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COVID-19 FAQ

This page addresses frequently asked questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on the 2021-2022 academic year. Additional information can be found on the COVID-19 Resources page.
Academics

What is the format of instruction for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 semesters?

  • Please read Dean Amale Andraos’s message to students of March 30, 2021 for an update on the School’s plans for the coming semesters.
  • At this time, GSAPP is preparing to continue the School’s current hybrid model for teaching and learning in the Summer 2021 semester, blending in-person and remote instruction in accordance with Columbia University and New York State health and safety guidelines. The hybrid model currently in effect allows students to attend a mix of in-person classroom and studio-based teaching alongside remote instruction.
  • For international students who are impacted by COVID-19 challenges such as travel restrictions and delays in obtaining visas, GSAPP remains committed to offering flexibility, and you will be able to start remotely.
  • As outlined in President Lee Bollinger’s message of March 17, 2021, Columbia University expects to have the capacity and supply to vaccinate all Columbia affiliates by the fall, and has the goal to resume in-person academic activities across its campuses: “We are dedicated to coming as close to this reality as is safely possible, recognizing that events beyond our control may intervene and that we will need to have an adequate and sympathetic accommodation process in place for faculty, staff, and students, especially our international students who may not be able to return to campus.”
  • Additional information regarding the Summer and Fall 2021 format of instruction will be shared with incoming and continuing students as soon as it becomes available.

Will GSAPP change the start date of the MSAAD, MSAUD, and MSRED programs in 2021?

  • The deferral of the 2020 start date was a one-time exception approved by the New York State Education Department. The 2021 start date for the MSAAD, MSAUD, and MSRED programs is June 1, and the University’s academic calendar cannot be altered by a school.
  • The three semesters of the MSAAD, MSAUD, and MSRED programs are sequential, and students need to enroll in the first semester in order to progress through the program.

Is it possible for students to participate remotely if they are unable to be on campus?

  • Students are expected to take advantage of the hybrid model and attend in-person instruction when offered.
  • GSAPP remains committed to accommodating students who are impacted by COVID-19 challenges such as travel restrictions, delays in obtaining visas, or health concerns, and will provide remote access to students unable to participate in any in-person teaching.

Will I receive full credit if I need to participate remotely from abroad and can’t join in-person instruction?

  • Yes, course credits are the same regardless of format of instruction.

Will tuition and fees be adjusted for students studying remotely?

  • Tuition fees are for academic instruction and are charged based on registration status. GSAPP’s master’s degree tuition rates are on a flat fee for full time students registered for 12-19 points.
  • Adjustment to University Fees and other measures that Columbia University Student Financial Services is taking to address student and family needs in response to COVID-19 can be found on the Student Financial Services website, where updated information regarding changes to fees for the Summer 2021 semester is posted.
  • For students studying remotely, the GSAPP is offering remote desktop protocol to access computers and software in the design studios, remote fabrication support in the Making Studio, as well as collection scanning and online access to library holdings. (See details below.)

Will there be studio or course-related travel in the Summer 2021 semester?

  • At this time, Columbia’s Travel Restrictions suspending all University-related domestic and international travel to safeguard against the COVID-19 threat remain in effect. GSAPP will make determinations regarding future travel based on University guidance.
Facilities and Resources

How will GSAPP support students working from their homes and provide access to software or hardware resources remotely?

  • GSAPP has made major upgrades to the AV infrastructure to make it possible for local and remote students and faculty to communicate and collaborate as seamlessly as possible.
  • GSAPP provides access to software for students in the GSAPP studios or via remote desktop connections. Please see the Hybrid Pedagogy page for guides and resources, information on software, and remote access.

How do I access on-site laboratories including the Making Studio?

  • Following Columbia University and New York State health and safety guidelines relating to academic instruction, technology labs and the Making Studio are open based on established procedures for cleaning and sanitizing as outlined on the University website.
  • The spaces are available to GSAPP students by online reservation for specific timeframes to ensure occupancy thresholds are not exceeded, and spaces will be supervised by staff.
  • Before being able to use the shop, new and returning GSAPP students need to complete a full new safety orientation. Detailed procedures are posted on the Making Studio website.

How do I access the Avery Library or other libraries at Columbia?

