Update on COVID-19 University Guidance

June 07, 2022

Dear Members of the Columbia Community,

We hope you have been able to enjoy the many Commencement and post-Commencement activities in May and will be able to enjoy some time off this summer.

While we have seen significant drops in COVID-19 test positivity in the New York metropolitan area, we do want to remind you that last month New York City raised its COVID-19 alert level to High (Orange) New York City’s COVID-19 alert status. To reflect the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission in the city, all affiliates are strongly encouraged to follow the University’s guidance, as outlined below in three sections:  Preventing COVID-19, What To Do If You Test Positive, and What To Do If You Are Exposed.

Preventing COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask:
    • Masks are required in classrooms and clinical settings this summer, including clinical research context
    • Masks are strongly recommended for all other indoor spaces on campus
    • Masks should be higher-quality (e.g., surgical, KN95, KF94, N95) and can be worn in combination with cloth or surgical mask on top for enhanced protection
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines: Get vaccinated and boosted based on your eligibility:
    • Vaccines are available in New York City for everyone ages 5 and older. Booster doses are available for everyone 12 and older
  • Monitor for symptoms and stay home if you are sick: Monitor for symptoms, and if you feel sick, notify your supervisor, stay home or leave work early.
  • Get tested: Testing is especially important if you have COVID-19 symptoms or were recently in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. You should also get tested before and after traveling or getting together with others in indoor settings
  • Consider avoiding higher-risk activities: Crowded, indoor gatherings should be avoided. Limit any type of gathering to a small number of people and consider wearing a mask when indoors

What To Do If You Test Positive:

  • If you test positive, email [email protected]
    • After emailing, you will receive guidance for returning to work/class, which typically involves isolating for a minimum of 5 days and continue wearing of masks in public settings till day 10 . Faculty and staff should also inform your supervisor Students should notify their professors or advising deans
    • The University, in alignment with Department of Health guidelines, is no longer performing contact tracing. Individuals who test positive may elect to inform anyone they may have been in close contact with while contagious, but are not required to do so

What To Do If You Have Been in Close Contact with Someone Who Tested Positive:

  • All individuals should be tested on day-5 after last exposure, regardless of vaccination status
  • All individuals who are up-to-date with their vaccination, i.e., fully vaccinated with primary series AND boosted as per their eligibility AND not experiencing symptoms are not required to quarantine, but should wear a well-fitting approved mask (i.e., surgical or N95/KN95 mask) for 10-days after exposure when around others
  • All individuals who are not up-to-date with their vaccination i.e., not fully vaccinated with primary series OR fully vaccinated but not yet boosted even though eligible, are required to quarantine for 5 days after exposure and wear a well-fitting approved mask (i.e., surgical or N95/KN95 mask) for an additional 5 days after exposure when around others
  • All individuals who have received the primary vaccine series AND not yet eligible for a booster AND not experiencing symptoms are not required to quarantine, but should wear a well-fitting approved mask (i.e. surgical or N95/KN95 mask) for 10-days after exposure when around others

Clarification on gatherings, events, meetings and visitors during the NYC High Alert/Orange Status:

  • While Columbia-related gatherings and events can be held during this time, we strongly recommend wearing masks in indoor settings.  There are no limits on the size of gatherings and events
  • It is the responsibility of Columbia event sponsors to check the vaccine status of all non-Columbia attendees or visitors prior to or at the beginning of the event

As always, the University’s COVID-related policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis, to reflect current public health conditions, and any changes in the City’s alert levels. Thank you for continuing to keep yourselves and the Columbia community safe.

Thank you,

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

Gerry Rosberg, Senior Executive Vice President