New COVID-19 Update for Students (Sunday)

March 15, 2020

Dear Students,

As you know, the University now has its first confirmed case of COVID-19, and transmission in New York City is believed to be widespread. For these reasons, we have made significant additional changes across Columbia, as President Bollinger wrote this morning. This message tells you what this means for student life and student resources.

First, I want to recognize that these are extraordinarily stressful times for many of you. In just a week, it may seem that everything familiar has changed — online classes, housing for some of you, new health concerns, and a need to navigate social distance, even with your friends and family. We want to help you find ways to stay connected, safely, and also get the support you need.


The main point of this message is to make very clear that we ask and expect all students who are still on campus to follow social distancing guidelines at all times, and we encourage all other Columbia students to do so for the protection of yourselves and your friends and families. This means:

  • Do not gather in small spaces with poor ventilation.
  • Keep at least six feet between yourself and other people whenever possible.
  • Avoid handshakes, hugging and other close contact.
  • Do not share food and drink.

Also, we remind you of the simple prevention techniques that also reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds every time, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your face unless you recently washed your hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Please understand that if you do not do this, you may jeopardize your own health or increase risk to other people, particularly those who are more vulnerable. We know these changes are not easy. As we face this global health crisis together, I am certain that as members of this University community you will meet this difficult challenge with grace and good judgment.




The University has three sites to help you find information if you live on campus:


John Jay (Morningside) remains open for undergraduates for grab-and-go dining. The CUIMC student meal plan will continue to serve on the same schedule, with meals to go, as dining service is suspended.


Columbia’s fitness centers are closed. You will hear more from us about ways of keeping fit in these unprecedented times.

Columbia Health/CUIMC Student Health Service

Health care services will continue to be available to you virtually, with very limited in-person medical care. Please check the websites for up-to-date information.

  • Please note: If you have the Aetna Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan, you have national and international coverage. Please see here for more information, and contact Columbia Health and CUIMC Student Health Service for questions about referrals.    
  • Columbia Health (Medical Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Disability Services, Sexual Violence Response, Alice Health! Promotion)
  • CUIMC Student Health Service (Medical Services, Mental Health Service, Center for Student Wellness)

Additional Student Services

Student services are available to you for virtual support and other assistance. You can find more information on these websites:

Public Safety

Public Safety personnel continue to be on all of our campuses to support your safety and security.

Our Virtual Campus Community

Staying connected is more important than ever. University Life online activities are coming soon.

With my great appreciation for your continuing patience, flexibility and kindness to yourselves and one another as we navigate this quickly changing landscape together.

In community,

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

P.S. Here, again, are important resources for you: