In emails sent out to students earlier today, Barnard and Columbia shared decisions to resume indoor seating at dining locations across their respective campuses.

On Friday, October 8, Barnard and Columbia administrators announced that indoor dining will resume on both campuses beginning Wednesday, October 13. The emails can be found in full below. This update comes two weeks after Barnard announced a temporary pause on indoor dining. For Columbia Dining, October 13 will mark the first day this academic year that they will offer indoor dining.

The impetus behind resuming indoor seating at dining locations stemmed from a review of Barnard’s and Columbia’s COVID-19 data.  The email sent to Columbia students states that, in accordance with New York City law, they will have to provide proof of vaccination to eat in the dining halls, including John Jay Hall, Ferris Booth Commons, and JJ’s Place. Both emails encourage students to eat outdoors and note that students must wear their masks inside unless seated and eating. 

Email sent to Barnard students from Barnard Chief Health Officer Marina Catallozzi and Vice President for Operations Roger Mosier on Friday, October 8 at 1:30 pm: 

Dear Students:

We are writing first to thank you all for your patience and flexibility during the pause to indoor dining. As we approach the two week mark for the pause and after reviewing our data, we have decided to resume indoor dining operations beginning Wednesday, October 13th.

Due to the limited amount of seating in our dining locations, we remind you that you should only use as much time as you need to eat during peak times, and we also ask that you keep your mask in place except when you are seated and eating. We will continue to have outdoor seating in various locations around campus and encourage you to take advantage of them. Residential students can continue to eat in their residence halls as well.

Please know that we understand that each of these changes impacts your daily life and that our goal is to support the health and wellbeing of our community. As with all the College’s decisions, we will continue to closely monitor the data and adjust aspects of our operations that affect the transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, please reference Barnard’s Risk Response Grid, which articulates principles and a framework for operational activities as we move forward.


Marina Catallozzi

Vice President for Health & Wellness and Chief Health Officer

Roger Mosier

Vice President for Operations

Email sent to Columbia students from Senior Vice President for Columbia Health Melanie Bernitz and Executive Vice President for Operations David Greenberg on Friday, October 8 at 3:34 pm: 

Dear Students, 

Thank you all for your patience and flexibility during the first few weeks of the fall term regarding indoor dining. After careful review of campus and New York City COVID-19 conditions by the university’s public health working group, we are pleased to announce the opening of indoor seating at dining halls beginning Wednesday, October 13.

With this opening of indoor dining, it remains critically important that all public health guidelines continue to be followed. As a reminder, the indoor face covering mandate requires you to wear your face covering while indoors; therefore, your mask should only be removed once seated and eating. Immediately after eating, please again resume wearing your face covering as you connect with others in the dining halls. Please also respect the desire by many to dine indoors: Once your meal is over, avoid lingering, and make the space available for others. 

Outdoor seating around campus will continue to be available and you are encouraged to take advantage of it, especially since the weather is still temperate. Some outdoor tent areas will be converted to heated “indoor” spaces later this month to increase indoor dining capacity—the same face covering mandates will apply to these dining areas.

Please remember that under current New York City law, you will be required to show proof of vaccination if you will be eating indoors in our dining halls. We are asking students to download the New York State Excelsior Pass or NYC COVID Safe App to help speed up the process as you enter the dining halls. You can also show a photo or hard copy of your official vaccination record.

Grab and go options will continue to be available for all students on meal plans.

As with all university decisions related to COVID-19, we continue to carefully monitor the data and adjust aspects of our operations that affect the transmission of COVID-19. We appreciate that each of these changes has an impact on your daily life. But know that our ultimate goal is to support your health and wellbeing, as well as that of the entire Columbia community. Your support of the safety measures in place will go a long way to ensuring that safety.


Melanie Bernitz

Senior Vice President, Columbia Health    

Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine) 

David Greenberg

Executive Vice President, University Facilities and Operations

Update made on Friday, October 8 at 4:40 pm: This article has been updated to include information from Senior VP Bernitz and Executive VP Greenberg’s email to Columbia students. 

Reporting contributed by Rania Borgani and Victoria Melkonyan.

Diana Center via Bwarchives