FAQs for Academic Year 2020/21

Last Updated:

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April 16, 2021 at 2:00 PM

This page provides helpful information for students invited to live in Columbia Housing for Academic Year 2020/21.

The Guide to Living remains the central source of information and policies for living in the residence halls and has been updated to reflect changes due to COVID-19. Additionally, the University's COVID-19 Resource website is a source of information.

*Please be advised that information here is subject to change as health guidance and University plans are updated.*

HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE RESIDENCE HALLS

Students in residence are required to follow public health guidance, which includes wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, ensuring frequent hand washing, participating in the mandatory testing program, and limiting the size of social gatherings. Students will be expected to agree to the Columbia University Compact

No. Residents may not sign-in or host guests, including Columbia students living in another residence hall, Columbia students living off-campus, family members or significant others.

Students are encouraged to socialize outdoors while practicing physical distancing or by using technological tools.

As stated above in the visitor question, students may not sign-in or host guests. In addition, students are encouraged to limit social gatherings in their room and are expected to comply with University and public health guidance when gathering. This includes maintaining 6 feet of physical distance and wearing a face covering.

Students are encouraged to socialize outdoors while practicing physical distancing or by using technological tools.

Residence hall lounges are open, but restricted based on reduced capacity requirements. Lounges are to be used by residents of that building only.

No. Residential hall lounges are restricted to building residents only.

Laundry rooms are open, but students are asked to follow capacity requirements and public health guidance, including wearing a face covering.

Columbia University Facilities and Operations has stringent cleaning standards and procedures in place. Learn more about these cleaning protocols and other enhancements made on campus.

In the residence halls, Facilities and Operations custodial teams have increased cleaning schedules in common spaces, including communal bathrooms in corridor buildings. In order to eliminate unnecessary traffic into private spaces, custodial staff do not clean in-suite or shared bathrooms. Students assigned to suite style buildings are provided with cleaning supplies so that they can clean their bathrooms.

Following city, state, and federal guidance, residence hall occupancy is designed so that bathrooms are shared by a minimum number of students, following a ratio of 4 students to 1 bathroom fixture or less where possible. Capacities is clearly posted for students using communal restrooms. Students have assigned bathrooms to ensure access without crowding.

Maximum capacities are displayed for all elevators. Students are encouraged to use the stairs whenever able.

Columbia Housing and Columbia Health have identified a residence hall that will be used for safe isolation of any resident who becomes ill. As residential students will be assigned single rooms, in many cases, quarantine (when a student has potentially been exposed, but is not ill) can occur in their current residential space. Learn more about the protocols in place for isolation, quarantine and care for undergraduate students.

Columbia Dining is available, though the format of service has changed to ensure physical distancing and minimize contact in the dining halls. Expect the same quality food you know and love from Columbia Dining, but more grab-and-go options. Learn more on the Dining website.

All students, including those living off campus, will be asked to abide by the Columbia Community Health Compact. Every member of the community has a responsibility to follow through this commitment and will be held accountable for doing so.

It is the expectation that all members of our community follow health and hygiene practices outlined in the University’s Enhanced Health & Safety Policy to help protect individuals in the Columbia community and our neighbors. If you observe non-adherence to safety protocols, e.g., not wearing a mask, large gatherings, etc., you may submit a report using the resources outlined on the COVID-19 Resource website.

UPDATED: TRAVEL & QUARANTINE

Students who are new to campus for Summer Term: Students who are new to campus for Summer Term (i.e., were not on campus for Spring Term) will be required to quarantine until a negative gateway test result has been confirmed. Gateway testing must be completed through Columbia Health.

Students who were on campus for Spring Term: There is no gateway testing/gateway quarantine requirement for students who lived on campus for Spring Term.

Travel-based quarantine requirements are determined by New York State. University updates based on evolving requirements can be found on the University COVID-19 website.

