Starting at 7 pm tonight, students are only allowed to access their assigned residence hall, social gatherings will be limited to 10 people, and visitors to residence halls will not be permitted.
This afternoon, Dean Kromm sent students an email informing them that due to rising COVID-19 rates in the Columbia community, students will only be able to swipe into their assigned residence hall and will be unable to access any other dorms effective at 7 pm tonight.
In addition to the restrictions on residence hall access, there are also additional measures being implemented to try to curb transmission: social gatherings will be limited to 10 or fewer people for CC and SEAS students, students will no longer be allowed to have guests, 25% of the undergraduate student body will be subject to random COVID surveillance testing each week, and commuter access to residence halls will not be allowed. Furthermore, clubs and organizations are being strongly encouraged to move all programming either online or outdoors for the next two weeks.
The email noted that contact tracing has indicated that transmission of the virus is mainly occurring at unmasked gatherings in dorms and off-campus. After a two-week period, these changes will be reevaluated, at which time it will be determined whether they can be lifted or whether they must continue.
Barnard College Dean Grinage also emailed tonight to inform students that Barnard will also restrict guest access to residence halls for the next two weeks. Dean Grinage reminded students that Barnard’s other policies, like mandatory weekly testing, are still in place. The full text of Dean Grinage’s email is below.
Email from Dean Kromm sent to Columbia students at 4:04 pm on September 17, 2021:
I write to announce that due to rising COVID-19 positivity rates in our residential community, we are implementing temporary restrictions that will go into effect at 7 p.m. today, Friday, September 17.
Contact tracing indicates transmission is not occurring in the classroom. Instead, testing and tracing indicates that the main cause is students socializing unmasked at gatherings in residence halls and at off-campus apartments, bars and restaurants.
To slow the spread, beginning at 7 p.m. today:
- Students will only be able to swipe into their assigned residence hall.
- Students will not be allowed to host guests.
- Commuter access into residence halls will not be allowed.
- Social gatherings in indoor spaces will be limited to 10 students or less for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students. Clubs and organizations are strongly encouraged to move all programming on-line or outdoors for the next two weeks.
- A random sample of undergraduates (increasing to 25%) will be selected each week and those selected individuals must get tested within one week of notification.
We recognize this is a very sudden change, but we believe these temporary restrictions will address the current situation and help slow transmission. These changes will be imposed for a two-week period, at which time we will reevaluate and determine if they can be lifted or must continue.
Wear your masks indoors, on and off-campus, even when you are gathering with close friends. Help us slow COVID-19 transmission, and move our community to green!
Dean of Undergraduate Student Life
Email from Dean Grinage sent to Barnard students at 6:28 pm on September 17, 2021:
Please see a message sent this evening to Columbia University students. To be consistent with policies and minimize the spread of COVID-19, Barnard will also temporarily restrict guest access to the residence halls. Students are only permitted to access the building to which they are assigned, and non-residential students are not permitted in the residence halls for a two-week period. Barnard’s other current policies, including: masking indoors unless in your own room; weekly testing (not a random sampling); acknowledging any and all symptoms (even those that seem mild) and staying in one’s residence hall room or off-campus non-residential living space until otherwise advised by the Pandemic Response Team or PCHS, and limits to the number of students in any given room or suite remain the same. We are in close contact with Columbia and will review this policy in two weeks. The policy goes into effect immediately.
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