Dear Members of the TC Community,
As we approach the beginning of TC’s summer term on May 3, we write to update you on important information related to campus safety and access as well as vaccine access and distribution. As previously communicated, for both summer 2021 sessions, the College will continue to offer courses primarily online, with some exceptions, and maintain remote operations for non-essential employees.
Summer 2021 Gateway Test Requirement for Campus Access
Testing continues to be a key component of the College’s response to the pandemic and helps us identify COVID-19 cases and monitor the prevalence of the virus within our community. Effective May 17th, 2021, a NEW gateway COVID-19 PCR test is required for all students, faculty, staff, and affiliates accessing the Teachers College campus and other facilities. This test must be taken on or after May 1st, 2021. This includes essential staff and individuals who have visited campus during the Spring 2021 term and who previously complied with the campus access requirements. Essential staff should work with their managers to coordinate testing at Columbia Health.
Access to the Teachers College campus via the Daily Health Screen questionnaire and TC ID card will only be permitted for those students, faculty, staff, and affiliates who submit a NEW test by May 17, 2021. For those who complete a new PCR test after May 17, 2021, campus access will be reinstated within 24 hours of submission of a negative gateway test. If you visited campus during the spring term and completed all health and safety requirements, campus access will be allowed while awaiting the summer term gateway test results. A negative test result is required prior to your return to campus.
We encourage you to plan ahead and schedule a test in advance. To find a testing site near you, visit nyc.gov/COVIDtest or Text COVID TEST to 855-48. For other testing locations in the tri-state area, visit TC’s COVID-19 Testing Procedures page. Testing is free of charge at New York State testing sites or covered by your health insurance provider if you have a physician’s referral, had exposure to COVID-19, or are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or if a health screening determines you should be tested.
All individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are still required to complete all campus access requirements, including the Daily Health Screening, COVID-19 Test requirement, and the COVID-19 Health and Safety Training. While we are making progress, the risks from COVID-19 remain:
- New York State currently has the seventh highest national COVID-19 rate
- New York City’s virus positivity rate continues to be greater than 5%
- Researchers continue to follow variants' impact on COVID-19 spread in New York City
As the semester winds down, it may be tempting to let our guards down, but it is critical that we continue to practice protective behaviors and keep ourselves and our surrounding communities safe.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
Currently, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in New York State.
As you may have heard, U.S. federal, New York State, and New York City vaccination sites have paused the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals who have an upcoming appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on a future date are advised to contact the vaccine site where they are scheduled to receive the vaccine. The other two authorized vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, comprise the majority of COVID-19 shots administered in the U.S. and are not affected by the pause.
Please be advised that Columbia’s vaccine supply is still limited and subject to distribution from the City and State. While the University is working to make sure vaccines are available to affiliates, it may be several weeks before the supply meets the demand. In the interim, you may wish to pursue vaccinations at other sites by visiting COVID-19 Vaccine Finder or the New York State website for appointments elsewhere in the City or State.
There are several ways to make an appointment online at Columbia locations. Please remember that supply is limited and appointments are released periodically, so check these sites often:
- Morningside campus appointments can be made through Columbia Health. You can book an appointment via the scheduling section of the Columbia Health Patient Portal. All appointments are considered tentative and subject to vaccine availability.
- CUIMC and other locations appointments can be made via Vaccinetogetherny.org or through your Connect account (if you use ColumbiaDoctors providers). The locations include: the Armory at 169th and Fort Washington Avenue and 650 W 168th Street. As of April 13th, appointments will also be available at 51 West 51st Street, and on April 20th, at 2702 Broadway.
We also encourage you to check Columbia’s COVID-19 website for updates.
Flu Vaccine Updates for Students
In accordance with Columbia Health, TC is no longer requiring the flu vaccination for student access on either campus. With the low levels of flu seen in the United States, and the continuing preventative behaviors associated with COVID-19 offering flu protections, as of April 14, 2021, TC has ended the seasonal flu vaccine requirement for students to access campus. TC's Daily Health Screening reflects this change and students are no longer required to provide their flu immunization documentation to access campus. Students with questions should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information regarding campus access requirements, including completing a COVID-19 PCR test, can be found on the Campus Life During COVID-19 section of the TC Preparedness site. You can also continue to reference the COVID-19 vaccination information section regarding vaccine access and distribution.
We wish to express our appreciation to the individuals serving on the COVID-19 Working Group for Summer and Fall 2021 for their continued efforts to keep the College safe and thriving in these uncertain times.
Vice President for Administration
Co-Chair, COVID-19 Working Group
Vice President for Finance and Operations
Co-Chair, COVID-19 Working Group