Frequently Asked Questions

We have consolidated the answers to most frequently asked questions on this page. If you cannot find an answer here, feel free to email your question to returntocampus@tc.columbia.edu.

Vaccination Requirements and Information

Yes, the College is mandating that all students be vaccinated and boosted. Read the COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Information for more details including acceptable exemption requests.

Yes, vaccination is required for any student or employee regardless of location.

TC has a process for requesting vaccination exemptions for medical reasons, religious beliefs and pregnancy or breastfeeding status. See the Requesting a COVID-19 Vaccination Exemptions section of this page for more information.

Please seek vaccine availability through the city and state COVID-19 vaccination programs. Find more information about how to find your local vaccination site on the COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Information page.

Yes, all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, will need to complete all campus access requirements.

You will not know who is and who is not vaccinated, however, TC has measures in place to keep the community safe from the spread of COVID-19. Students and employees will not be allowed on campus unless they have met the vaccine requirement or have received an approved exemption. Those who receive an exemption must comply with weekly testing protocols and all individuals on campus, whether vaccinated or not, must follow the health and safety protocols which includes wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.

Yes. Please speak with your manager if you plan to get vaccinated or tested during the workday.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has advised that employers may require COVID-19 vaccinations, provided that we offer exemptions to individuals with (i) disabilities that prevent COVID-19 vaccination and (ii) sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent COVID-19 vaccination. Employers may also request that an employee provide proof of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination to ensure that employees have received the vaccine.

The EEOC guidance takes into account the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are currently subject to Emergency Use Authorization. Some COVID-19 vaccines may only be available to the public for the foreseeable future under Emergency Use Authorization granted by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA requires vaccine providers to give each individual receiving the vaccine the information contained in the Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers. Teachers College complies with these obligations.

The HIPAA privacy rule is not implicated in our process. Teachers College will follow best practices and comply with applicable laws in maintaining privacy and security with respect to vaccination status.

Visit this section of the Columbia University COVID-19 Resource Guide for more specific vaccine questions.

Campus Life

If you test positive for COVID-19 at any point during the year it is imperative that you report your result via the Health Screening form. DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS. Stay home and wait until a member of the Environmental Health and Safety team will then contact you to explain current isolation guidelines and next steps.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS. Get tested 3-5 days after your exposure and stay home until you test negative and your symptoms resolve. If you test positive, complete the Health Screening form and wait for a member of the Environmental Health and Safety team to contact you to explain current isolation guidelines and next steps.

You do not need to report your COVID-19 exposure to TC, but you should:

  • Wear a high-quality mask around others for 10 days,
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested 5 days after your exposure,
  • If you test positive, complete the Health Screening form to report your positive test result to TC’s Environmental Health and Safety team.

Read more.

TC students, faculty or staff holding a valid TC ID card may access campus through the main entrance at the Zankel Building (525 West 120th Street) or the driveway entrance adjacent to the Public Safety Booth on West 120th Street. Please present your TC ID at the entrance reader, along with your green check Daily Health Screening (DHS) pass for the day of entry.

Visitors (non TC community members) must complete all campus access requirements detailed here

The Whittier Hall entrance remains restricted to Whittier Hall residents, and employees who work in Whittier Hall.

Please check the current visitor policy to see if the College is accepting visitors at this time.

As of August 2022, TC is adhering to its standard international travel policy which can be read here.


Jump ahead for international student questions.

Yes, you will be able to register for classes prior to vaccination. However you will not be able to attend in-person classes if you are not fully vaccinated at least 10 days prior to the start of the semester.

Yes, but 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. Staff members who are also students should indicate on their proof of vaccination form that they are an employee. When an employee is in their student role (ie, in class), they must follow the Student COVID-19 Protocols established for students who are attending in-person classes and they are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

No, remote access to class will not be granted for COVID-19 related reasons for classes coded as "in person". Please consult the returning to in person classes page for more information.

International Students and Employees in International Locations

TC will accept proof of any vaccination that has received authorization by the World Health Organization (WHO). All international students and employees currently in an international setting must be vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they plan to access campus.

According to the CDC, individuals who received a full series of a vaccine currently authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) can get a single booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after getting all recommended doses or completing a mix and match COVID-19 vaccine series.

For individuals who were partially vaccinated with a WHO-authorized vaccine or who were vaccinated with a vaccine not authorized for emergency use by the WHO, a full series of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine can be administered with a minimal interval of 28-days post vaccination with a non-FDA-authorized vaccine.

It is TC’s intention to follow CDC guidance regarding individuals who may need additional vaccination in order to meet the vaccination mandate.

Yes, vaccination is required for any student or employee regardless of location.

No. Try to get vaccinated as soon as possible in your home country in order to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.

We strongly urge you to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as there may be additional requirements you have to meet if you arrive on campus unvaccinated.

Students, faculty, and staff, are expected to complete the vaccination requirement at least 10 days prior to their return to campus, and will be restricted from accessing campus if they have not complied with the requirement. But this process must be timed and scheduled. We will assist international students in this situation so that they can access TC residences immediately, but will be required to comply with additional precautions (such as weekly testing) until they are fully vaccinated.

If you are an international student, contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at tcintl@tc.columbia.edu. They will be able to review options for your enrollment and visa status for the Fall semester.


Please check the current visitor policy to see if the College is accepting visitors at this time.

Visitors to faculty and student residential buildings are allowed. These guests will be asked to provide proof of vaccination 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 campus visitor guidelines.

General COVID-19 Questions

If you have more specific questions about the COVID-19 virus, please visit the CDC website or the Columbia University resource site.

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