Updates Regarding Columbia's COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

January 05, 2022

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

We are writing to provide updates on our December messages regarding Columbia University COVID-19 policies and procedures.  We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic status in the New York City metro area and among our affiliates. 

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

We have three important updates to share with you.

Changes in isolation and quarantine guidelines:

New York State, acting on guidance from the CDC, has modified isolation and quarantine 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 and/or the day of a positive test result.
  • 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 – provided symptoms do not appear. Such individuals are recommended to get tested on day 5-7.

Full details can be found on the New York State Department of Health website.

Changes in gathering/events and dining policies:

In addition to the policies that were announced on December 20 and December 22, Columbia-related non-academic gatherings on and off campus are prohibited until the end of January.

  • In all dining halls, only grab-and-go food will be available for the first week of the undergraduate return beginning January 18th.
  • All affiliates are strongly urged to avoid indoor social gatherings wherever they are located, unless aware of vaccination and testing status of all attendees.  Masking in these locations is also strongly recommended as well as in crowded outdoor social gatherings.
  • Masking indoors at Columbia will continue through March 31, and we urge wearing of masks indoors in all public settings as well as in crowded settings when outdoors.
  • Columbia athletic events will permit no fans for the first two weeks of January.

Uploading vaccine and booster information:

Next week, we will provide you with the links to be able to upload your booster information.  New hires seeking to upload any vaccine (not booster) information may do so on our ReopenCU website.

Students can currently upload their vaccine and booster information. For CUIMC students go here.  For all other students, go here.

Sincerely,

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

Gerry Rosberg, Senior Executive Vice President