Research Working Group

COVID-19 Updates for Research - November 2021 

What's New

As you have likely seen in University-wide communications, face coverings are still required indoors on campus, even for those who are fully vaccinated.  For additional details, please refer to the recent COVID-19 Public Health Updates and Indoor Gatherings from Provost Mary C. Boyce  and University COVID Director Donna Lynne.

The daily symptom self-check remains required for all Columbia faculty, staff, and students accessing campus buildings. It is important that you complete the attestation prior to accessing the campus each day.  Each time you swipe your CUID card without a valid attestation in place, you receive an email that reminds you to complete the attestation.  As of October 28th, if you swipe your ID on campus five (5) or more times without having an active attestation in place, your ID card will be inactivated.  Please review the Oct. 28 Daily Symptom Attestation Update for more information.

Eat outdoors if possible.  When eating indoors, six-foot distancing is still required, and mask removal must be minimized when eating with others.  See Eating and Dining Guidance.

Columbia has eliminated indoor gathering size restrictions for all gatherings of individuals holding a Columbia ID, except for athletic events.   This means that research meetings and student gatherings make take place without attendance caps.  See Event and Gathering Guidance for Fall 2021 for additional details.

Any in-person human subject research procedures that have been paused due to the pandemic may resume, provided that critical health and safety requirements are followed.  As is always the case, any human subjects research may only be conducted in accordance with a research protocol approved by Columbia’s Human Research Protection Program.

These guidelines continue to require careful advanced planning and adherence to the same health and safety guidelines that apply to on-campus research as much as possible.  Field/community research plans must be approved by the relevant Dean, Director or Vice President.  The University’s Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions must also be followed.

Visitors, including high school students, are allowed on campus for research subject to the updated Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities.

Travel for research is subject to the University’s Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions.

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, vaccinated individuals may choose to continue to wear masks outdoors on Columbia’s campuses and in crowded public settings, thus, no assumptions should be made regarding why an individual chooses to mask outdoors.

Required Protocol for Returning to Campus

These rules—and related policies and guidelines—apply starting this fall. You must follow all University Public Health Protocols, which include masking and distancing where appropriate.

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Get Vaccinated and Upload Documentation

Get vaccinated at a Columbia-operated location or use the New York Vaccine Finder. Find out which vaccines are accepted. Be sure to upload your documentation by August 2.

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Read and Sign the Compact

Read and sign the Columbia Community Health Compact, which can be found in the required online safety training.

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Take Safety Training

If you are returning to campus, you must take the COVID-19 safety course before you return to campus.

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Get Tested

To provide an additional layer of safety, Columbia will require an initial single COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test of all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus.

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Download the ReopenCU App

Use the app to generate a "green pass," which is needed to access campus buildings. Download it from the App Store or Google Play, or use the web version.

Resources for the Research Community

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Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities

The University has updated the Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities.

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Guidelines for Field Research

Resumption of any field research requires adherence to research guidelines and prior approval by the relevant dean, director, or vice president; with a report to the Office of the Provost. State and University travel policies must be followed.

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Research Administration and Compliance FAQs

The Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research answer frequently asked questions, including on human subjects research.

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Resumption of On-campus Human Subjects Research

Any in-person human subject research procedures that have been paused due to the pandemic may resume, provided that critical health and safety requirements are followed, and in accordance with a research protocol approved by Columbia’s Human Research Protection Program.

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.

Office of Academic Affairs (CUIMC)

Supporting over 9,500 faculty and researchers across the four health science schools of the medical center

Office of Faculty Affairs

Responsible for administering University policies and processes governing academic appointments, managing tenure review, and maintaining fair processes in handling grievances from academic officers

Human Resources

A full range of services, including recruiting, interviewing, placing and guiding employees; maintaining benefits and payroll; mediating conflict; hosting trainings; and, offering learning and development programs

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Supporting and assisting postdocs in their professional training and development, and offering in-depth guidance and resources on all matters pertaining to postdoctoral affairs

Compliance Hotline (Anonymous Reporting)

The hotline serves as a channel for employees to report or seek guidance on possible compliance issues.

Ombuds Office (Confidential)

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.

Research Ramp-up Ambassadors

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. 

Recent Communications