As the University returns to in-person learning, both Barnard and Columbia’s administrations have announced the return of in-person dining and gatherings, as well as updates to visitor policies. Deputy News Editor Paulina Rodriguez contributed to reporting.

Following a return to in-person classes this coming Monday, January 31, the University has announced via email a staggered schedule for lifting restrictions on in-person campus gatherings, beginning next week. The full text of the announcement to students can be found below. 

Starting  Tuesday, February 1, the University will lift restrictions on academic, research, and administrative gatherings, allowing them to be held in person with no capacity restrictions. This will extend to all social gatherings on Monday, February 7. Finally, on Monday, February 14, eating and drinking will be permitted at all gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, although the University stipulates minimizing the removal of masks. As per Columbia’s existing COVID-19 protocol, indoor masking will be required in all campus buildings through March 31. The University also recommends continuing to wear masks outdoors when in crowded settings. While all gatherings will be permitted to invite visitors not affiliated with the University, all visitors must show proof of vaccination, including a booster, and comply with the University’s COVID-19 safety protocols. 

This announcement comes two days after Barnard’s administration announced a full return to indoor dining, as well as a change to their guest policy. In an email to students on January 27, Dean of the College Leslie Grinage announced that Barnard would resume indoor dining at  Hewitt Food Hall, the Diana Center Café, Liz’s Place, and Peet’s Coffee, all of which had previously been reduced to grab-and-go options or closed altogether. The dining halls officially reopened for indoor dining the following day on January 28. Dean Grinage’s updates come just days after Barnard announced it will continue its requirement for students to complete twice-weekly COVID-19 testing through the end of February. The policy, enacted at the start of the Spring 2022 semester, mirrors the college’s Spring 2021 COVID-19 testing policy, prior to its vaccine requirement for all students. The full text of Dean Grinage’s email to students can be found below.

Additionally, beginning February 7, all current BC/CU ID holders will be permitted as guests in Barnard housing, with the stipulation that Barnard’s COVID-19 cases do not increase substantially before then. All residents of Barnard housing will be permitted to host one guest at a time, with the maximum occupancy of a dorm being double the number of its residents. This update is similar to a recently revised policy in place for Columbia dorms, which permits residents to host up to two guests at a time starting Monday, January 31, as long as both are active CUID holders from any of the four colleges. The full text of the email from Columbia College and Columbia Engineering outlining dorm policy can be found below.

Update made on Thursday, February 3 at 8:26 pm: Given Barnard’s low COVID-19 positivity rates, residential students can now host up to two BC/CU ID holders as guests, starting Monday, February 7, according to an email from Dean Grinage. The total number of people in a room or suite cannot exceed double the occupancy limit. The full text of the email can be found below.

Email from University COVID-19 Director Donna Lynne to Columbia Students on Saturday, January 29, at 4:36 pm: 

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

We would like to start by acknowledging our faculty, staff and students who have been on campus and to welcome our students and others who are returning to campus for the Spring semester.

We would like to share with you updates on our January 5th message regarding Columbia University COVID-19 policies and procedures.  We continue to observe reassuring data on the effectiveness of vaccines and boosters in the prevention of severe illness and hospitalizations and to note consistent overall favorable COVID-19 situation in our City and campuses. As such, below are adjustments to our gatherings and visitor policies.  

Beginning on the dates noted, the following types of gatherings (which may include CU and non-CU affiliates) will be permitted:

  • February 1, 2022: Academic, research and administrative gatherings are allowed with no capacity restrictions
  • February 7, 2022: Social gatherings are allowed with no capacity restrictions
  • February 14, 2022: Eating/drinking onsite (indoors or outdoors) is allowed at gatherings with minimizing of removal of masks

For attendees of any of the above types of gatherings who are not CU affiliates, such individuals would be required to follow the visitor policy and must have proof of vaccination and booster as well as comply with other Columbia University safety protocols.  Individual schools or departments are expected to ensure vaccine/booster compliance when such visitors are invited. 

As a reminder, masking indoors at Columbia will continue through March 31.  We strongly recommend wearing of masks even outdoors when in crowded settings.

As always, we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic status in the New York City metro area and among our affiliates and may make necessary changes to protect the safety of our campus.  


