Columbia University released updated plans for COVID-19 safety protocols this afternoon, including classroom masking through September.

This afternoon, CUIMC Senior Vice President Provost Mary C. Boyce, Chief Operating Officer and University COVID Director Donna Lynne, and Senior Executive Vice President Gerald Rosberg announced Columbia University’s COVID-19 policies for the Fall 2022 semester. 

Masking is required in classrooms and clinical-related settings and is strongly recommended for indoor gatherings through the end of September “to allow a smooth return to the classroom.” Masking is also required on Columbia-operated shuttles. While the administration “anticipate[s] lifting this requirement,” this change is contingent upon public health conditions. This continues Columbia’s masking policies from Spring 2022 for indoor and classroom settings. 

Columbia recommends all students to test 72 hours prior to their arrival. Students who test positive before leaving should postpone their arrival and notify Students who test positive while on campus should follow CDC isolation guidelines and also notify Close contacts should mask for ten days and test on their fifth day. New students and university affiliates are also required to sign an updated Columbia Community Compact, available on Reopen CU and in first year and worker orientation sessions.

The existing vaccination, attestation, and gathering policies will continue through the Fall 2022 semester. Full-semester visitors and university affiliates must be fully vaccinated and have received a booster. Other visitors must have received their primary vaccine series but are not required to have received their booster. Affiliates are not required to fill out their daily symptom attestation, per March 2022 policy changes. Lastly, there are no restrictions on indoor gatherings, except in clinical-related settings.

The full text of the email can be found below.

Email from Senior Executive Vice President Gerald Rosberg sent to students on Monday, August 15, at 2:32 pm:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

We are looking forward to the upcoming fall semester.  For the past two and a half years, we have been focused on keeping our campus safe, while maintaining the vibrancy that is a hallmark of the Columbia learning and social environment.  The fully in-person teaching environment helps us support these goals.  Based on the metrics that we use to gauge the prevalence of COVID-19, current conditions are improving.

We greatly appreciate all you have done to keep the campus safe.  You have helped to create a fully vaccinated community, and the protection offered by vaccines and booster doses allowed us means that while we are likely to continue to see COVID-19 cases, the risk for severe illness is considerably lower.  Our compliance with masking and other public health protocols has allowed us to a return to many of our regular activities.  Given this success, we are able to further relax our campus protocols, even as we remain mindful that COVID-19 is still a very real presence in our community and around the world.

The following are highlights of our fall policies:

COVID-19 Testing.  Testing is strongly recommending for students in the 72 hours prior to arrival on campus.  Similarly, it is strongly recommended for faculty and staff who have not been on campus or who have been travelling domestically or internationally.  Testing is available at community locations throughout New York City and elsewhere.  In addition, at-home tests are also widely available. 

Persons with a positive test should delay their arrival to campus and notify  Persons who test positive when they are already on campus should also provide this notification and follow isolation guidelines per the CDC.  Anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day five.  Health care personnel should check the CDC website for their specific interim isolation and quarantine guidelines.  Routine surveillance testing is not required for any Columbia affiliates, although we are still conducting wastewater surveillance in the undergraduate residences. Finally, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home, mask and take other precautions, including getting tested and seeking further assessment.

Columbia Community Compact. New students, faculty and staff will be required to sign an updated version of the Columbia Community Compact.  This is available via Reopen CU, as well as in orientation sessions and in local workplaces.  Current affiliates do not need to sign this new version.

Gatherings and Meetings.  There are no restrictions on social gatherings on or off campus, except for those in clinical-related settings including in clinical research contexts, where indoor masking requirements remain in place.

Masking.  Masking in all classrooms will be required through September 30th to allow a smooth return to the classroom; we anticipate lifting this requirement unless public health conditions indicate otherwise.  Masking in indoor settings in clinical and clinical research areas, and other human subjects research as well as field research will be required.  Masking is also required on Columbia-operated shuttles.  Otherwise, masking is strongly recommended in all indoor settings.

Symptom Attestation.  We no longer require any faculty, staff, students or visitors to conduct daily attestation but expect that everyone will take necessary precautions to stay home as noted in the COVID-19 testing section.

Travel.  There are no COVID-related restrictions on personal or Columbia-related travel; however, we urge caution when traveling to countries with CDC Travel Health Notice Level 3 or 4 or “Level Unknown,” and International Travel Planning Policy requirements remain. Updated fall travel guidance can be found here.

Vaccination.  All Columbia faculty, staff and students are required to have their primary series and one booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Students should ensure that evidence of primary and booster vaccination is uploaded as soon as possible to the appropriate student health portal to prevent a registration hold or deregistration.

Visitors.  Visitors of a full-semester duration (e.g. fall 2022) must meet the above vaccine and booster mandate.  All other visitors, including vendors, must meet the primary series mandate.

The Columbia community has risen to the challenges of the past two years.  We look forward to continuing to restore all the regular routines of campus life, and we will remain vigilant, tracking changes in COVID-19 conditions and adjusting our policies accordingly.

Thank you.

Mary C. Boyce


Donna Lynne

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC

University COVID Director 

Gerry Rosberg

Senior Executive Vice President

COVID-19 testing sign in Lerner via Bwog Archives