  • Avery and several other University library reading rooms are open by advance reservation; please see the latest status updates and reservation forms on the Library website.
  • While library stacks are closed, pick-up service is available. Eligible items will have a “Pick-up” hyperlink in the CLIO record. Please refer to the Pick-Up Service page for instructions about how to request, pick up, and return the materials.
  • Remote access is available for millions of items on CLIO, including 40% of print holdings that are temporarily available digitally. Scanning service is available from offsite collections and select campus locations, and scanning via Interlibrary Loan has also been enabled. Eligible items will have a “Scan” hyperlink in the CLIO record.
  • Please reference the Avery Library homepage for more details and additional updates.

How does GSAPP support students studying remotely?

  • The Columbia Global Center operates locations around the world, and has expanded the network during this period to offer additional WeWork spaces for Columbia students in Beijing and Shanghai among other locations. GSAPP works closely with the Columbia Global Centers to make these resources available to our students as study and meeting locations. You can read more about this University Initiative for International Students online.

  • You may now register for access to Columbia’s international locations during the Summer 2021 semester here.

  • GSAPP is committed to hosting community-building events for international students, including study groups and social events for current students as well as networking opportunities with alumni.

Is GSAPP creating a platform for the admitted students to meet and discuss issues?

  • GSAPP is committed to supporting its students, especially during this period, and has vehicles of communication across the School community.
Health

How do I prepare for arriving on campus safely, and what are the University’s plans for COVID-19 testing?

  • Please reference the University’s COVID-19 Resource Guide for the latest information and detailed articles and resources that can be filtered by audience type, categories, or keywords.
  • Before coming to campus, students will sign the Columbia Community Heath Compact, which is intended to ensure individual and community health.
  • Columbia University has developed public health protocols including symptom screening, testing, and promotion of healthy hygiene, among others. You can learn about the details of these protocols on the University’s regularly updated COVID-19 Public Health Protocols page.

Does Columbia provide COVID-19 vaccines to students?

  • “On the strong recommendation of our public health colleagues, who have advised us so ably throughout this process, President Bollinger and the Columbia University COVID Task Force have decided to make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all students who are present on campus, starting this fall. We will provide religious and medical exemptions, as we do for the influenza and measles vaccines, in accordance with New York State public health laws.” Please read the full letter of April 19, 2021 regarding Columbia’s updated vaccination policy.

  • Please see the University’s Vaccine Information page for the latest updates regarding COVID-19 vaccine information, eligibility, and distribution.

Do I need to fulfill immunization requirements if I’m studying remotely?

  • Immunization requirements remain unchanged. New students must submit immunization records in order to enroll in courses. More information can be found on the Columbia Health website.
International Students

How does Columbia support international students and their visa needs?

  • Columbia International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) works closely with students to support their visa needs, and detailed information is regularly updated on the Admitted Students FAQ webpage.
  • OPT eligibility depends on several factors that are not controlled by GSAPP. Students should contact Columbia ISSO for details on OPT Eligibility and specific questions related to their individual situation.
  • Students must be enrolled full-time in active F-1 status for at least two consecutive semesters, and must arrive in the U.S. within 30 days from the start of classes during your first semester of entry in order for that term to count toward practical training eligibility (OPT).

Columbia ISSO anticipates that the Spring 2021 COVID-19 accommodations will continue for the Summer 2021 semester. Please refer to the ISSO website for latest news and updates and see FAQs for Continuing Students and FAQs for Newly Admitted Students.

ISSO hosts regular events and webinars for new and continuing students to share updates and information.

International graduate students should review their home country’s specific guidance regarding:

  • permission to engage in online education while outside of the U.S., and
  • accreditation/certification of their degree by their home country should part or the entirety of their program be pursued online.

If you are an international student and have additional questions and concerns, please contact the ISSO via email at isso@columbia.edu

Policies

Has the deferral policy changed?

  • GSAPP’s deferral policy remains unchanged. Deferrals are only considered in the case of personal medical emergencies and additional documentation would be required.

What is the policy for continuing students to request a Leave of Absence?

  • Leave of Absence for continuing students can be requested through an online form. Requests must be made by July 15 for leaves beginning in September. Due to spatial constraints, students are not guaranteed an authorized personal leave of absence, and priority will be given to medical leaves.

Please see the GSAPP Policies and Resources page for additional policies. An extensive repository of policies applicable to Columbia University can be found on the University Policies page.

updated May 3, 2021