State Department of Health issued “Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” and on June 8, 2020 “Interim Guidance for Higher Education Research during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” Both require office buildings and higher education research facilities to take precautions that would protect against the spread of COVID-19 as those offices and research facilities re-open or continue to operate. The guidance covers physical distancing, size of gatherings, PPE, and other issues. Among the required processes is health screening, which includes symptom self-checking.

Symptom Self-checking Questions and Processes

All faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete a symptom self-check every day before they enter campus premises. The self-check requires you to answer the following questions:

  • Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, abdominal pain/diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell or other symptoms of COVID-19)?
  • Have you knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has had symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

You will be able to complete the self-check online or by using an app we created—ReopenCU.

Once you complete the process, if the answer to all questions is considered low risk (including answering additional questions if you respond “yes” to any of the above), you will receive a 24-hour "green" pass. That pass on your phone must be shown to security at all entrances to campus buildings. If you are using a PC at home and do not have a smartphone, you will be able to print out the green pass. If you have neither a smart phone nor access to printer at home, kiosks will be located at various locations (see below). If you don’t complete this process, or if the process shows you are ineligible to enter because you answered yes to any one of the questions, access to buildings is not permitted. We strongly urge you to use the app or the website before you arrive on campus, if feasible for you, to avoid delays at the kiosk. We will have staff at the kiosk locations to assist you.

If you answer yes to any one of the questions and receive a “red” pass, you also should not come to campus and should notify your supervisor (faculty and staff) or professor, academic advisor or dean of students (students). More detail is provided in the FAQs.

The University is required to report on adherence with the symptom self-check for all persons accessing its campus buildings. Thus, for all persons who access campus premises using a CUID card swipe (i.e., buildings without campus security staff at entrances), their names will be cross-checked with information from the Symptom Self-check App to ensure that they are adhering to the daily reporting of symptoms.

Kiosk Locations

 

If you access a building other than those listed above but are within walking distance, please check in at the nearest building before reporting to your campus location.

Locations Not on Columbia Campuses, Not Owned by Columbia

Other buildings will have their own self-check procedures, but showing proof (your app or the paper receipt) should satisfy security in other buildings. Faculty, staff, and students who access these locations will have to comply with any requirements imposed by facilities not operated by Columbia.

Questions?

If you have questions about or need help using ReopenCU or the kiosk, submit a ticket to the CUIT Service Desk; you can also contact the Service Desk at 212-854-1919 or [email protected].

On the CUIMC campus, contact the CUIMC Service Desk at x5-Help (212-305-4357), option 5, or email [email protected].

Symptom Self-check FAQs

General

All Columbia affiliates (students, faculty, and staff employees) coming onto the campus for any purpose or who are living in residence halls or dorms. If you are working from home or not coming onto the campus, you do not need to complete the daily symptom questionnaire

It is required by New York State as a condition for office-based workers or for universities in New York to restart in a limited way. The purpose is to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 as facilities reopen or continue to operate.

There are a handful of questions you will need to answer regarding a list of several symptoms that are reportedly associated with COVID-19; whether you have had a recent positive test for COVID-19; and whether you knowingly have been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID 19.

Every day. We will provide a web portal and an app that can be loaded onto a smart phone. You will be expected to complete the symptom check daily prior to entry to campus facilities. You can use either the web portal or the app to do this. Completion of the questionnaire will generate a date- and time-stamped 24-hour certificate, assuming you have no symptoms.

You will be contacted if you swipe into a building on campus after responding yes to any of the questions, as this is a violation of the Columbia Compact. Please also follow the general instructions on the screen: (1) do not come to campus, (2) notify your supervisor that you are not coming to work, or your faculty that you are not coming to class (3) contact your health care provider for advice including advice regarding COVID-19 testing, and (4) follow guidance regarding return to campus as outlined in the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy.

If you have not swiped into any campus location or completed the attestation without coming to campus and answered yes to any of the questions, please also follow the general instructions.

General questions about the app may be directed to CUIT.

General questions about whether you should report to work may be directed to Leave Management at [email protected].

Updated: February 25, 2021

Yes. If an individual receives a red pass due to a mistake in responding to the questions, it must be corrected immediately, and then the individual can access campus once the green pass is obtained.  Please refer to the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy for additional details.

Yes, you are required by the New York State regulations to immediately report any new symptoms. You should do this by re-completing the self-check on the app or the portal, as there is useful information for positive responses linked to the questions, and this is the method for meeting the New York State requirement.

