Fall 2021 FAQ

Teachers College Fall 2021 Return to Campus FAQs

As faculty, staff, and students return to campus, we know that you have many questions and concerns. We are working to respond to each of them and have consolidated the most frequently asked questions here.


Campus Access

No, campus access will be limited to the main entrance at the Zankel Building at 525 West 120th Street.  Limited access for TC ID holders only will be available through the West 120th Street driveway entrance.

Visitors

Yes, visitors are allowed on campus for the Fall 2021 semester. We are observing some restrictions regarding visitors in order to limit risk as Teachers College faculty, staff and students return to classrooms, workplaces and residences. For more information, read the current Visitor Policy.

Visitors to faculty and student residential buildings are allowed. These guests will be asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR COVID test dated within the last 7 days to the resident or Public Safety Officer if there is one present.  Residential Services guest passes are available for 2 or more days with a maximum of 7 consecutive days and may be obtained from the Office of Residential Services.  Guest passes are limited to individuals who provide proof of vaccination.  Guests must comply with all College and residential policies. Family members who accompany admitted students for the purpose of move-in during the beginning of the Fall semester will be able to access residential halls for limited periods of time during these activities and do not need to register with Public Safety. All individuals assisting with the move-in and out of students during the year will need to comply with all visitor health and safety protocols, including the College’s facial coverings requirements.

Also see Visitor Daily Health Screening on Daily Health Screening website.

Events, Meetings, and Indoor/Outdoor Gatherings

Teachers College has developed a Campus Events Policy outlining the parameters for hosting both internal and external meetings, events & gatherings on campus for the ‘21-’22 academic year. This policy is subject to change if/when circumstances related to COVID including updates in guidance from federal, New York State and City occur. Read the 2021-2022 Campus Events Policy

Face Coverings, PPE, and Physical Distancing

Yes. Face coverings are required for all persons entering campus and must be worn while in all campus spaces except alone in one’s office or cubicle, or residential unit.  While students are required to wear face coverings in the classrooms, the instructor has the option to not wear a face covering while teaching a class. Face coverings  are not required while actively eating in the cafeteria or anywhere else on campus. Please note that the College requires face coverings to meet certain standards, and certain kinds of face coverings are not permitted. Learn more about the College’s face covering policies here.

TC will not supply PPE for the general community. While all persons entering campus are required to wear a face covering, individuals should possess and maintain their own personal face coverings. In limited situations face coverings may be available from the Zankel Public Safety Desk for visitors who arrive on campus without a face covering.


PPE is being provided to students, faculty and staff involved in certain research functions, and for essential staff performing certain duties.  PPE distribution is pursuant to a Job Safety Analysis performed by the TC Environmental Health and Safety Team. To request a Job Safety Analysis or to request PPE please submit a request to the attention of the EHS Team at officeofpublicsafety@tc.columbia.edu.

Physical distancing requirements are no longer mandated by New York State or the federal CDC, and as such are no longer mandated on campus.  However, best practice recommendations include maintaining an awareness of social distancing in environments which may include individuals who are unvaccinated and/or without face coverings.

The College’s events policy and visitor policy take density issues into account and have been developed to help promote the ability to physically distance on campus per best practices.

Yes. Face coverings are required in almost all indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. All individuals on campus are expected to comply with the health & safety measures established by the College, including the use of face coverings. Any violations of this face covering policy should be reported to the nearest Public Safety Officer.

Human Resources

Staff should speak with their supervisors and department heads to discuss plans for their workspace. Department Heads should work with the Office of Facilities to make arrangements for any additional needs.

Departments will continue to have discretion to authorize remote work arrangements on a full or partial day/week schedule in accordance with the Telecommuting and Flexible Work Policy.

Departments began  a gradual return to on-campus work  on August 9th. Front-facing staff whose job duties include face-to-face interaction with students, regular participation in in-person meetings or interactions on campus, or office reception have transitioned back to working on campus. Expanded staffing will be coordinated to mitigate potential risks to our community and support the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve. Departments will continue to have discretion to authorize remote work arrangements on a full or partial day/week schedule in accordance with the Telecommuting and Flexible Work Policy.

Telecommuting arrangements for employees represented by local 2110 may be approved on a part time basis. Departments should consider if such an alternative work arrangement is consistent with the department and operating needs of the College. These considerations should be determined based on the job duties, the nature of the work and the individual’s ability to maintain the expected quantity and quality of work while telecommuting. Requests for telecommuting should be made via an email to the supervisor and must be approved by the respective HR representative. Employees in positions represented by Local 707 and Local 32BJ do not allow for telecommuting arrangements.  

