Columbia Downgrades COVID-19 Risk Level and Announces New Mask Guidance

Under the COVID-19 monitoring plan, the university is now in the 'green zone.' Effective March 14, indoor masking will be optional and the daily attestation needed to access Columbia facilities will be eliminated, though a green pass will still be required.

March 03, 2022

Dear Columbia community:

We have good news to report. Under our updated COVID-19 monitoring plan, we are now into the “green zone.” In addition, the City of New York is also currently in the ”low COVID-19 level” based on new CDC guidance. The move from “yellow” to “green” reflects favorable metrics in the City as well as for our own campuses. These include low numbers for daily new hospitalizations, transmission rates, and daily new confirmed cases across the City, as well as low COVID-19 positivity among faculty, staff and students, which has now been around 1% for a month.

Being in “green” status allows us to change two key requirements. Effective March 14, we will move to make indoor masking optional and eliminate the daily attestation that is required to access Columbia facilities. Mask-optional means that you may remove your mask indoors, starting on March 14, if you so choose, but you may of course continue to wear a mask if that is appropriate for you. This change to mask-optional does not apply to health care workers or students involved in health care or clinical activities.

It is important for us as a community to respect an individual’s decision to wear a mask and not to make any assumptions regarding the reasons for that. In addition, although a daily attestation will no longer be required, a green pass will still be required to access University facilities. Even after March 14, University ID card swipe access will remain linked to compliance with COVID-19 training, the Columbia Compact, the vaccination mandate and required testing. It is also important that you continue to evaluate your health status on an ongoing basis, get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, and stay home, as appropriate, to keep your colleagues safe. 

Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the situation on our own campuses and in the City and make adjustments as needed. For the time being, our random testing program, as well as wastewater testing, will continue. Our buildings will remain subject to swipe access and the green pass, and visitors will continue to have to demonstrate that they are vaccinated. 

Thank you for your commitment to the safety of our community.


Donna Lynne, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC, and University COVID Director

Gerry Rosberg, Senior Executive Vice President