Per the New York State Travel Advisory, all travelers from non-contiguous states and abroad must complete the Traveler Health Form upon entering New York. Travelers who leave the airport without completing the form will be subject to a $10,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine. Travelers coming to New York through other means of transport, including trains and cars, must fill out the form online.

Students who are required to quarantine will be required to stay in their assigned room for 2-10 days, starting at Check-In. Students on a Dining Plan will have meals delivered to the building. Students not on a Dining Plan should make arrangements to have food delivered to the building lobby. Students who do not have private bathrooms (i.e. in buildings with shared bathrooms) will have full access to assigned restrooms but are expected to take precautions to limit their exposure. This includes, but is not limited to, wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet of physical distance from floormates, and refraining from socializing in the restrooms and hallways.

Medical support through Columbia Health will be provided to all students in quarantine, as needed:

  • Medical check-ins.
  • Psychological support (access to individual counseling and virtual support spaces)
  • Communication with point of contact in school (Dean of Students) to provide academic materials and study support for students in isolation.
  • Coordination of other services for students.

During this time, students are not permitted to:

  • Leave their room, unless to use the restroom or for medical reasons
  • Enter another resident’s room
  • Use building amenities like laundry facilities or lounges

Find more information on the University's COVID-19 website.

Students are encouraged to bring enough clean laundry to cover the 2-10-day precautionary quarantine. Students observing quarantine are not permitted to use the building laundry facilities during this time.

GUARANTEED HOUSING & SPECIAL LIVING OPTIONS

Guaranteed Housing

If you remain enrolled full-time and choose to live off-campus, you will maintain your guaranteed housing status and can participate in Room Selection in March 2021.    

Yes. If you take a voluntary leave, you will lose your guaranteed housing status and will not be eligible to participate in Room Selection in March 2021.

No, only students with guaranteed housing will be eligible to request to live on campus based on the University plan.

Special Living Options

Yes. The Columbia Housing team will ensure your accommodation is taken into consideration when making assignments. 

Unfortunately, there is not a Barnard-Columbia exchange this year.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer SIC or FSL Housing at this time.

ROOM ASSIGNMENTS

Room assignments for upperclass students (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are determined through Room Selection, an annual process during which current undergraduate students select on-campus housing for the following academic year. The Room Selection process is proceeding as if we will be reunited on campus for the fall semester. However, on-campus housing decisions are subject to state, city, and University guidance and may change as public health recommendations evolve. Learn more about the process and find answers to frequently asked questions on the Room Selection page.

Columbia Housing is open with reduced occupancy for academic year 2020-21.

Only students approved for the full academic year housing are living on campus during the Fall Term.

The University is opening additional spaces for Spring Term to offer single rooms to all seniors enrolled in Columbia College and The School of Engineering and Applied Science. Depending on campus density considerations, housing may be offered to some juniors at Columbia College and Engineering.

Students who wish to return to campus in the spring need to register their intent through their school. Registering your intent to return does not guarantee that you will be approved for housing as only a limited number of spaces are available.

Please be advised that this may change as the situation and health guidance are updated.

It was determined that the campus population must be reduced. Only those students granted exceptions for the full academic year due to personal or academic circumstances were approved to live in Columbia Housing for the Fall Term.

The University is opening additional spaces for Spring Term with priority given to seniors and students with special circumstances.

Yes, students who have been approved for residential housing for the Spring Term may submit their preferences with this form by 5 p.m. on December 4. You will have the option to rank your building preferences and to submit the names of three students with whom you would like to share a suite or be placed in the same building.

As assignments are determined, Columbia Housing will consider building and suitemate preferences if possible. Requests will be evaluated but cannot be guaranteed.

Room assignments for the Spring Term were sent on December 10. If you are required to quarantine, you will also receive a separate quarantine assignment at Check-In. Please be advised that this may change as the situation and health guidance are updated.