Donna Lynne

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC

University COVID Director

Gerry Rosberg

Senior Executive Vice President

Email from Dean Leslie Grinage and Vice President of Health and Wellness Marina Catallozzi to Barnard Students on Thursday, January 27, at 3:07 pm: 

Dear Students,

Welcome back and we hope that your first two weeks of the semester have gone smoothly. While we know the start to the semester has been somewhat restrictive, we are so pleased to see that the policies and procedures that we’ve had in place for the start of Spring 2022 have made a huge difference in keeping COVID cases within our community low. In addition, because we are also seeing a decrease in cases around New York, we will begin to make some changes:

As of lunch tomorrow, Friday, January 28, we will resume in-person dining. More details can be found on the website and in this week’s 411 newsletter.
More students will be returning to campus this weekend before in-person classes resume on Monday. As such, we will be watching our testing results carefully next week. If the numbers steadily remain low, the week of February 7th, we will adjust guest access restrictions, once again allowing valid BC/CU ID holders in the residence halls.
Once guest restrictions are adjusted, please be reminded of the following guest limits:Students may host one guest at a time, and the total number of guests in a room or suite shall not exceed double its assigned occupancy. For example, a suite of four residents shall not exceed a total of eight people in the space at one time (four residents, four guests).

We recognize that the slow and steady approach may be trying, but we are confident that our collective actions will allow us to open up more in the weeks to come and continue to enjoy a vibrant Spring semester on campus.

Wishing you well,

Leslie Grinage

Dean of the College

Marina Catallozzi, MD, MSCE

Vice President of Health and Wellness, Chief Health Officer

Email sent to Columbia students from ​​Columbia College and Columbia Engineering on Thursday, January 27, at 8:22 pm: 

Please take a moment to review the following reminders and familiarize yourself with all Spring 2022 COVD-19 policy updates.

Upload Your Booster Documentation 

Please upload documentation and details for your required booster shot as soon as possible. The deadline to receive your booster, if eligible, is January 31, 2022.

Gateway Testing & Positive Test Reporting 

Remember, gateway testing is mandatory for all Columbia University students and we encourage you to schedule yours as early as possible.

  • Students returning to their residence hall: You must complete an initial covid test, via Columbia Health, the first business day after you arrive on campus. A second gateway test will be required five to seven days later.
  • Students living off-campus: You will be required to complete an initial covid test, via Columbia Health, within 72 hours of your return to campus.
  • Students already on campus: If you have not tested with Columbia Health, schedule an appointment ASAP – followed by your second gateway test five to seven days later.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days, and have not reported your results to Columbia Health, follow these instructions to upload your test results and fulfill your gateway requirements. Students who fail to report a positive test result will receive a RedPass.

Updates on Guest and Visitor Policy

We are pleased to announce that the residential community restrictions put in place two weeks ago are being adjusted effective at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, January 31.
  • Guests – Residential students may sign in and host up to two enrolled students (Barnard, General Studies, or graduate student) as guests.
    • Guests must be currently enrolled and have an active CUID.
    • Only two guests are allowed at a time and may only visit their host’s room or suite. 
    • Non-affiliates continue to be prohibited from entering Columbia residences
  • Commuter Access – CC/SEAS commuters who applied and were approved for residential access will have swipe access into all residence halls.
  • Residence Hall Access – All CC/SEAS students in residence will continue to be able to swipe into all residence halls

Daily Attestation & ReOpenCU App 

As the gateway period comes to a close, and in-person instruction returns next week, remember to get back in the habit of completing your daily symptom attestation via the ReOpenCU app.

We appreciate your continued participation as we work to maintain the safety of our community

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering

Email sent to Barnard students from Dean Grinage on Thursday, February 3 at 3:01 pm:

Dear Students,

I have enjoyed seeing many of you this week as you returned to in-person classes. I am always grateful for the energy you bring to campus, including the building of a few snow people on the lawn! As we continue into the Spring semester, I write to share a COVID-19 policy update and other upcoming programming.

I am happy to share an update to our policy regarding guests in the residence halls. Effective Monday, Feb. 7, residential students may host 1-2 BC/CU ID holder guests at a time, although the total number of people in the room or suite cannot exceed double the occupancy limit. For example, a suite of four residents may not exceed a total of eight people in the space at one time. Roommates and suitemates should communicate with one another to determine how to host guests without exceeding the allowed amount. Your adherence to our COVID-19 safety protocols has made this change possible at this time, and I thank you for your continued attention to these necessary measures.

If you walked past Futter Field on Monday morning, you had the chance to grab a complimentary pastry and hot beverage on your way to class. Keep an eye out for more food events on campus each week this semester, including snacks tomorrow afternoon in the Diana Lobby! We’ll also be having a meet and greet in the coming weeks with Dylan Kapit ’16 (they/them), our new LGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator. If you’d like to meet Dylan before then, you can also stop by Milbank 115.

It seems that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday and we’re in for six more weeks of winter, but I know that is nothing we can’t handle. I look forward to seeing you in the weeks ahead, and to brighter and warmer days as the semester progresses!


Dean Grinage

Columbia via Bwarchives