In addition, you must do the following: (1) separate yourself from others; (2) notify your supervisor or professors/advisors that you are unwell and going home. Note that the reasons for being unwell are private and confidential. You may choose not to disclose to your supervisor/professors/advisors that you have a symptom or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or some other specific symptom; (3) keep on your face covering, go home, isolate yourself, and seek advice from a health care provider including possible testing for COVID-19; (4) follow procedures for return to campus as outlined in the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy.

Yes. Once you return to on-site activity, New York State regulations require you to update the self-check immediately upon any change, whether you are on campus or at home.

No. The process is very quick, but it does require you to open the app or the web portal, to type in your UNI and UNI password, and answer the questions.

Yes.

See the Quarantine section under Columbia's COVID-19 Public Health Protocols.

Questionnaire and Entry to Columbia Facilities

Individuals who answer “No” to all of the questions will receive a “green pass” that indicates you are cleared for entry.

If you have a smart phone, and you use the app or web portal, you will receive a 24-hour “green pass” with a date and time stamp on it, that you can show to security personnel or to other personnel assigned to checking access to University buildings.

For individuals who do not have a smart phone, or do not choose to use their smart phone to receive the green pass, they will need to use one of the on-campus kiosks where they will receive verification by printing a copy of their daily green pass.

Individuals who answer "Yes" to any of the three screening questions will receive a red pass. University Public Safety personnel will not permit them to enter Columbia University buildings.

The University is required to report on adherence with the symptom self-check for all persons accessing its campus buildings. Thus, for all persons who access campus premises using a CUID card swipe (i.e., buildings without campus security staff at entrances), their names will be cross-checked with information from the Symptom Self-check App to ensure that they are adhering to the daily reporting of symptoms.

Data and Privacy

No. This information is private and confidential; thus, you do not have to disclose it. In addition, supervisors may not ask specific questions about an individual’s health or symptoms.

All responses, negative and positive, are provided to a central point of contact, which in our case is Columbia University Human Resources. All information is confidential and will not be shared with supervisor or anyone else, except to comply with state and local health department requirements. All these data will be deleted after 21 days.

University Human Resources is the point of contact. Data will not be distributed to any other individual or department, except to comply with state and local health department requirements. In addition, extra effort regarding any required disinfection of work spaces for individuals reporting positive on the questionnaire will be communicated from HR to Facilities without disclosure of identify of the individual reporting positive response to any of the screening questions.

The app has been designed specifically to collect only the information required by the New York State regulations on the daily symptom questionnaire. The terms of use of the app will be provided to you when you load it onto your phone. These include statements that the data you provide will be used only for the purpose of complying with the New York State regulations, that it will not be shared for any purpose, and that access to the data will be limited to this purpose.

Beginning in late December 2020, the ReopenCU app will request permission to use location services the first time you open the app. Enabling location services is voluntary, but will improve contact tracing at Columbia by providing access to the SSID of your wireless network connection. Note that this location data will only be used for contact tracing purposes to identify potential close contacts.

Data will only be collected when the ReopenCU app is open and you are connected to a Columbia University wireless network. This data will be used to identify you and a timeline of the WiFi access points that your device has connected to, allowing the University to more precisely track potential exposures to COVID-19. 

Opting in or out of location services is your personal decision. If you do not enable location services for the ReopenCU application, you can continue using any of Columbia’s wireless networks and the app will not collect your data. 

You can also enable or disable location services manually through your iPhone or iPad settings or your Android device settings.

Twenty-one (21) days. The data will be deleted thereafter.

Actions in the event of Positive Case or Symptoms

Facilities should be contacted to conduct cleaning and disinfection of the space in which the person worked according to CDC guidelines on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility and Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Commercial Building Management.

The supervisor should inform the individual to update the COVID-19 self-check app. This update will trigger appropriate responses by the University’s central point of contact (Human Resources), including triggering disinfection of relevant areas.

The workspace, office, or laboratory where that individual worked should be closed until Facilities has disinfected the area. You should refrain from disclosing specific reasons for the individual’s illness, unless explicitly permitted by the individual.

Clearance and Return to Work

Updated: February 25, 2021

There are three reasons an individual may receive a red pass:

  1. The individual is missing one of the required steps for working on campus—signing the compact, completing a SARS-CoV-2 (gateway) test, or completing the COVID-19 Safety Training course.
  2.  An error was made in completing the daily attestation.
  3.  Based on the answers to the health attestation questions.

If an individual receives a red pass because they are missing one or more required steps for working on campus, they must complete the missing requirement(s) as soon as possible before returning to campus.

If an individual receives a red pass due to a mistake in responding to the questions, it must be corrected immediately, and then the individual can access campus once the green pass is obtained.

Any employee who obtains a red pass on the ReopenCU app based on their response to the health attestation questions may not report back to work until the required actions have been completed.

Please refer to the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy for full details on the return to work policies.

