January 2022 Safety Precautions and Booster Requirement


Testing Prior to January Return and Booster Requirement 

The college has added the following COVID-19 precautions to help promote health on campus for the return to campus in January.

  • Everyone coming to campus in January is required to have a one-time, negative COVID-19 test result three days prior to their first visit back to campus.
  • Beginning January 24, the first day of the Spring semester, the college will require employees and students who are 5 months beyond their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or two months beyond their single J&J dose, to have a booster shot or get tested weekly. Individuals who are vaccinated but not yet eligible for a booster will not be required to get tested. 
  • Home COVID-19 tests will now be accepted for vaccinated students and vaccinated employees – but evidence of the test will be required. Unvaccinated students and unvaccinated employees cannot use a home test or third-party test because their test needs to be linked to their ID, which can only happen with an on-campus test. Please read the college’s announcement regarding home tests and see below for more details. 

New COVID-19 Protocols for the Spring Semester

Last updated: January 20, 2022

Due to the high demand for and limited access to COVID-19 testing in many parts of the country, Columbia will now accept negative test results no older than three days before the employee or student’s return to campus, instead of two days as previously announced.

Everyone—even those who are fully vaccinated and boosted—is required to upload a one-time negative Rapid antigen or PCR test. (A PCR test will be accepted but is not required.) Additionally, vaccinated students and vaccinated employees are now able to upload a home test to fulfill all COVID-19 testing requirements.
For everyone, except students in the residence halls, there two ways to satisfy this requirement:
  1. Test off-campus at a third-party testing facility and upload the result – the test cannot be older than 3 days before you first swipe on campus.
  2. Test on-campus at 618 S. Michigan Avenue before going to any other campus location – appointments are required (see contact information and hours).

In addition to the two options above, vaccinated students and vaccinated employees can use a home test to fulfill testing requirements.

Students and employees who have access to off-site testing should consider the uploading option to avoid delays or waits on campus.
Residence Hall Students
Residence hall students cannot test on campus upon return; they must upload a third-party test prior to returning to their residence hall. The test cannot be older than 3 days at the time they return.

Students who receive a positive test result will not be allowed to move into their residence hall and will be responsible for finding an off-site location to reside for the duration of their quarantine period. 

Further Guidance and Information
Students who access campus facilities and/or residence hall spaces without uploading a negative COVID-19 test or who fail to adhere to provisions of the College’s COVID-19 protocol will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for possible disciplinary action.

Students with positive COVID-19 test results (including those who test positive before returning) must notify securitycommand@colum.edu and studenthealth@colum.edu of their positive test result so that we can accurately monitor your return to campus. Note: Students reporting a positive COVID-19 test result to studenthealth@colum.edu should include their name, Oasis ID number, date of birth, contact information (phone and email address), and a photo of their documentation that includes their name.

90 Day Testing Exemption
Any student or employee who had COVID-19 within 90 days, and reported this to the college, will be exempt from testing for 90 days from the onset of illness. (People who have COVID-19 can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after the onset of illness even though they no longer pose a risk to others.)

Those with a college-approved vaccination exemption do not need to upload and should continue with their regular testing regimen.

Testing Options

On-campus testing options
Free COVID-19 testing will continue to be available via CareATC at 618 S. Michigan Avenue. On-campus tests can be scheduled online via ColumbiaQ or by calling (844) 766-3775. Please refer to the website for testing hours.
Please schedule your test in advance to secure a spot that is timed to reflect a negative COVID-19 test result within 3-days prior to entering campus for the first time after winter break.

  • Employees can upload their test result to COVIDNavigator.
  • Students testing on-campus do not need to upload CareATC results. 
Off-campus / third-party tests
Third-party COVID-19 tests must reflect a negative result within 3-days prior to entering campus for the first time after winter break.

Home tests for vaccinated students and vaccinated employees
Vaccinated students and vaccinated employees can now use home testing to fulfill the following requirements:

  • One-time test required upon first return to campus
  • The weekly test for unboosted individuals
  • As notification to the college that a student is sick with COVID-19. 

Visit the How to Upload COVID-19 Test page for detailed instructions for Students and Employees. 


Those with positive test results need to stay off-campus and notify the college’s contact tracing team.

The college’s contact tracing team will advise individuals who test positive to quarantine as per the CDC’s newly recommended isolation and/or quarantine guidelines.

Those who are currently eligible for their booster and have not yet uploaded, could face a number of potential disruptions to their studies and work schedules at the beginning of the semester:

  • Per newly updated CDC quarantine guidelines, anyone not boosted will now need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 – boosted individuals will not need to quarantine.
  • Anyone who is booster eligible and has yet to boost will need weekly testing. Given large testing volumes on campus, there may be delays and/or disruption to your ability to access campus buildings, classes, and work spaces.

The best way to avoid disruption is to receive a booster and upload evidence of it – while boosters do not prevent infection in all cases, they have been found to prevent severe illness in most people, in contrast to more severe cases overall among un-boosted people.

COVID-19 boosters are available on-campus at CareATC, beginning January 13. Vaccine appointments can be scheduled through ColumbiaQ or by calling (844) 766-3775.

Please be aware that the booster requirement is in addition to the one-time negative test that is required to re-enter campus in January. Everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, are required to get a negative, Rapid-antigen or PCR test within 3-days of the first time they come to campus after the winter break. Vaccinated students can now use a home test.

Those who are not yet eligible for a booster before January 24 will not need to test weekly. However, weekly testing is required once individuals are past their booster deadline and until such time as booster evidence is uploaded. Vaccinated students can now use a home test.

  • Students boosting on-campus do not need to upload booster evidence.
  • Students boosting off-campus need to upload to MedProctor.
  • Employees boosting on-campus or off-campus need to upload to COVIDNavigator.

All students who uploaded booster vaccination card in MedProctor by January 18 at noon were entered into a drawing to win one of 10 scholarships, each worth $1,000.

The Moderna booster shot is approved by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for individuals who completed an initial sequence of the Pfizer, the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, as well as the Moderna vaccine. 

International students who traveled home during winter break should receive their booster in their home country if possible.

International students unable to obtain a booster in their home country must receive a Pfizer booster at a vaccination site off-campus. Boosters are due 5 months after you are fully vaccinated.  If you previously received a Moderna booster at CareATC, it will be accepted by the college.