Room assignments are determined based on a number of factors, most importantly public health guidelines to ensure physical distancing in student rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and lounges. Students are assigned to single rooms. Only a certain number of students are assigned per floor depending on building style. Ultimately, your health and safety while living in the residence halls is our main priority.   

No. For students living on campus, there will not be an appeal process for assignments due to the complexity of housing students according to the set public health guidelines.

Where possible, suite-style living will still be available in the upcoming academic year, though with fewer students allowed in each suite. Given the complexities of assigning space in the residence halls around physical distancing requirements, this will not be possible for everyone. 

View fees for the full academic year and Spring Term.

Students approved for housing for the academic year must cancel their request to live on campus for the Spring Term via the Housing Portal by December 17 in order to avoid fees and/or have their Housing fees refunded.

International students who are approved and assigned housing, but find later that they have travel or visa issues will not be assessed a cancellation fee.

Yes. Columbia Housing will make a reasonable effort to keep full year students in the same room assignment. Please be advised that this may change as the situation and health guidance are updated.

UPDATED: CHECK-OUT

Check-out dates for Fall and Spring Terms can be found in the Housing calendar.

Information regarding the Check-Out process can be found under the Current Students menu on our website.

Interim Housing 

Students who lived on campus for Spring Term and who were approved to live on campus for Summer Term are eligible for Spring Interim Housing. The Spring Interim period is between the end of Spring Term and the start of Summer Term A. Learn more about Interim Housing, including how to apply and fees, in the Interim Housing section of the Summer Term tab. 

Check-Out and Relocation 

Columbia Housing cannot guarantee that students will stay in their Spring Term assignment. Assignments for Summer Term will be announced in mid-April. If you are required to relocate, you will need to check out of your Spring Term assignment through the Housing Portal and relocate to your Spring Interim/Summer Term assignment. 

Check-Out and relocation dates are on the Housing Calendar. Review the Summer Term tab to learn more about assignments and the Check-In process.  

Yes. Blue bins will be available during Check-Out. More information is available on the Check-Out page.

To ensure appropriate physical distancing, only one guest can accompany a student into the residence hall at a time. All guests must sign-in with Public Safety when entering the residence halls.

In the interest of safety, we encourage you to bring as few guests to campus as possible to facilitate your Check-Out.

Full details on the Check-Out process are available on the Check-Out page. All students must complete Web Check-Out via the Housing portal prior to leaving their rooms for the winter break.

You may contract the storage vendor to pack your belongings. Submit the Vendor Access Request Form so that Housing can provide your storage vendor with access to your building and room.. 

Carboard boxes are available upon request at the Hartley Hospitality Desk

Residents are financially responsible for any damages, missing items, or unsatisfactory conditions in their room. More information is available on the Check-Out page and in the Damage and Vandalism information in the Guide to Living.

Submit a Service Request for all damages to your room prior to leaving for the winter break.

Late Check-Outs are not permitted. Fees may be assessed if you do not check out before the stated deadlines on the Housing Calendar. Please review the Check-Out page in the Guide to Living to learn more. 

NEW: SUMMER TERM

ELIGIBILITY & ASSIGNMENTS

Students are eligible to apply for summer housing if they enroll full-time in summer courses with at least 6 credits and have guaranteed housing status. Priority will be granted to certain groups. Learn more on the Columbia College website.

No, campus housing will not be offered for students enrolled only in Summer B. For additional information, see the Columbia College website.

No, due to space constraints, students will not have the ability to submit a request for specific building or suitemates. However, we will assign rooms based on class standing and availability and anticipate housing students of the same class together.

The deadline to submit suite/floormate preferences has passed. Please remember that assignments will be made based on class standing and length of summer enrollment. You will likely be placed in the same building as your class.

Room assignments for summer will be shared in mid-April, pending confirmation of summer course registration.

