Spring Term Covid-19 Testing Update

January 04, 2021

Dear Columbia Faculty, Staff, and Students: 

Thank you for your support of all the required safety protocols that have kept our campuses safe in 2020. With the number of COVID-19 cases in New York increasing, this is a reminder to all current faculty, staff, and students who have been on campus, as well as those newly arriving, regarding 2021 requirements. 

  • If you are a current faculty or staff member who accesses campus the only new requirement you have is to complete a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic gateway test between January 4-25; you may schedule your appointment on the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal. You are also strongly recommended, but not required, to have weekly tests thereafter. If you do not have weekly testing, you are also required to comply with random sampling tests when you are notified. 
  • If you are a current student who will access campus, you must complete the gateway test, and if you are an undergraduate living in University housing you must complete twice a week testing thereafter. Other students, i.e. undergraduates living off campus or graduate students, you may elect to have weekly tests thereafter. 
  • If you have had a positive test SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test within 90 days before January 25 and have either provided proof of the positive test (uploaded to the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal) or tested positive through the Columbia Health system, you should not have a gateway test until 90 days has passed since your initial positive test. A compliance file based on past positive tests will populate the ReOpen CU app during the gateway period for you, ensuring you are compliant with the gateway requirement. 
  • Only tests conducted through Columbia Health will meet the University requirement. Please schedule in advance as soon as possible as the appointment slots are already filling up. We have added sufficient appointment slots during the gateway testing period so as to enable all to get tested. If a given location, date, and time is preferred please check the portal periodically for cancellations. As a reminder testing at Morningside and CUIMC campuses is offered Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. excluding the January 18 holiday. 
  • If you are a new faculty, staff member or student, or are accessing campus for the first time, you must download the ReopenCU app which must be completed every day prior to accessing campus facilities.  You must sign the Columbia Compact and take the University required training for students or faculty/staff. Links to those two requirements are also found on the Reopen CU app. You are also required to obtain a gateway testing and related testing requirements, as mentioned above. 
  • If you have traveled outside New York State (NYS) over the break, you must comply with the NYS requirements regarding quarantine and SARS-CoV-2 testing requirements which are linked online
  • With limited exceptions, there are no in-person classes for the first two weeks of the Spring term. Anyone teaching or attending in-person classes must have completed their gateway test (with a negative test result) before entering a classroom. 

Your compliance with all of these requirements will not only keep our campuses safe, but will allow us to continue to engage in the University mission with regards to teaching, research, and service. Further details on the testing program can be found online.  

Finally, we are pleased to let you know that COVID-19 vaccine deployment is underway on the CUIMC campus for those with clinical roles, and we expect to be able to offer vaccination to all Columbia faculty, staff, and students in the coming months.  


Donna Lynne, DrPH,  Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Columbia University Irving Medical Center 

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