Guidance for Employees Returning to the Law School During COVID-19

Law School Human Resources has compiled the latest public health and University guidance for employees who will be returning to the Law School campus in Spring 2021. If you have a question or concern that has not been addressed, please contact Law School Human Resources at

Last revised: March 10, 2021


For the safety of our community, everyone must comply with the following protocol before returning to campus:

  1. Read the University’s Enhanced Health and Safety Policy, which requires wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing, and following other public health policies.
  2. Sign the Columbia Health Contract, a reciprocal pledge of mutual responsibility and observance.
  3. Complete the University's Return-to-work Safety Training.
  4. Self-quarantine, if arriving or traveling from this list of designated states or territories.
  5. Schedule a COVID-19 Test prior to returning to campus. 
  6. Download the ReopenCU, the University's Symptom Self-check App (Instructions).

University Updates

Important Vaccine Updates

March 10, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to inform you of several recent significant changes with respect to vaccine availability.

  1. Columbia locations for the vaccine. Later this month, Columbia faculty, staff and students, who are eligible based on New York State criteria, will be able to get vaccinated at no out-of-pocket cost at one of four Columbia operated Manhattan locations.   Additional locations will be opening up later this spring.  The following locations will be opening later this month.
  • 630 W 168th Street
  • 2702 Broadway
  • 2920 Broadway (Lerner Hall)
  • 51 W 51 Street

Appointment scheduling will be announced in the coming week, and we are also planning additional outreach to eligible faculty, staff, and students.  Days and hours of operation will also be announced next week.  In the meantime, schedule your appointment at the Armory on 168th Street by going to or by scheduling at any city site.

  1. Expansion of eligible groups. This week there have been significant expansions in the definition of eligible groups.  These include persons age 60 and over and certain public-facing staff.  Faculty, staff and students should check their eligibility by going to
  2. Expansion of place of residence. The place of residence that is used as a criteria for administration of the vaccine has been changed to allow any location in New York State to vaccinate any eligible resident of New York State.  Previously, most locations in New York City could only vaccinate residents of New York City.  Students who meet other criteria in #2 who are temporary NYS residents due to attending school will be able to get the vaccine. However, faculty and staff who are residents of other states must get the vaccine in their states, unless they are in category 1a (patient facing).

We will continue to update you as we move ahead in the coming weeks.  Please check the Columbia University COVID-19 website, for updates.

Gerry Rosberg,  Senior Executive Vice President

Donna Lynne, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC and University COVID Director

Child Care Benefit -- 10 Days Available

March 01, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic shutdown, we recognize the ongoing struggles that many of us are facing on child care. The spring break period coming up in many school districts is likely to be even more challenging than usual.  The University has a limited pool of funding to help eligible employees pay for emergency child care during the upcoming spring break period. If you have children age 13 or under, please read the email below to determine whether or not this program may be of assistance to you.

Program Details:

Bright Horizons Crisis Care can provide a reimbursement of $100 per day, up to a maximum of 10 days, for out-of-pocket costs you incur when you experience a breakdown in your regular child care and need to secure in-home care (or additional care at a school or childcare center) from within your own personal network.  If the care for which you paid is provided by an individual outside your household—a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a familiar babysitter, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Reimbursement is not available for care provided by you or a member of your own household, including a spouse/partner.

The Crisis Care reimbursement program will be available March 15 – April 16, 2021. You may request reimbursement for any 10 days within this period of time. This program is only for expenses that are due to increased care needed as a result of COVID-related school or child care center closings or unanticipated hybrid/remote schooling. Use of Crisis Care reimbursement counts toward your 200 hours of Back-Up Care for the year and must be taken in a minimum of 4-hour increments.


  • Full-time Officers, Non-Union Support Staff, Union 2110 Staff.
  • Post-Docs - including Post-Doc Research Fellows, Research Scholars, and Research Scientists, regardless of eligibility for other University benefits.
  • Doctoral student, enrolled either full-time or part-time.
  • Teaching Fellows not in a Ph.D. program.
  • Have one or more dependents age 13 or under; this is a single benefit, regardless of the number of dependents in the household.
  • The benefit is per household; there is no doubling where two Columbia employees share responsibility for the care of one or more dependents in a single household.
  • A reimbursement request may not be made for care provided when you did not work.