Yes, offices should plan to be open for their standard business hours Monday through Friday.

TC requires that all staff wishing to telecommute must remain within commuting distance to the College. Commuting distance means the distance an individual is expected to travel to work from their permanent residence, usually within 50 miles or less one way.

Information Technology

Computers that have remained shut down during the campus closure may require system and security updates when turned on. Be prepared to leave ample time for the installation of updates as your computers may require multiple reboots. (If you have a laptop or Chromebook at your disposal, you may want to bring it to the office with you for the first few days while your office computers are updated.)

If you will require a video camera at work to attend video conference meetings while on campus, please reach out to the Service Desk to order an appropriate device.

Instructions for updating and modifying your Ring Central profile can be found hereIf needed, modify your Ringcentral Call forwarding number so it no longer forwards all your calls to your home or cell phone during your work hours. Also consider removing or modifying your Out of Office notice in your email message if needed.

 

Network passwords will have expired for your desktop/laptop login account. Please review the guide to update/reset your Network password here. WiFi access will also have expired. If possible, we recommend that you visit the campus during the summer term and update your mobile devices WiFi password connection.  You can access guidance on how to reconnect to WiFi here. while on campus.

All TC purchased equipment will need to be returned to campus. Ensure you give yourself ample time to setup your equipment. You can contact the Service Desk for support.

Testing and Contact Tracing

YES. At the present time campus access for students, faculty and staff requires 1) proof of full vaccination or approval of a medical or religious exemption 2) a negative COVID PCR Test result within 14 days of return to campus, 3) completion of the EHS COVID training module, and 4) completion of the Daily Health Screening (DHS).   

 

Details about campus access requirements may be found on the TC Preparedness website.

Also see Information on Health and Safety Measures & COVID-19 Testing Procedures for Faculty & Staff or Students.

Transportation and Travel

Public transportation continues to be available by bus or train through New York City Transit, Long Island Railroad, Metro North Railroad from Connecticut, and New Jersey Transit. Columbia University continues to provide a variety of Shuttle Bus options within the local Morningside area as well as special commuter shuttles from the outer boroughs to Manhattan.  Details about the Columbia University Shuttle Busses maybe found on the Columbia University Department of Transportation website at https://transportation.columbia.edu and tc.edu/transportation.



 

Columbia University continues to provide a variety of Shuttle Bus options within the local Morningside area as well as special commuter shuttles from the outer boroughs.  Teachers College has partnered with Columbia Transportation, Public Safety and Via to provide on-demand transportation service as an alternative to walking alone at night. Visit tc.edu/transportation or https://transportation.columbia.edu/ for information.

Teachers College Public Safety will continue to maintain security vigilance throughout and immediately surrounding campus. Columbia University Public Safety will continue to provide visible vehicle patrols throughout the immediate campus community. Teachers College students, faculty and staff are eligible to use the free Columbia University Public Safety Escort Service.  Details about the Escort Service may be found on the Columbia University Public Safety website.

Vaccine Information


General Information

Acceptable proof of vaccination include the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Card, World Health Organization (WHO) Vaccine Booklet, or Documentation provided by a health care professional/organization/country. See COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement.

Yes, individuals can upload proof of vaccination in the secure online form here. Results will only be seen by the designated personnel responsible for tracking proof of the vaccine.

TC will continue to look for guidance from Columbia, New York State, and other government health officials regarding recommendations for booster shots.  The College will notify the community if such requirements will be in effect. 

The vaccination form is secure and locked. No one has access to it other than the individuals verifying the information submitted.

Students, faculty, staff, and TC housing affiliates who cannot be vaccinated for COVID-19 based on their pregnancy status or because they are currently breastfeeding may request an exemption through the College. If an employee has a medical condition (during their pregnancy) that is preventing the employee from being vaccinated, the employee (and their physician) should complete the medical exemption form. If the employee has a pregnancy or parenting concern that is not medical related, please contact Janice S. Robinson as the Title IX Coordinator for a conversation about appropriate and reasonable accommodations. See Religious & Medical Exemptions and Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Exemptions.

