Spring Term Guide for Returning to Campus Safely

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Dear Students,

I hope you are well and had an opportunity to rest and renew over your break. This email is your easy-access guide for return to campus: Gateway Testing, flu shot requirement, travel policy and more. Before we dive in, a special thanks to each of you for doing all you can to keep our community healthy, especially as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in New York and around the world.

Accessing Campus for the First Time
Here’s your checklist if you’re coming to campus for the first time this academic year:

COVID-19 Testing: What you need to know
January Gateway Test requirement
If you’re coming to campus, be sure to get your new Spring term Gateway Test if you haven’t already done so. Everyone on campus is also expected to participate in ongoing surveillance testing to continuously evaluate infection rates on campus, and contact tracing if needed.

Did you travel recently?  
If you’ve traveled outside of New York recently and are coming to campus, you must follow NYS quarantine guidelines.

Did you recently test positive for COVID-19?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you don’t need to have a Gateway Test or other surveillance testing for three months from the date of your positive test result. If you got your positive test result from a place other than Columbia’s testing program, you must upload proof of it via the patient portal (use the downloadable forms section). When your proof has been confirmed you will be noted as compliant with the January Gateway Test requirement.

Flu Shot Requirement
All students who access University facilities must have a flu vaccine, whether you live on or off campus. Sign up now on the online patient portal for your free flu vaccine from Columbia Health in Lerner Hall, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm EST. You must have an appointment to ensure physical distancing. CUIMC is also offering free flu vaccinations to students by appointment only. If you had your flu vaccine elsewhere, follow these instructions to upload proof of your vaccine to the patient portal.  

Spring 2021 Travel Restrictions
All Columbia-related travel is suspended for students. The University urges you to postpone personal travel except for emergencies, and has additional restrictions on group travel. If travel is essential, follow NYS guidance upon return or arrival to campus. Learn more about Spring 2021 travel restrictions.

Spring 2021 Events Policy
The University’s event policy puts limits on the size of all non-academic and academic gatherings. Learn more about the Spring 2021 Events Policy.

Stepping In and Getting Involved
Need help stepping in when you see someone not wearing a face-covering and/or physically distancing? Check out these tips. Want to report a concern? Use this link.

Volunteer as a Keeping Our Community Healthy Student Ambassador
We’re reopening applications for Student Ambassadors to help keep our community healthy. Student Ambassadors receive training about the Community Health Compact, COVID-19 prevention and bystander intervention methods. They also have the opportunity to engage with campus experts, participate in resource development programs and provide peer-to-peer support and education. Sign up here.

The Semester Ahead
The University Life team has many exciting events planned for the Spring term to help connect you with students across the University, no matter where in the world you may be, as well as resources for your overall well-being. We welcome your feedback and engagement; please feel free to reach out to universitylife@columbia.edu at any time.

Wishing you a wonderful start to the year,

Joseph Defraine Greenwell, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Office of University Life
Gender Pronouns: He/Him/His

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