  • If you have already registered with Bright Horizons, starting on March 15th you will see the option to request reimbursement on your personal log-in screen and should follow the directions at that time.
  • If you are not registered with Bright Horizons, follow the instructions on the Work/Life Website to register so that you can then access Crisis Care starting March 15th.
  • You may only submit a reimbursement request for up to 10 days total during this five-week period, not for any retroactive or prospective care needs.
  • Your reimbursement request must be submitted no later than the last day of the program, April 16, 2021. No reimbursements can be processed after this date.

You do not need to submit receipts to Bright Horizons, but please save them. Please make note of the date(s) and time used, and have the caregiver whom you paid sign the document. Columbia does not require any personally-identifying information for the caregiver, other than their name and signature.

Participation in the reimbursement program is subject to audit at any time to confirm guidelines were followed.

Please note that the regular Back-Up Care program is also available during this time period if you prefer to use in-network caregivers or child care centers. Those uses will remain subject to regular co-pays and are not reimbursable through Crisis Care.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Office of Work/Life at


Gerry Rosberg, Senior Executive Vice President 

Anil Rustgi, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine

Spring Term Covid-19 Testing Update

January 04, 2021

Dear Columbia Faculty, Staff, and Students: 

Thank you for your support of all the required safety protocols that have kept our campuses safe in 2020. With the number of COVID-19 cases in New York increasing, this is a reminder to all current faculty, staff, and students who have been on campus, as well as those newly arriving, regarding 2021 requirements. 

  • If you are a current faculty or staff member who accesses campus the only new requirement you have is to complete a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic gateway test between January 4-25; you may schedule your appointment on the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal. You are also strongly recommended, but not required, to have weekly tests thereafter. If you do not have weekly testing, you are also required to comply with random sampling tests when you are notified. 
  • If you are a current student who will access campus, you must complete the gateway test, and if you are an undergraduate living in University housing you must complete twice a week testing thereafter. Other students, i.e. undergraduates living off campus or graduate students, you may elect to have weekly tests thereafter. 
  • If you have had a positive test SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test within 90 days before January 25 and have either provided proof of the positive test (uploaded to the Columbia Health Online Patient Portal) or tested positive through the Columbia Health system, you should not have a gateway test until 90 days has passed since your initial positive test. A compliance file based on past positive tests will populate the ReOpen CU app during the gateway period for you, ensuring you are compliant with the gateway requirement. 
  • Only tests conducted through Columbia Health will meet the University requirement. Please schedule in advance as soon as possible as the appointment slots are already filling up. We have added sufficient appointment slots during the gateway testing period so as to enable all to get tested. If a given location, date, and time is preferred please check the portal periodically for cancellations. As a reminder testing at Morningside and CUIMC campuses is offered Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. excluding the January 18 holiday. 
  • If you are a new faculty, staff member or student, or are accessing campus for the first time, you must download the ReopenCU app which must be completed every day prior to accessing campus facilities.  You must sign the Columbia Compact and take the University required training for students or faculty/staff. Links to those two requirements are also found on the Reopen CU app. You are also required to obtain a gateway testing and related testing requirements, as mentioned above. 
  • If you have traveled outside New York State (NYS) over the break, you must comply with the NYS requirements regarding quarantine and SARS-CoV-2 testing requirements which are linked online
  • With limited exceptions, there are no in-person classes for the first two weeks of the Spring term. Anyone teaching or attending in-person classes must have completed their gateway test (with a negative test result) before entering a classroom. 

Your compliance with all of these requirements will not only keep our campuses safe, but will allow us to continue to engage in the University mission with regards to teaching, research, and service. Further details on the testing program can be found online.  

Finally, we are pleased to let you know that COVID-19 vaccine deployment is underway on the CUIMC campus for those with clinical roles, and we expect to be able to offer vaccination to all Columbia faculty, staff, and students in the coming months.  


Donna Lynne, DrPH,  Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Columbia University Irving Medical Center 

Melanie Bernitz, MD, MPH, Associate Vice President and Medical Director, Columbia Health and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine) 

Image of empty Columbia University campus
Columbia campus
Columbia University's COVID-19 Website

Access the latest COVID-19 related news and updates from Columbia University. 

JGH building
Columbia Law School's COVID-19 Resource Guide

Read about the Law School's latest updates and guidance for students and staff. 

stay healthy
Columbia's Enhanced Health and Safety Policy

Uphold and follow the University's Enhanced Health and Safety Policy to ensure the safety of yourself and others. 

COVID-19 Safety Training

Everyone working at the Law School must complete COVID-19 Safety Training before returning to campus. 