Students

Yes, students with an approved exemption are permitted to come to campus, attend class, utilize services and facilities as usual. Individuals with an approved exemption will be required to comply with additional weekly Covid-19 PCR testing and other preventive requirements as specified in the exemption approval and as may be updated by later notification and/or posting of requirements on the TC website. In the event of an outbreak on or near campus, individuals holding exemptions may be excluded from all campus facilities and activities, for their protection, until the outbreak is declared to be over. 

One vaccine submission is required per person. Vaccine results will link to the Columbia University Health Compact, satisfying campus entry requirements.   When an employee is in their student role (ie, in class), they must follow the Student Covid Protocols established for students who are attending  in-person classes and they are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated prior to traveling to NYC. All students and affiliates must have submitted their proof of COVID vaccine or have an approved exemption prior to move-in.  

International students who are unable to submit proof of vaccination prior to move-in are encouraged to move-in on one of the early move-ins so that they can go to Columbia University or some other place in NYC to receive the vaccine.  International students who choose early arrival in order to receive vaccination:  1) will receive a 20% discount on the early move-in fee, and 2) be required to wear face coverings and weekly testing until they are fully vaccinated, International students must start their vaccination process within 72 hours of moving in International students who have been unable to get vaccinated in their international location prior to their return to campus, they will be able to get vaccinated at one of the Columbia sites. They will be able to access Columbia facilities, residences, and classrooms immediately, but will be required to comply with additional precautions (such as masking and testing) until they are fully vaccinated.

Faculty & Staff

While there is a vaccine mandate in effect on campus, individuals with an approved exemption will be required to comply with additional weekly Covid-19 PCR testing and other preventive requirements as specified in the exemption approval. In the event of an outbreak on or near campus, individuals holding exemptions may be excluded from all campus facilities and activities for their protection until the outbreak is declared to be over. There are College professionals assigned to collecting and tracking the vaccine status of every person on campus, and at no time should individuals inquire about the vaccination status of someone in their area or discriminate against someone because of their vaccination status.

Faculty and staff who are not approved for an exemption or who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to weekly COVID-19 PCR testing and additional requirements aimed at keeping the Teachers College community safe. Employees who do not comply with COVID-19 safety requirements may be required to take unpaid leave of absence, and/or may be subject to other appropriate action as determined by the College.

Employees who do not meet an exemption and who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to weekly COVID-19 PCR testing and additional requirements aimed at keeping the Teachers College community safe. Employees who do not comply with COVID-19 safety requirements may be required to take unpaid leave of absence, and/or may be subject to other appropriate action as determined by the College.

The HIPAA privacy rule is not implicated in our process of asking employees to upload proof of receipt of COVID-19 vaccination. There are other laws that protect employee medical information, as well as information collected from employees as part of a medical exam or in response to a medical inquiry. Teachers College will follow best practices and comply with applicable laws in maintaining privacy and security with respect to employee vaccination status.

All individuals on campus are expected to comply with the health & safety measures established by the College, including covid vaccines, covid testing, masks, physical distancing, wiping down high touch areas, and hand sanitizing, to keep ourselves and others safe. Individuals who feel uncomfortable while on campus for any reason may express concerns with their supervisor or the appropriate College personnel, such as Human Resources, Public Safety, or EHS. Discrimination toward any member of the TC community in compliance with required campus health and safety protocols is prohibited.

TC will continue to look for guidance from Columbia, New York State, and other government S, and Government health officials regarding recommendations for booster shots and notify the TC community if such requirements will be in effect.

The HIPAA privacy rule is not implicated in our process of asking employees to upload proof of receipt of COVID-19 vaccination. There are other laws that protect employee medical information, as well as information collected from employees as part of a medical exam or in response to a medical inquiry. Columbia will follow best practices and comply with applicable laws in maintaining privacy and security with respect to employee vaccination status.

While it is not illegal for a manager to ask employees if they are vaccinated, TC has established a process to ensure that discussions with any follow-up questions about vaccination happen with the appropriately trained College Professionals. The College has established a vaccination working group to develop guidance on best practices for these discussions and to share information about collection, privacy, and record-keeping relating to employee vaccination status.

Yes, employees with an approved exemption are permitted to come to campus, work in their office space, move about facilities and utilize services as usual. Individuals with an approved exemption will be required to comply with additional weekly Covid-19 PCR testing and other preventive requirements as specified in the exemption approval and as may be updated by later notification and/or posting of requirements on the TC website. In the event of an outbreak on or near campus, individuals holding exemptions may be excluded from all campus facilities and activities, for their protection, until the outbreak is declared to be over. 

International Students & Staff in International Locations

See FAQs.

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