Campus Messages

Reminder of Campus Safety Procedures

September 18, 2020

Dear campus community,
We are very excited to be opening for in-person instruction Monday, September 21. As a reminder, before entering campus buildings, you are required to complete the campus training, quiz, and attestation and the Daily Pre-Check.
Training, Quiz, and Attestation
To complete the training, quiz, and attestation:

If you require any further assistance, email Technology Services at
Daily Pre-Check
Visit or scan the code below to complete the screening on your mobile device.


Face Coverings
Columbia requires everyone on college property to wear a face covering, including at all times in classrooms, shared workspaces, or common areas. Persons without a face covering will not be allowed to enter campus buildings. Bandanas, neck gaiters, knitted masks, and exhalation vent masks are not permitted on campus.

Have you received your two free masks?

Columbia Face Covering Distribution
916 S. Wabash, South Door

Students: Please show your Campus Card to receive two free reusable face coverings from Columbia.

Faculty and Staff: Two free reusable face coverings were mailed to your address on file with Columbia. If you did not receive your face coverings, you can stop by face covering distribution with your Campus Card to pick them up.

For additional information about the campus reopening, visit

In-person Instruction and Additional Campus Updates

September 18, 2020

As everyone gears up for the beginning of in-person instruction next week, we are coming to you with an update on additional preparations by the college, and some temporary modifications to our re-opening plan – including where some classes are held and when in-person instruction starts for them – resulting from our ongoing commitment to place safety first and adhere to the guidance we have received from the Chicago and Illinois department of public health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The outside guidance we have received has been supplemented with ongoing consultations with a team of epidemiology and infection-control experts at Rush University Medical Center as well Dr. Emily Landon, executive medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Chicago.
The guidance continues to be that source controls (limited occupancy/social distancing, sanitation and masks) are the most effective barrier against the spread of COVID-19. These sources controls are the cornerstone of the college’s plans.
As recommended by our health consultants, we have gone beyond local health guidance by conducting an air assessment of some campus spaces. We also committed to adding ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to HVAC systems in spaces where there is activity that is more likely to generate aerosolized particles of COVID-19. These aerosols are generated in greater quantities from activities like singing, playing musical instruments or exerting oneself as is the case in dance and some aspects of theater and film/TV production. Our ventilation assessment and enhancements are not yet complete and this will impact some classes next week as noted below.
Air assessment
We retained RAM Mechanical Services, a full-service mechanical contracting firm, to conduct an air assessment in those spaces where specialized instruction takes place that goes beyond a regular socially distanced, masked college classrooms where the main activity is sitting and speaking. This scope of the assessment was validated with the experts at Rush and University of Chicago.

These spaces include music, theater and CTVA, with some photo spaces.
The assessment is still ongoing. The team of outside air experts have been measuring what are called Cubic Feet per Minute per Square Foot (CFM/ft2), Air Changes per Hour (ACH), and Fresh Air Intake (FAI).

RAM Mechanical so far has confirmed that our systems are functioning as designed. In some instances, they have recommended adjustments to ensure operations meet our safety goals.  Their work on these spaces will be completed in the coming week.
Ultra-Violet Germicidal Irradiation equipment
Earlier this summer, the college announced that it would also install Installation of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation in ventilation ducts in these specialized spaces where high-projection, high-exertion activities, such as music, dance and theater, take place that might generate higher level of aerosols circulating.
We also ordered some portable UVGI units as an added precaution in the event there may be a need for them.
Even though such precautions go beyond the recommendations of local health authorities, the college committed to these systems out of an abundance of caution, even though masks and social distancing are known to be effective barriers.
Due to both COVID-19 itself and increased demand for COVID-related equipment, production for the in-duct UVGI equipment was delayed. While behind schedule, the UVGI equipment is slated to arrive on campus late this week.
Our vendor is slated to begin installing these as soon as they arrive. This does mean, however, that not all UVGI units will be installed by September 21 as planned.
Impact of Delays
Our ventilation assessment and UVGI installation project are meant to ensure maximum safety for certain types of creative learning activities that our experts have identified as more likely to generate high levels of aerosols.
Accordingly, for classes where activities involve high-exertion, high-projection activities, if UVGI is not in place, we are adjusting the start of in-person instruction. This may mean delaying the start of in-person activities, changing the class location for next week, or adjusting the planned activities.
The Office of the Provost and the Facilities and Operations team have reviewed the relatively small number of impacted courses with deans and department chairs. Department chairs will communicate directly with faculty teaching courses where adjustment is necessary, and faculty members will communicate with students about any schedule changes for week 3. For all other courses, on-campus activities will begin in campus buildings next week as planned.
We realize this news comes late into your preparations. However, we are working diligently to complete this assessment for high-exertion and high-projection spaces.
We very much look forward to seeing our campus come back to life with the creative pursuits and instruction that make Columbia such a wonderful institution, and thank everyone for your help as we continue to finetune our COVID precautions to help promote the health of our campus community.

Jerry Tarrer
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Ann P. Kalayil
Associate Vice President Facilities and Construction