Your COVID-19 Questions, Mask Information, Resources and Volunteer Opportunities for You

April 03, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you have found moments of inspiration and reprieve this week amidst the stress and challenges in our nation and our world. I am glad to share that we had a great turnout for our first virtual fitness event and that many students are participating in online activities, groups and community spaces (more below).

This message contains important information about bias incidents, COVID-19 questions, masks, health insurance, library access, volunteer opportunities, Columbia health and well-being resources and coping tools.

Bias Incidents
With the onset of COVID-19, we have seen an increase in bias directed at Chinese and other Asian and Asian American members of our community in New York City and elsewhere. I want to underscore how contrary this is to our core University values of inclusion, belonging and respect for each other’s common humanity. 

If you have experienced bias or have concerns, please contact your dean of students. You can also report incidents of discrimination or harassment through Student Conduct and Community Standards, or join Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS)’s Virtual Support Space for Coping with Racial and Ethnic Bias During a Pandemic on Mondays @ 6 PM from April 6 to May 11, and Tuesdays @ noon from April 7 to May 12.

I also want to recognize how supportive many of you have been for each other, treating your classmates, friends and families, with the kindness and concern that is essential during these difficult times.  

COVID-19 Questions
We know that many of you have questions about COVID-19 — about public health implications, the trajectory of the disease, and what this means for your health and the health of others. We invite you to submit your questions here for our upcoming University Life virtual forum featuring Columbia public health and medical experts.

You may have read that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might recommend that everyone in the U.S. wear a mask when in public. Although this is not now an official CDC recommendation, you can make your own mask by using a piece of fabric (such as a clean t-shirt or cloth napkin) to cover your nose and mouth. Watch this simple instructional video for tips.

Of course, don’t forget to follow basic precautions, including washing your hands frequently with soap and water, not touching your face with unwashed hands, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily, and staying home if you’re not feeling well.

Health Insurance
If you have recently lost or are about to lose health insurance via an employer or parent plan, you may be eligible to enroll in the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan. Timing and other restrictions apply, so please reach out at the earliest opportunity to [email protected] (Morningside) or [email protected] (CUIMC) for more information and to see if you may be eligible to join the Columbia Plan. Friendly reminder: If you are graduating, the plan still covers you until August 14, 2020.

Columbia Libraries
A quick update that you can now access 40% of the Libraries’ print collection online! If you need help, contact the Ask-a-Librarian service, which has extended service hours for the rest of the semester.    

Volunteer Opportunities
Scroll down to the end of this message!

Easy-Access Resources and Information
At the end of this email, you’ll find a list of student resources and volunteer opportunities, but first, here’s a quick guide for medical, mental health and domestic/sexual violence response services:

  • To reach a medical professional, call 212-854-7426 (Morningside) or 212-305-3400, option 7 (CUIMC).
  • To reach a mental health professional, call 212-854-2878 (Morningside) or 212-305-3400, option 7 (CUIMC).
  • To reach Sexual Violence Response (all campuses), call 212-854-HELP/4357.

Coping Tools

As always, Columbia remains deeply committed to your well-being. Please be sure to make use of the resources below whenever you need them, and write to us at [email protected] with your questions and suggestions.

In community,

Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg
Executive Vice President for University Life
Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law  

See below for COVID-19 information, Columbia Health and Well-Being Resources, and Volunteer Opportunities  

Information About COVID-19

Virtual Health and Well-being Resources: Morningside
Columbia Health offers the following services (with 24/7 phone lines noted below). Visit the Columbia Health website for operating hours and more information.

Virtual Health and Well-being Resources: Medical Center Campus

For all other questions or concerns, write to [email protected], or visit CUIMC Student Health Service for more information.

Additional University-wide Student Resources (Morningside and CUIMC)

Volunteer Opportunities
The following volunteer opportunities have been identified in response to student requests for opportunities to help our community, though please know that Columbia has not formally vetted the organizations and programs included on this list. Thank you for wanting to support those impacted by COVID-19.