COVID-19 Updates for Research - July 2021
- Compliance with the Vaccine Policy is essential
- Physical distancing continues to be required indoors
- Occupancy restrictions relaxed
- Labs and research teams can meet in person even if more than 25 people
- Face coverings still required indoors
- Updated Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities
- Refer to the Summer Travel Restrictions for research
In order for the research community to return to a “new normal” with minimal restrictions, compliance with the University’s vaccine policy is essential. If you are not vaccinated yet, we ask that you get vaccinated or request an exemption and upload your documentation of compliance as soon as possible.
Additional details can be found below in the sections entitled How to Comply with the Vaccine Policy and Timeline to Comply with the Vaccine Policy. There is also a helpful tutorial video with step-by-step instructions for faculty and staff on downloading the ReopenCU App and how to upload vaccine documentation or apply for an exemption.
We know that the greatest hope of many research teams is to resume full activity with no shifts, density restrictions or distancing requirements. We expect to reach this milestone in September, when our vaccine policy is fully implemented.
As of August 3, the indoor distancing requirement will be relaxed for vaccinated individuals only. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to be required to physically distance. Finally, beginning September 9, when we expect to have achieved a fully vaccinated status, distancing no longer will be required except for persons who have received a vaccine exemption.
Although the 6-foot distancing requirement remains in place during the summer, occupancy restrictions have been lifted. That means that, if you have the space to do so, occupancy is no longer limited to 50% and can grow to 100% capacity.
Columbia has increased the gathering size allowed for administrative, research and team gatherings. This means that lab and research team meetings can occur indoors in person subject to six-foot distancing (so long as they are for fewer than 250 people). However, social and extracurricular gatherings remain limited to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
As you have likely seen in University-wide communications, face coverings are still required indoors on campus through the summer, even for those who are fully vaccinated. As of September 9, face coverings will no longer be required for fully-vaccinated people except in communal or patient-facing spaces at CUIMC.
Visitors, including high school students, are allowed on campus for research this summer subject to the updated Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities published in April. The University’s Field Research Guidelines remain in place to enable safe field research during the summer. Finally, the University’s Summer Travel Restrictions are applicable to summer travel for research.
How to Comply with the Vaccine Policy
COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff who will be present on campus this fall. By August 2, you must provide vaccine documentation or apply for a religious or medical exemption.
Fall Health Guidance
All Columbia affiliates must continue to wear masks at all times in indoor settings in Columbia facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Vaccinated individuals may remove masks and not physically distance only in outdoor settings on Columbia’s campuses. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors. However, individuals may choose to continue to wear masks outdoors on Columbia’s campuses, thus, no assumptions should be made regarding why an individual chooses to mask outdoors.
Until September 8, only vaccinated individuals do not need to distance indoors. After September 9, when we are a fully vaccinated campus, there will be no distancing requirements, including for those with approved vaccine exemptions.
Resources for the Research Community
Where to Go With a Concern
To discuss a concern, if possible, first contact your supervisor, department or the office of the dean of your school or institute.
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A confidential place to discuss workplace issues, academic concerns, issues relating to administrative paperwork and process, explanation and interpretation of policies and procedures, and other issues or concerns.
The Research Ramp-Up Ambassadors provide support on issues such as: (1) pressure to come back to on-site work at a time where this is voluntary; (2) concerns from individuals who want to come back but have been told to wait; or (3) concerns that individuals or labs are not following the required safety and public health measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
Everyone over the age of 12 is required to show proof of vaccination to enter many New York City indoor activities such as restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms—including some on Columbia's campuses. Look for the signs!
All policies are in accordance with the University Task Force, city, and state health and safety guidelines. These venue policies and protocols are effective immediately.
During this session, we will focus on the most pressing questions and will not be taking live questions.