Room assignments are based on a number of factors, most importantly public health guidelines to ensure physical distancing in student rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and lounges. Students are assigned to single rooms. Only a certain number of students are assigned per floor depending on building style. Ultimately, your health and safety while living in the residence halls is our main priority. In addition, we will assign rooms based on class standing and terms of enrollment, and anticipate housing students of the same class together.

Columbia Housing cannot guarantee that students will stay in their Spring Term assignment. Where feasible, we will keep students in their current rooms. However, for health and safety purposes, all students need to be placed in air-conditioned buildings or in rooms where window units can be installed. In addition, some buildings will need to be closed over the summer for routine maintenance work. For those reasons, most students will be assigned to a new building.

Non-seniors will move on April 27 and seniors will move on May 1.

Yes, all students living in campus housing for the summer will be in air-conditioned buildings or will have window units installed in their room. 

Please visit the Rate Structure page to learn more.

Students may cancel their request to live on campus for the Summer Term via the Housing Portal up until April 26 at 11:59 pm with no fee. Following that time, cancellation fees for returning students will be assessed. Please review the Cancellation page in the Guide to Living to learn more about late cancellation fees and the cancellation procedure. 

No, interim periods are priced separately from summer housing. Review the Interim Housing section below or visit the Rate Structure page to learn more. 

If space permits, on-campus housing may be available for those students. Updates will be shared if this is confirmed.

CHECK-IN

Students new to campus will be assigned a Check-In time on Thursday, April 29 or Friday, April 30. Students will receive their assigned Check-In appointment time in mid-April, along with other steps required for Check-In, including scheduling the COVID-19 gateway test.

If you are assigned to a new building, you will be required to complete a simplified Check-In process on a day designated for current students. The simplified Check-In process will not include a gateway testing step; students who were on campus for Spring Term will not be required to complete a summer gateway test through Columbia Health. However, current students will need to continue twice-weekly COVID-19 testing.

TESTING & QUARANTINE

Students who are new to campus

Yes, all students who are new to campus for Summer Term will be required to complete a gateway test through Columbia Health during the Check-In process.

Students who were on campus for Spring Term

No, students who were on campus for Spring Term do not need to complete a gateway test. However, you will be required to continue the twice weekly testing through Columbia Health.

Please be advised that information related to travel and quarantine is subject to change as state and local health guidance and University plans are updated.

Students who are new to campus

Yes, all students will need to quarantine pending the result of their gateway test. Students should follow updates to other travel quarantine requirements outlined in the New York State Travel Advisory.

Students who were on campus for Spring Term

Students who were on campus for Spring Term do not need to complete a gateway test. Students who travel between Spring and Summer Terms should follow updates to travel quarantine requirements outlined in the New York State Travel Advisory.

INTERIM HOUSING

Interim housing applies to the days between the end of one term and the beginning of the next, i.e., between the end of Spring Term and the start of Summer Term A. These periods are priced separately from summer housing and apply during the following periods:

  • Spring Interim Housing is between Spring Term and Summer Term A, April 27 – May 3
  • Summer Interim Housing is between Summer Terms A and B, June 21 – 28 
  • Fall Interim Housing is between Summer Term B and Fall Term, August 16 – September 4

All interim housing is priced separately from summer housing. Please visit the Rate Structure page to learn more.

Visit the Rate Structure page to learn more.

If you are eligible for either of the optional interim periods, you will be able to apply through the Housing Portal. Requests for Spring Interim Housing can be submitted with your Summer 2021 Housing Application and requests for Fall Interim Housing can be submitted with your Fall 2021 Housing Application.

LIFE ON CAMPUS

Campus will continue to operate under strict public health guidelines; any students on campus during the summer will be expected to adhere to the Columbia Community Health Compact, undergo regular COVID-19 testing and follow all guidelines required by the University. Please review the Health & Safety in the Residence Halls tab to learn more.

Columbia Dining will operate during Summer 2021 Term A and B. Learn more about the meal plan options and how to register on the Dining website.