Updated: February 25, 2021

Please refer to the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy for full details on the return to work policies.

Any employee who obtains a red pass on the ReopenCU app based on their response to the health attestation questions may not report back to work until the following actions have been completed:

  1. Faculty and staff should contact their supervisor or Human Resources departmental contact and Leave Management ([email protected]) to inform them of their situation and to obtain further guidance. CUIMC employees must also contact the Workforce Health and Safety hotline if they have symptoms of COVID-19, 7 days a week, 6:00 am through 11:00 pm, at 646-697-9470.
  2. All individuals who have tested positive and have been on campus must immediately contact [email protected] to engage contact tracing and receive guidance.
  3. Individuals who are advised to quarantine or self-isolate by a contact tracer, local health department, or health care provider should send written documentation to their supervisor or HR departmental contact as they would for any other absence. They should also provide this documentation to Leave Management. In all cases, documentation should include expected return-to-work dates.
  4. If an individual has received a positive COVID-19 test, they cannot return to work until:
  • at least 10 days have passed since the date of the first symptoms; and
  • symptoms are improving; and they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications; and
  • Leave Management has confirmed their authorized to return to work

Employees deemed essential, as defined by their department, as well as employees providing clinical care, clinical research, or in clinical training, are required to follow these guidelines unless they are returning to work after travelling to a non-contiguous state or any international destination requiring quarantine. In such cases, essential employees must comply with New York State guidelines. All documentation must be sent to the supervisor or HR departmental contact and Leave Management.

Updated: February 25, 2021

If an individual is experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms (either without being tested for COVID-19 or without a positive COVID-19 test), a personal health care provider should be contacted to review and determine appropriate next steps. A negative COVID-19 test result or a note from the physician must be submitted to Leave Management for clearance to return to work.  

If the health care provider provides an alternate diagnosis, a note signed by the health care provider explaining the diagnosis is required before the employee can return to work.

The procedures for being cleared to return to work for individuals with symptoms and for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 are outlined in the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy

Updated: February 25, 2021

Individuals who are advised to quarantine or self-isolate by a contact tracer, local health department, or health care provider should send written documentation to their supervisor or HR departmental contact as they would for any other absence. They should also provide this documentation to Leave Management. In all cases, documentation should include expected return-to-work dates. Please refer to the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy for full details on the return to work policies.

Updated: February 25, 2021

The purpose of the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy is to provide guidance to faculty and staff on next steps when they have obtained a red “pass” after completing the ReopenCU symptom self-check app. Any employee who obtains a red pass on the ReopenCU app based on their response to the health attestation questions may not report back to work until the required actions have been completed.

Updated: February 25, 2021

Please refer to the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy for full details on the return to work policies. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Leave Management at [email protected].

Updated: February 25, 2021

Please refer to the ReopenCU COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App – Red Screen Policy for full details on the return to work policies.

  • Students at CUIMC: Student Health Service
  • Students at Morningside and other campuses: ColumbiaHealth
  • Faculty and staff at CUIMC engaged in patient care who are credentialed at NewYork-Presbyterian and/or work in the Columbia Faculty Practice Organization: Work Force Health and Safety
  • Faculty and staff at CUIMC not engaged in patient care: CUIMC Human Resources
  • Faculty and staff at Morningside and other campuses: Columbia Human Resources

Clinicians, Clinical Students, and Clinical Researchers

Updated: January 11, 2021

Follow the guidance of Workforce Health and Safety or the Columbia University Contact Tracing Team regarding return to work.

This question does not refer to individuals involved in clinical research, training or care, who have contact with patients who have known or possible COVID-19. If you are using your personal protective equipment properly, employing appropriate hand hygiene, and following other safety measures for health care workers, you may answer “NO” to this question. However, if you have had contact with an individual with known or possible COVID-19 outside work, you should answer “Yes”.

Procedures for Visitors

All visitors must be screened using the same questionnaire prior to being permitted to enter a Columbia University building or facility.

Columbia presently has a no-visitor policy; this will continue to be the policy after June 22, 2020, with exceptions for the following types of individuals.

Patients and individuals accompanying them. Screening of patients coming to outpatient facilities will be done at time of arrival (in addition to the day prior to the visit, if this is the procedure of the practice). It will be documented in Epic that they were screened and that the screening was negative.

Research participants and individuals accompanying them. Screening of research participants coming to Columbia University buildings will be done at the time of arrival (in addition to the day prior to the visit, if this is the protocol). The date and time of the screening, the fact that it was negative, and the name of person doing the screening must be recorded in the case report form or research file/record for the participant.

All other visitors including construction and other workers and deliveries. Construction workers and other service personnel are required to follow the University’s general procedures for visitors.