Student Guidance

COVID-19 Guidelines – Updated Fall 2023

COVID-19 guidelines effective September 1, 2023, are below. The college will update these precautions based on COVID trends, official guidance, expert advice, and consultation with campus stakeholders, including staff and faculty constituent groups. 


The CDC strongly encourages everyone to be fully up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and annual flu shots, including booster doses when eligible. Vaccines are available at local pharmacies. Although the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine are not required, we know they are effective in reducing the severity of symptoms and mitigating the spread of the virus. 


We will continue to have an indoor mask optional policy for all campus spaces.  

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or any other respiratory illnesses you should wear a mask.  


Community members who test positive should isolate according to CDC guidance.  


Notification of a COVID-related matter is no longer required and reporting procedures for COVID are the same as for any other illness.  

Students who test positive should contact their instructors to arrange for any work missed due to illness. We continue to ask faculty members to be flexible with students who are ill or recovering.  


Spring 2023

The following guidance promotes health and safety in our college community. Columbia College Chicago requires all students to be fully vaccinated before the start of the semester. Boosters are strongly encouraged, but not required, for all students.

Only students with a college-approved religious or medical exemption and International Students who are in the process of getting vaccinated are permitted to remain unvaccinated. For assistance with medical and religious exemptions, please contact Columbia Central at as soon as possible.

For information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirement and on how to upload your vaccination card, please go to Students with questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccination policy, how to submit their COVID-19 vaccination card, and how to request an exemption can email   

International Students

All International students should abide by CDC guidance for their country.

Vaccination prior to arrival in the United States is required by the CDC. Students eligible for a booster are strongly encouraged to get one before arrival. Columbia will continue to accept the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

International students living in the residence halls must be fully vaccinated. Students who are not able to provide evidence of vaccination may not be able to move into their assigned residence hall until the quarantine and/or testing requirements are fulfilled. International students without COVID-19 vaccine access in their home countries will be allowed to arrive unvaccinated but will be required to begin the vaccination process or meet regular weekly testing requirements.

Back to Campus Checklist 

  • Upload your vaccination card (if you are a new student or newly vaccinated) to MedProctor or request an exemption before the start of the semester. Please note: Once Columbia has received the documentation, it will take 5 business days to update your record and for your Campus Card to become active. If your Campus Card is not activated, you will not be permitted to enter campus so you must upload ASAP. 
  • Review the new COVID-19 protocols. Read the details on precautions at various COVID-19 risk levels.
  • Follow individual health and safety procedures, such as complying with contact tracing, staying home if you feel sick, avoiding close contact with individuals who are sick, and reporting illness.

Safety Protocols 

All individuals are required to follow masking precautions on campus based on the college's announced risk level. For more details, please review the COVID-19 precautions for Fall 2022

Policy Enforcement

  • Face coverings - Failure to wear a face covering as required by the college announced COVID risk level will be subject to discipline, up to expulsion for students.  
  • Reporting a COVID-19 exposure or Illness - You are required to report your illness or close contact to the college. 

Refunds of tuition, fees, and housing costs will not be issued to students who are disciplined for failure to follow Columbia’s COVID-19 policies.

If you notice someone is not observing the college’s policies, we recommend the following: 

  • Assume they are unaware of the non-compliance (lack of face covering may be inadvertent), and if you are comfortable doing so, bring it to their attention.
  • Remind the person of the requirements of the policy, emphasizing our mutual responsibility for protecting the health of all persons on campus. 
  • If the individual refuses to comply, ask that they leave the area or notify Campus Security.