Covid testing
Schedule a COVID-19 Test

Prior to returning to campus, each individual must get tested. Schedule here. Review the FAQs on testing.

ReopenCU app
Download the ReopenCU App

As of June 22, 2020, all faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete a symptom self-check every day before they enter campus premises.


All employees must complete the following steps before entering campus for any reason

  1. Read the University’s Enhanced Health and Safety Policy, which requires wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing, and following other public health policies.
  2. Sign the Columbia Health Contract, a reciprocal pledge of mutual responsibility and observance.
  3. Complete the Return-to-work Training.
  4. Schedule a COVID-19 Test.
  5. Download and complete daily the COVID-19 Symptom Self-check App (Instructions).

Following the appropriate guidance if you have obtained a red “pass” after completing the ReopenCU symptom self-check app.

Law School employees should continue to work remotely unless they have been notified to return to campus by their supervisor and Law School Human Resources. 

All employees who have received permission to return to campus must follow the return to work protocols



If any employee needs to stop by campus for any reason, they should coordinate with their supervisor as well as Law School Human Resources to obtain permission. 

Every employee, regardless of visit purpose or duration, must follow the required protocols, which includes testing, before arriving to campus. 

Yes, all employees are required to get tested by Columbia Health prior to returning to campus for any reason. Beginning January 4, 2021, a NEW SARS-CoV-2 Gateway test was required for all faculty, staff, and students accessing Columbia campuses and other facilities. For more information, refer to the University's COVID-19 Testing Process.

All employees entering campus are also subject to the University's surveillance testing. 

All employees returning to campus must:

  • Wear a face covering over one’s nose and mouth at all times, except when alone in a private office or in an enclosed room with the door closed.
  • Keep at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) distance between oneself and other people whenever possible. 
  • Follow signage and guidance on use of campus spaces.
  • Stay home if not feeling well.
  • Follow workplace and shared-space hygiene.

Please familiarize yourself with the University's Enhanced Health and Safety Policy

No eating will be permitted in Law School buildings outside of designated spaces. You may consume beverages by pulling down, but not removing, your face covering. Water bottle refilling stations will remain available, but common amenities, such as microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee machines will not be accessible. 

Lenfest Cafe will sell food for grab-and-go service only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. Revson and Ancel Plazas, the Lenfest Cafe terrace, and the WJW 6th floor terrace (accessed via WJW 600) will all be available for outdoor dining for students. WJW Rooms 103 and 600 will be designated indoor spaces for students to eat. Please remember to maintain physical distance. Faculty and staff may eat in their private offices or in JGH 602. The Law School may designate other spaces, including Lenfest Cafe Lounge, if indoor dining becomes permissible in New York City. Food deliveries must be picked up outside; no delivery drivers will be permitted to enter our buildings. Catering orders and deliveries have been suspended until further notice. 

Consider following one of these suggestions to help keep Columbia safe. For further guidance, refer to the Enforcement Plan for the Enhanced Health and Safety Policy


For childcare solutions, please refer to the following resources:

If you require further support, please share your concerns with your supervisor and/or Law School Human Resources. 


Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and medicine as well as ICAP director at Columbia University, shows how to ride the New York City subway safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning September 9th, the University has expanded their shuttle service to provide service to four boroughs of New York City (excluding Staten Island), as well as select surrounding areas. Please refer to the Columbia Transportation Commuter Shuttle website and FAQs for additional information. The shuttle is cleaned and disinfected daily. 

Additionally, the Intercampus Shuttle will be making stops at 96th Street throughout the day, and Saturday service will be available following the Red Line.

Limited University parking may be available on campus for employees returning in the Fall 2020. In order to be considered, please email Law School Human Resources at with the requested dates. 

Columbia also offers an on-demand Evening Shuttle, powered by Via, that runs between 4 PM and 4 AM each night. For those interested in using Via outside of the Evening Shuttle service, Columbia affiliates can use the code 'CU2020' to unlock 20% off all private rides.

Please note: Commuting expenses are not eligible for University reimbursement. 

To access all Law School buildings, entrants must:

  • Be a Law School student, faculty, or staff member
  • Complete the daily symptom self-check and obtain a Green Pass via the ReopenCU App
  • Present and/or tap a valid CUID card

Beginning Tuesday, September 8, the operating hours and access protocols for the Law School’s buildings will be as follows. Please note that buildings will be closed to all, including with swipe access, outside of the designated open hours. 


law school building schedule