Critical Steps Students Need to Take Prior to Accessing Campus

These five steps are required for you to freely access University campuses and facilities starting this fall. 

July 21, 2021

Dear Students, 

The start of the fall term is rapidly approaching, and we write to remind you of the requirements you must complete in the next few weeks in order to comply with University policy and keep Columbia safe.  

These five steps are required for you to freely access University campuses and facilities starting this fall. 

1. Download the ReOpenCU app (App Store or Android) or bookmark the web version. You will need this to complete Step 3, and to begin daily attestation once you start accessing University facilities. 

2. Get vaccinated and upload documentation or request an exemption by August 2. When uploading documentation on the Columbia Health Patient Portal (Morningside) or Student Health on Haven Patient Portal (CUIMC), don’t forget to upload a copy of your vaccination record. Entering only dates does not complete the requirement. Step-by-step instructions are available on the COVID-19 website. 

If you wish to submit a medical exemption request or religious exemption request, please submit all required documentation as soon as possible and before August 2, as the University may request additional supporting documentation. Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. Note that students in some programs will begin classes before Labor Day and have been asked to complete these steps earlier. If this applies to you, please comply with your program-specific deadlines.   

If you have already submitted documentation or requested an exemption, thank you. Your ReOpenCU status will be updated on or shortly after August 2. Students who received a vaccine from Columbia Health on the Morningside campus have their records updated automatically and do not need to upload records. Verification can be viewed at any time by accessing the Medical Clearances section of your Patient Portal. 

For international students who were unable to complete the required COVID-19 vaccination with FDA or WHO-authorized vaccines before campus arrival, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine upon arrival. Read these guidelines for more details

3. Review and sign the revised Columbia Community Health Compact. Use the ReopenCU Symptom Self-check app or web application to sign the Compact. 

4. Complete the Safety Training. New and returning students who have previously not taken the safety training must complete it. The new training will be available soon. 

5. If you are accessing Columbia campuses and facilities during the Fall 2021 term for the first time since January 2021, complete the gateway testing requirementAffiliates who are vaccinated must still complete the gateway test. Schedule an appointment through the Columbia Health Patient Portal. Appointments are available 7-10 days in advance. 

In the meantime, please continue to practice key health precautions including wearing a mask and physically distancing in indoor spaces, frequent handwashing/sanitizing, and staying home if you are feeling sick, regardless of your vaccination status. 

Travel Quarantine 

As of June 25, travel quarantine is no longer required for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals arriving in New York State from out of state or abroad. However, all unvaccinated individuals arriving from an international location are required to: 

  • Get tested (PCR or antigen tests acceptable) 1-3 days before their trip, 
  • Get tested (PCR testing only) through Columbia program 3-5 days after arrival, 
  • Quarantine (7 days if tested on day 3-5 or 10 days without a test), and  
  • Monitor your symptoms and avoid people with higher risk for severe disease for 14 days.  

Learn more about quarantine protocols on the COVID-19 website. You may quarantine in a single room on campus or in your own room in an apartment setting, even if sharing the apartment with others. 

Continue to care for your physical health by taking advantage of telehealth services, or in-person medical appointments and reach out to Columbia Health (Morningside) or Student Health on Haven (CUIMC) for support, wherever you may find yourself this summer, or for our new students, once you arrive at Columbia. 

The University is working hard to ensure that we have a fully vaccinated campus, as defined by the CDC, by Fall 2021 and are able to return to more “normal” operations. Vaccination is our main shield against COVID-19 including the new delta variant. Your timely completion of these steps is crucial. We are actively monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and are ready to adjust our procedures as needed. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to these steps, and for helping us have a vibrant, in-person Columbia experience in September. 

With care for our community, 

Melanie Bernitz, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President, Columbia Health and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine) 

Marcy Ferdschneider, DO, Executive Director, Student Health on Haven and Assistant Professor of Medicine at CUIMC