New Guidance for Morningside and Manhattanville Students on Isolation and Booster Documentation

Editor's note:

The original version of this message listed January 28 as the deadline for Spring 2022 gateway testing.

January 07, 2022

Dear Students,

The University is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic status in the New York City metro area and among our affiliates. I write to share updated guidance on isolation and quarantine in case of COVID-19 infection or exposure, as well as to remind you of critical safety measures as the Omicron variant surges throughout New York City and across the country.

New isolation and quarantine guidelines. New York State, acting on guidance from the CDC, has updated isolation and quarantine guidelines as follows:

  • Isolation:
    • All individuals who test positive for COVID-19  can end their isolation after 5 days if they are asymptomatic. Day 0 is considered the first day of symptom onset or the day of a positive test result (fully asymptomatic).
  • Quarantine:
    • Individuals who are fully vaccinated AND have received booster dose do not need to quarantine. Such individuals are recommended to get tested on day 5-7 after last exposure.
    • Individuals who are not vaccinated OR not fully vaccinated OR are eligible for a booster but have not yet received one should quarantine for 5 days – where day 0 is the last day of exposure – if symptoms do not appear. Such individuals are recommended to get tested on day 5-7.

Please wear a well-fitting mask while around others for an additional 5 days. Individuals who are unable to wear a well-fitting mask for 5 days after a 5-day isolation should follow standard (i.e., not shortened) 10-day isolation guidance.

Individuals who are moderately-severely immunocompromised should also follow standard (i.e., not shortened) 10-day isolation guidance.

Upload vaccine and booster information. As you are aware, the Omicron variant has been shown to be more transmissible than prior virus variants.  However, there are reassuring data suggesting that this variant causes less severe illness and that our vaccines, and particularly once boosted, also protect against symptomatic and severe COVID-19.  

Students can currently upload their COVID-19 vaccine and booster information on the Columbia Health Patient Portal. If you are uploading your booster information, please also make sure to enter the date of your booster shot under COVID-19 Vaccine History. Students who have already uploaded documentation of their booster will have their dates updated. Submission of booster information is due by January 31, 2022 or within 31 days if you reach eligibility on/after February 1. For students who received a WHO-authorized vaccine, we remind you that you must also get a booster dose with an FDA-approved mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) if you are in the United States.

If you are an incoming student this Spring term, or a continuing student who has not submitted the mandatory seasonal influenza documentation, please also submit documentation as soon as possible. You may have a registration hold if you are not compliant with any current immunization requirement and the hold will remain in place until you are fully compliant with all current items.

Report outside positive test results. While Columbia is doing its own asymptomatic testing on campus, we also urge you to report any outside positive test results as soon as you receive your result to [email protected] so that we have an accurate picture of COVID-19 positive cases in our community and can provide you with information on available resources.

Continue to wear face coverings. Data continue to confirm that a mask or face covering worn by all individuals will reduce transmission as well as acquisition of the virus and prevent community spread of the disease. Please wear a well-fitting face covering in all public settings, all social gatherings even when vaccination status or testing status of all individuals is known, as well as in crowded outdoor settings.

Get your Spring 2022 gateway testAll students are required to get a PCR test from a Columbia location by February 4 to access campus. Please review the COVID-19 website for your specific requirement and timing.  If your first time on campus is after February 4, you will have a red pass until you have completed the gateway test and the app updates (within 72 hours).

Please continue to take essential preventive measures to stay safe and healthy as we grapple with the latest wave of COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus in the coming weeks.

Be well,

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